Archive for US politics

Nature on U.S. abortion laws

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2021 by xi'an

The 26 October issue of Nature has a news article on the involvement of US scientists and scientific organisations in fact-checking the dubious arguments made by anti-abortion supporters, incl. several US States. None of them (arguments) are convincing or objective, but providing data and statistical models to counter them is welcome, especially in a scientific journal like Nature.

“…an initiative to compare women who had abortions with those who wanted them, but were turned away from clinics for various reasons, including state restrictions or a lack of doctor availability. Called the Turnaway Study, the effort followed about 1,000 women in the United States for five years after they sought abortions. The women were similar in terms of physical, mental and economic well-being initially, but diverged over time (…) on average, receiving an abortion didn’t harm women’s mental or physical health, but being denied an abortion resulted in some negative financial and health outcomes.”

“Allowing states to ban abortion might even increase maternal and infant mortality rates (…) Unwanted pregnancies are associated with worse health outcomes for several reasons, including that people who plan their pregnancies tend to change their behaviour — drinking less alcohol, for example — and receive prenatal medical care long before those who are surprised by their pregnancy and don’t want it.”

“statistical methods developed over the past 30 years allow researchers to isolate and measure the effects of abortion policies (…) Abortion legalization in the 1970s helped to increase women’s educational attainment, participation in the labour force and earnings — especially for single Black women.”

“The United States is alone among wealthy nations in not mandating paid maternity leave (…) a single parent earning the minimum wage would need to spend more than two-thirds of their income on childcare, with care for the average infant costing about US$10,400 per year (…) two main reasons that women give for seeking abortions are concerns about money and caring for existing children.”

red state – blue state – vaccinated state – unvaccinated state

Posted in Books, Kids, Statistics, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2021 by xi'an

The New York Times published an article demonstrating the partisan separation between US Democrats and Republicans by regression lines. As the one above, regressing the proportion of vaccinated on the proportion of Trump voters but no scale on the first axis. But no correction for age composition or population density. And the one below, plotted at the county level, which seems quite meaningless given the spread of red dots in Wyoming.

Still, there is a clear opposition between places (counties) that voted more than 70% Trump (representing 33M people) and those that voted more than 70% Biden (more than 58M people), even though county density, age composition, and earlier deaths from COVID should also be accounted for. But the vaccination rate also exhibits this opposition, with a 1.65 ratio between the first and last decile of the blue counties.

and it only gets worse

Posted in Books, Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2021 by xi'an

“The law, known as Senate Bill 8, amounts to a nearly complete ban on abortion in Texas, one that will further fuel legal and political battles over the future of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. The law makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.” NYT, Sept. 1

“The [Supreme] Court’s order is stunning,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent. “Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.” NYT, Sept. 2

“A judge in Ohio ordered a hospital to treat a Covid-19 patient with ivermectin, despite warnings from experts that the anti-parasitic drug has not proved effective against the virus and can be dangerous in large doses.” The Guardian, Aug. 31

“More than half of the world’s people have no social protections, the United Nations has warned, even after the pandemic pushed many governments to offer services to their populations.” The Guardian, Sept. 1

holy war

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2021 by xi'an

In a series of fascinating tribunes in the New York Times, Katherine Stewart points out the frightening anti-democratic views of the Christian extreme-right in the US. As exemplified by

“…a political system that gives disproportionate power to an immensely organized, engaged and loyal minority. One of the most reliable strategies for producing that unshakable cohort has been to get them to agree that abortion is the easy answer to every difficult political policy question. Recently, religious right leaders have shifted their focus more to a specious understanding of what they call “religious freedom” or “religious liberty,” but the underlying strategy is the same: make individuals see their partisan vote as the primary way to protect their cultural and religious identity.” K. Stewart

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness

Posted in Kids, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2021 by xi'an

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