Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s week in pictures (if the color in this photo is unmodified, this is just amazing):

Castle Farm Lavender near Sevenoaks, Kent

Castle Farm Lavender in the Darenth Valley, part of the Kent Downs’ Area of Outstanding Beauty. Its 85 acres of lavender make it the biggest lavender farm in the UK.Picture: Jet Nepomuceno /Caters

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Changing America

I think I put this awesome Pew visualization of America’s changing demographics in a quick hit a while back, but it is so cool, it deserves it’s own post.  I’ve got a screen shot here, but you really ought to go to the site, as these are really cool data visualiations.  Anyway, short version.  American demographics are changing.  A lot.  And here’s some key ways (and plenty more at the link).

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Why do “pro-life” politicians want more abortions (and more poverty)?

Of course, they would never admit that more abortions would be likely if Planned Parenthood was actually defend, but it surely is.  Yes, PP performs a lot of abortions.  But you know what they do even more of?  Help people plan parenthood.  And you know what research suggests the type of pregnancies most likely to end up abortion are?  Of course, unplanned ones.  Furthermore, there is ever more evidence (Isabel Sawhill is great on this), that unplanned pregnancies are a key driver of poverty.  If only there were an organization that provided free and low-cost birth control and family-planning information to poor women!  Oh, wait– there is.  And Republicans want to cut it’s budget.

Ruth Marcus is right on top of it:

It is also not rational — whatever your position in the abortion debate.

If you are among those who view abortion tantamount to murder, I respect your belief. But consider: Defunding Planned Parenthood would inevitably result in more unplanned pregnancies and therefore more abortions, not fewer. In fact, if you really want to reduce the number of abortions, you should be lobbying to increase funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide birth control.

An important reminder: The federal money that goes to the organization cannot be used to underwrite its abortion services except in some rare exceptions. Sure, money is fungible but this funding comes with strict rules about commingling federal dollars with money and facilities used to perform abortions.

Rather, defunding Planned Parenthood would mean taking away money that it receives from the federal government for contraception and other essential services. Among low-income women who receive publicly supported contraceptive care at clinics, more than one-third use Planned Parenthood clinics, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

“You’re removing contraception with this [defunding], and if you remove contraception, you get unintended pregnancies, which means more abortion,” said Joseph Potter, a University of Texas demographer who has studied the impact of Texas’s move to defund Planned Parenthood in 2013, and testified on the organization’s behalf in a court challenge.

Yes, fewer Planned Parenthood clinics would mean fewer legal abortions (and surely many more illegal and dangerous ones, though admittedly not as many as there would have been legal), but it strikes me as very unlikely that it would have the impact of 345,000 less abortions per year that the Guttmacher Institute estimates that Title X funding for family planning leads to.  That’s a lot.  And not even counting the negative social consequences for the additional half-million un-planned births.

But of course, what should rational analysis, and heck, even concern for less abortions matter when we can talk about fetal body parts and make the base happy.

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