Let us Give Thanks!
Abortion According to the count at abortiondocs.org, 21 more abortion clinics have closed in the United States in 2017. Of the 2,176 US clinics when they peaked in 1991, about 76% have closed. In addition, Planned Parenthood clinics that do “abortion consultation” instead of doing abortions themselves have also been closing, as we learned while researching PP centers this summer through our Grassroots Defunding project (finding alternatives to Planned Parenthood). Since then, Wyoming has closed its one center, making it and North Dakota the first two US states with no PP centers at all.
War While there’s still overwhelmingly too much war, especially civil wars, the practice of major countries spending many years in fighting each other has clearly ebbed:
Graphic from Our World in Data
Nuclear Weapons The United Nations has negotiated a treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, now in the process of being ratified. It goes into effect once 50 countries have ratified it. Of course, the small minority of nations that actually have nuclear weapons object, and have no intention of agreeing to it. But it’s progress, and it helps add stigma to possessing nuclear weapons, which can help in the future. The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize went to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, so the cause of abolition got a boost of prestige.
Death Penalty There were over 300 executions in the United States in 1995, down to 30 in 2015. The downward trend happens as jurors are more likely to hear the life stories and mental health problems of defendants. A survey published in 2017 of 500 potential California jurors found: “A final question asked whether the fact that executions have not been conducted in California for a decade impacts whether jurors would be favorable towards the death penalty. We found that, across all types of attitudes towards the death penalty, that fact made jurors less inclined to sentence a person to death. Rare punishments may seem more arbitrary, even to those who find them morally acceptable.” Additionally, Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty reports a jump in US Republican lawmakers sponsoring death penalty repeal legislation. By 2016, ten times as many Republicans sponsored repeal bills compared to the year 2000.
Quotation of the Week Ben Stein I cannot tell you . . . how to be rich. But I can tell you how to feel rich, which is far better, let me tell you firsthand, than being rich. Be grateful . . . It is the only totally reliable get-rich-quick scheme.
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