The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 5, 1997 · Page 3
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December 5, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 3

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Friday, December 5, 1997
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Page 3
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Msi c THE PALM BEACH POST FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1997 3A U.S. abortion rate continues decline Pathfinder finds Mars once was moist and warm or I - X. 1, IS t W-" v dLs J The abortion rate dropped 5 percent in 1995 and has fallen 20 percent since 1980. The Associated Press The rate at which American women received abortions dropped significantly in 1995, continuing a steady decline during the 1990s and putting the figure at its lowest level in two decades. The figures, released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show that the proportion of women of child-bearing age who obtained abortions dropped 5 percent from 1994 and 20 percent since 1980. But the study, as well as other research, suggests that the decline is not primarily driven by women choosing to proceed with unintended pregnancies. Instead, Americans, particularly teenagers, are using contraceptives more effectively and as a result avoiding pregnancy in the first place, experts said. "Since the 1980s, there has been a reduction in unintended pregnancies," said Lisa Koonin, author of the report and chief of surveillance for the CDC's Division of Reproductive Health. But Koonin also pointed to other factors that have reduced abortions, including the aging of the Baby Boom generation into a less fertile age bracket, a decrease in access to abortion services and a likely change in attitudes toward abortion. Despite the decline in abortion rates, there is little likelihood that abortion will become a Jess volatile topic in this country, where it continues to play a critical role in politics, religion and in local communities. .'-V And even as the rates have dropped, about half of American women have an abortion at some point in their lives. : .u The number of abortions performed in this country climbed rapidly after the Supreme Court legalized the practice in 1973, then remained level over the 1980s and peaked ' at more than 1.4 million in 1990. Since then, the number has dropped to 1.21 million in 1995, the most recent year available,. The abortion rate Jthe number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 was 25 per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 in 1980. In 1995, that figure fell to 20, down from 21 the previous year. Stanley Henshaw, of the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a New York research group that collects abortion data, attributed the decline to better contraceptive Use, particularly with teens. ,- Studies suggest those campaigns have had some success, with teens more likely to report they are using contraceptives than they were in the past ' Based on a survey of nearly 10,000 abortion patients conducted in 1994 and 1995,' .the Guttmacher Institute reported about 60 percent of those having abortions said they were .Using contraceptives the month they became pregnant THE ASSOCIATED PRESS A pile of shoes and a puppet were used Thursday near the White House to protest the U.S. not signing the treaty banning land mines. Nations seek money to find, destroy land mines The Associated Press WASHINGTON The Pathfinder robot uncovered evidence that Mars was once warm, moist and more like Earth than its forbidding surface might now suggest All of this is "a shot in the arm for the possibility of finding evidence of life" on the Red Planet, said one researcher. "The body of evidence returned by Pathfinder are suggestive that conditions had been conducive for the formation of life early in Mars' history," said Matt P. Golombek, a Pathfinder mission scientist ! and lead author of a research report in the journal Science. ' Golombek said several lines of evidence have produced a strong consensus among scientists that Pathfinder landed July 4 on a Martian plain that was sculpted by liquid water sometime in the past and that such water proves the planet once was a warmer, more, life-friendly place. ' Finding evidence of liquid water, said Golombek, "is a shot in the arm for the possibility of finding evidence of life. If there was no liquid water, then there would be no need to search for life on Mars." Liquid water would mean that Mars was much warmer than the minus-100-degree temperatures experienced by Pathfinder, the researchers say in Science. This, in turn, means that the atmosphere on Mars was then much thicker than now, the researchers said. NASA plans to send landers to Mars in 2001 and . 2003 that will scoop up samples that may be returned to Earth on another mission now planned for 2005. : AMA chief resigns in endorsement tiff Reuter CHICAGO The chief executive officer of the American Medical Association resigned Thursday amid a controversy over whether the largest U.S. doctors group should endorse commercial products in return for a share in their revenue. John Seward quit before the start of the AMA's policy-making meeting in Dallas, and the resignation was accepted "with regret," a spokesman said. Top AMA officials have been under criticism for a marketing agreement inked in August with Del-ray Beach-based Sunbeam Corp. under which the AMA would have endorsed some home health-care products such as thermometers and vaporizers in return for a share of the revenue from their sales. Thomas Reardon, chairman of the AMA Board of Trustees, has said a "breakdown" within the group's upper echelons allowed the Sunbeam deal to happen. The AMA tried to back out of the deal, and Sunbeam responded with a $20 million breach-of-contract suit. Three AMA executives involved in the deal resigned earlier. While the U.S. did not sign the land mine treaty, it will play a major role in paying for mine clearance. than $500 million for de-mining and victim assistance had been pledged during the conference. One of the treaty holdouts, China, said Thursday that it needs land mines to defend itself. The country supports a ban and promised last year not to export the devices, but has "legitimate requirements for self-defense," Tang Guo-qiang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said during a briefing in Beijing. Nations signing the treaty pledge to destroy all stockpiles of mines within four years and clear away all mines on their territory within 10 years. The United States, although not signing the treaty because of concerns about protecting its troops in Korea, plans to increase its already major role in paying for mine clearance. Axworthy, during a panel discussion Thursday morning, indicated he welcomed the U.S. role. "We cannot limit cooperation to the coalition that has just signed the treaty," he said, with the chief U.S. observer to the talks, Karl Inderfurth, nodding in agreement. The Associated Press OTTAWA Delegates who made history by signing a treaty banning land mines ended their three-day meeting Thursday with a rush of pledges to help pay for mine-clearance programs. Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, a key figure in rallying support for the ban, said during the closing session of the conference that the biggest challenges are ahead. These include raising hundreds of millions of dollars to help poor nations remove mines, ensuring that the treaty is enforced, and persuading major holdouts such as China, Russia and the United States to join the 121 nations that have endorsed the plan. "This is really just a beginning," said Axworthy, who released a plan of action for the next steps of the campaign. 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