From the desk of Dan Zanoza
Mainstream media does its best to
downplay the possible Abortion/Breast Cancer link
NEW YORK, NY (RFM NEWS)--In the
March 12th edition of Newsweek, staff writer David France reported on the
facts surrounding a possible link between abortion and breast cancer.
The Newsweek article portrayed the
connection between abortion and breast cancer as being nothing more than a
political tool used by pro-life advocates in the fight against abortion.
France called the issue a
"novel legal push." The Newsweek reporter also quoted an
American Medical Association board member and another source from the
American Cancer society who did not see a link between abortion and breast
David France's reluctance to tell
both sides of this story is indicative of the wider media's handling of the
issue. RFM NEWS reviewed press coverage of the possible connection between
abortion and breast cancer during the last year. The results paint what
some say is a troubling picture of the media's refusal to address an issue
that may have an impact on the lives of millions of women. Critics of the
press point to France's methods of reporting to illustrate their claims of
France interviewed Dr. Joel Brind,
Ph.D., president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute and one of the
foremost international authorities on the subject before writing his
Newsweek piece. However, France did not quote Brind or refer to his
research in the Newsweek article. Sources tell RFM NEWS France did
everything he could not to interview Brind, including e-mailing Brind,
requesting a return phone call, but not providing a number so his call
could be returned. A source also told RFM NEWS, France claimed Brind would
not answer his other messages.
But RFM NEWS has learned that Brind,
who at the time was participating in a speaking engagement in Wisconsin,
had indeed went to great lengths to make sure he was available to France.
When the Newsweek reporter finally interviewed Brind, the publication
omitted any reference to Brind or his organization's research which cites
an increased risk of breast cancer that women may experience as a result
"The Newsweek article is
typical of how the elite press tries to cover for the abortion
industry," said Judy Cleary, a spokesman for Republicans For Fair
Media. "The multibillion-dollar abortion business has deep ties to
organizations like the AMA and publications such as Newsweek."
Cleary added, "Just look at how
many pharmaceutical companies advertise in Newsweek and you'll see why
France's article might have been slanted towards the abortion
Karen Malec, President of the
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, an international group concerned with
the health of women said, "As a cancer survivor, I am deeply offended
that some members of the media have cooperated in the abortion industry's
efforts to protect their profits by attempting to delete 44 years of
abortion-breast cancer research from the public record."
Malec concluded, "This is all
in an effort to convince women that abortion is ‘safe.’
When science does not conform to their ideology, the media has resorted to
'shoot the messenger' tactics by labeling those who have raised awareness
concerning this women's health issue as nothing more than the rantings
of pro-life religious conservatives. We encourage the press to remove
their ideological blinders and engage in an honest discussion of the
scientific research. This is not just another abortion debate. Women's
lives are at stake."
There have been 17
statistically significant studies published worldwide on the possible link
between abortion and breast cancer. Sixteen of those studies confirm such
a link exists. The Newsweek article did not mention any of the research,
except for saying recent studies refuted the a/bc link. It must be noted,
the more recent research Newsweek refers to does not stand up to
scientific scrutiny, according to some experts on statistical analysis.
France also implied
Illinois House of Representative, Dan Reitz (Democrat--Steeleville), had
authored legislation that would force doctors to mention the
abortion/breast cancer link to women seeking abortions. In reality, Reitz
never formally submitted his bill for consideration. There has not been
any other legislation originating in the state House of Representatives in
RFM NEWS contacted Rep.
Reitz concerning his phone interview with France. "I was taken out of
context. I think the reporter may have had an agenda. My motivation was to
put information into women's hands," said Reitz. Rep. Reitz never
introduced his bill which would have prompted physicians to inform women
of the possible abortion/breast cancer link.
Recently, ABC's Good
Morning America also covered the a/bc link. The program's host, Charles
Gibson, interviewed the network's staff physician, Dr. Nancy Snyderman who
is not an authority on breast cancer. Snyderman dismissed the possible
link between cancer and abortion without referring to any of the 27
studies published worldwide that indicate there is evidence for the a/bc
Gibson closed the women's
health segment by saying, "So, Nancy, there's no need for women to be
worried?" The GMA segment shortly followed a USA Today article
written by Rita Rubin. In her piece, Rubin misquoted an extensive review
of the subject printed in MAMM Magazine which had reported the science
connecting abortion and breast cancer was "murky." Contrary to
the MAMM article, USA Today implied MAMM Magazine dismissed the a/bc link
RFM News takes action
RFM NEWS sent an e-mail to
Newsweek reporter David France. He replied to RFM NEWS by e-mail saying:
"You (RFM NEWS) have
misread my article. My article was not about the disputed abortion/breast
cancer link, but about the bills pending in states around the country that
would force doctors to disclose as fact such a link to their patients,
despite a lack of science and consensus. I interviewed Mr.
Brind on that subject (as well
as a dozen or so other authorities, whose names I likewise didn't
include). (author's comment: note France's refusal to acknowledge Brind as
a doctor) He gave me insights which I included in the article. In my
reporting, the revelation that most struck me as newsworthy was the
plurality of views among those politicians who were sponsoring the laws
that they simply did not care about the science around this supposed
link--did not have a belief one way or the other about it, didn't even
care if it was wrong--but only cared about stemming the number of
That's politics, not
science; that's what I wrote about. "
RFM NEWS went back to
review France's Newsweek piece. France's claims that he included Dr.
Brind's viewpoints on the issue could not be substantiated.
In fact, RFM NEWS’
scrutiny of the Newsweek article turns up no such reference. The following
is a verbatim text of David France's piece which appeared in the March
12th edition of Newsweek magazine.
scare tactics legal" by David France
Though the first
anti-abortion administration in eight years is just over a month old,
emboldened abortion foes have already launched a novel legal push.
Abortion rights advocates
say 15 states are considering bills requiring abortion doctors to tell
patients that abortion increases breast cancer risks.
"The American Medical
Association and American Cancer Society oppose the bills which force
doctors to tell our patients something that is not true," says AMA
Board Member, Dr. John C. Nelson.
Early 90s survey suggested
a link which was disputed by more recent studies.
The new strategy has
medical ethicists worried. "It is despicable," says Arch Kaplan
of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics.
"There is nothing else going on here, other than abortion
Representative Dan Reitz, who introduced one of the bills, agrees.
"I'm not really sure about the science," he says. "My
intent was strictly about limiting abortion."
END OF NEWSWEEK TEXT
Author's note: The Newsweek
piece speaks for itself.
"The abortion industry
is a powerful institution in America and the World. Billions of
dollars are at stake," said Fran Eaton, Illinois Director of the
Eagle Forum. Eaton concluded,
"Pharmaceutical interests, the medical establishment and abortion
providers themselves are not interested in getting this information
Media critics point to the
controversy surrounding the partial-birth abortion issue when
anti-abortion activists first brought that procedure to public light.
"The press was reluctant to report on this. It took a courageous
abortion provider himself, Ron Fitzsimmons, to substantiate whether the
gruesome method was being used by abortion providers," Cleary stated.
"Only then did the press, reluctantly, report the story. Part of the
reason stems from the physical makeup of newsrooms themselves. I would be
willing to say you would be hard pressed to find a pro-life woman working
in many media newsrooms."
Cleary added, "It's
hard to explain why this dynamic exists. In part, it's due to
indoctrination at the academic level. Today, many journalists themselves
are social activists. Abortion is a big time women's issue, at least for
liberal women. The result is abortion stories are slanted far to the left
and society is forced to pay the price. And, in the case of a possible
link between cancer and abortion, women, unfortunately, are the big
Shortly before his death,
Chicago Tribune columnist, Mike Royko, wrote on how the mainstream press
deals with the subject of abortion, titled "News media, others
swallowed abortion lie hook, line and sinker"
February 27, 1997. In his
piece, Royko described how the elite press goes out of its way to buy the
pro-abortion line in nearly every circumstance. Royko told of how the
media was reluctant to report on partial-birth abortion, until a
pro-abortion physician forced their hand. Royko told how Ron Fitzsimmons,
who ran the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, acknowledged he had
lied about the number of and reasons for the partial-birth abortions
taking place in