Minnesota Bureaucrat Attemps to Water Down Right to Know Info

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 11, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Minnesota Bureaucrat Attemps to Water Down Right to Know Info

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
December 11, 2003

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — After information about a link between abortions and breast cancer was included on the state health department’s web site and in a pamphlet, internal critics led to department-wide confusion.

Government emails obtained under the state’s open records laws by the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper showed that Mary Manning, the department’s director of health promotion and chronic diseases, argued that the information the state was providing was wrong.

Manning circulated a memo to her division’s staff, instructing them to tell anyone who asks about the abortion-breast cancer link that abortion does not increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer – contrary to the information the State Health Department had promulgated.

Manning cited the National Cancer Institute, which had cited the larger medical studies done recently have found no basis for the theory that abortions increase a woman’s breast cancer risk. NCI has been roundly criticized by pro-life groups for ignoring an overwhelming majority of studies that show a strong link.

Health Commissioner Dianne Mandernach defended the language she and pro-life Governor Tim Pawlenty approved, regarding both the breast cancer link and a statement on the pain felt by unborn children.

"We are not taking an inaccurate position," Mandernach said in the interview, pointing to conflicting studies.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, Catholic Medical Association, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Polycarp Research Institute, Breast Cancer Prevention Institute have all acknowledged that there is a link between abortion and an increased risk to develop breast cancer.

The web site and the pamphlet were developed by the Health Department to comply with a new "Right to Know" law requiring the department to publish information about abortion risks and abortion alternatives.

In regards to pain experienced by the unborn child, the site states, "Some experts have concluded the unborn child feels physical pain after 20 weeks gestation" even after opposition within the department wanted the statement to show that pain is only felt later.

Gov. Pawlenty and Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, were consulted on the language, Mandernach said. Pro-abortion groups were not consulted, but did not offer any feedback voluntarily.

Scott Fischbach, MCCL’s executive director, said he believes the language on breast cancer risk and pain before birth is complete and accurate.

Related web sites:
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life – https://www.mccl.org