Weekly Review — August 8, 2000, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Republicans formally nominated George W. Bush as presidential candidate at their convention in Philadelphia; a display of dark-skinned speakers elicited much comment from journalists who noticed the contrast with rank-and-file Republicans on the convention floor. Former President Gerald Ford suffered a mild stroke. Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, made a brief appearance, much to the delight of bored journalists, before he was removed by Republican officials. It was the tenth anniversary of Iraq’sinvasion of Kuwait; Alaa Hussein Ali, who led Kuwait’s puppet government during the occupation, filed suit against Saddam Hussein for compelling him to collaborate with Iraqi forces. Ali is currently on death row. German foreign minister Joschka Fischer suggested that many Germans silently support recent anti-immigrant violence. The United States Immigration and Naturalization Service naturalized 180,000 immigrants without performing proper background checks, according to a Justice Department report; the report failed to support the Republican charge that the Clinton administration rushed the approvals in hopes of acquiring additional Democratic voters in the 1996 election. A Justice Department investigation was announced in response to charges of discrimination against Asians at the Los Alamos National Laboratories. Chinese protestors set fire to Hong Kong’s immigration office, after dousing its lobby with gasoline, injuring fifty. The NAACP will move its annual convention from its customary location in South Carolina to protest the continued presence of the Confederate Battle Flag on a Civil War monument near the state capitol. Democrats complained that George W. Bush plagiarized President Clinton in his nomination acceptance speech. The company that manufactures Wonder Bread was ordered to pay $120 million in a racial discrimination law suit.

Voters in the Kansas Republican primary selected pro-evolution candidates for the state school board, ensuring thereby that the state’s current science standards, which for the last three years have required the teaching of creationism in the schools, will be overturned. Scientists sequenced the genome of the cholera bacterium. Microbes survived a brief experimental space flight. Monsanto said it would release patent rights to golden rice, a strain of genetically-altered rice that is rich in vitamin A, in order to help poor countries fight malnutrition. According to a new study, viruses may cause obesity. DNA Sciences, a new dot com company in California, established a “gene trust” and invited people to volunteer DNA samples for scientific study; the company, which expects to make a profit, will not compensate DNA donors. A new drug to combat troublesome female facial hair was introduced. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother of England turned 100. The world’s largest fungus was discovered in Oregon; the fungus, which covers 2,400 acres, is believed to be 2,400 years old. Argentine ants have formed a 600-mile-long colony in California.

Beaches were closed on both East and West coasts due to high concentrations of bacteria associated with sewage. A federal judge ruled that laws regulating kosher restaurants were unconstitutional. California was in the midst of a power shortage; residents faced the prospect of rolling black outs and many began, hesitantly, to question the wisdom of energyderegulation. The supreme leader of the Taliban said that Afghanistan’s severe drought was sent by God to punish the people for neglecting their religious duties and failing to show proper gratitude toward their rulers. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the rightist Israeli Shas Party, declared that the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust were reincarnated sinners who rightly suffered the wrath of God. Islamic law was adopted in yet another Nigerian province. Organizers of the United Nations Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders failed to invite the Tibetan Dalai Lama because doing so would offend China. Scientists learned that women who are abused at an early age are likely to suffer from stress later in life. Political massacres continued in India, as did heavy rains, which led to the displacement of 2.5 million people. Wild fires were burning across the American West.

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Brian Frank
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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Artwork by Imre Kinszki © Imre Kinszki Estate
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The Lords of Lambeau·

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Ashley arrived for her prenatal appointment at Black Hills Obstetrics and Gynecology, in Rapid City, South Dakota, wearing a black zip-up hoodie and Converse sneakers.1 To explain her absence from work that morning — a Tuesday in April 2015 — she had told a co-worker that she was having “female issues.” She was twenty-five years old and eight weeks pregnant. She had been separated from her husband, with whom she had a five-year-old son, for the better part of a year. The guy who’d gotten her pregnant was someone she’d met at the gym, and he’d made it abundantly clear that he wanted nothing more to do with her. Ashley found herself hoping that the doctor would discover some kind of fetal defect, so that her decision would be easier. She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. “Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.”

In the exam room, she perched on the table with her feet crossed at the ankles, her blond hair brushing the back of her pink hospital gown. “I don’t know what’s available for me here,” she told her doctor, Katherine Degen, who sat facing her on a stool. “I figured nothing.”

 Some names and identifying details have been changed. 

“Big, fat zero, unfortunately,” Degen said, making a 0 with her fingers. The last doctor who provided abortions in Rapid City retired in 1986, three years before Ashley was born.

The baby was due in November, when Ashley, who was a nurse, hoped to be enrolled in a graduate program to become a nurse practitioner. Getting pregnant as a teenager had forced her to put that dream on hold, but she had thought that she was finally ready; she had even submitted her application shortly before the March 15 deadline. For the first time in her adult life, Ashley felt as if her plans were coming together. Then she missed her period.

It would be too difficult to attend school as a single mother of two, Ashley knew. She had made an appointment for three weeks from now at the nearest abortion clinic, in Billings, Montana, 318 miles away. But just a week and a half ago, her husband had said he wanted to get back together and offered to raise the child as his own. Was it a sign that she was meant to continue the pregnancy? As a rule, Ashley approached her problems with resolve. She was capable and tough; she liked shooting guns and lifting weights. She kept track of her stats and checked off her goals as she achieved them one by one. Yet the dilemma before her had shaken her confidence. She leaned back and turned to watch the ultrasound screen. The black-and-white image danced. A sharp, fast thumping emerged from the machine. As Degen removed the wand, Ashley wiped the corner of her eye.

Photograph (detail) by Balazs Gardi
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"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley

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