By Maya Palit
Earlier this year, a graphic novelist took on legalese.
Robert Sikoryak, an American artist, transformed the dense iTunes terms and conditions agreement which is 20,000 words long, into a bizarre parodic novel. He says in an interview that his favourite line in the ‘unreadable’ terms and conditions is a clause about promising to refrain from using iTunes for nuclear weapons: “You also agree that you will not use these products for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture, or production of nuclear, missile, or chemical or biological weapons.”
Sikoryak jokes about making obscure legalese accessible, but perhaps workshops on it wouldn’t go amiss in New Hampshire, where a draft of a rapidly drafted bill about fetal homicide by New Hampshire Republicans left the legislators in a bit of a fix recently.
Since Senate Bill 66 would label a fetus as a person after 20 weeks of the gestation period, the idea was to introduce exceptions to exclude pregnant women and doctors from carrying out abortions. But the phrasing inadvertently made it sound like pregnant women and medical professionals assisting them could engage in homicide with impunity.
Surreal as it sounds, the now corrected version of the bill exempted “Any act committed by the pregnant woman: Any act committed at the request or direction of the pregnant woman or for the benefit of the pregnant woman,” which included homicide, manslaughter, and aiding suicide. On Thursday morning, the language of the bill was altered. Legal experts were quick to point out, though, that the loophole wouldn’t really have pardoned a pregnant woman for murder. But this proofreading screw-up has got everyone tripping on the idea of a potential Kill Bill-style situation of enraged and bloodthirsty women.