Staff & Sling

Joseph E. Hébert, Ph.D.

98119 N 3745 Rd
Okemah, OK  74859
918 623 3078

Lies and Statistics on The Sanctity of Life Sunday

It has been said that the worst kind of lies are statistics. In point of fact, mathematics is just a language. And like any other language, it can be used to communicate truth, or it can be used to deceive. I often try to make this point by sharing a mathematical proof which concludes that 2 is equal to 1. If you're curious I've included it at the bottom of this article (click here), but the salient point is that it is immediately obvious that 2 is not equal to 1, so the "proof" must be a lie.

But not all mathematical lies are so easily noticed. When my wife and I were expecting our second son, our obstetrician routinely, quite matter-of-factly, scheduled Kat for an amniocentesis. She assured Kat that it was safe, telling her that there was no more than 1 chance in 200 of something going wrong. That sounds pretty safe, doesn't it?

According to the March of Dimes and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)[1], there is between 1 chance in 200 and 1 chance in 400 of the amniocentesis procedure causing miscarriage.

Now consider these statistics [2]:

5,764,143 men served in the Korean War. 33,667 were killed in combat. A man serving during the Korean War had 1 chance in 171 of being killed in combat.

8,752,000 men served in the Vietnam War. 47,393 were killed in combat. A man serving during Vietnam had 1 chance in 185 of being killed in combat.

"No more than 1 chance in 200" is not safe. "No more than 1 chance in 200" is comparable to the risk one takes by serving in the military during a combat war. Actually, the Persian Gulf War statistics are only 1 chance 3,162 of being killed in combat. If 1 in every 200, or even 1 in every 400, people who got on an airplane died for it, how many people would fly? How many times would you fly? If you sold a product or service that killed one out of every 200 of your clients, how long would it be before the lawyers bankrupted you? If 1 in every 200 coal miners were killed in cave-ins, how long would it take the mine industry to be shut down? But people in the medical profession routinely subject babies, babies that are entrusted into their care, to a procedure that will kill as many as 1 out of every 200 of them. Why?

I pointed out to Kat that I could think of no reason to have an amniocentesis except to find out if we wanted to kill our baby. Of course, I am not that kind of doctor so Kat asked our obstetrician. When Kat explained that killing our baby would not be an option regardless of circumstance, the doctor, our obstetrician, the medical professional charged with the responsibility of seeing our child safely through gestation and delivery, as though oblivious to the fact that it was she who matter-of-factly scheduled the procedure on the assumption that of course a defective baby would have to be killed, asked, "Then why are you having the amniocentesis?"

We didn't.

Now here are some more statistical deceptions. According to the 2000 World Almanac Book of Facts [3] the leading cause of death in the United States was heart disease, which killed 724,269 people, or 31% of the 2,338,075 total deaths. But the same page lists the total number of abortions as averaging 1,419,450 in each of the three years given. Apparently abortions do not count as deaths. If they did the total number of deaths would be 3,757,525 with abortion being the number one cause of death at 38% of that total. The 724,269 deaths from heart disease would be a distant second at only 19%.

And now for what should be the most disturbing statistic. Along with the average 1,419,450 abortions in each of those three years, the total number of births averaged 3,952,032. That means that in each of those three years an average of 5,371,482 babies were conceived, of which 26% were murdered.

In The United States of America, more than 1 out of every 4 babies are murdered in their mothers' womb. These numbers include everybody. Think about that. This means that more than 1 in 4 of all Americans under the age of 33 has been murdered. Think of all the people you know who are under 33 years old, and then realize that for every 3 of them one is missing.

In the 33 years since the Supreme Court ruled in the case Roe v Wade, from 1973 to 2006, assuming the three years cited above are typical, 46,841,850 babies, 46, 841, 850 Americans were murdered.

Does that make you proud to be an American?

A Proof; 2 = 1

Given that a = b (e.g. 1/2 = 2/4);

1) ab = a²

2) ab - b² = a² - b²

3) b(a - b) = (a + b) (a - b)

4) b = a + b

5) b = b + b

6) b = 2b

7) 1 = 2


I will leave it to the reader as an exercise to discover the deception in the above proof, trusting that it is intuitively obvious to all that it is indeed a lie.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis: recommendations for prenatal counseling. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, volume 44, number RR-9, July 21, 1995.

[2] Robert Famighetti, ed., The World Almanac Book of Facts 2000, (Primedia, 1999), 217

[3] Robert Famighetti, ed., The World Almanac Book of Facts 2000, (Primedia, 1999), 889 - 93