AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, The Sydney Adventist Hospital Doorstop, 8 August 2014

8 Aug 2014

Transcript: AMA President, A/Prof Brian Owler, The Sydney Adventist Hospital Doorstop, 8 August 2014


Subject: Comments linking abortion and breast cancer


QUESTION: Are there any links between abortion and breast cancer?

BRIAN OWLER: I think it needs to be made very clear that there are very robust studies, international studies, which have discredited any link between abortion and breast cancer. There is no link between abortion and breast cancer. We need to make that very clear to the public, and certainly we should not be promoting any papers from the 1950s.

QUESTION: So how unhelpful were Senator Abetz's comments last night?

BRIAN OWLER: Well, I think it's very unhelpful, both for people who might be struggling with the concept of termination of pregnancy, which may have a very valid reason, but also for people that have suffered or have family members that have suffered from breast cancer. And I don't think that these comments are particularly helpful, and they're certainly not very sensitive.

QUESTION: Does it concern you at all that there are Cabinet Ministers associating themselves with a conference where people, medical professionals from the United States, will be making these claims?

BRIAN OWLER: Well, I am very concerned that senior members of the Government are associated with this particular conference. I've spoken to the Minister for Health this morning and he assures me that this is not the view of the Government, nor the Minister for Health, nor the Prime Minister. So that is reassuring, but still, to have senior members of the Government associating themselves with this particular conference, but particularly pushing some of the discredited theories about linking abortion with breast cancer, the use of the oral contraceptive pill with things like domestic violence, that is very unhelpful, and I think quite an irresponsible position and action for those people in the Government to take.

QUESTION: Okay, Professor Owler, is there anything else that you'd like to add?

BRIAN OWLER: Look, I just think it's really important that when we have people with a particular political view, and I respect Senator Abetz's right to have a view, as the other members of the Government, about issues such as abortion. I also recognise that there's a diverse range of opinions that are out there around these issues. But to then try and use some sort of link between those topics and a medical condition I think is quite irresponsible for the member of the Government to be doing, and certainly unhelpful for people out there in the community that look towards leaders, including our politicians, to get the right sort of information and credible information.


 8 August 2014


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