Friday, 1 February 2013

Amateur Statistics and Pro Grandstanding

Fetus fetishist and amateur statistician Patricia Maloney has been fooling around with StatsCan's CANSIM tables since at least last October when she found, well, something.

She wasn't sure what exactly but it sounded exciting.

CANSIM tables are kind of fun if a bit intimidating to the uninitiated or hard-of-thinking. Here's the one she was playing with.

You can add and remove data and then add, subtract, and come to odd conclusions.

Like 491 aborted fetuses were born 'alive'.

(Doncha love the smell of paradoxes in the morning?)

After a couple of months of harassing public officials who I'm sure had better things to do than patiently explain things to obsessed concerned citizens, she came up with the solitary 'evidence' cited by MPs Vellacott, Benoit, and Lizon in their clarion call to the RCMP to investigate some abortions as homicides.

Where to begin?

The lunacy of taking this woman's hobby seriously?

The idiocy of asking the RCMP to 'investigate' aggregated national statistics from over a nine-year period?

The allegation that medical professionals are committing homicides?

Let's start with the last one because that is how
LifeShite is already spinning this nonsense.

The story quotes Big Nurse and Fried Fetus Aficionado Stanek on her oft-repeated and never proven allegations of lots of failed abortions resulting in live fetuses (in the US, I point out). Then this:
In another grisly case, abortionist Kermit Gosnell was arrested in 2011 after allegedly slitting the spinal chords of hundreds of newborn babies who were born alive in the process of an attempted abortion.
(That case is also from the US. Gosnell was charged with eight counts of murder: one a woman who died after/during an abortion and seven infants supposedly born alive. His trial is scheduled for March.)

SHRIEK! We have dozens of Gosnells infesting hospital operating rooms, slitting itty-bitty spinal cords in Canada !!!!1!

Miranda Nelson at the Straight nails this as 'non-scientific pearl-clutching'.

(For those interested, here's some info [via deBeauxOs] on the viability of extremely pre-term babies.)

In short, the facts are laughable and the allegation is absurd.

It is just another -- if outrageous -- move in the Conservatives' relentless drive to turn back the clock.

I don't know very much about two of the MPs in this but both Lizon and Benoit have Double-Plus-Good anti-choice ratings. Amusingly, Benoit now seems to be backing off, as noted by our sharp-eyed pal Sixth Estate.

On the other hand, Fetus Lobby® poster-boy and forthright misogynist, Maurice Vellacott is a perennial fave around DJ! We even named our Gynophobe Award for him.

Here is DJ!'s collection of Vellacott's Greatest Grandstands: his promotion of BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science, his foot-stomping hissy fits, his endless attempts to institute a personhood law. Etc.

I'll just highlight two of his most recent ploys.

He awarded Queen's Jubilee doodads to not one, but two convicted serial clinic harassers, one of whom was actually in jail at the time.

And lest we forget what an opportunistic lying liar Vellacott is, on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, he attempted to wrest the spotlight onto himself by claiming that abortion was the most heinous form of fetus-bullying.

My advice to the RCMP? Consider the source. And also consider that Vellacott may well have you investigating fetus-bullying next.

ADDED: There's a small matter of jurisdiction as well.

ADDED: Globe editorial.
And the letter itself is troubling because it betrays a misunderstanding of the law, and of the dangers of politicians turning to the Mounties to investigate cases based on a personal political agenda.
Can you say 'police state'?


Sixth Estate said...

You'll know more about this than I do, but this is particularly obscene because at least as I understand it, abortions after 20 weeks in Canada are mainly for medical as opposed to elective reasons.

Are these clowns seriously arguing that it would be murder to perform an abortion in order to save the life of a pregnant woman? Because that's what they seem to be arguing. Shades of that case in Ireland a few weeks back.

fern hill said...

According to this, fewer than 1% of abortions in Canada are done past 20 weeks. And yes, mostly because of fetal anomaly or the woman's health/life.

Sometimes, especially in the case of very young women or women with emotional or mental health problems, the delay is due to denial or ignorance.

No abortions past 24 weeks are done in Canada.

Anonymous said...

I hope the truth comes out soon.

It would seem that plenty of people, even normally rational pro-choicers, are freaking out, and believing this bullshit.

I keep hearing 'statscan doesn't lie'

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