One thing we know for sure: the Republicans in the Ohio Legislature care more about ideology than the Constitution.
We aren’t surprised, therefore, that the Republicans are pushing forward with a blatantly unconstitutional anti-abortion bill.
The bill is likely designed to be unconstitutional under current law because it imposes an undue burden on women who seek abortions. Some in the anti-abortion community seem to believe that if they keep passing laws that are against the existing case law, the Supreme Court will one day take a case and overrule Roe v. Wade. To that we say: if you can count to five, you know that there are not the votes on the Supreme Court.
Another thing we know for sure: Republicans care more about ideology than science. Whether it’s climate change denial or the teaching of “intelligent design,” the Republican Party and science remain in conflict.
That is why a part of the anti-abortion bill caught out attention.
As part of the Bill, for example, a doctor must tell a woman seeking an abortion that an abortion increases her risk of breast cancer.
The biggest problem: this isn’t true. An expert panel from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.
Even the Columbus Dispatch is so incredulous on this point that they did some actual journalism and fact-checked the claim in the article, writing: “The American Cancer Society says: ‘scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer.’”
Of course, the law would be unconstitutional. While courts have upheld heightened informed consent requirements for abortions, most efforts by states to dictate the information provided to patients by abortion providers have been rejected by the courts, usually on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional interference in the physician-patient relationship and violates the First Amendment rights of physicians. The Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992) prohibited states from requiring an advisory which is not “calculated to inform a woman’s free choice.” See also Planned Parenthood Minn., N.D., S.D. v. Rounds, 530 F.3d 724, 735 (8th Cir. 2008).
Why should the GOP stop at warning women who seek abortions about the non-existent risk of cancer from abortion? There are lots of other so-called cancer risks that Ohio citizens should be informed about. And the Internet says it’s true, so that’s probably good enough for Ohio Republicans!
- A bill to require all convenience store clerks to inform customers who buy Mountain Dew that the drink can cause cancer. This blog post suggests that “Mountain Dew is one of the most damaging drinks to the body . . .”
- A bill to require the sale of all underarm antiperspirants or deodorants be behind the pharmacy counter (with ID like Sudafed?) because of an alleged link to breast cancer. We think we saw someone spreading this on Facebook. And this web site is pushing the theory despite acknowledging that the claim by researchers that “there ‘is no evidence that personal care products (antiperspirants or deodorants) are related to breast cancer’ is technically correct,”
- A Bill to require butchers to warn people that grilling meat could cause an increase in the risk of colon cancer. The New York Times suggests that there ay actually be some small basis for this claim – so it’s on stringer scientific grounds than the anti-abortion bill.
- A Bill to require tattoo and piercing stores to warn customers that piercings can cause cancer. A web site call “infobarrel” says that “There are studies that might suggest that nipple piercings can increase the chances of breast cancer.” Good enough for us!
- A Bill to require liquor store clerks to provide a pamphlet to all wine drinkers stating that “Drinking just a small glass of wine a day can more than double the risk of cancer.” This was in the Daily Mail. The pamphlet should explain that drinking alcohol may increase the risk of cancer, but drinking red wine lowers the chance of dying from heart disease. We are sure that the Kasich Administration can find a way to write some good language that won’t hurt liquor sales and undermine the JobsOhio funding source.
That’s just a start. The Comments section is open. What crazy cancer myth have your parents forwarded an email to you about – let us know so we can suggest more bills to warn Ohioans about non-existent cancer risks.