By Randy Hall CNSNews.com Staff Writer/Editor May 09, 2006
(CNSNews.com) - A women's organization that seeks to educate the public about the alleged link between abortion and breast cancer is being accused of exploiting cancer fears for its own purposes. The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer has been targeted for the first "Golden Boob Award."
"The Golden Boob Award is our way of shining a light on efforts that misrepresent the truth about breast cancer to push a different agenda," stated Fran Visco, president of the NBCC, which battles the disease "through the power of action and advocacy.
"We analyze breast cancer research studies and media reports to cut through the rhetoric and provide unbiased information," Visco said.
"Breast cancer advocates through the NBCC have done the difficult work of educating the public about the real issues in breast cancer," she added. "We cannot sit by and let others steal our messages and distort them for their own ends."
The NBCC's website states that the award "highlights the biggest boobs of all -- the organizations that are using breast cancer purely as a way to make money or to promote an ideology. This dubious honor calls attention to efforts that undermine the fight to stop breast cancer."
The first nominee for the "award" is the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer (CABC). The group's president, Karen Malec, called the "Golden Boob" designation "very offensive" and said the NBCC was withholding vital information on women's health "to protect the very wealthy abortion industry."
But according to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, "there is no credible evidence to back up [the CABC's] claim" that abortion increases the risk of a woman developing breast cancer. "The largest and most reliable research studies have found that no such link exists, a truth accepted by the National Cancer Institute and all credible groups and researchers," Visco said.
"This group is using breast cancer as a scare tactic, pure and simple," the NBCC noted. "By spreading false medical information, the CABC misleads the public and creates needless anxiety for women who may have had abortions."
Malec told Cybercast News Service that the NBCC is the organization undermining efforts to combat breast cancer. She accused the rival group of withholding the information that women who undergo abortions have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who allow the childbirth process to reach its natural conclusion.
Malec also disputed Visco's claim that "all credible groups and researchers" reject a link between abortion and increased occurrence of breast cancer. Malec stated that several medical groups and a bioethics center recognize the risk.
Bethanie Swendsen, spokesperson for the conservative Family Research Council (FRC), agreed with Malec that "the science is there," but the NBCC is "just not willing to look at it."
"A number of studies have been done on women who've had abortions that have led to breast cancer," Swendsen told Cybercast News Service. Among these studies is the one entitled "Trends and Risk Factors in English Breast Cancer," authored by Patrick Carroll, director of research at the London-based Pension and Population Research Institute (PRI).
The PRI study, which was reported in the July 2004 issue of the British Journal of Cancer, concluded that a large amount of estrogen -- a recognized carcinogen -- is left in a woman's body after she has an abortion.
Malec said she believes the NBCC is "not telling the truth" on the abortion-breast cancer link "for a politically correct reason: to protect the very wealthy abortion industry." There is "a great deal of pro-abortion sentiment among scientists and medical experts in general," she added.
Malec offered a different way of resolving the disagreement between the two organizations over the abortion-breast cancer controversy. Since there has never been a true debate over the issue, Malec said, "we challenge [the National Breast Cancer Coalition] to a public debate on the link -- our experts versus their experts."
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer isn't the only organization in the running for the NBCC's "dubious honor." Mark for Life, a company that sells a Breast Self Examination (BSE) kit complete with an examination T-shirt, a marking pen and an instruction card for $24.99, suggests that performing a BSE could save a woman's life.
"In reality, BSE is not a reliable and sure way to detect breast cancer," the NBCC stated, accusing the company of "trying to make money from a product with no impact in the fight against breast cancer."
Visitors to the Golden Boob Award website are invited to submit their own nominees, and the winner will be announced in June.
Visco acknowledged that her group risks being criticized for using the slang term for a woman's breast in naming the "award." The term "boob" is also slang for a foolish person.
"Yes, the name might be a bit shocking -- but nowhere near as shocking as the callous indifference that too many have shown to the truths of breast cancer for too long," Visco said. "We want to shine a light on those who would misuse our issue and mislead women. If we must be shocking to do it, so be it."
Malec said she considers the name "very offensive. I think calling breasts 'boobs' is in very poor taste."
Swendsen of the FRC called the award title "scandalous" and questioned the value of the entire program.
"I think the NBCC would be better off putting their time and their effort into looking at the facts and educating women about all aspects of breast cancer instead of having 'awards' online that really, in the grand scheme of things, won't make much of a difference," Swendsen said.
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