Weekly Review — September 4, 2001, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Forensic experts in Honduras found a mass grave containing 15 bodies on a former American military base used to train Nicaraguan Contras; prosecutors expect to find up to 80 dead leftists who disappeared during the 1980s. John Negroponte, who was the American ambassador to Honduras during the Contra war, was awaiting confirmation as the new U.S. representative at the United Nations. Slobodan Milosevic berated a judge and others at The Hague after genocide was added to the charges he faces there. An Israelideath squad using American-made weaponsassassinated Mustafa Zubari, also known as Abu Ali Mustafa, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. American officials pointed out that such extrajudicial killings tend only to inspire suicide bombers. Gideon Ezra, Israel’s deputy minister for internal security, had a bright new idea for fightingterrorism: kill the families of people who kill Israelis. Secretary of State Colin Powell stayed away from the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance because some countries were insisting on using impolite language to criticize Israel for being an unkind master. France’s foreign minister compared President Bush to Pontius Pilate. A bomb went off in Galilee.

Faith in the “New Economy” unshaken, Federal Reserve bureaucrats gathered in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for their annual symposium and told one another that the productivity miracle wrought by computer technology would rise again someday and provide strong economic growth with low inflation. Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina told a newspaper that Senator Strom Thurmond, his 98-year-old colleague, is no longer “mentally keen” but stays in the Senate because “the poor fellow doesn’t have any place to go.” Hollings also remarked that the Senate makes an excellent nursing home. Historians in Britain brewed a 5,000-year-old recipe for beer flavored with animal feces. Secretary of the Interior Gail Norton placed America’s oldest sanitary landfill on the National Register of Historic Places, right along with Walden Pond and Monticello, before noticing that the Fresno, California, dump was a federal Superfund site, whereupon it was stripped of its historic status. Louis W. Joy III, the owner of Manufacturing Excellence, Inc., crashed a small plane into his new home in Nashua, New Hampshire, destroying it and himself, one day after his wife obtained a restraining order barring him from the house. Mrs. Joy happened to be out at the time. Federal authorities accredited the Astrology Institute of Phoenix, Arizona, where students may now receive federal grants and loans to take master classes on asteroid goddesses. The Pentagon admitted that its missile defense scheme probably would be unable to hit the wobbly, primitive missiles that “rogue states” would be most likely to fire. It nonetheless authorized the clearing of 135 acres in Alaska for an antimissile base. A big car bomb set by Basque terrorists blew up in Madrid. The Congressional Budget Office concluded that the federal budget surplus was pretty much gone. The stock market went down.

In Lumberton, Mississippi, a man was planning to amputate his useless feet with a guillotine live on the Internet; he hopes to raise money for prosthetic legs. Former basketball player Dennis Rodman ran amok in a Hooters restaurant and sprayed everyone with a fire extinguisher. Puff Daddy, a rapper, told a German magazine that the Queen of England has a poor fashion sense: “She should stick to muted shades and combine gray, black, and earth tones,” said Mr. Daddy. “Those pastel shades she wears don’t suit her at all and she has to do something about that haircut.” PBS aired the final episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. ABC, NBC, and CBS executives were working very hard to put more and nastier profanity in their prime-time television programs. India decided to subsidize televisions for poor people in the hope that increased viewing would cut down on sex and thus the swelling population. The man who discovered Morris the Cat died. Democratic fat cats and fund-raisers were turning up their noses at Al Gore’s recent attempts to “reach out” and beg for cash; many said they were focusing on winning the next presidential election with a viable candidate. Former president Bill Clinton went bikini shopping in Rio de Janeiro. Circumcision rates were off at the Circumcision Palace in Istanbul because of Turkey’s economic downturn. A Brazilian truck driver with a bullet in his head climbed out of a tomb and walked, covered in blood, to the nearest hospital. Over a hundred bats attacked a woman in Vienna when she opened her pantry in the middle of the night. A stray leopard injured nine people in eastern India. People in darkest Africa were bleaching their skin to look like Michael Jackson. Botulism was killing thousands of fish in Lake Erie.

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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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 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.

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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.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley

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