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Baby talk

the economistMié, 31/12/2014 - 04:09

A NORTH CAROLINA law enacted in 2011 requires every woman seeking an abortion to submit, between four and 72 hours before the procedure, to an ultrasound of her developing foetus. The Woman’s Right to Know Act (which, in less Orwellian terms, might be called the North Carolina Right to Harangue Act) relies on a 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding an "informed consent” rule whereby doctors were required to offer patients a state-issued pamphlet describing the risks of abortion procedures. North Carolina ups the ante considerably with its recent law, adding a so-called “Display of Real-Time View Requirement.” In the words of a judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued a ruling against the law on December 22nd, this requirement

obligates doctors (or technicians) to...display the sonogram so that the woman can see it and describe the foetus in detail, “includ[ing] the presence, location, and dimensions of the unborn child within...Continue reading

Good lord, don't shoot

the economistLun, 29/12/2014 - 18:26

MASS on Christmas evening at St Sabina, a Catholic church in Auburn Gresham, a largely African-American neighbourhood on the south side of Chicago, is a three-hour extravaganza. There's a soul and rock band, floating dancers dressed in white, a cartwheeling redeemer dressed in glittery pink, and a tableau vivant of young black men with placards around their necks bearing the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown (two black men killed by police in 2014) and Trayvon Martin (a black teen killed by a vigilante in 2012). In “A Mother’s Cry to God”, a woman bewails the fate of black Americans in a 20-minute monologue about the police, poverty, unemployment, the lack of adequate health care and foreclosures, all of it interspersed with cries of “I can’t breathe!”, Eric Garner’s dying words.

This performance is the warm-up act for the sermon of Father Michael Pfleger, an outspoken anti-gun activist who has been at St Sabina, one of Chicago’s poorest and most-rundown neighbourhoods, for 33 years. (Outside of the church is a Christmas tree decorated with pictures of children killed by guns.) “Invade!” shouts Father Michael...Continue reading


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