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Abortion warnings: Tread carefully

March 21. 2012 10:20PM

This week the state House passed a bill requiring abortion providers to give specific information to mothers who come to them for abortions. If the doctors failed to do as commanded, the bill would have made them criminals. On Tuesday the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee wisely removed the criminal penalty from the bill.

House Bill 1659 would have mandated that abortion providers tell women that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. The research on that link is in dispute, to say the least. But even if it were more widely accepted, it is important to remember that what we 'know' as scientific fact changes rapidly.

The research on the health effects of chocolate, moderate alcohol consumption and some food additives has flipped repeatedly, for example. In 1989, '60 Minutes' called a chemical used by apple growers (Alar) as 'the most potent cancer-causing agent in our food supply.' It wasn't true.

Making sure that moms know about alternatives to abortion is fine. Ordering doctors to provide questionable data is not. And making them criminals for refusing to make statements they disbelieve goes way too far, which ought to have been obvious.

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