Axios Northwest Arkansas

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Good Wednesday morning. Glad you're here.

β›ˆοΈ Watch out for thunderstorms this afternoon; otherwise, partly cloudy and breezy with highs around 80.

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ Situational awareness: A statue of Daisy Bates β€” activist, journalist and mentor to the Little Rock Nine β€” will be dedicated today at the U.S. Capitol.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios NW Arkansas member Sandy Stevens!

Today's newsletter is 882 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: 1 in 3 Arkansas births are by C-section

Line chart showing the annual share of babies delivered by cesarean section in Arkansas and the U.S. from 2016 to 2023. In 2016, 31.9% of U.S. babies were delivered by c-section, compared to 32.4% in 2023. In Arkansas, the share changed from 32.3% to 33.8% in the time period.
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rate of cesarean births in Arkansas is above the national average, new data show.

By the numbers: In Arkansas, the 2023 rate for C-sections was nearly 34% but has declined since 2018, according to provisional CDC data.

Why it matters: The World Health Organization considers 10-15% "ideal."

Zoom out: The national C-section delivery rate increased in 2023 to 32.4%, from 32.1% in 2022.

  • That's the highest rate since 2013 and the fourth annual increase after the rate generally declined from 2009 to 2019, the CDC says.

Yes, but: An increase in C-sections doesn't necessarily mean the rate of unnecessary procedures has risen β€” other factors are at play.

Patients are sicker overall.

Repeat C-sections account for many procedures, even though the old "too posh to push" idea is not widely held.

  • "If you have already had a C-section, you will almost always be offered β€” and indeed the default is likely to be β€” a second," says Emily Oster, economist and author of "The Unexpected," her book about navigating pregnancy complications, due out April 30.

Between the lines: Hospital politics might also come into play.

  • For example, there are cases when doctors are more inclined to perform C-sections, because that option would less likely lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit, Van Dis says.
  • And health care system reimbursements for C-sections are generally higher than for vaginal births. "Financial incentives almost always play some role," Oster says.

Vaginal deliveries also come with their own risks.

  • And there are many situations β€” like in cases of breech birth, certain placenta problems or severe preeclampsia β€” where a C-section should be performed, Van Dis says.

What we're watching: Expanding access to doula care β€” as new legislation in New York does β€” could lower the rates of C-sections.

  • A number of studies already suggest that the presence of doulas lower the use of C-sections, Oster says.
  • Doulas are there for psychological support during the often-overwhelming labor process and to help with birth positions that could avert the need for a C-section, van Dis says.
  • "Doulas should be in every hospital … paid for," she adds.

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2. Arkansas, Missouri sue over Biden administration's Title IX

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin. Screenshot: Courtesy of the Office of the Attorney General

Led by Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin and Missouri AG Andrew Bailey, six GOP states filed a lawsuit challenging the Biden administration's recent changes to Title IX.

Why it matters: The new rules expand protections for LGBTQ+ students.

  • School districts across the U.S. may have to decide if they'll comply with federal regulations while conflicting with their state's position on a key civil rights law dating back to 1972.

The big picture: Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota are named as plaintiffs in the suit, along with Amelia Ford, a female athlete and minor from Brookland, Arkansas.

Flashback: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed an executive order last week prohibiting the state from following the new Title IX rules.

Catch up quick: The new federal rule protects against "discrimination based on sex stereotypes, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics." The law had been more narrowly applied under guidance from former President Trump's administration, Axios' Sareen Habeshain writes.

What he's saying: Title IX "has been about opening opportunities for women, not shutting them down," Griffin said at a press conference announcing the suit.

  • He claimed the changes are arbitrary and capricious, and that the law needs to go through Congress to be changed.
  • "If you want to change the law, there's a process for that, as outlined on Schoolhouse Rock, and it's on YouTube," Griffin said.

The bottom line: The revisions to Title IX are scheduled to take effect Aug. 1.

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3. Kitchen Sink: Basin of information

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ’° Tyson Foods profited $145 million in its second quarter despite a drop in sales. (Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

πŸ—£ Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon will speak at the University of Arkansas commencement Friday. (University of Arkansas)

🏫 Fayetteville Public Schools purchased about 32 acres on East Joyce Boulevard for $4.6 million. Superintendent John Mulford previously told Axios the district plans to build a new Woodland Junior High near Joyce Boulevard. (Northwest Arkansas Business Journal)

4. Summer concerts added; $25 tickets available this week

Gladys Knight is coming to the The Momentary. Photo: Dave Simpson/WireImage

Soul legends Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will perform together Sept. 13 at The Momentary, the Bentonville venue announced yesterday.

  • Also, TLC and Shaggy will be in concert Sept. 6.

If you go: Tickets to both shows go on sale to the public Friday. Get general admission tickets to Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight for $115, and TLC and Shaggy for $69.

See full Momentary lineup

The intrigue: Today marks the beginning of Live Nation's concert week, when some concert tickets can be bought for $25, including several at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion. Find a show.

The AMP has announced additions to its lineup, including:

  • Aug. 2 β€” MEGADETH. $30-$100
  • Sept. 1 β€” Glass Animals. $35-$125

See the full Walmart AMP lineup

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Thanks to Fadel Allassan for editing and James Gilzow for copy editing this newsletter.

🌭 Alex is reading about processed foods.

πŸ† Worth is reading through the 2024 Pulitzer Prize entries.