Four states have passed “heartbeat” bills this year alone, banning abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Alabama just passed a near-total ban on abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.
And on Thursday, Missouri moved a step closer to passing a ban on abortion at eight weeks’ gestation, also without exceptions for rape or incest — the bill passed the state Senate and now returns to the House for approval.
As legislation to restrict abortion moves forward around the country, many Americans have questions about the procedure. Some wonder whether abortion is still legal (it is, in every state in the country), whether it’s on the rise (it’s not), and how recently passed laws around the country would affect patients (the answers vary by state).
To help answer these questions and more, below are 10 facts that paint a picture of abortion in America today.
1) Abortion is at an all-time low
Given recent efforts by lawmakers to restrict abortion, you might think the procedure was on the rise. In fact, it’s less common than ever before, as Sarah Kliff reported at Vox last December.
Between 2006 and 2015, the American abortion rate declined 26 percent to the lowest level on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The biggest reason for the drop, experts say, isn’t tougher abortion laws — it’s better access to contraception.
“When contraceptives aren’t available, women use abortion, even if it isn’t legally sanctioned and even if it puts them at great physical risk,” Diana Greene Foster, an associate professor at University of California San Francisco who studies abortion, told Kliff in 2016. “When contraceptives are more available, use of abortion declines.”
The recent decline in abortions may have to do, in particular, with long-acting, reversible contraceptives like IUDs, which work for years without the need to take a pill every day. In 2012, the Affordable Care Act made these forms of birth control, which can have a high upfront cost, more accessible by requiring that most employer-provided insurance plans cover them without a copay. But, as Kliff reports, Americans were already moving toward these methods — and possibly as a result, the proportion of pregnancies that were unintended dropped from 51 to 45 percent between 2008 and 2011.
2) Abortion is still common
Even though the abortion rate has declined, the procedure remains commonplace. According to a 2017 analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, 23.7 percent of women in the United States will have an abortion by the age of 45. Nineteen percent will have one by age 30, and 4.6 percent will have one by age 20.
3) Most people who have abortions already have kids
Pop-culture depictions of abortion, from the 2014 romantic comedy Obvious Child to the 2019 anti-abortion biopic Unplanned, typically feature a single, childless woman undergoing the procedure. The decision is often framed as a choice between having an abortion or becoming a parent.
But in fact, the majority of people who have abortions are already parents. As of 2014, 59 percent of people who had abortions had already given birth to at least one child, according to Guttmacher.
And while abortion is often discussed in the context of teen pregnancy, the majority of abortion patients in 2014 — 60 percent — were in their 20s. Another 25 percent were in their 30s and fewer than 4 percent were under 18.
People who get abortions are disproportionately likely to have low incomes — in 2014, 49 percent had family incomes below the poverty line.
And although religious groups have been some of the most vocal anti-abortion advocates in America, the majority of people who got abortions in 2014 identified as religious, with 17 percent listing themselves as mainline Protestant, 13 percent as evangelical, and 24 percent as Roman Catholic. The abortion rate among Catholic women was about the same as the national average, while among evangelical women it was about half the national average.
4) Four states have passed “heartbeat” bills in 2019, and Alabama just passed an even stricter law
A wave of “heartbeat” bills, which ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, has been sweeping the country in recent months. These bills ban the procedure as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant.
The first one passed in North Dakota in 2013, but they began gaining steam last year, with Iowa passing its version in May. This year, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia have all passed heartbeat bills. Some of these have exceptions for cases of rape or incest; others do not.
On Wednesday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law an even more restrictive bill, which bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Under the law, which is scheduled to take effect in six months, abortion would only be legal if the pregnant person’s life is at risk.
Meanwhile, the Missouri state Senate on Thursday passed a bill banning abortion at eight weeks’ gestation, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Under the bill, which now goes back to the state House, abortion would only be legal in cases of medical emergency.
5) None of these laws are in effect yet
The heartbeat laws passed around the country have all either been challenged in court or are likely to be challenged soon. None has yet taken effect. The Alabama law has not taken effect yet either, and is likely to be challenged too.
Abortion is currently legal in all 50 states.
6) If it does take effect, the Georgia law could have an impact on people who miscarry
The Georgia “heartbeat” law, in particular, generated concern among many after Mark Joseph Stern of Slate reported that it could be used to prosecute women who seek abortions or who have a miscarriage.
At this point, reproductive rights advocates say they’re not sure if the law would ever be used in this way.
“It seems to be a stretch to what’s actually in the law and I’m really confused as to whether or not this would be possible,” Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, told Vox.
Some of the confusion may stem from the way the Georgia law and others like it are written. “These are not particularly clearly drafted laws,” Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University who studies the history of the abortion debate, told Vox. “Really the rub is going to be in how these are enforced.”
If the Georgia law does go into effect, it’s more likely that a person who miscarries would be pulled into a criminal investigation of a doctor or other provider, rather than that she would face criminal charges herself, Staci Fox, president of Planned Parenthood Southeast, told the Washington Post.
The symptoms of a miscarriage can be indistinguishable from those of an induced abortion, according to OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter. Miscarriages are extremely common, occurring in about 10 percent of recognized pregnancies, as pediatrics professor Aaron E. Carroll writes at the New York Times.
7) Many of the recently passed abortion laws are aimed at overturning Roe v. Wade
Sponsors of several recently passed abortion restrictions have said that part of their goal is to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established that Americans have the right to obtain an abortion. Since the “heartbeat” bills and the Alabama law all ban abortion long before viability, they are in clear conflict with Roe. They either have been or will be challenged in court, and the cases could make it all the way to the Supreme Court, giving the Court a chance to revisit and possibly overturn Roe.
Alabama state Rep. Terri Collins, the sponsor of her state’s recently passed abortion law, has said this is her goal. “What I’m trying to do here is get this case in front of the Supreme Court so Roe v. Wade can be overturned,” she told the Washington Post.
It may not work. Because the Alabama law lacks exceptions for rape and incest, it is so controversial that the Supreme Court may not want to weigh in on it. However, there are more than a dozen cases involving abortion already one step away from the Supreme Court, and the Court could choose to use any one of them to reexamine Roe. So even if the Alabama law or the “heartbeat” bills don’t end up toppling the landmark abortion decision, something else might.
8) Some recently passed or proposed bills loosen restrictions on abortion
As abortion opponents back increasingly restrictive laws at the state level, abortion-rights advocates have been supporting legislation to loosen abortion restrictions and shore up abortion access. In part, they’re preparing for the possibility that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, giving states the right to regulate abortion as they see fit. Abortion-rights supporters want states to pass laws protecting abortion so that if Roe falls, residents of those states will still have access to the procedure.
One recent example is New York’s Reproductive Health Act, which passed in January. Among other provisions, the law allows abortions after 24 weeks if the fetus is non-viable or if there is a risk to the patient’s health. Previously, most abortions after 24 weeks had been banned in New York.
Another recent effort to loosen restrictions happened in Virginia, where state legislators proposed a bill that would have broadened the circumstances under which someone could get an abortion in the third trimester of pregnancy. That bill was eventually tabled after sparking nationwide controversy, which started when the bill’s sponsor said in a hearing that the bill would allow an abortion if a patient was going into labor.
The sponsor later said that she misspoke, and Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an OB-GYN and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Vox, “patients do not request abortion when they are in labor and doctors do not provide it.”
But controversy around the bill continued when Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, asked about the bill during a radio interview, said that if a mother was in labor, “the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
Some took these comments as an endorsement of infanticide. A spokesperson for the governor said he was “absolutely not” referring to infanticide, but his comments led President Trump and others to claim, repeatedly, that doctors in America are killing babies after birth and that legislation is needed to stop it.
9) Abortion laws do not allow infants to be killed after birth
In reality, no abortion law — not the Virginia bill, the New York law, or any other — allows doctors to kill babies after they are born. This is already illegal everywhere in the United States.
10) The majority of abortions happen early in pregnancy
Though much conversation recently has focused on abortions that happen later in pregnancy (“late-term abortion” is not a medically accurate phrase), more than 90 percent of abortions happen within the first trimester, or about the first three months.
Only 1.4 percent of abortions happen at 21 weeks’ gestation or later, according to Planned Parenthood.
Patients who seek abortion later in pregnancy may have recently found out about a serious fetal abnormality, some of which are not discovered until 20 weeks or later. Others may have had trouble getting to a clinic.
“I’m at a center where I’m the referral center for the state, and so patients that are seeking care elsewhere may get referred to me and I’m often hours away from where they initially sought care,” Brandi explained to Vox earlier this year. “So it takes a while for them to get up to see me, and that includes not just the time it takes to come up here but also making sure they have child care for the children they already have, getting transportation. There’s so many different types of barriers that are created for health care in general, but specifically abortion care.”
How Self-Hatred Can Insensibly Poison Our Lives
American woman Shelli Wilder Netko wrote a post about what worries all the women in the world — self-hatred, inevitable aging, and the race against time that will definitely be lost. But instead of worrying about these things, we should just focus on loving the people around us. Her post was so moving that we feel for her from the bottom of our hearts.
Here at Bright Side, this post has moved us a step closer to the most sincere love for ourselves. We hope it will do the same for you.
I have never really liked my hands. I have short, calloused fingers, wide palms, and messed up nail beds from a nail-biting stint when I was in grade school. Add to it the effect of knuckle-popping, which I became obsessed with after I saw the cool kid on the block do it in second grade. But nonetheless, I’ve always referred to my hands as looking like “dog paws,” versus the long, graceful hands that my sister has and that I’ve always wanted. I’ve always thought I was in the wrong line when God sprinkled “beautiful hand fairy dust” on the babies.
To add to my hand shame, since my 20s I’ve had the biggest, juiciest veins in my hands and forearms that have always been a phlebotomist’s dream come true, causing my hands to look a bit masculine and old if you ask me. When my kids were young they liked to sit by me during church and “play” with my veins to make the time pass more quickly. They would sometimes ask why my hands were “like that.” The standard mom answer applied here, “They just are, Hun.” But I always liked it — having one of them holding and touching my hands, no matter where or when or why.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve done my part to win the anti-aging race with my body and face. Eating healthy, exercising, and spending far too much money taking care of my skin. And yet, when I look down at my keyboard countless times a day, I still see these hands that look much older than my heart feels, and appear as if they could use a nice rest.
When the photographer stopped me to pose for this photo at my wedding in March to capture my sash and ring on the lace pattern of my dress, I automatically blurted out, “Can you edit the picture? I don’t like my hands.” Everyone has something they don’t fully embrace about themselves, don’t they?
But when the wedding photos came back I saw my hands in a whole new light. This picture is so beautiful, it captures everything. I saw the hands that had baked about 200 Birthday cakes, a truckload of cookies, changed thousands of diapers, wiped away a million crocodile tears, and clapped till they were raw cheering my kids on through every sport.
I saw this picture and I saw a gift. These hands may not be the smoothest, most graceful, longest, most feminine hands, but they are perfectly suited for the work that was laid out for me. These hands have been blessed with holding my newborn babies and grandbabies and holding the father of my children as he took his last breath.
I will find a beautiful frame for this picture to remind myself constantly of the love and purpose and duty I have in this life, and to remind myself that I have my mother’s hands — her gift to me.
What do you think of this story? Is there something about your appearance that you don’t like? Tell us in the comment section below.
A Daughter Wanted to Brag About Her Gorgeous Mom on Twitter and Accidentally Started a Beauty Contest
We’re totally used to social media sites that turn out to be an unpredictable phenomenon today and any post has the potential to go viral. This is what happened to a girl whose screen name is Your boyfriend’s best friend who posted a photo of her 43-year-old mom on Twitter and accidentally started a beauty contest. And even though it was just moms who took part in this sudden marathon, it was a dad who won!
Bright Side couldn’t stand aside and has decided to show you some women who know about the secret of eternal youth. And the winner, of course.
In just one day, a daughter made her mom popular: her post got 23,000 likes and caused a lot of hype in the comments. Twitter users were really interested in her beauty secrets, because this 43-year-old woman looks really magnificent. So some people asked for her cosmetologist’s contact details and others tried to find out the woman’s phone number, promoting themselves as potential suitors.
Some people also wanted to show off their beautiful moms, so they started posting their photos in the comments. As a result, the post turned into a real beauty contest.
The more women who have managed to stop time there were, the more they were suspected in using magic.
Some users even doubted that they were relatives with their moms at all. Let’s agree: when a mother looks better than her daughter, the suspicions about whether they have common genes or not are pretty relevant.
Undoubtedly, all these women are extremely popular with men, even the younger ones.
It’s hard to believe that these hot beauties have 3, 4, or even 5 kids.
The finalists were women who were older than 60. When you look at them, you realize that age is just a number.
But the winner was a dad. Apparently, a user who calls themselves Taste Booster wanted to dilute this beauty flow with a touch of masculinity. All in all, the photo of a man lying down among all the fish he caught, a cat, and a dog hit the jackpot: the picture got 1,700 likes and became more successful than any of the other photos in the comments. The only exception was the photo of the person who started this beauty contest.
Undoubtedly, all the moms who participated in this viral post deserve admiration, but the picture “Dad and some bream” is an amazing sensation. Which one do you like the most?
Costs of raising pets and changing pet market consumer trends
반려동물 1마리 키우는데 드는 비용과 소비 트렌드 변화
In the past couple of decades, it’s become far more common in Korea to own a pet.
Owning a pet, of course, usually costs some money.
In this report, our Hong Yoo looks at how much that might be and how the petcare market is changing.
More than 10 million people living in South Korea have a pet.
That’s one pet for every four households.
According to a pet report by KB Financial Group, raising a dog costs an average of 85 U.S. dollars a month and raising a cat requires an average of 64 dollars a month.
Most of that money goes on food and treats.
The rest of the money is used for medical care and grooming.
But people are happy to treat their pets because these days pet owners think of their pets as a member of their family.
In Korea, these people are called “PetFam”.
The pet food market alone has seen an average of 19 percent annual growth on the back of this trend.
And because people think of their pets as part of their family, they want to take their pets along with them on trips.
So tour companies have started creating “pet tours”.
“Because there are people who want this kind of tour, we saw the potential of such a product in the market and so we came up with our Jeju pet tour. Pets can accompany their family all the time during the tour to Jeju Island including at the restaurant, tour spots, and the hotel because this tour is pet-centered.”
There are even home spa products for pets such as skin moisturizers, scaling products and grooming mists labeled as premium products because they are organic, eco-friendly, and pet-friendly. They can cost up to 40 dollars.
“Before, people used to think about pets as a living thing that you can buy just like a toy. But because people think of their pets as a part of the family, the pet market has become similar to the baby market. So now, owners are turning to premium products for their pets.”
And there are also luxury pet shops which sell premium products that can cost up to a thousand dollars.
That is the cost of a pet bed made out of oak in the style of the bed of King Louis the 16th.
And at this luxury department store, the most popular dog food costs more than 50 dollars for just 1-and-a-half kilograms.
These changing consumer trends in the pet market show how owners are willing to spend a lot on the best quality products for their pets now that they are seen as part of the family.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.
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