Abortion And Breast Cancer

by Babette Francis


An examination of the link between induced abortion and breast cancer by Babette Francis, President of Endeavour Forum, Inc., the most prominent pro-life and pro-family organization in Australia.

Larger Work

Mindszenty Report


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Publisher & Date

Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation, St. Louis, MO, March 2002

Dr. Joel Brind, Professor of Endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York, and President of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, has worked tirelessly for eight years to study and publicize the 30% average increased risk of breast cancer caused by induced abortion. In an article in the New York Guardian (July 1993) Professor Brind wrote: "As a scientist involved in breast cancer research for over a decade, one would think I would rejoice to hear the rising clamor of activists from the 'women's movement' . . . for the government to do more to stop what Congress calls the 'growing epidemic of breast cancer.' What tempers my enthusiasm is that many of the same people have also been most vociferous in calling for unrestricted abortion rights.

"These two goals are incompatible: legalized abortion has already contributed substantially to the rising tide of breast cancer, which is currently estimated to strike about one in eight American women . . . If this is news to you, it is only because the pro-abortion movement would rather pretend this is not so. If pro-abortionists were really interested in women's 'choice', abortion clinics would have been warning potential clients about the increased breast cancer risk."

Endeavour Forum has been co-operating with Professor Brind for the past six years, and when we achieved "Non-Government Organization Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council" (ESOSOC) of the United Nations, we encouraged him to prepare a paper for workshops at the UN in New York: "The Link between Abortion and Breast Cancer: What Every Woman in the World has a Right to Know." The paper, also available in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic and Chinese, has been distributed worldwide and explains the biological mechanism by which induced abortion increases breast cancer risk.

Findings Of World Health Organization

In 1970 the World Health Organization published the results of its study on reproductive experience in relation to the incidence of breast cancer. This study of more than 17,000 women in seven locations on four continents, gained knowledge which is still undisputed 30 years later. "Women who begin bearing children at a young age are less likely to get breast cancer than those who have children later, or those who have no children at all." (McMahon B. et al., W.H.O.1970)

How much protection against breast cancer do they get? Based on their findings, the W.H.O. scientists concluded: "It is estimated that women having their first child when aged under 18 years have only about one-third the breast cancer risk of those whose first birth is delayed until the age of 35 years or more."

Does this mean that a young woman who gets pregnant lowers her risk of getting breast cancer, even if she has an abortion? In relation to abortion, the W.H.O. scientists said their results "suggested increased risk associated with abortion — contrary to the reduction in risk associated with full-term births."

Research published in respected medical journals has since confirmed these findings and the hormonal basis for them. Twenty-eight out of 37 epidemiologic studies worldwide, on women of African, Asian and European ancestry, have found that even one abortion increases the risk of getting breast cancer later in life. Importantly, the increased risk from abortion is in addition to the increased risk from delaying a woman's first childbirth, so abortion increases breast cancer risk in two ways.

Do you wonder why, in less than half a century, while abortion became legal and common, the incidence of breast cancer in the industrialized world, has more than doubled? In Australia the incidence of breast cancer rose by 40% between 1987 and 1997, approximately 20-30 years after the de facto legalization of abortion. (In the U.S. there has been a 40% increase since Roe v Wade). Such an increase would have a devastating impact in developing countries whose health care systems can barely cope with existing health problems, let alone an epidemic of breast cancer.

Effect Of Steroids

A class of steroids called estrogens are the hormones, the chemical messengers, which turn a girl's body into a woman's body at puberty. The most important estrogen secreted by a woman's ovaries is called estradiol. How estradiol or estrogen in general relate to breast cancer risk has to do with their role in the growth of breast tissue. It is estradiol, which makes the breasts grow to mature size at puberty, and which makes them grow again during pregnancy. The cells in the breast, which are responsive to estradiol are those which are primitive or undifferentiated. Once differentiated into milk-producing cells, something which happens under the influence of other (still largely unknown factors) breast cells can no longer be stimulated to multiply.

It is the undifferentiated cells which are also vulnerable to the effects of carcinogens (radiation, certain chemicals, etc.) which can give rise to cancerous tumors in later life. If a woman has gone through some weeks of a normal pregnancy and then has an abortion, she is left with more of these undifferentiated cancer-vulnerable cells than she had in her breasts before she was pregnant. In addition, any abnormal, potentially cancer-forming cells already in her breasts (and such cells are present to some extent in all people) have also been stimulated to multiply. All this translates into a statistically greater probability that a cancerous tumor may eventually arise.

In contrast, a full-term pregnancy results in full differentiation of the breast tissue for the purpose of milk production, which leaves fewer cancer-vulnerable cells in the breast than were there before the pregnancy began.

Spontaneous miscarriages, which mostly occur in the first trimester, usually do not generate estradiol higher than the non-pregnant levels and therefore do not increase breast cancer risk; however, second-trimester miscarriages are likely to increase risk because estradiol levels would have been higher to maintain the pregnancy up until the miscarriage.

Since the effect of estrogen on breast cancer risk has been well recognized for many years, doctors have been wary of prescribing such medications as post-menopausal estrogen replacement therapy for older women, especially those with a family history of breast cancer. As it turns out, such medications do raise breast cancer risk slightly when they are used for several years.

One would think, therefore, that doctors would long ago have been concerned about possible increases in breast cancer risk attributable to induced abortion, given the extremely high estradiol levels experienced by women in the first few weeks of a normal pregnancy. By mid-first trimester, the levels are six times more than the level at the time of conception, and more than twice the highest level attained in the non-pregnant (pre-ovulatory) peak.

Conspiracy Of Silence

There are two possible reasons for the conspiracy of silence by the medical and scientific community and cancer prevention organizations. One is that they want women to have the "safety-net" of legalized abortion for unplanned pregnancies. Today many healthy young women are injured or die from legal abortions — and this does not include the numbers dying later from breast cancer.

Another reason for the silence is that the cancer prevention organizations wish to protect the abortion industry and to placate the feminist movement, both of which have promoted the myths that abortions are being performed in the interests of women's health, and are a woman's "right." An elective operation, which increases a woman's risk of a potentially fatal and always mutilating disease, enhances neither her health nor her "rights."

Exposure of the abortion-breast cancer risk blows the myths sky-high. The abortion industry is in it for the money and feminists are motivated by ideology, not concern for the well being of their "sisters." Otherwise the feminists would not have fought tooth and nail to stop even an impartial inquiry into the science of the issue, as they have done recently in Illinois and in Australia. Feminists dismiss the research as a pro-life "plot."

Curious Stance Of Cancer Prevention Organizations

So-called cancer prevention organizations have shifted their ground somewhat. From outright denial that a link exists between abortion and breast cancer, they are now more circumspect and use words like "inconclusive." The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) in the UK referred Professor Brind's research to an independent expert who found that there were "no major methodological shortcomings" in Brind's comprehensive "Review and Meta-analysis of Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer," (J. Epidemiol, Community Health, 1996) and that it "could not be disregarded." The RCOG then proceeded to disregard the opinion of their own expert and "reassured" women that the link between abortion and breast cancer was "inconclusive." In fact the first study linking abortion and breast cancer was in 1957 in Japan, so such research is not new.

Differing from the RCOG perspective was Dr. Thomas Stuttaford, medical columnist for the London Times, who is pro-choice. Previously he had denied the abortion-breast cancer link, but his column of May 17, 2001 stated that women who had an abortion before starting a family are up to four times more likely to develop breast cancer.

This is a common line with cancer prevention experts. They cite the declining death rate, which is of course highly commendable and is due to earlier diagnoses and improved treatments, but the actual incidence causes a lot of suffering to women: disfigurement and unpleasant treatments, and fear of relapse. Being "cured" of breast cancer is not the same as being cured of pneumonia.

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, Professor Robert Burton, Director of the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria, the premier anti-cancer organization in Australia, participated in a public meeting with Professor Brind in Melbourne in 1999. In the hand-out to oncologists a year or so later, Burton stated: "Current epidemiological evidence does not allow any definitive statements on the association between breast cancer and spontaneous or induced abortion."

If no definitive statement can be made, one wonders why isn't he warning the 100,000 women who have abortions in Australia each year that the safety of abortion in regard to increased breast cancer risk cannot be guaranteed. Why is it only cancer specialists get this privileged information and not the women who are most likely to be affected? Women in Australia have not been told of the only study so far on Australian women, (by Rohan et al in Adelaide in 1988), which showed that induced abortion was the greatest risk factor for breast cancer, greater even than a family history of breast cancer.

Similarly, Professor John McCaffrey, Chairman, Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the Queensland Cancer Fund, in a letter to the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote: "Our previous review of this literature, together with reviews by our sister organizations in other States (of Australia) have led us to the attitude that we can neither support nor deny the linkage (between abortion and breast cancer)." (Emphasis added)

Women are not told of these "attitudes" and private memos between the experts. Dr. Ray Lowenthal, Professor of Oncology at the Royal Hobart Hospital, Tasmania, assured me he does tell his medical students that the younger the woman is, when she has her first baby, the less risk she has of breast cancer. Why didn't he tell this to pregnant teenagers at abortion clinics? These teenagers are not warned that in the 1994 study by Janet Daling, every woman who had an abortion under age 18 and who also had a family history of breast cancer, developed breast cancer by age 45.

Warnings about smoking and lung cancer are not only given to medical students, they are printed on cigarette packets. Why aren't breast cancer warnings on billboards above abortion clinics? ("Take heed, all ye who enter here . . . ") Endeavour Forum did put up two billboards on public sites, as has the International Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer on U.S. highways (www.AbortionBreastCancer.com). But there should be many more of these warnings funded by levies on abortion clinics, just as smoking warnings are funded by taxes on cigarettes.

Legal Action

The conspiracy of silence may be coming to an end. In 2001 an Australian woman in her twenties received a settlement before going to trial in a case in which she sued an abortionist and hospital for failure to warn of the psychological trauma caused by the abortion of her first pregnancy. In regard to breast cancer she alleged the Defendants:

o Failed to warn the Plaintiff that the termination of her pregnancy might increase the risk of her subsequently developing breast cancer;

o Failed to inform the Plaintiff there was a body of medical opinion and/or surveys that suggested there was a link between surgical termination of pregnancy and the subsequent risk of developing breast cancer, and

o Failed to inform the Plaintiff that proceeding with her pregnancy would reduce the subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.

This is believed to be the first case of its kind in the world. Charles Francis, Q.C. was the senior trial attorney acting for the Plaintiff. A confidentiality clause in the terms of settlement prevents the lawyers involved from commenting further on the settlement. However, another case is being filed in the Australian Capital Territory, and there are abortion-breast cancer cases pending against Planned Parenthood in California, Texas and Missouri, and against abortionists and clinics in North Dakota and Pennsylvania.

What Can You Do?

1. Be informed! This information is a powerful weapon against the abortion industry; 2. Distribute widely copies of this March 2002 Mindszenty Report; 3. Get your free copy of The Deadly After-Effect of Abortion Breast Cancer by Dr. John C. Wilike by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Hayes Pub. Co., 6304 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45224, or to order in quantity e-mail: [email protected]

Babette Francis is President of Endeavour Forum, Inc., the most prominent Pro-Life and Pro-Family Organization in Australia.

This item 4298 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org