Wednesday, February 02, 2005


The anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision recently came and went (as do we all), and there was a quite sizable march against abortion in San Francisco, and a lot of hand-wringing on both sides of the issue. One charge that I heard leveled by the anti-abortion faction was that since Roe became law in 1973, an estimated 45,000,000 abortions had been performed. I found this number startlingly and even suspiciously large, but both sides evidently agree on the total. And one side, of course, is really steamed about it.

The offended side pointed out that this figure, 45,000,000, was roughly the same as the total population of 17 states. Their website displayed this on a map of the United States. As it happens, most of the states in their 17 were red ones: Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Mississippi and the like. Right away, you start to see those 45 million in more pragmatic, even cynical terms. You might even ask yourself, "Would that in fact be my idea of a dream come true? To live in a land with the equivalent of TWO Texases, Idahos, Oklahomas, et cetera?"

Look around you, in either the local or national sense, and ask yourself, "Exactly how wonderful would it be to have another forty five million people here?" Except that it would actually be more than that, because many of those extra people, starting in 1973 (at the rate of 1,406,250 per year; I did the math) would have grown up and, around 1990, begun having their own kids. Right now today, we would have 16,875,000 additional people aged 21 to 32, the prime breeding years. So the real total of extra people would probably be well over fifty million.

Fifty million more Americans than there are now?
I'm just tossing out numbers, now, but I reckon that would mean approximately:
---30,000,000 more cars on the road
---30,000,000 fewer available parking spaces
---four more people, on average, per supermarket checkout line
---42 more minutes to complete a typical Bay Bridge crossing
---20,000,000 more unemployed people looking for work
---56 kids per classroom in grade schools and high schools
---four months more waiting time for good theater tickets
---30 percent more trailer parks than there are already
---2,000,000 more convicted felons out on early parole due to prison overcrowding
---4,000 more Starbucks
---7,500 more rap groups
---five more hours per week waiting on Hold
---three days in line to take your kids to the next Harry Potter movie...

If you think housing is too expensive, education too competitive, jobs too hard to find, crime too rampant and everything too crowded as it is, just take all that and add about 20 percent. My advice to pro-choicers: Pray for the prolonged good health of John Paul Stevens. And to abortion foes: Be careful what you wish for.


Blogger ....J.Michael Robertson said...

To be fair many of those 45 million abortions would have been done anyway with a rusty coat hanger, thus producing more shame, more pain and more death. That would have been a learning experience, I must say.

February 2, 2005 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger B. Wieder said...

I considered including that observation, but decided it might just give the posting too lighthearted a tone.

February 3, 2005 at 12:49 PM  
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December 14, 2006 at 5:45 PM  

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