I just started this new sci-fi series in The Taos News
Tandra had waited too long and now she had to pay for it. While the helicar hovered over the Institute for Parental Certification, the feared IPC, she felt her heart beat faster at the sight of those square, ominously gray buildings. She had wasted too much time out of pure insecurity. And here she was, seven-months pregnant, almost ready to pop, and she hadn’t taken the test. She hadn’t even tried. The only way to keep her baby was to agree to live for two weeks with a designated test child–most likely, an obnoxious one–in the hopes of getting her license afterward.
In other boroughs, parenthood was still seen as a private matter. Here, though, the local government required expectant parents or those who wanted to have children in the future, to pass a practical test before they were allowed to reproduce. “Parenthood is a privilege, not a right,” was one of the borough’s mottos. The administration honored it.
Most people chose to take a four-month course that prepared them for the test. Often, though not always, those who completed the course received parental licenses later. But Tandra had heard first-hand accounts about the indignities that aspiring couples (particularly single mothers) suffered at the Institute’s homes.