Workshops focus on club involvement
By ANDREW THAGARD
As part of this year's more interactive pro-life conference, Notre Dame and Saint Mary's Right to Life groups hosted six small-group workshop sessions. "Our Duty to Serve, Our Call to Lead" featured sessions dealing with issues in club operations, law and general pro-life education run by members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary's clubs, as well as prominent members of the pro-life community.
Abortion and breast cancer
Mishawaka attorney John Kindley led the workshop "Abortionists' failure to disclose the increased risk of breast cancer to patients."
According to Kindley, estrogen levels increase rapidly during the first few months of pregnancy, causing the breasts to develop cells particularly known to mutate. While cells more resistant to mutation develop in women who carry babies to full term, those who have abortions face increasing risk of breast cancer.
Miscarriages do not appear to pose the same risks as abortions due to the lower estrogen level usually present at the time of miscarriage, according to Kindley.
"It is an undisputed fact that a full term pregnancy decreases the risk of breast cancer [compared to an abortion] at a young age," Kindley said. "Everything I've described about the biology of this debate is undisputed by the other side."
According to Kindley's Web site, 27 out of 33 international studies conducted suggest a relationship between increased risk to breast cancer and induced abortion. A 1994 study published by the National Cancer Institute found that induced abortion increases the risk of breast cancer by 50 percent and that risk is doubled for those younger than 18 or older than 30.
"There is no possibility that these results are due to chance," Kindley said.
"There's a real need that the college community be informed. This needs to be shouted from the rooftop," he continued. "This is life or death information that is being actively withheld from people."
The attorney maintained that members of the pro-choice movement dismiss these results on the "recall bias hypothesis."
"This hypothesis claims that women who have breast cancer are likely to be more honest about abortion than healthy women who have had abortions," Kindley said. "For this hypothesis to work, they would have to lie in significantly greater numbers. There is really no credible evidence of this whatsoever."
Kindley and other pro-life attorneys have filed law suites against abortion clinics which display false literature, but he is also concerned about facts presented by government organizations like the National Cancer Institute.
"Sadly, the government agency responsible for educating the public has been misleading them about the issue and it provides a cover for the abortion industry," Kindley said. "The NCI is a government agency whose head is appointed by the president and these agencies are amenable to political bias."
The attorney encouraged conference attendees to communicate their opinions with politicians and to focus on the women who face the risk of breast cancer.
"I think the pro-life movement might be better served if we focus on the women. It doesn't contradict the movement. [This issue] is, in many ways, separate from the pro-life debate," Kindley said. "I want to see justice done."
Michael Kenney, dean of the Ave Maria School of Law, ran the workshop "First amendment rights, legislative and legal process." The attorney discussed the evolution of free speech rights, pro-life legal techniques and Roe v. Wade, the controversial Supreme Court case that effectively legalized abortion.
According to Kenney, broad free speech rights for activists evolved on college and university campuses.
"The first amendment and freedom of expression on campus grows out of [1960's] protests," he said.
Kenney challenged those present to use their free speech rights to share the pro-life message with others and dispel society's acceptance of abortion.
"You are a generation born into the construct that it's a woman's right to abort a child," he said. "I was a freshman in high school when the decision came around. As a parent … it is incredibly shocking and tragic."
According to Kenney, the legal basis of the pro-life movement has been to establish the unborn fetus as a person with rights.
"From a legal standpoint the answer is to take a look at how the unborn can be [considered] a person," he said.
The attorney, however, observed how the issue has drifted away from establishing a child's rights to women's liberty.
"It's really gone down a gruesome path," he said. "Ultimately [women and abortion providers] are victims as well."
Kenney compared the fight African Americans faced with obtaining citizenship rights after the Civil War to the conflict before those in the pro-life movement today.
"Something similar need to happen to ensure that [the unborn] obtain `person-hood' status," he said.
Kenney challenged pro-life clubs to fight for life but emphasized using the proper legal outlets.
"Express yourself with reason and compassion toward all those involved," he said.
All News Stories for Monday, April 9, 2001