Weekly Review — May 14, 2002, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

The House Appropriations Committee passed a measure authorizing the President to use force to free any American detained by the new International Criminal Court, which Tom DeLay, the majority whip from Texas, called a “rump” and a “rogue” court. After noticing that some members of the committee seemed ignorant of the court’s location, David Obey, a Democrat from Wisconsin, pointed out that “we would be sending troops to invade the Netherlands.” The measure also bans military aid to countries that ratify the treaty creating the court (which President Bush “unsigned” last week) but specifically exempts NATO countries and other major allies, all of whom have ratified it. Government security auditors reported that several important federal agencies have done little or nothing to secure their facilities against terrorist attack: the Department of Agriculture, for example, was unable to account for three billion doses of a dangerous virus, and the Energy Department has lost track of nuclear material that it lent to foreign countries. Tom Ridge, the head of “homeland security,” showed off his office’s new situation room to the news media. Pim Fortuyn, a gay, right-wing, anti-immigrant politician, was assassinated in the Netherlands; police arrested an animal-rights activist in connection with the murder. In two footnotes filed with the Supreme Court, the Justice Department reversed 60 years of government policy and asserted that the Second Amendment to the Constitution “broadly” guarantees the right of individuals to own firearms, thus challenging the court’s current understanding that the Constitution protects only those gun rights that have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation of efficiency of a well regulated militia.” It was pointed out that in 1999, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 28,874 Americans were killed with guns.

A 13-year-old girl from Bolivia named Gabriela Azurdy Arrieta opened the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children. “We want a world fit for children,” she said in her speech, “because a world fit for us is a world fit for everyone.” The United States, the Vatican, and several Arab countries disrupted the proceedings by pushing anti-abortion and sexual abstinence agendas. The U.S. also blocked a statement calling for a ban on the execution of children, a provision of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, which only the United States and Somalia have failed to ratify. “We are trying to lead the world,” said one American official. Alabama executed a woman in its electric chair for the first time since 1957. Lucas Helder, a 21-year-old art student who was arrested for planting pipe bombs in mailboxes across five states, told a police officer that he was trying to make a smiley-face pattern with his attacks. Hamas carried out a suicide bombing near Tel Aviv, killing 15 people. Israel’s Likud Party voted never to permit the creation of a Palestinian state. A man in Malacky, Slovakia, tried unsuccessfully to decapitate himself with a homemade guillotine in front of the local tax office because he was unable to pay the taxes on his house. “It did not cut his head off completely,” said a policeman, “but he wounded himself so badly that he died afterwards.” The shrunken head of an Indian woman that was stolen from the Frontier Times Museum in Bandera, Texas, was found in a bag on the side of a road. “She looks all right,” said the local police chief. “They’re just tickled to death that nobody tore her up. We’re still going to investigate it, and hopefully we can get somebody in jail.”

German scientists announced that they had grown carrots genetically modified to produce the vaccine for hepatitis B. The director of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., refused to hand over the medical records of a dead giraffe, saying that the doctor-patient confidentiality rule applied “in principle” to animals. Jennifer Portnick, a 240-pound aerobics instructor, reached a settlement with Jazzercize Inc. after she brought a complaint against the company under San Francisco’s “fat and short” law for rejecting her because of her size. Jazzercize will no longer require its instructors to maintain a “fit appearance.” Federal tax receipts were down even more than expected, though spending was, on all accounts, going up. The Bush Administration was planning to reinterpret federal law to permit the funding of single-sex schools. Cardinal Bernard F. Law was deposed in Boston by lawyers for 86 people who say they were sexually molested by the Rev. John J. Geoghan, whom the Catholic Church moved from one parish to another even though he was a known pedophile. When Law was asked whether he was aware that Geoghan was a child molester when he was placed in the parish of one of the victims, Law replied: “I was aware that there was involvement because, because of the, of having removed him out of one parish and putting him between assignments before sending him back to another, and then necessitating a letter that would not have been necessary unless there had been a problem.” Janet Reno got into a fender bender in Miami while driving her red pickup. Jimmy Carter went to Cuba. The Pentagon was trying to teach bees to sniff out bombs.

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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.

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.

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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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