Don't downplay risks of abortion

by William Robert Johnston
in The Brownsville Herald, June 29, 2003, p. E3.

Those who call themselves pro-choice contend that abortion has hardly any negative health consequences--even implying that it improves health. This is but one of many delicate fictions vigorously promoted by abortion advocates.

Consider the recent letter by Kae McLaughlin of the Texas arm of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. She criticizes the Women's Right to Know Act, which in particular mandates provision of information to abortion seekers. But what of her medical claims--for example, that abortion is not linked to breast cancer?

From 1957 through last year, 28 out of 39 medical studies had indicated an increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortion. A meta-review of these studies has found a 30 percent elevated risk. Some in the field have attributed 5,000 such cancer cases per year to abortion, disproportionately among younger women.

Groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood reject the evidence, claiming the studies are biased and tending to cite a single study with negative findings conducted in Denmark. As it turns out, significant bias exists in this study. But the bulk of evidence suggests a link and is supported by other evidence: the undisputed protective effect of earlier childbearing, review of hormonal influences, and more.

Those who deny any link might be correct if they limited their claim to saying that the evidence linking abortion and breast cancer is ambiguous. Some studies say yes, some say no. But even then, given the indicated possibility of a link, why the adamant refusal to warn women?

If this were any legitimate medical procedure, we would routinely warn patients of the risk. Indeed, products have been outlawed on the basis of far weaker epidemiological evidence. But for some reason abortion is held to a different standard. Abortion proponents say they're about "choice", but they clearly come down on the wrong side of informed consent and women's safety.

Underreported risks of abortion abound. Fifty studies have found that women who have abortions have significantly elevated risks of later births being premature, with associated health risks to those babies. Other research indicates links to immediate complications, sterility, subsequent miscarriages, ectopic births and maternal deaths.

Many women who obtain abortions experience emotional trauma, even years later. This is strongly downplayed by abortion providers. The fact is we have established a process of misinforming vulnerable women--particularly minors--and pushing them into abortions they later regret. This is profitable for abortion providers, but it is not compassionate.

The problem is not just with pro-abortion groups: government health agencies decline to properly address abortion safety as well. The National Cancer Institute, for example, has recently been flip-flopping on the issue. NCI's latest statement flatly rejects the majority of studies and denies any connection--a political whitewash, proceedings would suggest. The resultant report has no scientific merit.

State and federal authorities don't even consistently gather statistics on abortion. Abortion advocates love to claim that abortion is safer than childbearing. But given that statistics are not maintained on abortion and post-abortion complications, who can believe such claims?

The pro-abortionists rely upon misinformation at every turn. Take, for example, their claims that 1 percent of abortions are in the cases of rape and incest, and 6 percent in cases of health of the mother or baby (fetus in their nomenclature). These figures derive from a single AGI/Planned Parenthood survey conducted 15 years ago.

Even these tiny figures are exaggerated, it turns out. Six states gather statistics, verifying that the AGI numbers are inflated by about a factor of three. Fully 98 percent of abortions are purely elective. For each abortion in the case of rape, there are at least 60 by women who can easily support a child, but don't want to change their lifestyle.

The status of abortion in our society rests on a foundation of lies: from the premise of the case of Roe v. Wade, to the health and emotional harm to women, to the reasons it occurs, and more. The defensiveness of pro-abortionists is becoming evident in their internal publications, because truth is threatening to emerge on several fronts.

The pro-abortion community has become increasingly defensive and irrational. They have come to a point where they fear the introduction of scientific facts or any hint of a rational policy. In their view, the current pro-abortion status quo is a fragile fašade--and perhaps they're right.

Note that all these issues are independent of the status of the unborn. Such status is not an objective issue, but it is one increasingly addressed by medical knowledge--and not in favor of the status quo. In this age of ultrasound and prenatal surgery, fewer and fewer doctors are willing to perform abortions. The "pro-choice" forces have responded by forcing doctors in New York and elsewhere to perform abortions in violation of their personal convictions.

If there is an extreme position, it is support of abortion as it exists today: promoted for any reason, regardless of the consequences for the woman or child. Women should question a political group that calls themselves "pro-choice", but reacts so violently to informed choice.

© 2003 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 29 June 2003.
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