December 19, 2003

Suggestion Deception, What's Your Question?

Is suggestion deception?

Apparently so.

    MINNEAPOLIS - One of the state's most influential medical groups has joined the fray in saying officials should change language on the state Department of Health's Web site suggesting abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.

    In a letter obtained by the Star Tribune dated Dec. 9, Dr. Robert Meiches, head of the Minnesota Medical Association, said the site's language — while not exactly inaccurate — is misleading and confusing to women.

    The breast cancer language has generated controversy since it was first posted in September, because critics say it's designed to frighten women considering abortion.
Not inaccurate but misleading. How? Intent. And, please, tell me, a scholar of communication, how to scientifically ascribe intent to another human being or group of human beings. Together, we can publish one hell of a paper. You have a motive guess that may or may not be wrong. Hey, look, I twisted that sentence. Someone chide me for my journalistic bad behavior.

And back to the case at hand. Hey, abortion kills fetuses - whom some of us see as human beings! Would that not dissuade some pregnant lady folk who might be considering ridding themselves of what Ani DiFranco lyricizes "the son or daughter I thought better of." I'll bet it does. Does the word "kill" elicit fear? PETA certainly hopes so.

But here's the paragraph that flipped the switch on the Blog About flag to. 1. Here's the big, nasty, horrifying offensive language.

    The Web site, as well as a Health Department pamphlet, state that some studies suggest that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, while other studies suggest no increased risk. That contradicts the conclusions of the nation's leading medical institutions, including the National Cancer Institute (news - web sites), which found earlier this year that there is no evidence of an increased risk.

    "It is deliberately deceptive," said Dr. Janette Strathy, legislative director of the Minnesota branch of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "It oversimplifies a very complex situation with the goal of frightening the patient."
Let me repeat: "The Web site, as well as a Health Department pamphlet, state that some studies suggest that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, while other studies suggest no increased risk."

What's the complex situation? I'm lost.

Oh, and, hey, wait - we're Americans. We're too stupid to realize that medical studies might contradict each other and make up our own minds. "Suggest" means "Is." We can't read that sentence and conclude that there's conflicting evidence. You know what - a woman who never has children incurs increased risk for breast cancer. Quick, women, conceive! Hey, honey, do we have plans for this evening? I really ought to reduce my risk for breast cancer, no? I mean, it is my top priority, and reading that something might put me at risk puts me into immediate tizzy irrational panic! Aargh! What a euphemism that is anyway - reducing the risk of breast cancer.

[Reader: note change from Health category to RANT]

Interestingly, I side with the NCI on this one. If it says no increased risk, probably no increased risk. But goodness - quit the freak-out. Anybody disagree that further studies on breast cancer and all/any of its possible causes is a bad thing? Oh, the controversy of this complex issue. Let us plaster all of the newspapers with this horrible miseducation of our nation's women.


Posted by hln at December 19, 2003 01:07 PM | RANT | TrackBack

What I hate is the attitude on the radical left that *anything* one might say that's even slightly negative about abortion is somehow oppressing women.

I'm nominally pro-choice, but I despise that attitude.

Posted by: Little Miss Attila at December 19, 2003 10:26 PM

Bah! Women can't even decide which dress to wear for an evening out. They're all silly and easily confused. Even a slightly ambiguous statement like that would send them into a tizzy of bafflement.


[not fast enough]


Posted by: Harvey at December 20, 2003 08:50 AM

Harvey, a lot of KY and grunting should help you get that dumbbell out of your fundamental orifice :P

Posted by: Victor at December 20, 2003 09:22 AM

ha ha ha "findamental orifice" ha ha ha

Good post.

Combine this "assumed stupidity" premise with our overly litigious fellow citizens and you see why so many high-dollar court cases are won over frivilous issues.

Posted by: Trey Givens at December 20, 2003 09:55 AM