South Dakota Health Dept. Denies Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

South Dakota Health Dept. Denies Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
January 4, 2004

Fargo, SD ( — Health officials in South Dakota have bowed to pro-abortion political pressure by publicly denying an established link between abortion and breast cancer.

The state health department has abandoned plans to mention the link on a state website, despite the fact that the vast majority of medical studies demonstrate a clear link.

South Dakota’s Secretary of Health, Doneen Hollingsworth, has said that she hoped to avoid the controversy that recently erupted in Minnesota, where pro-abortion forces accused the health department of misleading the public by mentioning the abortion-breast cancer link. 

In a letter written to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion business, Hollingsworth said, "That debate has had a damaging effect on the overall credibility of Minnesota’s website."

Hollingsworth is apparently basing her claim on the National Cancer Institute’s contention that abortion does not increase a woman’s breast cancer risk.

But pro-life leaders note that mainstream cancer organizations such as the National Cancer Institute are simply ignoring the evidence. NCI only relies on studies that show no link, even though 15 of 17 statistically significant studies confirm a relationship between induced abortion and breast cancer.

Last fall, the Minnesota Health Department changed its website to indicate that some studies have shown a link, while others have not, indicating more study is needed. In truth, only a few studies have failed to demonstrate the abortion-breast cancer link.

But even though the Minnesota statement is hardly inflammatory, the state is drawing fire from critics who refuse to see the connection between abortion and breast cancer.

One medical professor from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Steve Miles, told the Star Tribune newspaper that Minnesota officials "decided to risk the integrity and reputation of our Health Department for the sake of (a) political agenda. It’s too high of a price to pay. The website should come down."

Unfortunately, in South Dakota, the Governor has tried to block information about the abortion-breast cancer link. While Gov. Mike Rounds is described as opposing abortion, Hollingsworth has said that he ordered that there be no reference to breast cancer on the website.

Pro-life activists, meanwhile, are planning to lobby the Governor to reverse his decision.

Leslee Unruh, the directorof the South Dakota-based Abstinence Network, told the Star Tribune, "I think it is a crime to ignore the medical facts and statistics that hurt women. There’s going to be extreme pressure put on the governor. I can guarantee that."

According to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, a group dedicated to informing the public about the abortion-breast cancer link, 13 out of 16 studies on American women showed that abortion results in an increased risk for breast cancer.

The Catholic Medical Association supports legislation which would require abortionists to disclose information about the abortion-breast cancer link to women seeking abortions.

"It’s tragic that some doctors have to be forced to reveal the breast cancer risk to their patients," said Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, in a written statement.

"However, thousands of women have developed the disease because profiteers in the abortion and the cancer fundraising industries misrepresented the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) research and concealed the risk from them for 46 years."

Malec has also been highly critical of the approach that the American Cancer Society has taken to the funding of breast cancer research.

"I encourage the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the rest of the cancer fundraising establishment to come clean and abandon their paternalistic policy of censoring any research reporting a positive relationship between abortion and breast cancer," Malec said.

"Even a study labeled ‘authoritative’ and ‘definitive’ by the ACS and other cancer groups reports a 29% risk elevation for women under age 20 who procure abortions and a statistically significant 89% risk elevation for women obtaining abortions after 18 weeks gestation. Yet, the cancer establishment has effectively used the study to erase any notion from the minds of women that abortion might be unsafe."

ACTION: Express your opinions by contacting Gov. Mike Rounds, State Capitol, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501, (p) 605-773-3212 or email the governor by going to:

Related web sites:
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer –