Friday, October 05, 2012

If We Really Want to Reduce the Abortion Rate, We Should Provide Reliable Contraception for Free

An exciting study from Washington University School of Medicine provided reliable birth control - intrauterine devices and hormone implants - for free to 9000 women, aged 14 - 45 for three years. The researchers tracked the effects on their abortion rate, and also on their teen pregnancy rate.

Nationally, women in this age range have about 19.6 abortions per 1000 - a huge number.

The women in this study: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1000.  That is a huge improvement.

Moreover, teen girls (15 - 19) have a staggering 34.4 births per 1000 every year.

The girls in this study: 6.3 per 1000 annually.

Moreover, IUDs and hormone implants such as Norplant are cheaper than birth control pills.  They are also more reliable, since many women, especially the poorer and younger ones, don't usually take the pill every day - a problem that is solved by implanted methods. 

The implants, though, have a higher up-front cost, which tends to put off those same younger and poorer women from using them.  This is why providing them free was a crucial element of this study.

As someone who would like to dramatically reduce the abortion and teen pregnancy rates, I find this study to be very good news.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Thrift Was a Greater Virtue When We Were a More Modest People

David Brooks gave an excellent lecture at Centre College last night on how our politics today reflects a change in our culture.

During World War II, he argued, we placed more value on modesty, self-control, and limiting our self-assertion.  The cultural revolution since then produced many good things, especially in overcoming the oppression and self-suppression of African-Americans and women.

But some things have been lost, which has contributed to the polarization and mistrust of the current moment.

This talk led me to make a connection that I had not seen before.  People who are personally modest are more likely to be thrifty.  If it seems wrong to spend lavishly on yourself, you are less likely to go into debt for things.  If you think that your present comfort and status are not more worthy than your children's and their children's, you are more likely to save.

Thrift is not only a good personal virtue and family virtue. Thrift is a humble virtue.