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'[OT] [WOT] US Abortion stats'
2004\11\26@063528 by Russell McMahon

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Whether you prefer Wading or Rowing, there's lot's here to interest everyone.

Found this while checking up on some stats I'd found.
Excellent statistical information page on many aspects relating to abortion in the USA.

   http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html#top

This is on a professional "pro choice" site but is close to neutral in its presentation of information. Well worth a look by anyone of any persuasion on this matter who wants some good factual information.

Some interesting facts.
US abortion rate peaked at about 1,360,000 per year in 1996. Last figure on this page is 1,310,000 in 2000. Latest figures (2003?) are the lowest annually for about 30 years but still well over 1,000,000 per year.

>From 1973 to 2000 the US performed over 39,000,000 legal abortions. (For perspective, that's about 10 times the population of NZ fwiw).

Abortions performed versus weeks pregnant are:

56%    < 9 weeks
22%    9 - 10 weeks
11%    11 - 12 weeks
7%      13 - 15 weeks
4%        16 - 20 weeks
1%        21 weeks or more.

The 1% >= 21 weeks represents over 10,000 abortions per year.
It is still legal in the USA to perform abortions up to full term (40 weeks) under appropriate circumstances despite the recent passage of legislation intended to make certain full term termination procedures illegal. The legislation has been deemed by the US Supreme court to violate certain constitutional rights.

[
<Semi digression> ...
When my daughter was born 25 years ago she was 8 weeks premature (32 weeks) and while she had problems this was by no means at the bottom end of the saveable scale. At that stage 30 weeks was probably pushing things and 28 weeks was probably getting miraculous. Advances since then have pushed the survivable ages down - I don't know how far but certainly prospects of survival for premature babies are far better than they were then.

Googles ....

Excellent information here http://www.chclibrary.org/micromed/00061790.html

a.. 21 weeks or less: 0% survival rate
a.. 22 weeks: 0–10% survival rate
a.. 23 weeks: 10–35% survival rate
a.. 24 weeks: 40–70% survival rate
a.. 25 weeks: 50–80% survival rate
a.. 26 weeks: 80–90% survival rate
a.. 27 weeks: greater than 90% survival rate

Looks like the miracles have been pushed down in age quite a lot.

And here's one technique that is helping push survival ages down:
Partial liquid ventilation of the lungs !!!!

   http://www.jefferson.edu/jeffnews/past/96/october/survival.html

There are full liquid lung ventilation deep diving systems available for the very excessively keen. Not a pleasant experience to initiate I imagine.

Note that above page deals with an experimental technique and the 36 weeks mentioned is the exit age with no information on entry ages.

</Semi digression>
]

An interesting and disturbing debate which isn't mentioned on this page is that it is claimed by some that there is a well correlated extremely significant increase in cancer rates for women who have abortions. (The believed mechanism is that certain growth processes are started by the conception process which are intended to be shut down by birth. Abortion terminates these processes in a non standard manner with a resultant largish increase in cancers). Other reputable organisations have examined the available data and claim that the earlier studies are flawed and that there is no link between abortions and cancer rates.
Not surprisingly the views held tend to align along pro choice / pro life boundaries. This isn't the way science should work, but it often is what happens.

Reasonable pro life site treatment www.abortionfacts.com/breast_cancer_connection/breast_cancer_connection.asp
Denials
       abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=240738
       http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2003-02-26-cancer-usat_x.htm


Bed time here ...

Should be enough to go on with


       Russell
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2004\11\27@092205 by Gerhard Fiedler

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Russell McMahon wrote:

> Whether you prefer Wading or Rowing, there's lot's here to interest
> everyone.
>
> Found this while checking up on some stats I'd found.

Not sure this is a problem in the statistical domain...

"A human being starts with conception."

What about normally "aborted" fertilized eggs during menstruation? What
about all the in-vitro fertilized eggs that get thrown away?

I don't know any country that gives full rights to newborns. I know few
people (at least few parents :) who think they should have full rights.
Which kind of indicates that there is a consensus that someone is only a
"full rights" person with something between age 16 and 21. So it seems not
to be a question of "whether" but of "how" or "how much" to reduce the full
rights for children -- and unborn.

When exactly does the fertilized egg become a being with its own right,
rather than being a part of the mother's body? Why then and not earlier or
later? What about the rights of the mother until then -- or after? Why is
it legal to not breast-feed a child?

I don't think I felt qualified to make any big decisions during the time I
grew in my mother's womb, and I think the consensus between me and her was
that she makes all the decisions for both of us. (This changed later on
dramatically :) And I'm pretty sure that the major pain in aborting me
would have been with her, not with me. So there was probably no need to
protect me from her.


This all seems too individual and philosophical for statistics, simple
yes/no answers, fanatism -- or laws.

Gerhard
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2004\11\27@152359 by Tom B

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Russell McMahon wrote:
<Snip>
><Semi digression> ...
>When my daughter was born 25 years ago she was 8 weeks premature (32 weeks)
>and while she had problems this was by no means at the bottom end of the
>saveable scale. At that stage 30 weeks was probably pushing things and 28
>weeks was probably getting miraculous. Advances since then have pushed the
>survivable ages down - I don't know how far but certainly prospects of
>survival for premature babies are far better than they were then.


A recent BBC programme  quoted the alarming statistic:

"Forty per cent of extremely premature babies have significant learning
disabilities" .

There does seem to be a limit beyond which the risks outweigh the benefits.

See:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/09_september/20/babies.shtml

Fortunately your daughter  was well clear of that limit Russell.




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2004\11\27@190015 by William Chops Westfield

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On Nov 27, 2004, at 12:23 PM, Tom B wrote:

> A recent BBC programme  quoted the alarming statistic:
>
> "Forty per cent of extremely premature babies have significant learning
> disabilities" .
>

Horrible.  I bet about 50% are below average intelligence as well!
(What IS the incidence of learning disabilities in the general
population?
And what does 'significant' mean?)

Seems like everything is identifiable, quantifiable and treatable these
days.
Pretty soon I'm sure they'll have the occasional occurrence of genius
completely wiped out...

BillW

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2004\11\28@073927 by Tom B

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On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 16:00:33 -0800, Bill W wrote:

>On Nov 27, 2004, at 12:23 PM, Tom B wrote:
>
>> A recent BBC programme  quoted the alarming statistic:
>>
>> "Forty per cent of extremely premature babies have significant learning
>> disabilities" .
>>
>
>Horrible.  I bet about 50% are below average intelligence as well!
>(What IS the incidence of learning disabilities in the general
>population?
>And what does 'significant' mean?)
>
>Seems like everything is identifiable, quantifiable and treatable these
>days.
>Pretty soon I'm sure they'll have the occasional occurrence of genius
>completely wiped out...
>
>BillW
>
I appreciate the humour of your comment,  but you obviously didn't read the
article, so here's a snippet:


"....The first phase revealed that at two and a half years old half of those
studied had some form of disability.

In a quarter of the children severe disabilities were identified, including
cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness and arrested development."


Tom

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2004\11\28@135121 by John Ferrell

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Decisions in this area make Pics & electronics seem simple...

John Ferrell
My Competition is not my enemy!
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2004\11\28@162456 by Russell McMahon

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>>When my daughter was born 25 years ago she was 8 weeks premature (32
>>weeks)
>>and while she had problems this was by no means at the bottom end of the
>>saveable scale. At that stage 30 weeks was probably pushing things and 28
>>weeks was probably getting miraculous. Advances since then have pushed the
>>survivable ages down - I don't know how far but certainly prospects of
>>survival for premature babies are far better than they were then.

> A recent BBC programme  quoted the alarming statistic:
> "Forty per cent of extremely premature babies have significant learning
> disabilities" .
> There does seem to be a limit beyond which the risks outweigh the
> benefits.
>
> See:
>
> http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2004/09_september/20/babies.shtml
>
> Fortunately your daughter  was well clear of that limit Russell.

The limits 25 years ago and now may well have been rather different.
Especially so if post birth management is a factor in outcomes, as it
probably is.
It is my informal assessment based on general experience that people born
moderately premature tend to be more intelligent on average.

My personal sample set of 2 (margin of error = +/- 70% :-) ) bears this out.
My daughter was 8 weeks premature and my son 6. My daughter was an A/A+
student and my son is well above average intelligence (but shares enough of
my endearing characteristics that formal academic achievement alone is not a
good measure of his intelligence ;-) ).

The reported EPICure study results are interesting as much for what they
don't say as for what they do. They use the term "cognitive development"
which may be a catch all for the various parameters they mentioned. They
don't here report eg IQ alone. My children both experienced significant
development problems which were almost certainly associated with their
premature birth. These to some extent might include areas of "cognitive
development" - but there is no doubt of their subsequent above average
performance in most such areas. Physical development in all sorts of areas
was interesting. My son walked before he learned to crawl! (related to
internal position in womb etc, but interesting).

Also worth noting is the possibility that problems with extremely premature
babies are due to

- The extremely inferior development environment that they are offered post
birth compared to prior.

- The probability that very early births are more liable to be due to the
existence of problems.

The latter is partially one of the implied points of the comments on the
EPICure results, but this also hides the possible existence of a large
portion of fully normal or "superior" individuals.



       Russell McMahon


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2004\11\28@162957 by Peter L. Peres

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On Sat, 27 Nov 2004, William Chops Westfield wrote:

{Quote hidden}

What would you rather be told, that 60% are of average or higher
intellignece or that 40% are of below average intelligence ? Imho they
should put a course along the lines of 'lying with statistics' or 'how not
to be mislead by government published disinformation before elections'
into primary schools.

Peter
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2004\11\28@192110 by Russell McMahon

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> Imho they should put a course along the lines of 'lying with statistics'
> or 'how not to be mislead by government published disinformation before
> elections' into primary schools.

There should be an enforced indoctrination course for all adults that
compels them to be proficient in not being indoctrinated !!! :-)

It seems to me that, quite apart from the utterances of politicians which
none can be forgiven for being mislead by,  most of the products that are
for sale are sold with hype and/or fluff. And often straight out lies.
Everything from magnetic bracelets, water filters (I just bought one),
garden trowels, fat reducing grillers, low fat/calorie food, shoes, clothes,
cars and far more.

Re water filter: The water-filter salesman's boss appeared and attempted the
"if you don't buy this you don't care about the health of your wife" line.
This was a "last day of show special" & my wife & daughter were standing
besides me at the time.  I must  have been in an exceptionally docile mood.
My daughter was extremely annoyed. I had already decided that the product
met my perceived needs at a price that represented reasonable value. In
other circumstances I may have just left. (I bought the filter because my
wife prefers the taste of filtered water, and I don't think the resultant
possible damage to her health greatly outweighs the advantages).

On a totally related theme, it may be salutary to dispassionately consider
how abortion is "sold" in the US (why you do it, what advantages it gives
you, ...) where 1 in 4 conceptions end in abortion, but where other people
are paying tens of thousands of dollars to adopt children from eg Ukraine or
China.



       RM


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2004\11\30@123522 by Ben Hencke

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Imagine a world where life starts at conception. Law and the mother of
invention will heed every cry for help. Assuming the rest of the world
sorts itself out and we have world peace and the end of hunger and
poverty, there will be a huge increase in birthrates.

The protection of life is important so we make laws about what people
can and can't do if it has an effect on that life. This includes what
a mother can and can't do. Smoking & drinking: practically already
illegal. Anything harmful will be outlawed because it will have a
direct effect on the new life. People will make statistical
connections (aka prove to some) between eating ice cream and the
overall resulting health of the child. A few percentage increase in
diabetes, overall weight gain, psychological impact of having a fat
mother, etc, whatever... Eating any ice cream during pregnancy will be
illegal.

How far will this go? There is no limit to the non relative absurdity.
If we continue to shelter ourselves from the truth when it is
unpleasant, every generation will be protected from the past. The
horrible and terrible things that our barbaric ancestors did will be
quietly forgotten. Every generation will become more accustomed to the
evolving way of life.

Eventually and statistically, technology will catch up to nature, and
surpass it: it will be considered harmful, risky, and inappropriate to
carry our own young to term. The human womb is a risky place, if the
mother falls, become sick, etc all of these things can put the new
life in jeopardy. It will become illegal to _be_ pregnant.

Some statistically small part of initial pregnancies carry risk. In
this world, imagine the horror of a short term miscarriage from an
unknown pregnancy. It will become illegal to _become_ pregnant.

Some statistically small part of prevented conceptions will fail
resulting in an illegal pregnancy (yes, you can look at it that way).
It will become illegal to have sex even with contraceptives (if it
hasn't been already for other reasons).

---

I believe that the issue of where life begins and what a mother can do
with that life before birth is far too complex of an issue to leave up
to courts.

On another note, I believe in using technology to save lives. I do
think that there are moral, spiritual, and evolutionary reasons to
limit how far we bring or use that technology. If we ignore these we
will lose that which makes us human.

- Ben
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2004\11\30@131507 by John Ferrell
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Wars and plagues have kept the question from needing an answer in the
past...

John Ferrell
My Competition is not my enemy!
http://DixieNC.US

{Original Message removed}

2004\11\30@154427 by Russell McMahon

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> Imagine a world where life starts at conception. Law and the mother of
> invention will heed every cry for help.

Unlikely. This is not the case now for 'people' when "life" is deemed quite
solidly to have begun at least at birth - every cry for help is far from
being heeded. That an unborn child would be treated far far more carefully
than a born child seems unlikely.

> Assuming the rest of the world
> sorts itself out and we have world peace and the end of hunger and
> poverty, there will be a huge increase in birthrates.

That's a  very safe assumption - not a chance :-(.

> Anything harmful will be outlawed because it will have a
> direct effect on the new life. People will make statistical
> connections (aka prove to some) between eating ice cream and the
> overall resulting health of the child. A few percentage increase in
> diabetes, overall weight gain, psychological impact of having a fat
> mother, etc, whatever... Eating any ice cream during pregnancy will be
> illegal.

Again, seems most unlikely. In the US (and elsewhere) now we have a
generation eating and drinking destruction on itself. And in the 1st world
generally, increasing Diabetes due (probably) to changing dietary pattterns
is rife. Precious little protection for life is occurring there.

> I believe that the issue of where life begins and what a mother can do
> with that life before birth is far too complex of an issue to leave up
> to courts.

Sounds good. But it's interesting to note what phrases like that really
usually mean when they are used. In about no cases are they related to
promoting the sanctity of life. There may be the odd exception. Quite where
and why "before birth" fits in to such phrases is a moot point. Why
shouldn't that equally validly say "before school" or "before puberty" or
perhaps most logically of all "  " (insert that and re-read it). The Romans
understood this well. The Chinese (if one may generalise dangerously) at
present come close.

Most of the practices involved with "what people do with lives" are shrouded
in obfuscations and lies. This is not a comment on what choices should be
made (although it won't be hard to deduce my approximate perspectives) -
just a comment on the lengths that people will go to to do what they want
regardless and to 'justify' their decisions by whatever means available.



       Russell McMahon


____________________________________________

2004\11\30@160549 by Mike Hord

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First, let me say that I'm impressed anew by the caliber of the people on
this list that this topic has been broached and discussed without flames.

> Most of the practices involved with "what people do with lives" are shrouded
> in obfuscations and lies. This is not a comment on what choices should be
> made (although it won't be hard to deduce my approximate perspectives) -
> just a comment on the lengths that people will go to to do what they want
> regardless and to 'justify' their decisions by whatever means available.

Second, let me just say that this doing what they please and justifying later,
including things like abortion, drug use, smoking, failure to excercise and
exceedingly poor dietetics, may in fact simply be natural selection reasserting
itself.

See also... http://www.snopes.com/photos/signs/pregnant.asp

Mike H.
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