Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Gall of The Religious Right

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This disease kills thousands of women every year. Unlike some other cancers I know of, it's relatively treatable - but that doesn't make it any less horrifying for its victims and their families.

However, an anti-abortion group called "Life Canada" is busy trying to hijack October with a billboard campaign that attempts to link breast cancer risk with abortion. Their claim is that there is a link between the two that is being "covered up" (why does everything have to degenerate into a conspiracy???)

The data on this topic is wide ranging, and the results published appear to contradict one another. Of course the religious/anti-abortion crowd has become very attached to the notion that abortion causes breast cancer since it becomes a lever that they can use in their campaigns. More rational literature surveys, like this, point out that what evidence there is suffers from a plethora of problems that call its validity into question.

Once again, we see the political campaigns of the "Religious Right" spinning and mangling legitimate scholarly works towards their own ends. Whether it is Bishop Henry in his incessant tirades about same gender marriage; random school boards in the states claiming that "Intelligent Design" is equivalent to Evolution theory, or this bunch of quackery, it is all rooted in a form of intellectual dishonesty that is galling indeed.

What really irritates me about this recent campaign by the "anti-abortion" crowd is that they are tying two very traumatic experiences together for political gains. Anyone who has lost a relative to cancer will attest to the horrifying experience of watching them go. As for abortions (whether medical or merely miscarriages), the fact that few people talk about them tells me enough about the psychological price they have paid. The cynical abuse of the experiences of these people for no better reason than political gain is offensive in the worst way.


Anonymous said...

I was listening to both a representative of the Breast Cancer Society and the Life Canada people on CBC this morning. Basically put, the representative of the Breast Cancer Society quoted a 2004 study that surveyed 50 other studies as well as a clinical study of 2000 patients and found no greater incidence of breast cancer in women who had abortions than in the general population. The BCS rep was quite calm in the way he was speaking.

This was followed by the LC rep who was quite combative. Her claims were that they had 50 studies on their web site that supported their opinion and that any study that stated otherwise was wrong (great way to prejudge a study). The LC rep couldn't quote specifics, but kept referring to their website. When questioned about the possible illegal use of the BCS's trademarked pink ribbon, she got even more defensive, claiming that the Breast Cancer Society had no such trademark and even if they did, how dare they try to stop them from using it.

Basically the representative of the Breast Cancer Society came across as a reasonable person presenting the facts as he knows them. The LC rep came across as an outraged nutbar.



Grog said...

The LC rep came across as an outraged nutbar.

... and me with an allergy to nuts - go figure...