Bill to ban Medicaid funding for Abortions


An Illinois-based coalition whose aim is to prevent abortion-linked breast cancer by education and advocacy called on Governor George Ryan today to approve legislation to end state-sponsored abortions in Illinois.

Both houses of the General Assembly have passed House Bill 709 to bar taxpayer funding of abortions under the state's Medicaid program. The governor has until June 18th to decide whether to sign the measure.

"Added to the usual concerns about saving tax dollars and respecting consciences of Illinois taxpayers," said Karen Malec, coordinator of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, "is our own plea for Gov. Ryan to move to protect the health of women who probably do not know that induced abortion may increase their risk of later developing breast cancer.

"The state should be protecting the health of women, not paying for surgery that is always lethal for unborn children and poses a risk to the women undergoing it," said Mrs. Malec, a resident of Schaumburg.

In a letter to Gov. Ryan, the coalition outlined mounting medical evidence that induced abortion elevates a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. Abortion is implicated as a risk factor in 27 of the 33 studies undertaken on the question worldwide. 

A 1994 study conducted by Dr. Janet Daling and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, for example, found that "among women who had been pregnant at least once, the risk of breast cancer in those who had experienced an induced abortion was 50 percent higher than among other women." The study also found that the risk of developing breast cancer is at least double for a woman who aborted as a teenager; if such a woman also has a family history of breast cancer, reported Dr. Daling, her risk, following abortion as a teen, is "incalculably high." 

Mrs. Malec noted that Dr. Daling undertook the comprehensive study despite her own commitment to legalized abortion. 

"We have pointed out to the governor also," said Mrs. Malec, "that an expert witness provided by Planned Parenthood recently admitted the connection during court testimony in Florida. When asked by an attorney whether a pregnant 15-year-old who aborts her child has a higher risk of breast cancer than one who carries her baby to term," reported Mrs. Malec, "Dr. Lynn Rosenberg, of Boston University Medical School, answered, 'Probably, yes'--quite an admission for an expert testifying on behalf of the largest purveyor of abortions in the United States. 

"Our bottom line is: abortion hurts women," said Mrs. Malec. "We are confident that the governor wants to do whatever he can to stem the tide of breast cancer in Illinois. That might not be the main point of the Medicaid Abortion Ban," she said, "but breast cancer prevention is a side benefit that makes the legislation all the more worth Gov. Ryan’s approval."