Weekly Review — August 26, 2008, 12:00 am

Weekly Review

Barack Obama announced Joe Biden, the senior senator from Delaware, as his running mate, even though Biden voted for the war in Iraq and for NAFTA and once said that Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”Information WeekThe Washington PostThe Obama campaign denied that there was anything wrong with Biden’s signing a 2005 bill that eliminated many bankruptcy protections for consumers after Biden’s lobbyist son Hunter was retained for $100,000 a year by the financial-services giant MBNA, employees of which have donated $214,000 to Biden over the years.The New York TimesThe Democratic National Convention opened at the Pepsi Center in Denver, with later events to be held at Invesco Field. “I have a lot of doubts that this convention is going to be as persuasive as it should be,” said former national Democratic chairman Donald Fowler, “because they’ve got this damn thing with Hillary.” The major news networks agreed to share the $100,000 cost of a “flying” wire-guided overhead camera intended to capture such dramatic moments as Obama’s acceptance of the Democratic nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, and hundreds of protesters marched on the Pepsi Center. “The Democrats,” said one graduate student, “are an imperialist party too.”The Boston GlobeThe New York Times

John McCain, who does not know how many houses he owns, was expected to choose a running mate who opposes abortion, most likely either former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty,PoliticoThe New York Timesand the United States agreed to an “aspirational timetable” that calls for troops to be removed from Iraq by December 31, 2011; west of Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed 25 people at a neighborhood celebration.The New York TimesNorth Korean hunger scientists announced a new noodle.BBC NewsThe Russian army was looting Poti, Georgia;The Times Onlineplanes crashed in Spain, Kyrgyzstan, and Guatemala,The New York TimesThe New York TimesThe New York Timesand eight climbers were killed in an avalanche on Mont Blanc.The New York TimesSuicide bombers blew up a munitions factory in Wah, Pakistan, killing at least 63 people.BBC NewsThree Ghanaian men, one a butcher, were arrested for the ritual murder of a hunchback,My Joy OnlineSomeone was torturing feral cats in the Bronx,The New York Timesand police in Brooklyn were looking for a man who, after he was serviced by a one-legged prostitute in the hallway of a housing project, knocked the woman out of her wheelchair, thereby killing her.The New York PostScientists found that dogs can develop a sense of right and wrong, that elephants can do basic math, and that Australian Aboriginal children can count even if their local language has no words for numbers.Stuff.co.nzNew ScientistScience DailyResearchers found that women do not have a higher threshold for pain than men do, but actually suffer more,The Daily Mailand an elephant in Portland, Oregon, named Rose-Tu gave birth to a 286-pound calf and immediately began to kick it.NWCN.comFrance banned TV shows for babies.The New York Times

Due to water shortages and rising fertilizer costs, 49 million acres of cropland were being treated with human sewage.National Geographic NewsThe BeijingOlympics ended.ReutersThe National Guard was still patrolling New Orleans,The New York Timesand Premier Election Solutions (formerly Diebold) acknowledged that its voting machines, used in 34 states, were programmed with a logic error that loses votes, and that the error has been in place for ten years.The Washington PostMargaret Thatcher, revealed her daughter, has dementia and often forgets that she is no longer the British prime minister. “Oh,” she said in a lucid moment, “how I wish I could do it all again.”The Washington PostIn Kashmir, protests that began two months ago, when 100 acres were granted to a Hindu shrine to build toilets for pilgrims, continued as hundreds of thousands of Muslims rallied against India and demanded independence;BBC Newsin Singur, India, 40,000 people rallied to demand that farmers be returned the land taken from them to build a new Tata Motors factory, where the world’s cheapest car is to be manufactured.The New York TimesDr. Hugh R. Butt, the coagulation expert who showed that vitamin K could help halt internal bleeding, died at age 98,The New York Timesand Japanese scientists created human stem cells from a little girl’s teeth.BBC NewsMicrobiologists found a virus named Sputnik that can infect larger viruses,National Geographic Newsastronomers suggested that black holes might come in only small and large sizes, not medium,Science Dailyand physicists in Geneva found that quantum entanglement travels over 10,000 times the speed of light.Scientific American

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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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“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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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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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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