How long will this nation sit by as a powerful, well-funded industry continues to expose women to the No. 1 preventable risk of breast cancer?
How long will the industry's political flunkies, who receive millions in campaign funds from this special interest, be allowed to turn a blind eye to a danger that kills thousands of women every year?
How long will a biased media keep silent in the face of a hazard that directly imperils more than 1 million women a year?
No, I'm not talking about the chemical industry, daily poisoning the environment with its toxins. Nor the producers of fatty food or alcohol, also factors suspected of increasing breast cancer.
The industry I'm talking about is the abortion business -- consisting of abortion "providers," their clinics, ideological supporters, grant-giving foundations and the rest of the political power structure that refuses to even admit that a scientific debate, let along scientific evidence, exists about the dangers of induced abortions. They--despite their claims of superior benevolence and compassion--are threatening thousands of women's lives with an unspeakably painful disease.
Yet in the month of May, a time of renewal, promise, new life and marches throughout the country against breast cancer, millions of women are being deceived about this risk, or denied the knowledge of important studies.
Twenty-seven out of 34 independent studies conducted throughout the world (including 13 out of 14 conducted in the United States) have linked abortion and breast cancer. Seventeen of these studies show a statistically significant relationship. Five show more than a two-fold elevation of risk. In turn, the abortion industry says all those studies are trumped by one study, whose methodology, critics say, is seriously flawed.
The biological hypothesis is that during pregnancy, a woman's breasts begin developing a hormone that causes cells--both normal and pre-cancerous--to multiply dramatically. If the pregnancy is carried to term, those undifferentiated cells are shaped into milk ducts and a naturally occurring process shuts off the rapid cell multiplication. An induced abortion leaves a women with more undifferentiated cells, and so, more cancer-vulnerable cells.
When I first wrote about this issue in 1997, the scorn and name-calling flowed in. Anti-choice fanatic. Ignorant bozo. Misogynist. Since then, much has happened. The United Kingdom's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists became the first medical organization to warn its abortion practitioners that the abortion-breast cancer link "could not be disregarded." It said that the methodology of the principal ABC (abortion-breast cancer) researcher, Joel Brind, was sound.
John Kindley, an attorney, warned in a 1999 Wisconsin Law Review article that physicians who do not inform their patients of the ABC link expose themselves to medical malpractice suits. He concluded that about 1 out of 100 women who have had an induced abortion die from breast cancer attributable to the abortion.
The American Cancer Society Web page lists induced abortions (along with pesticides, chemical exposures, weight gain and other factors) among elements that may be related to breast cancer, and that the relationship is being studied.
Earlier, Dr. Janet Darling and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in a study commissioned by the National Cancer Institute, found that "among women who had been pregnant at least once, the risk of breast cancer in those who had . . . an induced abortion was 50 percent higher than among other women." The risk of breast cancer for women under18 or over 29 who had induced abortions was more than twofold. Women who abort and have a family history of breast cancer increase their risk 80percent. The increased risk of women under 18 with that family history was incalculably high.
Being pro-choice didn't shield Darling from the usual attacks. She fought back. "If politics gets involved in science," she then told the Los Angeles Daily News, "it will really hold back the progress that we make. I have three sisters with breast cancer, and I resent people messing with the scientific data to further their own agenda, be they pro-choice or pro-life. I would have loved to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid, and our data is accurate. It's not a matter of believing, it's a matter of what is."
Yet the Web site of the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, sponsor of many marches, fails to mention even the possibility of the ABC connection in its list of risk factors. Not even under its list of fuzzy, not "clear-cut" factors. Not even the existence of a scientific debate over induced abortion is worth a mention.
If you want to know more, look in on the Web page of the Palos Heights-based Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. You may not agree with everything there but at least you'll be respected for your intellectual ability to make an informed choice.
Dennis Byrne is a Chicago-area writer and public affairs consultant.
This article can be found on the Pro-Life Infonet website. Reprinted with permission.