I am very upset that this newspaper has given voice to someone dispensing misleading and dangerous information regarding women’s healthcare. I am referring to the letter, “I must speak about abortion,” written by Shelby Bennett in the March 13th issue of this paper. Not only was the writer misinformed, but the inaccurate medical information contained in her piece could be potentially damaging to a woman’s health.

I have no problem with someone expressing their opinion about the very sensitive topic of abortion. It is a complicated issue and each individual must follow their conscience, their faith, the advice of their doctor and the law to decide what’s best for them and their family.

However, I think it is grossly irresponsible of this paper to print a letter containing information, that with a small amount of fact checking, can be proven to be patently false. Every one of Ms. Bennett’s claims about Planned Parenthood’s services, breast cancer rates and death rates are untrue. Taken one by one:

1. According to federal and Oregon law, a fetus is part of the mother and not a separate person until it is born. You can personally disagree with this but for now, that’s the law.

2. Any credible news source will confirm that 97% of Planned Parenthood’s services are for contraception, health screenings, prenatal care and overall reproductive health. Only 3 percent is related to abortion services. Planned Parenthood is an incredibly important, and sometimes the only source of reliable healthcare for millions of American women. Unlike unregulated Crisis Pregnancy Centers, the medical information dispensed at Planned Parenthood is accurate, and centered around the health and well-being of its patients, not a political agenda.

3. Regarding the risk of breast cancer as a result of abortion — the American Cancer (Association) website reports, “scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer.” This finding is also supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

4. The statement that abortion is the leading cause of death in Oregon is completely false. There is not one shred of evidence to substantiate that claim. What is true, is that nationwide, overall death rates from pregnancy are 8.8 per 100,000 while death rates from abortion are .06 per 100,000. A legally performed abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the U.S. —source National Institutes of Health.

It is clear to me that Ms. Shelby got her information from any number of forced birth organizations. I do not consider these groups pro life as they are only concerned with the fetus, but not the lives of women or children once they are born. Any organization or legislator who spreads lies about women’s reproductive health or whose mission it is to de-fund Planned Parenthood is hurting the people they claim to serve.

I hope this paper will seriously take a look at the veracity of the letters they print. On this particular issue, printing inaccurate medical information is not only doing readers a disservice, it could be dangerous to their health.

Victoria Munroe is a resident of Lake Oswego.

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