Court Says Woman Can’t Sue Over Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 25, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Court Says Woman Can’t Sue Over Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 25, 2003

Fargo, ND ( — The North Dakota Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a pro-life activist can’t sue the state’s only abortion facility because it is misleading women about the link between abortion and breast cancer.

Amy Jo Kjolsrud, a former state resident now living in Louisiana, sued the Red River Women’s Clinic for false advertising. Kjolsrud was a sidewalk counselor outside the abortion business and she says it mislead women into thinking abortions would not increase the risk for contracting breast cancer.

One brochure said medical research did not support any claim that abortion increased a woman’s risk for breast cancer. However, 16 out of 17 statistically significant studies report increased breast cancer risk among women having abortions and 7 studies report a more than twofold increased risk.

The unanimous decision by the state court ends the lawsuit and affirms a local judge’s dismissal of it last year.

Lawyers for the abortion facility say Kjolsrud had no legal standing to sue since she had not had an abortion there.

However, Kjolsrud had argued she had standing because North Dakota law allows "any person acting for the interests of itself, its members or the general public" to seek a court injunction to stop "untrue or misleading" advertising.

Last year, East Central Judge Michael McGuire of Fargo ruled that Kjolsrud did have legal standing but threw out the case for lack of merit. She appealed his decision.

The state court’s ruling that Kjolsrud did not have legal standing means they did not consider the facts of the case and made no decision as to whether the abortion business was misleading women considering abortions.

The court ruled that litigants in a lawsuit "must assert their own legal rights and interests and cannot rest their claim for relief on the legal rights and interests of third parties."

Jane Bovard, Red River’s administrator, said she was pleased with the decision. She said those who brought the suit probably were "interested in causing a lot of grief and a lot of expense" to the abortion business.

"Anti-abortion extremists should think twice before suing abortion providers over frivolous claims, such as the debunked abortion-breast cancer link," added Linda Rosenthal of the Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm.

Greg Lange, one of Kjolsrud’s attorneys, said he was disappointed by the decision and hoped the court would consider the merit of the case and not just the standing issue.

Lange said he may seek a client who has had an abortion at Red River and file a new false advertising lawsuit.

Kjolsrud must pay Red River $30,000 for its legal bills.

Related web sites:
Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer –