Lorne Gunter has a column about the abortion/breast cancer thing Andrea mentioned earlier. Personally, I’m not all that excited. I find that being afraid of getting breast cancer is not exactly a stellar reason to choose not to abort a pregnancy, and besides, it’s not right to scare people with risks that appear to be (if I understood correctly) fairly small. But there is a but. Two, actually.
One: If there is a reasonably good reason to believe that a procedure might increase certain risks (cancer, depression, etc.) and/or have undesirable side effects, it simply is wrong not to mention those risks and side effects and make sure the patient understands them before performing the procedure. If relevant information is suppressed, the choice can’t be free.
Two: If we decide that low risks of getting cancer are not worth mentioning, then maybe we could lay off the double standard and give smokers a break. As Lorne says:
There is plenty of hypocrisy in this, too. Second-hand smoke increases non-smokers’ risk of lung cancer by less then 20%, even with prolonged, heavy exposure. That’s about half the apparent increased risk of developing breast cancer from having an abortion. Yet governments have passed all sorts of laws shielding the public from secondhand smoke at work, the arena, the mall and the stadium.
I don’t want laws banning abortion. I just want people to stop treating abortion as though it were as simple and consequence-free as brushing your teeth in the morning.by