HB2010 Would Require Doctors to Lie

by Staff on March 30, 2011 · 1 comment

in State

House Republicans defeated attempts by Democrats to remove a controversial portion of House Bill 2010, introduced by Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero).

HB2010 would make abortions illegal in the State of Indiana after 20 weeks (instead of the current 24). The Senate previously passed a similar bill, but it is currently awaiting action in the House.

The (most) controversial portion of HB2010, however, would require doctors warn women about the risks of abortion, as well as “the possibility of increased risk of breast cancer following an induced abortion and the natural protective effect of a completed pregnancy in avoiding breast cancer”.

In other words, the Republicans want women to know that having an abortion could increase their risk of having breast cancer.

There’s only one problem — it’s not true.

The American Cancer Society reports that a study of all Danish women born between 1935 and 1978 (a total of 1.5 million) found “that induced abortion(s) had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer.”

Another study, reported on by Harvard researchers in 2007, studied women between the ages of 29 and 46 from 1993 until 2003. Again, “the researchers found no link between either spontaneous or induced abortions and breast cancer.”

A third study, conducted by the California Teachers Study, reported on more than 100,000 women in 2008. Yet again, “there was no difference in breast cancer risk between the group who had either spontaneous or induced abortions and those who had not had an abortion.”

The World Health Organization surmised that “results from epidemiological studies are reassuring in that they show no consistent effect of first trimester induced abortion upon a woman’s risk of breast cancer later in life.”

In addition, some of the findings from a US National Cancer Institute workshop (of more than 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk) were:

  • Breast cancer risk is increased for a short time after a full-term pregnancy
  • Induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk
  • Spontaneous abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk

The level of scientific evidence for these findings was considered to be “well established” (the highest level).

Among others, the highly respected American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice also agree, writing, “Early studies of the relationship between prior induced abortion and breast cancer risk were methodologically flawed. More rigorous recent studies demonstrate no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.”

Rep. Peggy Welch (D-Bloomington) — a nurse — tried to get that provision removed. “I support the bill,” said Welch, “but I do not support the (breast cancer) language because it is not evidence-based.”

The only physician in the House, Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) voted for Welch’s proposal, which was ultimately outvoted 41-52.

Rep. Gail Riecken (D-Evansville) also proposed an amendment to exempt women who became pregnant due to rape or incest. Rep. Turner urged his colleagues to oppose that amendment saying that it created “a giant loophole” and that a woman “could simply say that they’d been raped”.

HB2010 is eligible for a final vote later this week.

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