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Abortion pill is the most common method to end a pregnancy in the U.S., CDC says

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Boxes of the medication Mifepristone used to induce a medical abortion are prepared for patients at Planned Parenthood health center in Birmingham, Alabama, March 14, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

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The abortion pill is the most common method to terminate a pregnancy in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC, in a report published Wednesday, found that about 51% of abortions in 2020 were performed with the pill at or before the ninth week of pregnancy. From 2019 to 2020, abortions with the pill increased 22%, according to the report.

The pill, mifepristone, has become a flashpoint in the battle over reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to abolish federal abortion rights in June. Twelve states have outlawed abortion since then, but banning the pill is difficult because it has become easier to obtain.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Food and Drug Administration suspended a requirement that women obtain mifepristone in person, allowing them to receive the pill by mail and at retail pharmacies. The drug agency announced in December 2021 that it would make this change permanent.

Anti-abortion groups last week asked a federal court in Texas to overturn the FDA’s more than two-decade-old approval of mifepristone. The groups’ attorneys are from the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization involved in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that led the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and eight other senators asked the FDA in a letter last week to to expand access to mifepristone by approving its use for miscarriage management. This would improve women’s access to the pill in states that are restricting access, the senators wrote.

The FDA has approved mifepristone in combination with the tablet misoprostol as a method to terminate pregnancies before the 10th week. Mifepristone prevents the pregnancy from continuing and misoprostol causes contractions that empty the uterus. The method is 96% to 98% effective at ending early pregnancies.

The abortion pill has become an increasingly common way to end a pregnancy in the U.S. Abortions with the pill increased 154% from 2011 to 2020, according to CDC data.

More than 620,000 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2020, a 15% decrease since 2011. Almost all abortions, 93%, are performed at or before the 13th week of pregnancy, and 80% are done at or before the ninth week, according to the CDC data.

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Surgical abortions are the second most common method to end a pregnancy. About 40% of all abortions were performed with surgical procedures at or before that 13th week of pregnancy, according to the CDC.



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Cramer’s lightning round: AGNC Investment is not a buy

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Paramount Global: “Too cheap to believe. … I don’t know where it bottoms, but it sure isn’t close to the top.”

Hasbro Inc: “I don’t like the earnings, and I think that Mattel‘s actually cheaper.”

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Citigroup Inc: “The book value is so different from where the common stock is, the price. Something is very wrong there.”

Cramer's lightning round: AGNC Investment is not a buy

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Jim Cramer says not to fear bearish economic talk from bank CEOs – there’s no ‘financial apocalypse’

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Jim Cramer says not to fear bearish economic talk from bank CEOs
CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Wednesday told investors that they should take gloomy economic commentary from bank executives with a grain of salt. 

“Don’t panic the next time you hear one of these bank CEOs say something terrifying — they don’t know the impact of their words,” he said, adding, “Sure, we’ve got plenty of problems, but they’re not financial apocalypse problems.”

The S&P 500 slipped for a fifth trading session on Wednesday as investors mulled the possibility of a recession.

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Adding to investors’ worries, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said on Tuesday that inflation is eating away at consumers’ pocketbooks and could create a recession. 

The chief executives of Bank of America and Wells Fargo also warned that the economy is slowing down as Americans cut back on spending.

“Memo to America’s bankers: Don’t try to frighten us. Don’t try to get us to sell everything,” Cramer said. “Don’t be Grinches telling us a hurricane could be coming.”

He urged the chief executives to remind investors of what’s going right in the Fed’s fight against inflation, and gave an example of what he believes one of the CEOs should have said: 

“There will come a day when the Fed will be done tightening, although that may be when the S&P 500 is a good bit lower. But I don’t know if I want to take the chance of possibly missing the [next] big rally. Hey, maybe buy small,” he said.

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Disclaimer: Cramer’s Charitable Trust owns shares of Wells Fargo.

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Mortgage demand falls again even as rates sink further

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A “For Sale” sign in front of a home in Sacramento, California, on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

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Lower mortgage rates are pulling some current homeowners back to the refinance market, but not enough to offset the drop in demand from homebuyers.

Mortgage application volume fell 1.9% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($647,200 or less) decreased to 6.41% from 6.49%, with points decreasing to 0.63 from 0.68 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That is 73 basis points lower than it was a month ago but still more than three full percentage points higher than it was a year ago.

Applications to refinance a home loan rose 5% for the week but were still 86% lower than the same week one year ago. There are still precious few current borrowers who can benefit from a refinance at today’s higher interest rates. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 28.7% of total applications from 26.1% the previous week.

Housing has a fair amount of room to fall, says Morgan Stanley's Egan

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 3% for the week and were 40% lower than the same week one year ago.

“Purchase activity slowed last week, with a drop in conventional purchase applications partially offset by an increase in FHA and USDA loan applications,” noted Joel Kan, an MBA economist in a release.

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The average loan size for homebuyer applications decreased to $387,300 — its lowest level since January 2021, which is consistent with slightly stronger government applications and a rapidly cooling home-price environment, according to Kan.

Mortgage rates haven’t moved much this week, with no significant economic news making headlines. The next big shift will likely come next week, with the much-anticipated monthly read on inflation.



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