Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda—that’s Enda, not Edna, the creature—Kenny is being snubbed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley. Reason? Kenny is being “honored” by Barely Catholic—a.k.a. BC, a.k.a. Boston College—because Kenny is trying to muscle Ireland into legalizing abortions for women who are “at risk” of suicide.
O’Malley is AC, or All Catholic, which means he thinks that the last thing anybody who supports abortion needs is a pat on the back. O’Malley is taking a page that had fallen out of Cardinal Dolan’s playbook (and was thought forever lost) and is giving Kenny the silent treatment to teach him a lesson. No, strike that. To teach others the lesson that there a limits.
Anyway, Kenny is pushing the “The Protection of Life During Pregnancy” bill, another item which proves the tired old joke, “How do you tell when a politician is lying? When he names bills which do the opposite of what they proclaim.”
Idea is that young Irish ladies are so upset at discovering themselves pregnant (science has not yet discovered how this happens) that they commit self-murder on a grand scale. Kenny’s bill would allow scalpel-wielding men—I almost said “doctors”—to kill the lives inside these women so the women don’t kill themselves. Now if these ladies do commit self-murder, they kill two lives and not just one. Thus Kenny’s proposal makes utilitarian sense, right?
How many lives will the new law save? According to Ireland’s The Star, the suicide rate for women is about 5 per 100,000. Accept that for the sake of argument.
A lot of numbers coming up, but stick with me, you’re going to like this.
There are around 4.5 million folks in Ireland. Assuming half are females, then there are 2.25 million potential female victims of self-murder. The Central Statistics Office helps us narrow that. It says (in 2011) there were about 280 thousand women between 15-24 and another 730 thousand between 25 and 44, which together are the most fecund years. Make it 1 million potential pregnancies per year.
The CSO counted just over 75 thousand births in 2010 (a number which dropped from the previous year). Twins and higher numbers of birth are relatively rare, so assume (for a first blush) that each of these births came from one lady. That gives a pregnancy rate of 75 thousand divided by 1 million, which is 0.075, or 7.5%.
Now it gets a little tricky. Recall the suicide rate was 5 per 100,000, or 0.005%. That makes for about 50 dead bodies among women of child-bearing age (if we assume the same rate applies to women of all ages). How many of these were pregnant? Well, obviously those ladies who committed self-murder didn’t give birth, so our pregnancy rate is slightly underestimated, but it’s still a good first guess. Applying it to the number of self-murdered (50 * 0.075), we get about 4 (rounded up, to account for our under-estimating the pregnancy rate).
That means roughly 4 Irish pregnant women kill themselves each year. How many of these left notes saying it was because they were pregnant that they did the deed? Surely not all of them. It’s just a guess, though a reasonable one given all the myriad causes of suicide, but let’s say one-quarter.
Then in Ireland about 1 lady a year kills herself because she is pregnant.
Kenny’s bill would allow this woman to apply to the government to restrain her and have some white-garbed character kill the life inside her. But since one life is saved and another is purposely killed, the whole thing would really be a wash.
Time to put on our crystal ball hats (well mixed metaphors are a pleasure). The numbers show that about one lady a year would approach whatever new bureaucracy is created by Kenny’s bill. How many readers—a show of hands, please—believe it will be just one?
Well, there will be variability plus the statistics above are all approximations, so suppose I erred by an order of magnitude and then, God help us, double the result it in Kenny’s favor, and that it will be around 20 and not 1 lady a year who will cry for help. How many think it will be 20?
How many think 100? 1,000? More? How many believe that there will be a sudden epidemic of “suicidal behavior” once Kenny’s bill passes?
How many believe that Kenny’s plan will turn Ireland into an island of fibbers?