LETTER: Anti-abortion insert claims to educate but cites dubious facts

by Anne Kimbol, Laura Heath and Maggie Large

To the editor:

We were both amused and appalled by last week's insert in the Thresher by the Human Life Alliance of Minnesota Education Fund.

Its claim to be "educational" rather than propaganda must rely on a new definition of the word or possibly is a joke.

The Human Life Alliance makes some interesting claims, such as "[Pills] fail to suppress ovulation 50 percent of the time!"

However, the FDA-approved information on Ortho-Cept, a widely-used form of the pill, says, "The typical failure rate of large numbers of pill users is less than 3 percent per year [even] when women who miss pills are included."

Another supposed "fact" that is mentioned several times in the insert states that abortion leads to a "two to four times higher risk of developing breast cancer."

Besides the fact that the study from which this statistic is pulled is not cited, this particular bit of information does not reveal the whole picture.

In actuality, a recent study found that women who have an abortion and have a family history of breast cancer may have an increased risk for breast cancer.

The "proven fact" that the Human Life Alliance wants us to believe is, in reality, data taken out of context with a very important variable (that women must also have a family history of breast cancer) left out. Educational indeed.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the insert was an article written by a David C. Reardon on victims of rape and incest.

According to Reardon, "At a subconscious level, the rape victim feels that that if she can get through with the pregnancy she will have conquered the rape."

While none of us have ever been raped (as is probably the case with Mr. Reardon), this seems a very simplistic view of the complex emotional responses which a raped and pregnant woman has.

Reardon also states, "Having the child [conceived by incest] can not only help expose the incestuous relationship but also give hope of beginning a truly loving relationship."

It is extremely difficult to imagine that anyone who would sexually assault his own child would make a good father to another child.

Nor is it easy to imagine that he would be so moved by the experience as to suddenly become loving toward his assault victim.

If the Human Life Alliance truly wishes to educate people, be it on pro-life issues or on other health/moral concerns, then it should accurately reference the medical articles and books to which it refers.

By writing and publishing this type of (often unsubstantiated) propaganda, the Human Life Alliance not only insults the reader's intelligence by inaccurately making claims, it also paints simplistic and possibly dangerous portraits of all aspects of the abortion debate.

Any decision about abortion is an agonizing and difficult one. Informed discussion from both sides of the issue is important. Biased and ignorant propaganda helps no one, especially the people who most need intelligent advice.

Anne Kimbol

Baker '98

Laura Heath

Hanszen '96

Maggie Large

Hanszen '98

This item appeared in the Opinion section of the March 1, 1996 issue.

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