State Rep. Cohen Addresses Medically Inaccurate Statute

Mar. 13, 2009 in Press Releases

State Representative Ellen Cohen announced today that she is co-authoring House Bill 2968 with Representative Garnet Coleman. This legislation seeks the removal of medically inaccurate verbiage in the Health and Safety Code statute that ensures women across the state are receiving false information regarding an abortion-breast cancer link.

“Today is Friday the 13th. I doubt if many of us feel a heavy sense of foreboding,” said Cohen. “Any superstitious fear about today’s date has abated since we grew up and learned the difference between fiction and reality. As a State Representative, it is hard for me to understand the ‘make believe’ nature of information provided by the State of Texas. And as a 39-year breast cancer survivor, I want Texas to grow up and not only face, but also tell, the truth.”

The inaccurate language to which Cohen refers is distributed to women in the booklet titled “A Woman’s Right to Know,” which doctors are required by Texas law to distribute to women considering an abortion. The specific language states, “If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, you do not get the same protective effect if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion. The risk may be higher if your first pregnancy is aborted.”

Cohen said that she is proud to joint author House Bill 2968 to remove this fictitious and medically inaccurate information. “Women who find themselves in difficult situations are looking for assistance and information. We, as a state, should do everything we can to reduce the number of abortions, but we should never lie or scare women with false information, particularly regarding cancer,” said Cohen.

Numerous medical studies and scientific consensus regarding this false link is overwhelming. Organizations such as The National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the World Health Organization, the Journal of American Medical Association, and the National Breast Cancer Coalition conclude that no link exists between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer.

Cohen, referring to the numerous studies that refute this link, stated, “Yet, the State of Texas, still feels the need to present false and medically inaccurate information to this vulnerable population. I want to make this point very clear – this bill is not about pro-choice policies on abortion. This bill demands that Texas choose to provide medically accurate information.”

Rep. Cohen represents the Texas Medical Center which includes many of the leading institutions from across the world working on cutting-edge research to eradicate cancer. Cohen said, “In District 134, thousands of people work every day to study, treat and end cancer. I was proud to be the first house sponsor of Proposition 15 which provides a $3 billion investment to treat and prevent cancer over. My District and my record will not allow me to stand by while false information is presented as medical fact. This week, President Obama rescinded a ban on stem cell research. I want Texas to create an environment where scientific fact cannot be corrupted by political agendas.”

State Representative Ellen Cohen is serving in her second term in the Texas Legislature. She is a member of the Appropriations and Higher Education Committees. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 2006, she represents District 134, which includes all of Bellaire, West University, River Oaks, Rice University and the Texas Medical Center, along with parts of Meyerland and Montrose.