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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Study Finds Major Shift in Abortion Demographics

The face of women who have abortions has shifted significantly in the past 30 years, with relatively fewer white childless teenagers and more mothers of color in their 20s and 30s opting to terminate their pregnancies, according to a report being released today.

In the first comprehensive analysis since 1974 of demographic characteristics of women who have abortions, researchers found that the overall drop in the abortion rate has been marked by a dramatic shift, declining more among white women and teenagers than among black and Hispanic and older women.

"There's been a real change in the picture of women who get abortions," said Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a private nonprofit reproductive health research organization considered to be one of the most authoritative sources on abortion trends. "This is the first time anyone has looked at this in a comprehensive way."

Jones and her colleagues analyzed annual data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by periodic surveys that Guttmacher has conducted of abortion providers between 1974 and 2004.

The analysis confirmed previous reports that the abortion rate fell to the lowest level since 1974, dropping 33 percent from a peak of 29 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 1980 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004.

During that period, the proportion of abortions obtained by women younger than 20 dropped steadily, falling from 33 percent in 1974 to 17 percent in 2004. For those younger than 18, it fell from 15 percent of all abortions in 1974 to 6 percent in 2004. At the same time, the proportion of abortions obtained by women in their 20s increased from 50 percent to 57 percent, and the share done for women age 30 and older rose from 18 percent to 27 percent.

Although abortion rates have declined among all racial and ethnic groups, large disparities persist, with Hispanic and black women having the procedure at rates three to five times the rate of white women.

In 2004, there were 10.5 abortions per 1,000 white women ages 15 to 44, compared with 28 per 1,000 Hispanic women of that age and 50 per 1,000 black women. That translates into approximately 1 percent of white women having an abortion in 2004, compared with 3 percent of Hispanic women and 5 percent of black women. Jones attributed that to the focus on reducing teenage pregnancy and on increasing contraceptive use.

"We've made the most important progress in reducing teen pregnancy and abortion rate, [rather] than reducing unintended pregnancy in older women," Jones said.

The proportion of all abortions performed for white women decreased from 45 percent in 1994 to 34 percent in 2004, while the proportion for Hispanics increased from 16 percent to 22 percent and the proportion for black women rose from 35 percent to 37 percent.

"We know from other research that having lower income makes a woman more likely to get an abortion. Women of color tend to be lower-income, and so in turn when confronted with an unintended pregnancy are more likely to have an abortion," Jones said.

The proportion of all abortions performed for women who already had a child increased from 46 percent in 1974 to 60 percent in 2004, reflecting the trend of women who cannot afford to have another child turning to abortion, Jones said.

The findings indicate "we need to figure out efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy, not only among teenagers but among all women, and in particularly women of color," she said. "A lot of policymakers are stuck 30 years back when most women getting abortions are teenagers and college students, and that isn't so much the case these days."

Others said the findings underscore the need to increase access to contraception for poor women.

"Birth control is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies," said Laurie Rubiner, vice president for public policy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "Unfortunately there's a large number of uninsured people in this country, and if you are uninsured you are less likely to have access to affordable health care, including affordable birth control."

Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama who works with the Family Research Council, attributed the drop in teenage pregnancies to a combination of factors, including increased contraceptive use, more teenagers delaying sex and state laws requiring parental consent.

"The states with the most active pro-life laws have seen the biggest abortion declines," he said.

King Richard II's recipe book to go online

King Richard II's recipe book to go online
The book is one of 40 rare manuscripts that are being digitally photographed and put on the internet Photo: University of Manchester's John Rylands University Library

Forme of Cury, which was written in 1390 in Middle English, details more than 200 recipes that were cooked in the royal household, including blank mang (a sweet dish of meat, milk, sugar and almonds) and mortrews (ground and spiced pork).

The book is one of 40 rare manuscripts that are being digitally photographed and put on the internet by the University of Manchester's John Rylands University Library.

Other Middle English manuscripts include one of the earliest existing editions of the complete Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, John Lydgate's two major poems Troy Book and Fall of Princes, and 500-year-old translations of the Bible into English.

The work, which will be carried out using a state-of-the-art high-definition camera, will begin next month and is due to be completed by late 2009.

Jan Wilkinson, the director of the John Rylands library, described the library's manuscripts as "a research resource of immense significance".

"Yet the manuscripts are inherently fragile, and until now access to them has been restricted by the lack of digital copies. Digitisation will make them available to everyone," she said.

"For the first time it will be possible to compare our manuscripts directly with other versions of the texts in libraries located across the world, opening up opportunities for new areas of research. We hope that this will be the beginning of a wider digitisation programme, which will unlock the tremendous potential of our medieval manuscripts and printed books for the benefit of the academic community and the wider public."

Robert De Niro Caught Selling Endangered Fish in His Restaurants

http://planetsave.com/files/2008/09/robert-de-niro-looking-scared-behind-matt-damon.jpg
This past weekend, undercover operatives from Greenpeace tested the DNA of fish served in several London-based restaurants that are part of a chain known as Nobu. The restaurants are partially owned by actor Robert De Niro. The tested fish were discovered to be endangered bluefin tuna. In an incredibly stupid response, Nobu’s principal manager has decided to label the endangered fish with an asterisk on the restaurants’ menu, rather than stopping to serve it.

Do I think this response will ultimately be acceptable to the world community? Absolutely not. If De Niro is as good at managing his restaurants as he is his acting career, then the appropriate action for this embarrassing incident should be a no-brainer. But instead, De Niro’s partner has shot them in the foot.

According to the Telegraph, Richie Notar, the chain’s manager has said that an asterisk will now be put on the menu to aware customers of the fish’s status. They add the following: “Mr. Notar said he would like to take bluefin off the menu altogether, but the move was being resisted by the chain’s Japanese chefs who serve it in sushi and sashimi. In Japan, bluefin is considered the most delicious of all tuna species.”

I guess you have about the same size backbone as the fish you are serving, Mr. Notar.

In fairness to Notar, it is not illegal to sell bluefin tuna. The Telegraph notes on the other hand that “scientists have warned that fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic is taking place at levels far higher than stocks can stand. A crisis meeting to discuss a possible ban on fishing takes place in November.”

My guess is that De Niro’s restaurant chain will suffer a serious decline in business because of Greenpeace’s sting operation. Whether or not the international community is as outraged as I am remains to be seen. Hopefully De Niro will come forward and do the right thing.

11 Weird and Wonderful Wedding Rings

Miss Cellania
by Miss Cellania

Once upon a time, wedding bands were plain gold, or more likely gold plated. Their value was in the symbolism. “Look, I’m married!” or “Forget him; he’s married.” Today many who tie the know want something that also symbolizes their individual styles, or rings to set this pair apart from other couples. These individualistic rings not only tell you that someone is married, they can often tell you who they are married to, if you can find the other unique ring in the crowd.

Binary Rings

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With a binary ring, you can engrave a coded message of your choice, up to 20 characters. They will be rendered in up to five lines of binary code, perfect for the romantically-inclined computer geek!

Decoder Rings

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Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing is getting a decoder ring to use as a wedding ring. This one has three rotating bands that can be lined up to decode secret messages. He’s now looking for a proper code.

Intertwined Rings

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Rings that intertwine with each other are quite symbolic. They look great together, but I don’t know how comfortable they would be to wear apart.

Nuts and Bolt Rings

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Kiley Granberg designed a wedding ring set as a nut and bolt. Perfect for the mechanically-minded couple. This is symbolic on more than one level, if you know what I mean.

Ethernet Rings

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Taking the connectivity idea a little further, Jana Brevick designed Cat-5 Rings that connect with each other by ethernet connectors. They are available at her Etsy store.

USB Rings

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Jennifer Flume developed the USB Flash Drive Swarovski Crystal Engagement Ring. The two wearers can connect the rings and share data! This is a concept project only.

Sphere Rings

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It would be cool to have a ring that you could play with. This sphere ring made by acanthusleaf is modeled on a historical pattern that has four rings hinged at different points. Update: Laurie Cavanaugh, who made this ring, has them available at the Mad Jeweler’s Workshop.

Remember Rings

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There are even rings with embedded technology. The Remember Ring will remind you of your anniversary by getting hotter! Too bad it’s only a concept and not available for sale… yet.

Coin Rings

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Make your own wedding rings is an individual statement, and will save money, too! You can make rings out of coins, but keep in mind that it is illegal to deface US currency. Still, not all coins are US currency. Watch a video of a similar process here.

Bone Rings

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What could be more individual than your own DNA? Scientists and artists have collaborated to make rings out of the wearer’s bone tissue. The tissue is taken from a wisdom tooth and grown on a scaffold in the laboratory. However, the original company website is no longer active.

Fingerprint Rings

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Just yesterday, I saw a fingerprint ring (which inspired this post). This guarantees that you’ll never see anyone else with exactly the same ring! Fingerprint rings are available in many styles. Rings by Gerd Rothmann feature a fingerprint that resembles a charm on top. Jeweler Andrew English does commissioned wedding rings with the fingerprint inside or outside.

Original here