The next time I hear someone wonder aloud in false-bewilderment, "why does the rest of the civilized world think Americans are stupid?;" THIS will be my go-to answer...
(obligatory warning that remaining body of post may contain politics and/or opinions thereupon.)
A 9 week-old fetus is being called to testify as a witness before the Ohio State Legislature in support of the so-called "Heartbeat Bill," which would outlaw any abortion in the state once a heartbeat is detectable.
To be clear: They aren't speaking in symbolic terms - proponents of the bill, specifically a hardline anti-abortion outfit called "Faith2Action," are going to bring a pregnant woman before the Legislature and project her live ultrasound onto a screen. This is a real thing, happening in 2011.
I'm honestly dumbstruck that this isn't a prank of some kind... it's like something a six year-old would think up as an Earth Day gesture: "Sirs, this my fwend mister squirrel. He wivs in th fowest, and he wants you to pwetty pwease not cut down his house to make the new highway." The next time they hold hearings about a video-game ban, can I have the testimony of my Nintendog or Level-30 Snorlax read into evidence? Note the almost poetic perfection, incidentally, of the fact that they aren't simply asking the pregnant woman to speak, eh?
Meanwhile, for the sake of contrast, here's what "politics of abortion news" looks like in a grownup country, specifically The UK: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has issued new guidelines for doctors, nurses and counselors of pregnant women considering termination - it is now official policy to inform said women that abortion is generally safer than continuing a pregnancy to term, and that the majority of women do not suffer any psychological harm.
For my international readers, please understand - even though the UK story can be accurately summarized as "doctor's reminded to tell the truth," the likelihood of any similar agency even considering using that same language is next to nil. That's how far behind we are - truth, along with science and facts, are "controversial" in that they offend the sensibilities of those who choose to ignore them.
And people wonder why I'm a pessimist?