People v. State

fairly undermining public confidence in the administration of justice

To Glenn Greenwald, re: induced abortion and breast cancer risk

September 03, 2017 By: John Kindley Category: Uncategorized

Copied and pasted below is an email I sent on May 3, 2017, to Glenn Greenwald and Rodger Hodge at The Intercept. I never received any kind of response:


Back on January 22nd of this year I contacted The Intercept through Facebook to respond to an article published at The Intercept that day on abortion and junk science by Jordan Smith. What caught my attention in particular was this paragraph in her article:

Take, for example, Texas’ Woman’s Right to Know pamphlet, which suggests not only that a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks and that abortion can be psychologically damaging, but also asserts that there is likely a link between abortion and breast cancer — a notion that has been thoroughly debunked by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. Texas is not alone in supplying women with this kind of erroneous information. In total, counseling materials in 12 states include information about fetal pain, nine emphasize negative psychological effects of abortion, and five include the nonexistent link between abortion and breast cancer.

The scientific evidence linking induced abortion with increased breast cancer risk is something I know about. I wrote an article about it that was published in the Wisconsin Law Review in 1999, and that was distributed to every Member of the House of Representatives by then-Congressman Dave Weldon, M.D. A pdf of the article and of Weldon’s “Dear Colleague” about the article are attached. Also in that year I filed a False Advertising lawsuit against an abortion clinic in North Dakota premised on the clinic’s claims in its commercial brochures that there was no evidence of a causal relationship between induced abortion and increased breast cancer risk. You can read about the suit, and find links to the legal briefs filed in the case on the North Dakota Supreme Court’s website, at my website here. (I have to apologize for the generally low quality of my website, which I haven’t updated in years.)

The person who handles your Facebook interactions was very nice, but advised that The Intercept doesn’t accept story pitches or tips via social media, that my best bet would be to reach out to one of the editors, and that Roger Hodge edited the article by Jordan Smith I was responding to. Your social media person also provided me with a link to your editors’ contact information page. However, I did not follow up at that time. What prompts me to now follow up at this time is the spate of recent stories on the news that Trump has appointed Charmaine Yoest assistant secretary of health and human services in charge of public affairs, like this one yesterday in the New York Times. Yoest, according to the NYT article, “has insisted that abortion increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.”

I am writing to you at The Intercept because I have the utmost respect for your mission, for your adversarial journalism, and for what you have done in bringing transparency to government. You of all people should know that just because a government agency like the National Cancer Institute says that abortion doesn’t increase breast cancer risk doesn’t make it true. Believe it or not (although my history online will bear me out), your “politics” align very closely with my “politics,” including possibly on the issue of abortion itself. Although it should be completely irrelevant to the issue of whether the National Cancer Institute has been intentionally deceiving the American public for decades about the single most avoidable risk factor for the leading cause of death among middle-aged women, the question of motive seems to loom very large whenever anyone has anything to say that has anything to do with abortion. So, for the record, I am not pro-life, for reasons I’ve explained here and here.

I am writing to you because if you choose to write about the link between abortion and breast cancer again (as I think you should) I want you to have all the facts, and because I believe you have the journalistic integrity to want to know all the facts. It is disheartening to see what seems to be a total lack of curiosity (beyond noting what the National Cancer Institute et al. has to say) about the basis of Yoest’s claims among journalists reporting on the Yoest appointment. This is a story that calls for at least a little bit of investigation on the part of journalists.

I would also suggest that the conduct of the National Cancer Institute over the last couple of decades with respect to the scientific evidence linking induced abortion with increased breast cancer risk is worse than the conduct of Big Tobacco during the years it was denying the risks of tobacco, and constitutes an enormity as big as anything you’ve ever covered.

John A. Kindley
Attorney at Law’

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