Weekly Review — April 3, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The United States withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change; Christie Whitman, the administrator of the EPA, announced that “we have no interest in implementing that treaty.” President Bush told German chancellor Gerhard Schrder that “We will not do anything that harms our economy, because first things first are the people who live in America.” North Korea’s dear leader Kim Jong Il sent a large floral wreath to the funeral of Chung Ju Yung, the founder of the Hyundai group, in a further display of goodwill toward the south by the ruler of the Hermit Kingdom. Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was angry about a fact-finding mission led by former senator George Mitchell; he said that allowing such an investigation into the causes of the recent Intifada was an “historic mistake” because “no one has the right, no one, to put Israel on trial before the world.” A Palestiniansniper shot and killed a ten-month-old Israeli girl in Hebron as she lay in her stroller; Israeli troops then shelled a nearby Palestinian neighborhood and other targets, including Yasir Arafat’s home. America vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an observer force in Palestine. A U.S. warplane bombed targets in Iraq; a U.S. spy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet but landed safely in China. The other aircraft fell into the sea. Officials in Burundi were excavating mass graves outside Bujumbura. Britain was burying hundreds of thousands of sheep and cattle that have been killed in an attempt to control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease; scientists were trying to figure out whether the disease can be transmitted via the smoke of burning animals. The House of Lords decisively rejected a bill passed by the House of Commons that would ban hunting with hounds. Researchers found that using ecstasy damages one’s ability to remember things to be done in the future. President Bush, apparently worried that all his talk about recession might make people think he had caused it, told 120 high-tech executives, whose net worth has dropped significantly in recent months, that the future was “incredibly bright.” Chinese paleontologists found the largest dinosaur footprints ever, right next to large deposits of dinosaur dung.

The Supreme Court said it would decide whether executing retarded murderers was cruel and unusual. The United Statesjustice department reported that America’s prison population had grown to 1,931,859, of whom 791,600 were black; the ACLU pointed out that America, with only 5 percent of the world’s population, accounts for 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Maryland’s House of Delegates voted to impose a two-year moratorium on executions. Ivan Boroughs, a Jamaican man who spent twenty-nine years in prison for breaking a window, was finally released; Jamaican officials said that Boroughs, who had been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial but was nevertheless kept in prison, had not been forgotten: “We were monitoring his progress yearly, but we had to wait on communication from the court and that did not come until Tuesday.” A man in New Jersey was on trial, facing ten years in prison, for allegedly stealing 58 cents from a parked car. Tennessee’s supreme court granted a reprieve to Philip Ray Workman, just 45 minutes before he was to be executed, in order to consider new ballistic evidence that could exonerate him. Marjorie Knoller, a San Francisco lawyer whose dog Bane killed a young woman who lived next door, was indicted for second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and failure to control a mischievous animal that causes a death. Her husband was indicted on similar charges; officials were investigating whether the couple, who have adopted an adult convict as their son, had been sexually abusing the dog. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, said he had no sympathy for his victims. California executed Robert Lee Massie, who uttered the following last words: “Forgiveness.Giving up all hope for a better past.”

Anti-abortion activists won the right to publish a hit list of doctors who perform abortions; the list, called the “Nuremberg Files,” appears on a website and gives personal details such as address, license plate numbers, and names of relatives. The German government took over control of Berlin’s Jewish Museum. Holocaust survivors filed suit against the United States because it did not bomb Auschwitz during World War II. Saudi Arabia banned Pokmon because it has “possessed the minds” of children and “promotes Zionism.” Catholics in Santa Fe, New Mexico, were upset about a photographic collage depicting the Blessed Virgin in a two-piece swimsuit made out of roses. Dr. Jack Ng, a physicist, claimed that he would be able to measure “quantum foam,” graininess or ripples in the fabric of space, with a Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory. There were new reports of a room-temperature superconductor. A new study has found that small men are less likely to get married than larger men; they also make less money. Senator Joseph Lieberman proposed a $300 tax rebate for every American worker. The Senate passed a campaign-finance reform bill that banned soft money. Yugoslavian commandos arrested former president Slobodan Milosevic on corruption charges. Milosevic had bragged that he “would not go to prison alive” and was seen waving a gun and threatening to kill himself. He went quietly in the end.

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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.”

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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.'"
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