By Lara Pullin
CANBERRA — A national speaking tour of anti-abortion campaigner Dr Joel Brind is to take place August 20-30. Sponsored by the far-right Catholic group Human Life International and the Endeavour Foundation, Brind is being promoted as a professor of biology and endocrinology who has written and lectured extensively on "induced abortion and breast cancer".
Anti-choice activists have been working hard to stir up women's fears of breast cancer, which they link, contrary to available scientific evidence, to abortion. Of course, these campaigners do not support abortion whether it is safe or not.
Since the increasing incidence of breast cancer is a concern for many women, Brind's tour will likely grab a lot of attention. However, Brind's professional authority in this area is not convincing.
Brind is a PhD, not a medical doctor. His professional web page, supported by his private university employer (<www.baruch.cunv.edu/brind.html>), lists 20 research publications between 1992 and 1999. Nine of these were published in the US Right to Life publication.
The paper by Brind which is gaining publicity and being promoted by anti-choice groups is titled "Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer", Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 1986. That study was thoroughly discredited by a 1997 study titled "Induced abortion and the risk of breast cancer" published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Human Life International describes its goals as "exposing organisations and movements which undermine Catholic teaching and threaten life and family, such as radical feminism, the new age, homosexuality, Planned Parenthood and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the United Nations Population Fund and liberal dissent movements within the church". It opposes contraception as well as abortion.
Brind's lecture in the ACT is on August 23, the day before the Legislative Assembly's next sitting begins, during which harsh changes to the already oppressive new ACT abortion laws are expected to be introduced.
When Green Left Weekly contacted the office of Liberal minister Gary Humphries, his adviser did not rule out the possibility that the proposed changes would include requiring women seeking an abortion to be given "information" like that being advanced by Brind.
Picketers at Brind's public meeting will distribute accurate information about the risks and benefits of induced abortion, and about breast cancer screening services. Men and women who would like to assist should phone ACT Pro-Choice on 6247 2424, or by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.