Monday, April 28, 2008

Statistics

Here's a fine example of why it's next to impossible to actually learn anything from the Mexican press.

Querétaro hosted a number of "abortion = bad" events over the weekend, marking the first anniversary of law legalizing abortion in one tiny area of the country, Mexico City. Rather unsurprisingly, a representative of the National Network of Young Catholics for the Right to Choose announced at a press conference that Querétaro is one of the top five states in the number of women making that trip down to Mexico City. Even less surprisingly, he made this assertion without being able to say where, exactly the state ranks, and then mentioned matter-of-factly that he "didn't have any figures." (I'm not saying I doubt him, of course. I'm just saying that maybe the guy might want to read up on the subject matter before, say, holding a press conference.) Still, this is considered solid enough to merit a banner headline on the front page of the local paper.

(But absolutely surprisingly, there is an organization called National Network of Young Catholics for the Right to Choose. In Querétaro - where Benedict XVI is considered a little too liberal to be a good pope. I'll be sending them a check as soon as I get back.)

The article then goes on to note that the "maternal mortality" rate (which I take to mean "deaths in childbirth") in Mexico is 718,000 deaths a year - which would be true only if "year" meant the same as "half-millennium," since the actual figure is closer to 1400.

As long as you're willing to spend 15-20 minutes doing follow-up research online, the local press can be quite enlightening.

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