Special Articles

The Veil
by Michael Burger

(Late 1800’s somewhere in the southern United States)
Sheriff Jakes was awakened by the slamming of the door as Casper Jenkins, the chief Deputy, rushed in. “Sheriff, there’s been another covering!”
“Where now?”
“At the river, by the Hawkin Bridge.”
“Get your deputies together. I’ll meet you out front in 10 minutes.”
Deputy Jenkins unlocked the rifles on the wall. He grabbed one rifle and a cartridge belt. He hurried out the door as Sheriff Jakes groggily stood up, lifted his hat off of the peg besides his cot and buckled on his revolver. He pulled on a vest, which already had his badge pinned to it and pulled his riding coat over that. Instead of walking out to his horse, he headed out the back to the livery to get the wagon. This had been the fifth “covering” this month so he knew what to expect – they’d find another dead negro tied inside of a heavy canvas bag.
We have the freedom, the right, yes even the duty, to choose purity for our state.” (cheers from the white hooded crowd) The tall hooded figure, seated on a large brown horse continued, “we will rid ourselves of the disease among us and bring harmony back once more.” (More cheers from the crowd)
At the back of the crowd, two late comers stood in the late evening shadows of the woods, conversing in coarse whispers, as the hooded figure received another cheer from the crowd.
“I just don’t know Jimmy. It don’t seem right, they’s people – its like killin’.”
“The court says it ain’t. The court says we’s got this opportunity, so long’s they not legally people. And so long as they’d covered under them bags they’s not people, so it ain’t killin’.”
“But how is hide’n ‘em make it any different?”
“Maybe it is easier for the judges. Now c’mon.”
Sara carried the leaking bucket up the hill to her folks’ cabin. Since the emancipation, she had taken pride in keeping it as tidy and as neat as any of the homes she had worked in. Since she was only 12, that had been but two, however both of her mistresses had praised her work.
As she crested the hill, she saw the first of the hooded figures. There were four abreast on horseback. Two with torches and the two middle figures trailing a large canvas cloth between them. There was a whoop as they saw her and the four horsemen turned toward her followed by dozens on foot. All wearing white hoods. Sara dropped the pail and turned to run, but as she did the two horsemen with the canvas rode on either side of her with the veil trailing between them.
She felt her legs go out from below her as the leading edge of the cloak tripped her and toppled her backwards into the heavy cloth. She felt every root and stone as she was drug across the ground. The cloth twisted and became an entangled cocoon around her. Her fingers clawed to get out of as the material pressed against her face began to suffocate her. She felt the ground stop below her as she heard the noise of the crowd getting nearer.
The hooded figure on the right slid quickly down from his horse and whipped a rope around ends of the cloth, tying it securely. “Can’t let the little beggar out else we’d be breaking the law, eh brother?” he laughed.
“We got to do it proper, but it looks like we bagged our limit. Let freedom ring, eh?”
As the two men laughed over their wit, the first of the crowd arrived with stones and clubs. Sara screamed in pain as the first of the blows settled on her legs. She kicked and pleaded but the blows only intensified. Soon the cocoon lay still on the cold evening ground.

Martin Haskin walked straight out of Surgery Room B, straight into Surgery Room C, pausing only long enough to change gloves. He thought about changing his spotted apron but then he thought, “that’s just more money out of my pocket – besides, I’m not regulated.” The corners of his mouth curled in a sardonic smile at the thought of this and he mentally counted the money he had made so far that day, over $5,000 and still 3 more appointments. All cash and he reports less than half of it. Yes, life was good for Dr. Hastin.
He pulled his surgical mask over his face and blustered through the door and positioned himself on the stool in front of Daphany, 16, unmarried, pregnant and scared. To Hasbin she was simply patient number nine.
He positioned the ultrasound toward him and away from Daphaney. The last thing he needed was another one going hysterical today. “Seeing through the veil has its advantages and disadvantages,“ he thought.
He zeroed in on the heartbeat and the bouncing movement of the soon to be violently evicted occupant. Guided by the ultrasound he reached in with the forceps, grabbed twisted and pulled. He tossed it into a pan and reached for more. The figure on the screen twisted and writhed, it’s tiny mouth pleading.
When he finished he tossed a cloth over the pan, glided on his roller chair towards the door, popped up, winked at his nurse and said, “Attitude is everything – let freedom ring.” He peeled the gloves off and walked out the door.
Susan lifted the white cloth covering the contents of the pan. There was definitely something missing. Each of the 12 pans on the table represented one on Hasbin’s patients. Susan curse, “He’s getting so sloppy he doesn’t even care if he leaves anything behind,” she thought.
Susan Hawke-Banks assembled pieces all day long in “Pathology”., a small cleaning room converted into a “lab” in the back of Dr. Hasbin’s clinic. As she finished piecing the tiny doll like figure together she definitely noted the absence of a leg. “At least we caught one before she is out the door” she thought.
She covered the tray back up with the cloth. The cloth draped to define the figure in the pan. It looked like a little doll wearing a veil. Susan pulled the cloth to hide the detail. It made her feel better.

Most Americans don’t know that in the United States both of these events happened under a different name. In the first story, the court said that blacks were not people as long as they were covered of behind a veil. Using a procedure called Partial Birth Abortion, a live fully developed baby is pulled from the womb, feet first, until the head is the only thing left inside. At this point, instead of delivering the baby, spanking his bottom and wrapping him in a blanket, the abortionist takes a scissors and forces it into the base of the skull, killing the baby. Just as in the first story, the courts have said that babies are not people as long as they are not born, and therefore have no right to be protected, as long as they are killed while being ‘covered’ in the veil of the womb.
The second story simply describes a D&C abortion. After the abortionist dismembers the baby, either by forceps as described or with a power vacuum, the baby must be ‘re-assembled to make sure that nothing was left behind. To save money, this is not always done, and women have returned home only to pass their baby’s arm or leg a few days later, or develop and infection from the decaying flesh left inside.
If you believe that, although you wouldn’t choose abortion, it should remain legal then put this in the context of another issue. “I wouldn’t own a slave, but slavery should be legal” and you see that both issues deny the personhood of the individual. In the 1857 Dred Scott decision, the United States Supreme Court said that blacks were the property of their owners and had no legal rights. We look back in shame and horror at that portion of our history.
In the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the United States Supreme Court said that babies – simply because of where they resided – are property and have no legal rights. Over 44 million children have been murdered since that decision. How will your children view this portion of our history?
Please, speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves – the 4,000 children that will be denied their right to life today …. and tomorrow… and…


Return to Top

Close this window to return to current Special Articles Page.