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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

 
...and forms a picture eerily symmetrical with America's leaky borders.

DeLay, former GOP Congressman and House Majority Leader from Texas, has noticed what he believes to be a non-coincidence -- one which I bet has not been pointed out by your local baby-killing professor of statistics, no sir: a rough correspondence in the number of abortions since Roe v. Wade, and the number of "illegal" immigrants to the US in that same period. In an address to the recent National Convention of the College Republicans organization, DeLay said:
If you believe abortion, if you believe that doesn't affect you... I contend it affects you in immigration. If we had those 40 million children that were killed over the last 40 years, we wouldn't need the illegal immigrants to fill the jobs that they are doing today. Think about it.
I have thought about it, Tom, although it took your asking the question to open my eyes. Also hauntingly corresponding to that 40 million figure:
  • Estimated number of classmates.com users as of February, 2006. Also the number of subscribers to the Xanga "social networking" service as of July 2005.
  • Estimated number of deaths required for the Communist Party of China to seize power, according to the late Wáng Zhèn (one of the "Eight Immortals" of the Communist Party there, and presumably a knowledgeable source if perhaps inclined to inflation of the Party's ego).
  • Estimated number of deaths in developing countries due to wars and other state-sponsored violence in the post-World War II decades (according to historian Robert McNamara's 1991 paper, "The Post-Cold War World: Implications for Military Expenditure in the Developing Countries," and also according to a 2003 study by Milton Leitenberg of the Center for International and Security Studies).
  • Number of stars "in our galactic neighborhood" to be studied by NASA's proposed, but never launched, Full-sky Astrometric Mapping Explorer (FAME) astrometric satellite.
  • Number of credit-card holders whose identities were potentially compromised by the hacking of CardSystems Solutions, discovered in June 2005.
  • Number of crossings per second made by "bunches" of protons in the beam produced by the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
  • Estimated minimum number of speakers of Low Franconian languages such as Dutch, Afrikaans, and Flemish.
  • Estimated number of people who viewed performances in 2006 by "neo-burlesque" stripper Michelle "Toots" L'Amour, thanks in significant, er, part to her appearances that year on NBC's "America's Got Talent" and the Showtime network's "Sexual Healing."
  • In perhaps the most sinister -- bordering on the precognitive -- coincidence, the 1995 debut album of rock group The Bogmen was titled Life Begins at 40 Million.
[Above items all courtesy of Wikipedia]

(Creepily, DeLay has not been the first -- let alone only -- speaker on the right to make the connection between abortion and illegal immigration. He was preceded a few months back by Zell Miller, former Georgia governor and one-time Democrat. Miller, however, also credited Roe v. Wade for its negative effects on US military strength and the Social Security System, and hence diluted his message somewhat. Miller used a figure of 45 million abortions rather than DeLay's 40 million, and maybe it was the additional 5 million who could have been in Iraq or Afghanistan and/or paying into Social Security -- if only their mothers had cared about them!)

It's possible, we would contend, to discuss reasonably the question of whether there might or might not have been too many abortions (legal or otherwise) in the last 40 years. But tying that discussion to random hot-button issues like "illegal" immigration is cheap, unconstructive, misleading, and flagrantly inflammatory. Not to read too much into the former Congressman's words, but the least stupidity with which we can credit him is to imply that 40 million aborted fetuses might have grown up to occupy the cheap-labor jobs held by so many "illegal" immigrants. They sure wouldn't have grown up to become College Republican keynoters forced out of their elected positions because of finance scandals, eh, Tom?

(By the way, DeLay's "40 years" isn't quite right; it's been only 34 years since Roe v. Wade. Perhaps DeLay's loosey-goosey way with numbers led to some of his off-camera troubles.)

For the record, here's a YouTube video of DeLay's address; advance the time slider to around 3:45 unless you want to see all the stuff that precedes it:

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