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Fewest abortions in Minnesota since record-keeping began

What was the guiding concept? “Safe, legal and rare?” At the Strib, Maura Lerner writes: “Last year, 11,071 abortions were performed in Minnesota, the lowest annual number since the state first started keeping track in 1975. At the same time, the abortion rate among Minnesota women of child-bearing age dropped below 1 percent for the first time, to 0.97 percent. The 2011 numbers were released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health in its annual abortion report. The report does not speculate on the reasons for the drop in abortions, although the numbers have been on a steady decline since 2006.”

Proving again that there is never such a thing as “final,” Our Favorite Congresswoman has signed another vow. Brett Neely at MPR writes: “With the Supreme Court’s ruling last week to uphold the Affordable Care Act, conservative opponents of the law lost their main line of argument that the ACA was unconstitutional expansion of government power. Now, with the help of Republican U.S. Michele Bachmann, they’re urging governors to slow the implementation of the law by refusing to create the online health insurance markets known as exchanges that are one of the ACA’s key policies. In a letter sent to all 50 governors, Bachmann and other tea party-linked members of Congress argue that ‘implementation of this law is not inevitable’ (emphasis from original text).”

Despite the usual hysteria … Martin Moylan, also of MPR, writes: “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care law doesn’t change much for Minnesota’s big medical device companies, hospitals, or health insurers. Those businesses had been preparing to follow the law, but have concerns about how it will be implemented. With about 90 percent of Minnesotans already in a health plan, the insurers covering most Minnesotans do not expect a surge in enrollment. ‘I wouldn’t say we’re expecting a significant number of uninsured to suddenly become insured,’ said Andrea Walsh, an executive vice president of HealthPartners, whose health care plans cover some 1.4 million Minnesotans. ‘About half of the individuals in Minnesota who are uninsured are actually eligible for state public programs but haven’t signed up.’ ”

All things considered, the Minnesota Zoo had a good year. Paul Walsh at the Strib says: “Attendance at the Minnesota Zoo has set a one-year record, zoo officials said Monday. For the year ending June 30, attendance totaled 1,369,515, the highest in the zoo’s 34-year history. Memberships to the zoo in Apple Valley also are at an all-time high, with more than 45,000 households. Zoo officials trace the strong numbers to last summer, with the opening of the Penguins of the African Coast exhibit, then continued into the spring with the always-popular ‘Farm Babies’ event and the reopening of an upgraded Tropical Reef exhibit.”

The Glean Members of a New Jersey-based “right to die” group will be booked this week for allegedly assisting in a local suicide. Heron Marquez Estrada of the Strib reports: “Four members of the New Jersey-based right-to-die group were indicted by a Dakota County grand jury in May. At least three of them are expected to be fingerprinted, photographed and booked into the county jail Monday when they make their initial court appearance. Final Exit provides information on suicide methods. Officials of the group believe the charges — interfering with a death scene and assisting in a suicide — are political grandstanding by County Attorney James Backstrom and that state law on assisted suicides is unconstitutional. ‘I think it’s a misguided prosecution, bottom line,’ said Wendell Stephenson, a community college professor in Fresno, Calif., and president of the Final Exit Network.

Sally Jo Sorensen, at Bluestem Prairie, has a go at GOP congressional candidate Alan Quist and remarks he made about Congressman Tim Walz to the Fairmont Sentinel: “[P]erhaps Allen Quist does understand a few things about electability. In Quist sets up town hall meeting, the Norseland farmer tells the Sentinel, an extremely right-leaning newspaper:

[Walz] says we need to make wise investments, which is more spending, and we need to invest in infrastructure and science, whatever that is. I don’t know how you’d define it. I think that’s Fantasyland.

Unlike Quist’s lessons for homeschoolers that teach that dinosaurs and humans lived during the same periods. But Walz’s insistance on investing in infrastructure like Highway 14, and science (maybe that’s whatever they’re doing at the Hormel Institute) makes the Mankato Democrat unelectable. Ok then. But there’s more. Quist continues in the Sentinel: Quist also had sharp words for the recent ruling on the health care bill, or ‘Obamacare.’ ‘The Supreme Court just gave the election to the Republicans,’ he declared. ‘Since the ruling, Mitt Romney has received $4 million in contributions. That indicates that there’s an activated public; they’re no longer complacent and they’re motivated to vote … This decision, I believe, gives me the race.‘ ” Oh no doubt about it. I’d start measuring for drapes, sir.

Still, the mayor’s personal grooming is so much better … . Uber liberal DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn sees a bit of Richard Nixon in … R.T. Rybak?  At City Pages, Aaron Rupar writes about a MinnPost Community Voices article: “Kahn notes that Rybak ‘began his political career by railing against the evils of lavish taxpayer subsidies to professional sports teams and private corporations’ but ended up as ‘the purple cheerleader-in-chief for the Minnesota Vikings and Zygi Wilf.’ While running for mayor in 2001, Rybak criticized then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton’s support for the city’s takeover of the Target Center. Rybak’s stadium subsidies flip-flop reminds her of another famous political 180-degree turn — namely, former President Richard Milhous Nixon’s views toward communist China.” Heh, heh, heh.

When, not if, this is challenged, the balance of the Wisconsin Senate may … or may not … change. The AP reports: “A recount has concluded Democrat John Lehman defeated incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard in last month’s state Senate recall races. An official canvass following the June 5 elections showed Lehman leading Wanggaard by 834 votes out of nearly 72,000 ballots cast in Racine County’s 21st Senate District. A Lehman victory would give Democrats a one-seat majority in the Senate. … Lehman’s victory isn’t official until the state Government Accountability Board certifies the results. Wanggaard campaign officials have hinted they may challenge the final count in court.”

News flash: It’s hot. And it will stay hot. At MPR, Craig Edwards says: “We will experience dangerous heat index levels through Thursday, particularly over southern Minnesota and adjacent areas. One of the computer models is showing a chance that the thermometer could reach 100 degrees in the shade in the Twin Cities this afternoon. A heat advisory has been posted for all but far northeast Minnesota for today. Hot and humid conditions will push the Heat Index Value close to 105 for several hours. The record high for the Twin Cities for today is 96 degrees, set in 1911. … Severe thunderstorms are possible in northern Minnesota today. Stay alert for developing storms and the risk for gusty winds and hail from the lake country north.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/02/2012 - 02:46 pm.

    According to the Mayo Clinic…

    “Generally, abortion isn’t thought to cause fertility issues or complications in subsequent pregnancies. However, some research suggests a possible link between abortion and an increased risk of:

    Vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy; Preterm birth; Low birth weight; Placenta previa ”

    One wonders if fetal and early infant death due to complications brought on by prior abortions are masking the numbers.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 07/02/2012 - 04:14 pm.

      I doubt it

      One must also consider that causation and correlation are not the same, and can’t be delineated by the term “link,” which is handwaving, at best. Individuals most likely to have an abortion already exhibit health problems and/or behaviors likely to put themselves and their children at risk for these complications. That is, to assume that there isn’t already a reason that a person is considering an abortion (as many tend to do–really, it’s not just something that someone offhand decides to do), is to ignore the some pretty big preexisting conditions. The biggest is poverty and poverty-related conditions and behaviors. When you can educate, care for, and feed every woman to the degree that she can either avoid pregnancy without undue cost or stress or provide the best possible environment for a growing fetus, you will no longer have to worry about abortions and you will probably have much fewer pregnancy-related issues. On the other hand, if you successfully prevent all abortions yet do not provide for those things, you will see the same pregnancy-related issues regardless of the absence of abortions.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 07/02/2012 - 03:44 pm.

    Interesting speculation…

    …but Mr. Swift asserts a causal relationship by writing that “…fetal and early infant death due to complications brought on by prior abortions…” as if it were established medical fact, when the Mayo statement he quotes makes no such assertion. Just because “A” came before “B,” doesn’t mean “A” caused “B.” No “masking of numbers” is necessary when no causal relationship has been established.

    Since OB/GYN is not, to my knowledge, Mr. Swift’s occupational specialty, there’s a certain reassurance in seeing him grasp at medical and rhetorical straws in order to support right wing dogma.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/02/2012 - 04:24 pm.

      I beg to differ, Ray

      I made no speculation as to the Mayo’s findings, as I am not qualified to do so. I merely wondered aloud if their findings have been considered by those that are.

      Also, I’m unclear how, exactly, right wing dogma influences documented medical fact, ie: excessive bleeding can cause death. It’s not as if I’m trying to sell anyone the notion that sand is food….

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 07/03/2012 - 09:06 am.

        It should be obvious to all

        that there’s a difference between “speculation” and “wondering aloud”. With each passing day it becomes clearer to me the growing chasm between the logic of Tea Partiers and mainstream America.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/02/2012 - 05:02 pm.

    When It Comes to Michelle Bachmann

    The thought crosses my mind, when has this woman EVER done anything in her professional/political life that did anyone ELSE good?

    Michelle seems always and forever to be about nothing but herself and ONLY herself in everything she ever does or says.

    When political circumstances change her first order of business always seems to be, what can I do to get myself back on TV, now?

  4. Submitted by Mark Rittmann on 07/03/2012 - 12:33 am.

    Mr Swift

    tends to follow Mr Tester in presenting GOP talking points, here with respect to woman’s health and the availability of abortion services, Although he is less partisan in his approach.

    He raises the typical GOP concerns, but he does so respectfully. His concerns need to be heard, and addressed, as they are representative of many in the GOP, and thus many who may influence policy.

    I do not agree with him, and find his concerns a dissembling argument, but he presents them honestly.

    So argue his points of concern, there are many points to argue. But respect his position. You do not have to agree with him to listen and point out the problems, and there are many problems with his position.

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