Article: Calm Down About Amy Coney Barrett’s Comments on Abortion and Our Unrestricted Access to Guns, Just Do the Math
By Francois Bereaud
Even though I’m a man with 0% percent chance of getting pregnant, I gotta admit, that on first glance, Amy Coney Barrett’s abortion comments were a bit concerning. Essentially, she told women with unwanted pregnancies to suck it up, just carry those little suckers for nine months and then adopt ‘em out. Hell, she didn’t say it, but maybe she’d even adopt a few herself. She’s a fine Christian lady with a good track record in that regard. Nevertheless, her line of thinking seemed a bit harsh until, like a good math professor, I looked at the data. According to a recent study published by the CDC, life expectancy in this country is 80.2 years for females but only 74.5 years for males, a whopping 5.7 year difference. Let’s take pregnancy to be 9 months. [As an aside, I’ve seen on Twitter where some women say it’s closer to 10 months. I know Greg Abbott and some of his good old boys in Texas have some expertise here but they didn’t get back to me so I’m going with 9 for now.] So, 9 months is .75 years and if we divide 5.7 by .75 we get 7.6. Which means, with the extra life span, women can have 7.6, okay no partials, 7 pregnancies. Granted, that seems like a lot, but for men, well, we’re just dead during those years.
Now, I’ve also seen a lot of comparisons to recent gun cases. Specifically, Congress and the Supreme Court do not value life by not imposing any limitations on gun ownership such as background checks or waiting periods. These situations are not alike and math can help us here too. Start with pregnancy. When I was younger, I could wake up from a deep sleep, fire off a baby seed, and be back asleep, all within two minutes, no waiting period. But now that I’m older, I don’t sleep so good and I hear things in the night. I’m not a gun owner but these noises tell me I might need to stand my ground at any moment. Suppose I were to need a gun at 3 am: I’d have to get up, Google the gun shop, since I don’t live in Texas, probably wait til they open, then drive there and buy one. Not to mention, I imagine there’s lots of choices so it might take additional time to decide (though an AR-15 seems pretty standard these days). That all adds up to a de facto waiting period right there. But, there’s a compromise position to stake out. The good men who comprise the majority of Congress could reasonably impose a waiting period on half the population, namely women. Let’s say 90 days. I know, I know, I hear the screaming, how is it fair that women would have to wait but not men? Back to life expectancy. 90 days is nothing: while us men are dead, women will get 5.7 more years with their guns. Finally, there’s the argument that men’s reduced life expectancy might have something to do with guns. I haven’t researched the matter in depth, but there seems to me to be a confusion between causation and correlation. I’d explain that concept here, but I’m creeping up on the word limit so you’ll have to look that up. Or better yet, take my class.
To conclude, let’s go back to Amy Coney Barrett. She’s fifty so that gives her 30.2 years to live. I’m guessing that Supreme Court justices get pretty good health care so let’s round her up to 85. If she adopts a baby every nine months, that’s 46 babies saved over the remainder of her lifespan. Finally, let’s consider her professional possibilities. The Supreme Court has averaged 76 decisions per year over the last 12 years. That means in the next 35 years, Amy Coney Barrett will get to weigh in on 2660 decisions.
Buckle up that car seat baby, it’s gonna be a fucking bumpy ride.
Francois Bereaud has written a novel and two short story collections which he dreams of publishing and seeing in the window of his beloved neighborhood bookstore. You can find some of his published stories online and in print. In his non-writing life, he is a husband, dad, full time community college math professor, retired youth soccer coach, mentor in the Congolese refugee community, and mediocre hockey player.