Washington, DC -- Legislators in at least 11 states are pushing for pro-life laws to require abortion practitioners to tell women that abortion could raise their breast cancer risk.
Mississippi is the only state that currently has a "women's right to know" law requiring abortion practitioners to warn about a risk of breast cancer. Although Louisiana's and Kansas' "right to know" laws don't specifically mention breast cancer, the informed-consent booklets provided to all women seeking abortions do.
Proponents of the warnings describe themselves as "pro-woman" as well as "pro-life."
"I see it not as an abortion issue, but as a women's health issue," says Peter Kinder, a GOP state senator in Missouri.
The debate has also spread into the courts, where abortion facilities in North Dakota and New Jersey and an abortion practitioner who works at the latter have been sued for not warning women about breast cancer.
A 19-year-old woman who had an abortion two years ago has sued the New Jersey abortion facility and abortion practitioner. A pro-life advocate has sued the North Dakota abortion facility for false advertising because its literature said abortion did not increase breast cancer risk.
The lawsuits are believed to be the first of their kind.
An analysis of major studies related to the link between abortion and breast cancer have shown a definite increased risk from abortion. There are 27 out of 34 worldwide studies published since 1957 linking abortion with breast cancer. Thirteen of 14 U.S. studies implicate abortion as a risk factor. Seventeen are statistically significant. However, because pro-abortion groups have obfuscated the issue and turned science into politics, the World Health Organization, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have yet to adopt a position acknowledging the link.
Karen Malec, president of the Coalition for Abortion/Breast Cancer in Palos Heights, Ill., says the medical establishment, which has long held abortion to be safe, is trying to cover up the cancer link. "This is going to be a public relations fiasco for them," Malec says.
Dr. Joel Brind, president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute and the international expert who completed a review and meta-analysis of the worldwide research in 1996, agrees. His work has shown that research in Denmark and Sweeden has attempted to hide the abortion-breast cancer link.