Now the good stuff. Gothamist was looking at WXnation this morning when we ran across this curious story. Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia needs to let the world know that they had a record number of babies born in June and July.
The hospital attributes this increase to the power outages that followed Hurricane Isabel last year. It is puzzling to Gothamist why a hospital would assume that, with no power, no running water, spoiling food, fallen trees and debris all over, people would start screwing like rabbits, and that all forms of birth control would suddenly fail or be abandoned. It is worrisome that the hospital has not one person trained in elementary statistics to see that births vary greatly from month to month. The irony of nurse manager Mary Ann Lucia quote "The mothers just want to get the babies out. They don't talk about how they got the babies in." was not lost on Gothamist.
This story has been uncritically picked up by over sixty news outlets. There is a persistent myth that birth rates jump after disasters such as last year's blackout, 1965 blackout or September 11th. In fact, it is commonly believed that the myth began after the 1965 blackout. As J. Richard Udry, who debunked the myth in 1970, has said it "is evidently pleasing to many people to fantasize that when people are trapped by some immobilizing event which deprives them of their usual activities, most will turn to copulation."