A newly released Texas booklet that provides informed consent for women considering abortion has abortion activists upset.
State health officials released the revised booklet, “A Woman’s Right to Know,” on Monday. It includes new information about possible risks of abortion, an unborn baby’s development and pregnancy/parenting resources. State law requires that abortion facilities give women the informed consent booklet at least 24 hours before an elective abortion.
One new piece of information that has abortion activists so upset is the mention of research indicating that an abortion may increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. One mainstream media outlet went so far as to claim that the cancer link has been “debunked.” But the abortion-breast cancer link is well-documented in numerous studies — and the booklet cites five of them.
The booklet, which also is available online, explains how pregnancy and abortion can affect a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.
“If you give birth to your baby, you are less likely to develop breast cancer in the future,” the booklet states. “Research indicates that having an abortion will not provide you this increased protection against breast cancer. In addition, doctors and scientists are actively studying the complex biology of breast cancer to understand whether abortion may affect the risk of breast cancer.”
Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a breast cancer surgeon and researcher in New Jersey, said there are 34 statistically significant studies world-wide that support the link between abortion and an increased breast cancer risk. Between 1957 and 2013, there have been at least 73 studies regarding induced abortion and breast cancer: 57 showed a positive correlation between abortion and breast cancer risks, and 16 showed a negative correlation, she said.
“How do people deny the link between abortion and breast cancer risks? There is sort of a willful ignorance. … They don’t connect the dots,” Lanfranchi said during a National Right to Life Convention workshop this summer.
Dr. Joel Brind, who also has done extensive research on abortion risks, reported a new study in March that found a 58-percent to 108-percent increased risk of breast cancer for women who have abortions.
Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, told the Washington Post in an email that the booklet was written to be “helpful, user friendly and medically accurate, and we carefully studied the medical and scientific research available to us along the way.”
“In the end, it’s about making sure pregnant women have access to the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves,” Williams added.
However, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas claimed the booklet “serve[s] no medical benefit and do[es] nothing but impose an undue burden on Texans seeking abortion care.”
Abortion activists also are upset about the booklet mentioning that unborn babies may be able to feel pain by 20 weeks and that abortion has been linked to increased risks of infertility and suicide.
Texas Right to Life said the information is accurate, scientifically-based and strongly pro-life.
“Abortionists won’t tell women the truth about their life-affirming options, the development of the preborn child, or the risks involved in abortions. That’s why Texas MUST keep this information …” the organization wrote on its blog in July.
Texas RTL said the booklet contains an updated resource directory where women can find pregnancy centers, maternity homes, adoption agencies and social services. It said the revised booklet also addresses human trafficking and coercion, and provides women in these situations with instructions for contacting help. The booklet also explains how women can report illegal or unsanitary abortion facility conditions.
“Texas Right to Life thanks DSHS for resisting the ideologically motivated demands of the pro-abortion lobby,” the group said in a statement this week. “Prudently, health officials rejected multiple deceptive and malicious recommended changes to the booklet that would have undermined informed consent of Texas women.”