20 states are attempting to pass 'heartbeat laws.' Georgia and Ohio just passed their own.
- Four states have now passed "heartbeat laws," which ban abortions at about six weeks.
- Ohio's new law prohibits rape and incest victims from having an abortion.
- In Georgia, having a miscarriage could result in an investigation.
Distinguishing between actual news and The Onion has become a tragic sport in recent years, yet even the satire site wouldn't post an article entitled, "Should 11-year-old girls have to bear their rapists' babies? Ohio says yes." Nope, that's the Chicago Tribune.
On April 11, Republican governor Mike DeWine signed the state's Human Rights Protection Act, which bans abortions as soon as doctors can detect a heartbeat—about six weeks. The fact that many women do not yet know they're pregnant is irrelevant. Actually, that's part of the point: Ignorance is embedded in the design of the legislation.
The law, set to go into effect in mid-July, is being trailed by another bill that bans "drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum." Even birth control is being taken off the shelves in Ohio.
The recently passed bill features one even more disdainful caveat: If a child is raped, she must still bear the baby—as the headline suggests. While mothers will not be imprisoned for having an abortion (as some erroneous headlines have suggested), there is plenty to grieve about.
Ohio is only one of four states currently enacting "heartbeat laws." Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi now have similar laws on the books. Kentucky has yet another on tap, one which would prevent a woman from having an abortion upon learning that her child will be disabled.
Meanwhile, Missouri is foaming at the mouth for its shot while Alabama is about six months away from signing its own version. Louisiana's bill flew through the state Senate, 31-5, and is heading to the House. North Dakota's bill was signed but struck down in federal court. In total, 20 states have attempted or currently have heartbeat laws on the books or in progress.
Last week, Georgia governor Brian Kemp signed his state's heartbeat bill into law, cutting his state's restrictions on abortions from 20 weeks to six. While this law won't go into effect until January, it also does not allow for women that are impregnated due to rape, incest, or conditions that put the health of the mother on the line. In fact, if a woman has a miscarriage, she could be put under investigation to ensure that an abortion was not performed.
Kemp might soon be hurt in a way that certainly affects him, even if a woman's suffering does not: His state's wallet. Georgia's film industry is booming thanks to a 30 percent tax rebate; it currently supports 92,000 jobs. Some Hollywood producers aren't having it, however, threatening to take their projects elsewhere. While the producers of HBO's "Lovecraft Country," Jordan Peele and JJ Abrams, announced that they're staying on set, they're now donating profits from their show to two charities battling the state's draconian laws.
It's sad that money has to be the motivating factor for as basic a right as abortion in this country, but it might hold power—odd, given how financially conservative those supporting this bill seem to be. Anti-abortion activists generally don't support government assistance to mothers that can't afford children, yet do everything in their power to make sure they have the baby anyway. Even the mother's life isn't of concern, only the ambiguous baby, and only as a concept at that.
Jesse Ventura: Being Pro-Life should mean more than being Pro-Birth
These initiatives in Ohio and Georgia will be challenged in court, likely delaying the process of implementation, as happened in Kentucky when a federal judge blocked the law from going into effect in March. Kentucky only has one abortion clinic as it is, another clever move installed by activists intent on dismantling basic female rights.
These laws continue even as we know what results to expect. In February, an 11-year-old known as "Lucia" was forced to give birth after being raped by her grandmother's 65-year-old boyfriend. She attempted to commit suicide twice after learning of her pregnancy. Though abortion is legal in cases of rape in Argentina, stalling tactics were employed. She was forced to have a Caesarean section in the 23rd week of her pregnancy. The baby did not survive. Lucia will have to live with this horrific incident for the rest of her life.
Pro-Choice and Anti-Abortion: Both sides of the 'Heartbeat' Bill
Even more baffling about this entire situation is that religion is at its core. While the world's religions are truly different—the "every one says the same thing" mentality is more intellectual laziness than inspired truth—a handful of universals exists across cultures: empathy, compassion, trust, devotion, charity.
Sure, the major scriptures were written during tribal times—even more so than today—with the in-group receiving benefits and heretics being destroyed. Extrapolate the gist of meaning for global societies and those messages are truly applicable to all. Love thy neighbor and all that. Reciprocity reigns supreme.
Which is why it's shocking to see many of the professed religious in America acting in direct opposition to the commands of their faith. An 11-year-old girl raped by a senior citizen is not grounds for abortion? You'll look this girl in the eyes and claim it's part of God's plan? How about the potential death of the mother not holding as much weight as a fetus? These are, as many of the politicians behind these laws express, moral issues. The problem is they're on the wrong side of being moral.
Charity means helping even if you don't agree with the other person. Asking a homeless person why they ended up where they are is not compassion, unless you're committed to helping them change their circumstances. Giving them a few dollars is. Charity isn't charity if it's only serving to make you feel better about yourself.
The anti-abortion fervor spreading across nearly half of America is a disease. It has nothing to do with faith or devotion. It's a power grab and tool of manipulation. The more we attach the word "religion" to it, the more disservice we do to those religious who are truly compassionate and charitable. And we certainly need as much of those qualities as possible right now.
- Georgia Is Latest State to Pass Fetal Heartbeat Bill as Part of ... ›
- Georgia's abortion “heartbeat” bill, explained - Vox ›
- 'Heartbeat' abortion laws: Where do they stand now? - CNN ›
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
A recent study gives new meaning to the saying "fake it 'til you make it."
- The study involves four experiments that measured individuals' socioeconomic status, overconfidence and actual performance.
- Results consistently showed that high-class people tend to overestimate their abilities.
- However, this overconfidence was misinterpreted as genuine competence in one study, suggesting overestimating your abilities can have social advantages.
Is this proof of a dramatic shift?
- Map details dramatic shift from CNN to Fox News over 10-year period
- Does it show the triumph of "fake news" — or, rather, its defeat?
- A closer look at the map's legend allows for more complex analyses
Dramatic and misleading
Image: Reddit / SICResearch
The situation today: CNN pushed back to the edges of the country.
Over the course of no more than a decade, America has radically switched favorites when it comes to cable news networks. As this sequence of maps showing TMAs (Television Market Areas) suggests, CNN is out, Fox News is in.
The maps are certainly dramatic, but also a bit misleading. They nevertheless provide some insight into the state of journalism and the public's attitudes toward the press in the US.
Let's zoom in:
- It's 2008, on the eve of the Obama Era. CNN (blue) dominates the cable news landscape across America. Fox News (red) is an upstart (°1996) with a few regional bastions in the South.
- By 2010, Fox News has broken out of its southern heartland, colonizing markets in the Midwest and the Northwest — and even northern Maine and southern Alaska.
- Two years later, Fox News has lost those two outliers, but has filled up in the middle: it now boasts two large, contiguous blocks in the southeast and northwest, almost touching.
- In 2014, Fox News seems past its prime. The northwestern block has shrunk, the southeastern one has fragmented.
- Energised by Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, Fox News is back with a vengeance. Not only have Maine and Alaska gone from entirely blue to entirely red, so has most of the rest of the U.S. Fox News has plugged the Nebraska Gap: it's no longer possible to walk from coast to coast across CNN territory.
- By 2018, the fortunes from a decade earlier have almost reversed. Fox News rules the roost. CNN clings on to the Pacific Coast, New Mexico, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast — plus a smattering of metropolitan areas in the South and Midwest.
Image source: Reddit / SICResearch
This sequence of maps, showing America turning from blue to red, elicited strong reactions on the Reddit forum where it was published last week. For some, the takeover by Fox News illustrates the demise of all that's good and fair about news journalism. Among the comments?
- "The end is near."
- "The idiocracy grows."
- "(It's) like a spreading disease."
- "One of the more frightening maps I've seen."
- "LOL that's what happens when you're fake news!"
- "CNN went down the toilet on quality."
- "A Minecraft YouTuber could beat CNN's numbers."
- "CNN has become more like a high-school production of a news show."
Not a few find fault with both channels, even if not always to the same degree:
- "That anybody considers either of those networks good news sources is troubling."
- "Both leave you understanding less rather than more."
- "This is what happens when you spout bullsh-- for two years straight. People find an alternative — even if it's just different bullsh--."
- "CNN is sh-- but it's nowhere close to the outright bullsh-- and baseless propaganda Fox News spews."
"Old people learning to Google"
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox News search terms (200!-2018)
But what do the maps actually show? Created by SICResearch, they do show a huge evolution, but not of both cable news networks' audience size (i.e. Nielsen ratings). The dramatic shift is one in Google search trends. In other words, it shows how often people type in "CNN" or "Fox News" when surfing the web. And that does not necessarily reflect the relative popularity of both networks. As some commenters suggest:
- "I can't remember the last time that I've searched for a news channel on Google. Is it really that difficult for people to type 'cnn.com'?"
- "More than anything else, these maps show smart phone proliferation (among older people) more than anything else."
- "This is a map of how old people and rural areas have learned to use Google in the last decade."
- "This is basically a map of people who don't understand how the internet works, and it's no surprise that it leans conservative."
A visual image as strong as this map sequence looks designed to elicit a vehement response — and its lack of context offers viewers little new information to challenge their preconceptions. Like the news itself, cartography pretends to be objective, but always has an agenda of its own, even if just by the selection of its topics.
The trick is not to despair of maps (or news) but to get a good sense of the parameters that are in play. And, as is often the case (with both maps and news), what's left out is at least as significant as what's actually shown.
One important point: while Fox News is the sole major purveyor of news and opinion with a conservative/right-wing slant, CNN has more competition in the center/left part of the spectrum, notably from MSNBC.
Another: the average age of cable news viewers — whether they watch CNN or Fox News — is in the mid-60s. As a result of a shift in generational habits, TV viewing is down across the board. Younger people are more comfortable with a "cafeteria" approach to their news menu, selecting alternative and online sources for their information.
It should also be noted, however, that Fox News, according to Harvard's Nieman Lab, dominates Facebook when it comes to engagement among news outlets.
CNN, Fox and MSNBC
Image: Google Trends
CNN vs. Fox (without the 'News'; may include searches for actual foxes). See MSNBC (in yellow) for comparison
For the record, here are the Nielsen ratings for average daily viewer total for the three main cable news networks, for 2018 (compared to 2017):
- Fox News: 1,425,000 (-5%)
- MSNBC: 994,000 (+12%)
- CNN: 706,000 (-9%)
And according to this recent overview, the top 50 of the most popular websites in the U.S. includes cnn.com in 28th place, and foxnews.com in... 27th place.The top 5, in descending order, consists of google.com, youtube.com, facebook.com, amazon.com and yahoo.com — the latter being the highest-placed website in the News and Media category.
If you thought your mother was pushy in her pursuit of grandchildren, wait until you learn about bonobo mothers.
- Mother bonobos have been observed to help their sons find and copulate with mates.
- The mothers accomplish this by leading sons to mates, interfering with other males trying to copulate with females, and helping sons rise in the social hierarchy of the group.
- Why do mother bonobos do this? The "grandmother hypothesis" might hold part of the answer.
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