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Abortion is Carcinogenic

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:11 pm    Post subject: Abortion is Carcinogenic Reply with quote

Abortions are carcinogenic. The anti-abortion crowd has been making this argument for years, and it is still taught in many abstinence only education classes. Most specifically, abortions cause breast cancer. States such as Texas have even passed laws requiring doctors to tell women that abortions cause breast cancer.

The National Cancer Institute brought together more than 100 of the world's leading experts on the subject to review all of the existing research. Their finding was unequivocal: "Induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk."

The supposed link between breast cancer and abortions has been debunked since 2003, but it hasn’t gone away. It is such a compelling and scary argument. Have an abortion and the chances are that you’ll have your breasts cut off or die. Its hard to find anything scarier to tell a young woman considering an abortion.

They have even published in anti-abortion literature the made up statistic that teens who undergo abortion "may face an eight times greater risk of contracting breast cancer by age 45.” This was in the pamphlet from the group A Woman’s Concern, an anti-abortion and anti-contraception group oddly enough headed by a male medical director. He was, Eric Keroack, who then went on to become Bush’s choice at the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee family planning grants. “

The problem was, the anti-abortion crowd has not had the science on their side. So they made some of their own. You wouldn’t know that at first hearing though. Here is a headline you might have seen recently.

Abortion 'Best Predictor of Breast Cancer,' New Study Says
The story is being picked up very heavily in the conservative press. But you have to ask four simple questions. Who did the study? How was it done? Where was it published? And who paid for it? The answers to all of these questions are quite interesting. They take a little digging to discover, though.

First who did the study? It was done by statistician Patrick Carroll of PAPRI in London. PAPRI stands for the Pension and Population Research Institute. They don’t even have a web site. And as far as I can determine, they only have one employee. Statistician Patrick Carroll. He is noted for complaining about Britain’s low birth rate and blaming it on the availability of contraceptives and women taking high level jobs. Hardly a disinterested researcher.

In 2001, PAPRI, under Carroll published a study that claimed that British breast cancer cases could rise by up to 60 percent in the next two decades due to abortion. This was soundly disputed by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. It was two years before the Cancer Institute’s publication of a complete debunking of the theory.

Not much has changed. Just like that study, Carroll’s current study was funded by a British anti-abortion group.

Where was it published? In the journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Under the title The Breast Cancer Epidemic. It sounds official, but it is actually published by an anti-vaccination anti-abortion group. Their general counsel is Andrew Schlafly, right wing son of Phyllis Schlafely and founder of Conservapeia, a right wing, less fact based version of Wikipedia. He was our whacko of the week in our July 4th edition of the Jeff Booth Show on On their web site, they have a resolution condemning abortion, which concludes “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons supports the right to life of human beings from the moment of conception to natural death. It does not rank high on the list of reputable medical journals, which is one of the reasons you don’t see this study quoted anywhere else in the medical literature.

Another reason is that it is statistically meaningless. This is known as a retrospective study. They look at old statistics and try and reinterpret them. The quality of the results depends entirely upon the quality of that reinterpretation and the mathematical model created. Except that the press release reveals that he is using the same old mathematical model from his 2001 study that was dismissed by the medical experts. It may be fiddling with numbers, but it is hardly science.

This is where it is important to understand how the study was done. Here is how it is described: The study examined data on abortion and breast cancer from 1971 through 2004 in eight European countries. Now, it sounds more like a medical study, tracing people who have had abortion through to later breast cancer. Actually, though, it is a statistical study. In these countries, they looked at the more affluent population that tended to have more money and a better lifestyle and better access to medical care and noted a higher incidence of breast cancer. Here is how he comes to the linkage, quoted from the press release: “Carroll suggests that the known preference for abortion in this class might explain the phenomenon. Women pursuing higher educations and professional careers often delay marriage and childbearing.” Might explain the phenomena? An increase in alien visitations might explain the phenomena as well. This is not science- this is wishful thinking by an ardent anti-abortionist. He didn’t look at people who had abortions and then had breast cancer. He looked at groups of people who had abortions, and then at groups of people who had breast cancer, and made the assumption that they had to be the same people, and that there was a causal relationship.

It gets even more ludicrous. He came up with things his backers wanted to be true as contributing factors and added them into the mix. Remember- the general trend of the group paying for this study is to encourage women to get married young and have children early and to oppose abortion and birth control. SO, not surprisingly, the risk factors they came up with include:

A low age at first birth is protective.
Childlessness increases the risk.

A larger number of children (higher fertility) increases protection.

Breastfeeding gives additional protection.

Hormonal contraceptives are conducive to breast cancer.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is also conducive to breast cancer.

This study is already being cited by anti-abortion groups all over the Internet. There is absolutely no science behind it. It is a rehash of an older repudiated study, with an additional laundry list of things to scare women into having children early, avoid abortion and birth control, and have lots of children.
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