This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Abortion Terrorism

The horrific shooting in San Bernardino by a couple who may have had terrorist intent drew media attention away from the equally horrific shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last week, which was part of a long-term trend of violence toward abortion providers and women seeking abortions. Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1972 and a report this year from Pew Research shows that a majority (albeit a slim one) of Americans agree that it should be legal.
When asked directly about the legality of abortion, 55% of U.S. adults say it should be legal in all or most cases, compared with 40% who say it should be illegal all or most of the time. In both cases, these figures have remained relatively stable for at least two decades.
The problem is that some of those who do not think it should be legal have been taking the law into their own hands for a long time, with the obvious intent of intimidating both providers and those women who might be seeking an abortion. What does this feel like if you're on the receiving end? It's not nice, as Dr. Warren Hern, Director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Boulder, Colorado has recently recounted in an online story.

I've known and admired Dr. Hern for a long time, although not in his capacity as a physician. He also holds a PhD in Anthropology and has written extensively about the very high levels of fertility among the Shipibo Indians of Peru (probably higher even than the Hutterites). Indeed, readers of the 5th through 10th editions of my text will have been treated to some of those stories. A more recent focus of his work with the Shipibo is to show that humans may have an innate capacity to overuse resources. We might seriously call that a form of environmental terrorism.

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