Video of the day

Listened to a cool story today on Quirks and Quarks about flying (actually gliding) snakes.  I had no idea.  Pretty cool.  Here’s  National Geographic video:


The abortion decline

Among all the commentary, etc., I saw on the recent report on the decline of abortion, Sarah Kliff’s Wonkblog post was the only one that really talked about the abortion ratio.  If abortion is declining just because pregnancies are declining, that doesn’t really tell us much (and, in fact, that’s a big part of the story).  But this handy chart shows that abortion is declining as a percent of pregnancies:


(The chart at the link is actually interactive)

So, what’s going on here?  Is it all those new abortion laws?  Nope:

The ranks of abortion providers have decreased slightly, by 4 percent, between 2008 and 2011. Most of that change is not about abortion clinics closing. The number of providers working in those stand-alone facilities only declined by 1 percent over the three-year period, meaning most of the decrease came from abortion providers who work in more general practices or in hospitals. The Midwest, notably, was the one region of the country where the number of abortion clinics increased between 2008 and 2011, by 8 percent (most of this is due to a surprisingly high number of abortion clinics opening in Iowa, increasing their ranks from 10 in the state to 17).

Taking all of that together, researchers don’t think it’s the 44 abortion restrictions passed between 2008 and 2011 that have led to the decrease in the abortion rate.

Also, as I read elsewhere, some of the states with the greatest reductions in abortion rate did even pass any new laws.  So, what’s the story?

Instead, they point a finger at more widespread contraceptive use. The use of long-acting reversible contraceptives like intra-uterine devices which tend to be more effective, for example, has more than quadrupled over the past decade.

More effective and more expensive.  Hmmm, just imagine if somebody came up with some crazy idea to require health insurance plans to pay for contraception.  Oh, wait, Obamacare does that!  I’m sure all the pro-life types are thoroughly on-board with the contraception mandate– right?  Ughh.  So obvious– if you want fewer abortions you want easier and cheaper access to high-quality birth control.  But the same people who are pro-life are also against the contraception mandate in Obamacare.  Thus again calling into question how much all of these people are truly about preventing abortions and how much they are about preventing women from having sex without consequences.

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