Tuesday, January 8, 2019
59 Million and Counting
On the 46th anniversary of the court cases Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legalized abortion, we remember the 59 million lives lost to abortion since January 22, 1973.
Large numbers like 59 million can be difficult to wrap your brain around, because there aren’t many tangible examples of numbers that big. We decided to put together a few examples of what the number 59 million could represent.
One common use for numbers is, of course, the dollar. $59 million could go a long way—it could send just a few kids to college, or it could buy several different houses and properties. There are also a few less practical, but no less interesting, ways to spend that much money. $59 million could buy front-row, Saturday night Hamilton tickets on Broadway for the entire city of Lansing, MI, with a few thousand tickets left over. $59 million could buy the famous wedding dress of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, 152 times. $59 million could buy one of Washington, D.C.’s historical monuments of either Presidents Lincoln, Washington, or Jefferson, and you would still have few million left to save towards your next favorite monument.
In addition to signifying what an item was sold for, numbers quantify how many items were sold or how many people bought it. In movie sales, Avatar holds the world record for the highest-grossing film ever made. 97 million tickets were sold while it was in the theater. The missing 59 million people could have increased the tickets sold by 60%. Other famous box office hits, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Spiderman 2, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo, and Back to the Future, each sold around 59 million tickets. The missing 59 million people could have doubled the tickets sold for these movies.
If each person lost to abortion was represented by 1 second of silence, this would take 683 days— nearly two years—of silence.
If each person lost to abortion was represented by one square mile, the space needed would be 2 million square miles more than the land area of the globe.
Though 59 million people can’t realistically be in one physical place, millions can come together through the World Wide Web. Millions of people can be united in one interest or follow the same celebrity on social media. President Trump, for example, has around 57 million followers on Twitter. The missing 59 million people could double his Twitter account. Former President Obama has 20 million followers on Instagram. The missing 59 million people could quadruple his Instagram account.
One physical space that does give a comparable example of millions of people together is large cities. On the crowded streets of a city like New York, you can barely stretch out your arm without it hitting someone else. Even then, it is impossible to visualize how many people are really in the entire city. But imagine for a moment the busy streets, packed coffee shops and restaurants, and sky-high office, hotel, and apartment buildings in some of the world’s most popular cities: Beijing, Tokyo, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. Now realize: the entire population of these six famous cities combined comes to roughly 3 million people less than the missing 59 million.
If the people in these cities all disappeared from one cause, would the world pay attention? Because they had faces that were visible, and they could make sounds you might hear? Or would there still be some who made excuses, saying that the world was overpopulated anyway, or that so many of those people probably lived in poverty or with disabilities, and led worthless lives anyway?
Let us be the first to pay attention and stand up for the 59 million lives lost and be the first to recognize the sanctity of every human life.