Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Lie That Won't -- But Should -- Die

My heart sank a few days ago when I saw yet another headline in the fetus freak media SHRIEEEKING about the abortion=breast cancer (ABC) link-lie. Not because I expected anything other than the usual half-baked BS, but because I've taken on the Sisyphean task of refuting every new -- and they come around like clockwork every couple of years -- AMAZING STUDY that "proves" abortion causes breast cancer.

After I read beyond the headline, I realized it was just Angela Lanfranchi flapping her gums and re-upping her anti-choice creds. Nothing new.

But I got thinking about it from another angle.

Why do they keep doing this? The ABC link has been repeatedly, exhaustively, comprehensively trashed by major medical research organizations every time the freaks roll it out.

Every time.

Yet they keep it up. We know they are desperate for any shred of credibility, so why would they keep thumping this absolutely worthless piece of BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science? It can do nothing but further marginalize their stable of paid pet pseudo-scientists.

So, I wondered, does it work? What does it do for them?

Well, if it is intended to dissuade women from abortion, it's not doing much. In fact, according to anti-choice's own stats, very little is helping on that front.

Amanda Marcotte quotes researcher Nicole Knight Shine:
“Of the 2.6 million clients who visited crisis pregnancy centers since 2004, 3.52 percent, or 92,679 people, decided against having an abortion,” Shine writes. Yep, out of all the women that CPCs themselves describe as “clients who came to the center with initial intentions of Abortion or Undecided and then changed their mind to carry baby to term,” fewer than 4% were deterred by anti-choice propaganda.

Fewer than 4%.

Not even the Magical Ultrasound helps. The freaks have a mystical reverence for ultrasound. They've convinced legislatures in the US to force women to view these murky images, usually with narration of a bullshit script on fetal development written by politicians.

But a recent study investigated whether such viewing changes minds. Surprise, it does not. Under conditions where women were given the choice to view the images or not, of those who chose to see them, 98% went ahead with termination.

Groups such as the Fetal Gore Porn Gang (aka CCBR) insist that graphic anti-abortion images "work", but offer no evidence, just assertion.

I kept looking.

I found tons of studies on the reasons given by people for their abortions. But no studies on reasons given for rejecting abortion.

Lots of anecdotal stories from the freak media. "I just couldn't," "Jeezus spoke to me," etc. but no studies.

(Yes, yes, I know. A negative can't be proven.)

When I finally hit on the search term "abortion-minded women," I thought I might be getting somewhere. ("Abortion-minded" is an anti-choice classification for people stumbling into fake clinics. The others are "abortion-vulnerable" and "likely to carry.")

This search turned up a bunch of pages of advice for sidewalk harassers and fake-clinic bullies. Some of them are hilarious. Like this one,
"Reaching the Post-Modern Abortion-Minded Client". Note use (bolded by me) of "girls."
In the 1950s, if you were counseling an abortion-minded woman, you would probably appeal to her sense of morality. Abortion is illegal. Abortion kills your baby. Simply put, abortion is wrong.

Much has changed in five decades. Now, abortion is not only legal, but also staunchly protected by the nation's highest courts. Whether or not abortion is wrong simply depends on your religious preference or political leanings.

A new wave of abortion-minded clients is appearing at pregnancy care centers across the country. These girls have been taught to reject any form of universal morality. These girls grew up believing that having an abortion is as easy as taking a pill. Therefore, pregnancy care centers will have to dramatically change their methods in order to reach these post-modern young women.
It goes on in similarly patronizing and totally out-of-touch style for ten more paragraphs. It concludes:
If current trends continue, public schools will become even greater bastions of post-modern, anti-biblical thought. Abortion, as well as many other sinful choices, will become even more acceptable. Children will be raised with even less biblical and moral upbringing. Pregnancy care centers need to prepare their staff for this shift in American culture, and come up with new ways to reach the post-modern (and very needy) client.
It was published in 2009 and the author promised a follow-up, "The Secret to Counseling the Abortion-Minded Client," but I couldn't find it. I guess the secret proved a little more elusive than she thought -- as evidenced by the dismal 3.52% success rate cited above.

None of the similar helpful advice pages I found included any reference to breast cancer. So, it seems they're not using the ABC lie on the front-lines.

And really, when women are prepared to put their lives at risk to escape forced reproduction, what's a little future breast cancer possible increase?

Back in 2002, Joyce Arthur crunched what we know to be the totally made-up numbers, specifically the 30% increase that Joel Brind, the granddaddy of this scam, still clings to.

For the sake of argument, let's suppose that Brind's ABC link is real. What would it really mean? He claims that abortion may boost the risk of breast cancer by 30%, but this increase is not really that significant anyway. For example, the risk is two to three times higher (200 to 300%) for a woman whose mother or sister had breast cancer after age 50. Even this well-established risk factor is considered moderate by scientists. In comparison, the alleged ABC link barely qualifies—even if it's real, the risk is close to negligible. To put it another way, the National Cancer Institute estimates the current risk of breast cancer to be 1 in 2,525 for a woman in her 30's—if that risk was increased by 30%, it means 1 in 1,942 women would get breast cancer.

But they do not. Because abortion does NOT cause breast cancer.

Still this canard keeps coming around.

The only possible conclusion is that its impact is mostly on legislators and conspiracy nuts. ("What the abortion industry doesn't want you to know."*) For individuals, it's just more of the usual stigmatizing and fear-mongering. But without any resulting dissuasion. Just, you know, torture.

It's not only not my job but counter-productive to advise the freaks on tactics. But in the wake of the US Supreme Court's Hellerstedt decision, in which the notion that making abortion more difficult to access somehow "protects" women was decisively smacked around and kicked down the stairs, they might want to consider abandoning the ABC lie.

But that's just wishful thinking, I guess. I'm so sick of this.

What would be very useful to know is what convinces pregnant people who are considering termination not to. Someone should get at that 3.52% and find out what changed their minds.

*The conspiracy nuts have a new vehicle. It's a film called "Hush" made by a Canadian filmmaker, featuring Kay Mère on her ABC soap-box, and funded by the Alberta government. Or so the filmmakers claim and the Alberta government denies. I'll get to that in a future post.


choice joyce said...

There probably isn't anything that would change anti-choice minds. Ideological beliefs trump evidence. The ABC link is based on the belief that abortions are unnatural and wrong and therefore MUST be bad for women. So they look for anything to support that while discounting opposing evidence, which is the opposite of the scientific method.

I suspect their constant flogging of the ABC link is not strategic in the sense they think it's working for them, it's more likely they just can't help themselves, they're so deeply mired in their own ideology they can't get out of it or see past it. The conspiracy theory stuff is an expression of frustration at not being listened to, and it also betrays a lack of understanding of reality, as well as scientific methodology. E.g., Brind makes errors when he tries to refute the data analysis of studies showing no ABC link, and now no longer gets published in scientific journals.

fern hill said...

Old dinosaurs, new tricks. Not happening. :)

I didn't know that about Brind not getting published anymore. Looks fabulous on him.

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