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Abortion, Breast Cancer, and a Better Focus

by Matt Abbott

In recent years, a large segment of the right-to-life movement has been focusing on the after effects of abortion - the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences that the life-taking procedure has on the women who procure it.

It is certainly understandable. The effects can be profound, and many women do experience them to varying degrees. For instance, there is the condition known as Post-Abortion Syndrome. After - sometimes years after - the abortion is committed, if the defense mechanisms of repression and denial prove "unsuccessful," the woman might experience regret, remorse, shame, lowered self-esteem, insomnia, nightmares, flash-backs, hostility toward men, crying, despair, recourse to drugs and alcohol, and even suicide attempts ("Why Can't We Love Them Both?" by Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke, Hayes Publishing Company, p. 47-48).

Now the disputed abortion-breast cancer link is back in the news. An international team of scientists, led by Professor Valerie Beral of the University of Oxford, says that no such link exists.

"We can be really definitive that neither induced abortions nor miscarriages increase breast cancer risk," Beral is quoted as saying in a March 26 Reuters news story by Patricia Reaney.

The results of the team's research have been published in the Lancet medical journal.

And from a March 26 Washington Post story by Shankar Vedantam: "...[Joel] Brind, a professor of biology and endocrinology at Baruch College of the City University of New York, ...has written widely about a possible abortion link with breast cancer. Brind said the Lancet paper excluded one well-conducted prospective study that had showed a link between abortion and breast cancer, while including three others that were flawed. He accused the peer-review process that approved the study for publication, and the Lancet, of being 'corrupt.' 'If they were not corrupt, they would never allow garbage studies like this to get published,' he said. 'These studies are junk science.'"

For the record, I support Brind.

But here lies the problem. The abortion industry will be shouting from the rooftops the now-"discounted" abortion-breast cancer link. And many times over, no doubt. Some right-to-life advocates will try to refute the aforementioned research, but I'm afraid it will be in vain. For as we all know, lies, if told often enough, will be believed by many as truth.

Therefore, I think it's time right-to-life advocates - whom I will refer to as "we," because I am among them - focus primarily on the morality of the abortion procedure. Abortion kills an innocent human being; hence, it should be outlawed by the government, whose main duty is to protect the common good and thus the fundamental right to life, from conception/fertilization until natural death.

Simple enough, no?

You see, if we continue to imply that saving babies is only secondary to our compassion and concern for abortion-bound women, we are doing the entire right-to-life movement a disservice. (Granted, not all right-to-life advocates are in this "Let's first and foremost portray the movement as compassionate toward women" category; but many are.)

Yes, of course we are concerned about women's health and well-being. Very much so. But to even imply that our concern about women's health - not saving babies from abortion - is the primary reason for warning women about the abortion-breast cancer link is to be, quite frankly, disingenuous. Abortion supporters easily recognize this disingenuousness, and they use it to their advantage. And, with this supposedly new research "discounting" the abortion-breast cancer link, they have even more ammunition to use against us.

So the main message, if you will, from us right-to-life advocates should be this and only this: abortion kills - always. Sure, the abortion supporters respond even to this blunt message, but they do so with far less cogency than with the "Abortion will hurt you physically, emotionally and spiritually" and "Abortion increases the risk of breast cancer" assertions, however true those might be.


(Matt C. Abbott is the former executive director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee and the former director of public affairs for the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, respectively.)


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