US Abortion Rate at Lowest Level Since 1973

According to the Guttmacher Institute in New York, the abortion rate in the United States is the lowest it’s been in 40 years, when the operation was legalized. USA Today stated that there has been a 13 percent decline in the number of abortions from 2008 to 2011. These numbers not only show a dramatic decline in just three years, but it is also the lowest abortion rate the United States has had since 1973. The year the procedure became legal, the rate was 16.3 abortions per 1,000 women within the ages of 15 and 44. In 2008, the abortion rate was 20 percent, and in 2011, the rate was down to 16.9 percent.

CNN reported that the reasoning behind the abortion rate decrease could be connected with the drop in pregnancy and birth rates. The pregnancy rate is the lowest it’s been in 12 years, likely because of the range of effective contraception choices offered. Another source of this decline is thought to be related to the recession during the same time period. The tough economic period could prevent families from wanting, or affording, more children. In those three years, all but six states - Alaska, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wyoming - showed a decline in abortion rates.

15 Dead in Indonesian Volcanic Eruption

In January, Mount Sinabung, a 8,530 foot high volcano of Indonesia, began erupting several times each day, causing 30,000 people to evacuate the area. They were placed in 42 evacuation centers while the volcano was still active. On January 31, 14,000 people were able to return to their homes after a few days without volcanic activity. The following day, there were many explosions that affected areas up to three miles away, killing 14 people. Since then, rescue teams have been utilized to search for more victims.

CNN reported that the death toll has currently raised to 15 as of February 2. According to the New York Times, these 15 consisted of residents that were checking on their homes, a journalist, a group of high school students and their teacher. The students were in range of the volcano as they volunteered for the Indonesian Christian Students Movement. Some of the people were there to watch the eruptions. Mount Sinabung has been given the highest level of alert, and the government has issued a five kilometer zone surrounding the volcano that forbids anyone from entering.

Severe Drought has West Coast Fearing Worst

The drought occurring in California has reached a level where the state’s drinking water supply is now in danger. The New York Times reported that 40,000 people are expected to run out in 60 to 120 days, and it’s assumed that conditions will get worse now that the biggest water distribution company, the State Water Project, determined they do not have the amount of water they need to supply the agencies that distribute water to 25 million people.

NPR reported that scientist Frank Gehrk is concerned that the drought may last for months. About 75 percent of the West’s water supply is provided from melting snow. The increase in wind is causing a large amount of the snow to evaporate as opposed to melting and flowing into a pond come spring time. Residents of California have already cut back on the amounts of water used in their everyday lives and planting, fishing and camping has been banned. Nevada and New Mexico are struggling to maintain cattle and fields of food. As the worst drought in 500 years, emergency plans are close to being put in action.