There's a third side to the debate that gets short media shrift: emerging knowledge about medical risks surrounding induced abortion. Throughout 40 years of highly publicized ideological squabbling, researchers in the field of human reproduction have been quietly beavering away on mounting epidemiological data around induced abortion and its link to preterm birth in a future pregnancy. Recent findings in their research remind us of a "right" generally observed in the breach: the right of women seeking safe abortions to informed consent.
Approximately 100,000 abortions are performed annually in Canada (30 per 100 live births), about a million in the U. S. and some 14 million worldwide, a significant percentage of them repeats (in the U. S. 46%).
In 2007 Dr. Greg Alexander of the U. S. Institutes of Medicine (a branch of the National Academy of Sciences) identified a "prior first trimester induced abortion" as an "immutable medical risk factor associated with [a later] preterm birth."
In a 2007 article in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Byron Calhoun et al estimated there were 1,096 annual excess cases of Cerebral Palsy in US newborns under 3.5 lbs that can be directly traced to a prior induced abortion.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.