Each week, they meet to vent about what’s been going on in their lives as moms and invite you to vent along with them!
Autumn is here and so is Halloween! We talk Halloween Time and all that comes with it.
Autumn is here and so is Halloween! We talk Halloween Time and all that comes with it.
By DAVID CRARY AP National Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — The number and rate of abortions across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to new figures released Wednesday.
The report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, counted 862,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2017. That’s down from 926,000 tallied in the group’s previous report for 2014, and from just over 1 million counted for 2011.
Guttmacher is the only entity that strives to count all abortions in the U.S., making inquiries of individual providers. Federal data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention excludes California, Maryland and New Hampshire because those states don’t compile comprehensive abortion data for the CDC.
The new report illustrates that abortions are decreasing in all parts of the country — in Republican-controlled states seeking to restrict abortion access and in Democratic-run states protecting abortion rights. Between 2011 and 2017, abortion rates increased in only five states and the District of Columbia.
One reason for the decline in abortions is that fewer women are becoming pregnant. The Guttmacher Institute noted that the birth rate and the abortion rate declined during the years covered by the new report. A likely factor, the report said, is increased accessibility of contraception since 2011. The Affordable Care Act required most private health insurance plans to cover contraceptives without out-of-pocket costs.
According to the report, the 2017 abortion rate was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 — the lowest rate since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Following that ruling, the number of abortions in the U.S. rose steadily — peaking at 1.6 million in 1990 before starting a steady, still-continuing decline. The abortion rate is now less than half what is was in 1990.
Guttmacher noted that almost 400 state laws restricting abortion access were enacted between 2011 and 2017. But it said these laws were not the main force behind the overall decline in abortions. It said 57% of the nationwide decline occurred in the 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, that did not enact any new restrictions.
Michael New, an abortion opponent who teaches social research at Catholic University of America, said Guttmacher’s report understated the role played by anti-abortion activism in reducing the number of abortions. In 1981, he said, 54% of women with unintended pregnancies opted for abortion. That number fell to 42% by 2011.
“This shows that pro-life efforts to change public opinion, assist pregnant women, and pass protective laws are all having an impact,” New said in an email.
Between 2011 and 2017, the number of clinics providing abortion in the U.S. declined from 839 to 808, with significant regional disparities, the report said. The South had a decline of 50 clinics, including 25 in Texas, and the Midwest had a decline of 33 clinics, including nine each in Iowa, Michigan and Ohio. By contrast, the Northeast added 59 clinics, mostly in New Jersey and New York.
Over that period, the abortion rate dropped in Ohio by 27% and in Texas by 30%. But the rate dropped by similar amounts in states that protected abortion access, including California, Hawaii and New Hampshire.
Areas with the highest abortion rates in 2017 were the District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland and Florida. Rates were lowest in Wyoming, South Dakota, Kentucky, Idaho and Missouri — many women from those five states go out of state to obtain abortions .
One significant trend documented in the report: People who have abortions are increasingly relying on medication rather than surgery. Medication abortion, making use of the so-called abortion pill, accounted for 39% of all abortions in 2017, up from 29% in 2014.
The report, which focuses on data from 2017, does not chronicle the flurry of sweeping abortion bans that were enacted earlier this year in several GOP-controlled states, including a near-total ban in Alabama and five bills that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. None of those bans has taken effect and their backers hope that litigation over the laws might eventually lead to a Supreme Court ruling weakening or overturning Roe v. Wade.
Guttmacher’s president, Dr. Herminia Palacio, said abortion restrictions, regardless of whether they lead to fewer abortions, “are coercive and cruel by design,” with disproportionate impact on low-income women.
However, the push for tougher restrictions continues. Just last week, Texas Right to Life and some allied groups urged Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session of the Legislature to “abolish every remaining elective abortion” in the state.
The report comes amid upheaval in the federal family planning program, known as Title X. About one in five family planning clinics have left the program, objecting to a Trump administration regulation that bars them from referring women for abortions. Title X clinics provide birth control and basic health services for low-income women.
“If your priority is to reduce abortions, one of the best things you can do is make sure that women have access to high-quality, affordable and effective methods of birth control,” said Alina Salganicoff, director of women’s health policy for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
By CANDICE CHOI AP Food & Health Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Coffee bars selling $3 iced lattes are popping up in high schools, helped along by dairy groups scrambling for new ways to get people to drink milk.
It’s one small way the dairy industry is fighting to slow the persistent decline in U.S. milk consumption as eating habits change and rival drinks keep popping up on supermarket shelves.
At a high school in North Dakota, a $5,000 grant from a dairy group helped pay for an espresso machine that makes lattes with about 8 ounces of milk each. The drinks used 530 gallons of milk this year.
“We buy a lot of milk,” said Lynelle Johnson, the food service director for the Williston Public School District.
It’s not clear how much coffee drinks in high schools might help boost milk consumption, or whether the concept will gain traction across the country. But with consumption of milk in the U.S. down 40 percent since 1975, the dairy industry is looking for all the help it can get.
The industry famous for its “Got Milk” advertising campaign is hoping its newer “Undeniably Dairy” slogan will help fend off the almond, oat and soy alternatives that are becoming more popular. And regional dairy groups are encouraging schools to serve milky drinks like smoothies and hot chocolate, as well as iced lattes.
The efforts come as the dairy industry is also trying to adjust to changing views about diet and nutrition.
With fat no longer seen as a dietary evil, skim milk has suffered the sharpest declines in demand in recent years. And it’s difficult for dairy producers to reduce production of skim milk because it is left over after making other products such as butter, cheese and ice cream.
As skim milk becomes especially tough to sell, Organic Valley is even drying some of the surplus and mixing it back into low-fat and fat-free milk to boost the nutrients and make it creamier.
“We’re just exploring everything we can,” said George Siemon, who was CEO of Organic Valley when the plans were developed, but has recently stepped down.
The dairy industry blames rules that limit the fat content of milk in schools for consumption declines, arguing that generations of students are growing up disliking milk because of the watery taste of skim.
In the meantime, it’s hoping lattes can make milk go down easier. In Florida, a dairy group said it paid for coffee carts in 21 high schools this past school year. In the Southwest, a dairy group gave grants to seven schools for coffee programs.
Not all high school coffee bars get grants from dairy groups, and the money may only cover a small portion of costs. School food operators also say lattes offer other benefits, such as giving teens a reason to stay on school grounds. At a national convention for school lunch officials next month, one session will also detail how schools in Orange County, Florida used coffee drinks to get students to buy lunch.
For an extra $2, students can turn the cup of milk served with lunch into a coffee drink at a nearby cart. Without the lunch, it costs $3.
The Orange County schools did not receive industry grants for the coffee bars, but the local dairy council provided chalkboard-style signs and menus.
Cafeteria directors and dairy groups say coffee drinks in schools have to follow nutrition standards, making them healthier than the lattes students would get anyway outside schools.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which sets rules for schools participating in its meal programs, says high schools can sell espresso drinks that are no bigger than 12 ounces, and that are made with fat-free or 1% milk. The drinks have around 150 calories, school food directors say.
But not everyone thinks teens should drink coffee, or that they need milk.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages caffeine consumption among children, citing potentially harmful effects on developing bodies. And while dairy is an efficient way to get calcium and vitamin D, it’s not the only way to get such nutrients, said Dr. Natalie Muth, a pediatrician and representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As for lattes, Muth there are ways to encourage students to get the nutrients of milk without promoting caffeine habits that could lead to headaches, agitation and lack of sleep.
“If they’re going to be having that outside of school, that’s one thing. But in schools, the idea is to promote good health and nutrition,” Muth said.
Exactly how schools prepare coffee drinks can vary, but milk is a primary ingredient for lattes. “It’s really milk with some coffee, as far as proportion,” said Julie Ostrow of Midwest Dairy.
It’s why the group is providing a grant for a coffee bar at a fourth high school in the Fort Zumwalt, Missouri district this upcoming year. In exchange, the group gets data on how much milk is used for the lattes, as well as information for personal pizzas, mozzarella sticks and other products with dairy.
But the group might not be happy about one of the newer options: This past year, the coffee bars began offering almond milk for 40 cents extra, said Paul Becker, the district’s food director.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Amber and Sara are trying to help the family beat summer boredom, talking about local destinations – especially the free ones – that will give the family a little break from the ordinary.
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A 29-year-old woman gave birth to six babies in Poland on Monday, in what is believed to be the country’s first-ever case of sextuplets. The mother and newborns are said to be doing well.
The babies, four of whom are girls, were born through cesarean section at University Hospital in Krakow in southern Poland.
The babies were born in the pregnancy’s 29th week and their individual weights range from 890 grams (31.40 ounces) to 1,300 grams (45.90 ounces), hospital spokeswoman Maria Wlodkowska said. The babies are fine but have been placed in incubators to assist their development, she said.
Only one in nearly 5 billion pregnancies leads to sextuplets.
“It is the first time in Poland that sextuplets are born, and it is rare in the world,” said chief of the hospital’s neonatology ward, Prof. Ryszard Lauterbach.
He said it came as a surprise because doctors were expecting five babies.
“We had five teams with five incubators ready waiting, and when all were taken another baby, a girl, appeared,” Lauterbach said on TVN24.
He praised doctors for getting the pregnancy to the 29th week.
There was widespread rejoice across Poland over the news.
President Andrzej Duda congratulated the parents and the doctors on Twitter, while the local football club, Cracovia, has offered life-long tickets and said they were keeping fingers crossed for the babies.
“We don’t know who your parents are rooting for, but we are giving you, kids, permanent subscription to tickets,” Cracovia said in a tweet.
The babies have a 2 ½-year-old brother.
In 2008, quintuplets, all girls, were born in the same hospital in the 26th week of pregnancy, weighing between 570 grams (20.11 ounces) and 800 grams (28.22 ounces.) After three months of hospitalization, part of that time on respirators and drips, they were discharged and they recently paid a courtesy visit to the hospital with their parents.