In Indiana, there's a bill on the table that would force doctors to tell pregnant women seeking abortions that fetuses can feel pain and having an abortion could increase their risk of breast cancer. It would also force ladies to view an ultrasounds of their fetus before going through with an abortion (unless they stated their refusal in writing). Indiana isn't the first state to embrace the "theory" that abortion causes breast cancer—states like Alaska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia already do it in state-sanctioned abortion counseling materials. Even though, again and again, physicians call bullshit on this "theory."
In February 2003, the U.S. National Cancer Institute brought together "more than 100 of the world's leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk." They found that neither induced nor spontaneous abortions lead to an increase in breast cancer risk. In fact, the risk is actually increased for a short period after a woman carries a pregnancy to full term (i.e., gives birth to a child). According to ACS, these findings were considered "well established," which is the highest level for scientific evidence.
In June 2009, the highly respected American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Gynecologic Practice wrote, "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."
Meanwhile, another bill introduced in the Indiana legislature would immediately cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and other businesses that operate a "facility where abortions are performed"—even though the primary function for Planned Parenthood is to provide services like STD testing, birth control, breast exams, pap smears, and other preventative care for women.
Before I started writing the news, I always assumed the "war on women's health" was hyperbole. But every day, lawmakers across the country are proving me wrong—they're committed to ensuring that their theological values trump women's health. It's enraging and disgusting.