Art lovers

Maybe it's the Christmas spirit. Maybe the folks at Deep Ellum Center for the Arts are really, really good sports. Whatever motivated them, we here at the Dallas Observer would like to thank DECA for not pressing charges against two of the paper's advertising staff who undecked DECA's walls during our annual staff Christmas party last week at the center.

The pair, after imbibing too much Christmas spirits themselves, apparently decided to show their appreciation for DECA's art by swiping three fertility figurines from the wall. They drove off, only to be stopped by a cop on suspicion of drunken driving. After sobering up and receiving a very public reprimand back at the office, they returned the art. They were also ordered to do a little unpaid "community service" work at DECA.

Amy Vercruysse, president of DECA's board of trustees, at least had a sense of humor about the situation, especially considering the stories we've printed that were critical of DECA's management. (The latest, "Still life," was published in September not long before the Observer held its annual Best of Dallas party at DECA. The story suggested that DECA might not survive another year.)

"It's a love-hate relationship," Vercruysse says. "You're not blacklisted yet."

If it's any consolation, DECA, consider this: Someone at the Observer finally appreciates your art. Too bad they're not our critics.

Justice at work

Here's a cheery little thought to ring in the new year: If you're a minor from a troubled home and you want an abortion, get it now, before Texas' new parental notification law takes effect January 3. The law requires most minors seeking an abortion to inform their parents or guardians, unless a judge says that's not necessary.

Picture this: You're 14, living in Balch Springs -- a long way from the courthouse -- and knocked up by your stepdad. Can a doctor, assuming you find one, help you? Sure, but under the new law, first you must cut school, schlep to the courthouse, wait in line at the court clerk's office, fill out a three-page form, and get it notarized. You must leave a phone number, a pager number, or a fax number -- not your parents', obviously, maybe your cell phone -- where you can be notified of the time of a hearing, which must be held within two days of your filing the paperwork. Then a judge -- not you or your doctor or your counselor -- will determine after one hearing whether you can obtain an abortion without notifying your parents.

Scared yet?

At the Routh Street Women's Clinic, a spokeswoman says that doctors there are aware of the new law, but that the clinic's young clients generally already have told their parents they're pregnant.

"I think it's going to make it harder for some young women to seek an abortion if that's their choice," the clinic's spokeswoman says.

Namely poor, desperate young women, we think.

Merry Christmas from the Texas Legislature.

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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