11-August-2000 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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PRO-LIFERS TO USE "BIG TOBACCO" LAWSUIT TACTICS TO CLOSE CLINICS

WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - Pro-life groups announced plans on Tuesday to use the same strategy that extracted billions of dollars from tobacco companies to shut down abortion clinics nationwide.

The Virginia-based American Life League (ALL) said they are filing a series of lawsuits on behalf of women who have had abortions with the goal of bankrupting the abortion clinics. "The right to choose includes the right to know," said Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries. She said the 1.3 million women who receive abortions each year should be told that the procedure can lead to suicide, breast cancer, child abuse, infertility, depression, and alcoholism.

"This information would have [made] a difference in the decisions of many women," Burke said. "A lot more people would smoke if it wasn't known it'd kill you."

On of the first lawsuits targets Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, North Dakota, accusing it of false advertising. John Kindley, attorney for plaintiff Amy Jo Mattson, said the clinic stated in a brochure that there is no evidence of a direct relationship between breast cancer and abortion, a claim that is contradicted by research. Another suit was filed against a clinic in Philadelphia in July. The first such lawsuit in 1995 resulted in a judgment in the amount of $80,000 against Planned Parenthood in New York.

Dr. Joel Brind, a New York doctor who wrote the 1996 study that first connected cancer and abortion, said he now has 34 studies on the topic, 27 of which confirm the link. "If this were about anything other than abortion, the results would be published far and wide," he said.

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