WORLD’s 2018 Books of the Year
A New York moment:
The midterms were a big loss for New York pro-lifers, with Democrats winning full control of the Legislature by wresting the Senate from Republicans. In local campaigns, Democrats have made legalization of late-term abortion a priority—building off a conjured specter of abortion restrictions from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Pro-life lobbyists in Albany for the last decade have successfully fought efforts to expand late-term abortions. Now the pro-lifers I talked to in Albany feel like they don’t know how to stop the passage of the Reproductive Health Act. Democrats have characterized the bill as “codifying Roe,” and “protecting abortion access in New York,” but it chiefly legalizes late-term abortions. New York already has a state law legalizing abortion from 1970, before Roe v. Wade, so even if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, abortion would still be legal here.
Currently that state law bans abortions after 24 weeks, and this proposed bill allows abortions from 24 weeks up until birth for the health of the mother or if a baby is deemed not viable. The bill would also allow nurse practitioners to perform abortions, and removes penalties for things like botched abortions or second-degree abortions from the criminal code. The state attorney general had already said in 2016 that he would not prosecute late-term abortions, but this would cement that policy into law.
This year New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, moving to the left under pressure, has made the Reproductive Health Act a priority in campaigning. In the past, only two Senate Democrats have opposed the abortion expansion: Now Democrats likely have enough of an edge to overcome that opposition. New York, which also provides public funding for abortions, has one of the highest abortion rates in the country, though it has begun to decline in recent years. The Guttmacher Institute’s most recent data showed 120,000 abortions in New York in 2014.
Worth your time:
This masterpiece of writing and reporting about Whitey Bulger’s Boston funeral. In one scene, the Catholic priest who delivered the funeral Mass is fleeing reporters, and a woman leans out a window and shouts, “Run, priest, run!”
This week I learned:
The widespread problems with voting in New York City last week were mostly related to a poorly designed ballot causing paper jams.
A court case you might not know about:
The high-security El Chapo trial begins today in New York. This piece details the extreme measures New York is taking to ensure the safety of everyone and to prevent any escape attempts by a notorious escape artist. The city is shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge to transfer El Chapo from his high-security cell in Manhattan to the court in Brooklyn, and there will be snipers all along the route. Each juror has a federal marshal guarding him or her for the trial, which will likely last several months.
Culture I am consuming:
Though I am not a serious chess player, I love the chess commentary from the Chess24 team, which is covering the World Chess Championship live. As I mentioned last week, we have the first American in a World Chess Championship since Bobby Fischer. Grandmasters Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler are a hilarious commentator team, miraculously filling the air for games that can go on for as long as seven hours.
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