Getting the Facts Straight
on the Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

The media and other Pink Money organizations often dismiss or misrepresent Abortion-Breast Cancer information.
The following dialog dispells A-BC research myths and provides the verified, reputable facts on the A-BC Research data.
Get more details and information at: The Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer

A Dialog With Karen Malec, President of the Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer

Karen, your organization has compiled research details the world needs to know when the media and other societal pro-abortion organizations attempt to hide the real facts about the Abortion-Breast Cancer Link. What are the most frequently dismissed or misrepresented facts about the A-BC Link?

Karen Malec:
1. The National Cancer Institute denied the tobacco-cancer link in 1954, although epidemiological research dating from 1929 supported such a link. The American Cancer Society and the U.S. Surgeon General's Office did not recognize the link until the early 1960's. It is customary for experts to publicly disagree with one another about a medical risk for a period of time before the medical establishment as a whole recognizes that risk.

There is a medical consensus on one of two breast cancer risks associated with abortion: the loss of the risk-reducing effect of childbearing. The NCI acknowledges that childbearing and breast-feeding reduce risk, but illogically denies that abortion has anything to do with the loss of the protective effect of childbearing. The NCI also denies the second (debated) risk of abortion - that abortion independently raises risk, i.e.. that it leaves women with more cancer vulnerable breast lobules than they had before pregnancy.

2. The 1980 animal research study by Russo and Russo has never been refuted. (See number 7 below).

3. Seventy epidemiological studies have been conducted, and approximately 80% report risk increases for women who have abortions. Biological evidence and animal research supports this link. Scientists also have a sound biological explanation for the abortion-breast cancer connection, and no scientist has ever challenged or refuted it.

4. All experts concede the risk-reducing effect of childbearing. This is the recognized breast cancer risk of abortion. Only one risk of abortion is debated - whether an abortion increases risk by leaving women with more cancer-vulnerable breast tissue than they had before they became pregnant.

5. It is true that some epidemiological studies report little or no increase in risk after an abortion. However, most of these studies were shown to be seriously flawed. Professor Joel Brind authored a scientific review of 10 prospective studies that was subsequently published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Keep in mind that these 10 studies are prospective, and they are therefore free of the recall bias problem that are often mentioned. [Brind J. Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer: A critical review of recent studies based on prospective data. J Am Phys Surg Vol. 10, No. 4 (Winter 2005) 105-110. Available at:

Dr. Brind reported that the 10 studies contain "frank violations of the scientific method" and that they "do not invalidate the large body of research" that supports an abortion-cancer link. The authors of the flawed studies have never responded by addressing Brind's criticisms.

6. Patricia Jasen is a social scientist, in her paper discussing the history of the abortion-cancer link, Jasen never denied that abortion raises risk.

7. Russo and Russo conducted additional studies after 1980 (see number 2 above) that provide biological support for an abortion-cancer link.

Some include:

8. Some abortion proponents incorrectly state that:

"The Russo study concluded that rats that experience a full-term pregnancy are less likely to get breast cancer, the study also concluded that rats that never became pregnant had an equivalent increase in cancer risk as those that experienced induced abortions." (Media Matters)

A table in the study shows that 77.7% of the rats that were given abortions and then exposed to a carcinogen (DMBA) developed breast cancer. By contrast, 66.7% of the virgin rats exposed to the same carcinogen developed breast cancer, and 0% of the rats with puppies developed breast cancer. (p. 504) There is an eleven percent difference between the breast cancer rates of the aborted rats vs. the virgin rats.

Russo and Russo concluded:

"We show here that, in order to be protective, the development of the (mammary) gland must be complete. Pregnant or lactating rats treated with chemical carcinogens respond with a significant reduction in mammary tumor incidence, while pregnancy interruption gives no protection at all....In women, pregnancy is protective when it occurs before age 24. In contrast, abortion is associated with increased risk of carcinomas of the breast. The explanation for these epidemiologic findings is not known, but the [parallel] between the DMBA-induced rat mammary carcinoma model and the human situation is striking. It has been shown that in women during gestation, prolactin from the pituitary and placenta, as well as the secretion of estrogen and progesterone, increase, and they act synergistically to promote breast growth and differentiation. Abortion would interrupt this process, leaving in the gland undifferentiated structures like those observed in the rat mammary gland which could render the gland again susceptible to carcinogens." (p. 503-506)

9. Irma Russo's interview with Newsday in 1994: Her description of the biology supports an abortion-cancer link.

10. The National Cancer Institute's 2003 workshop: "Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer."
NCI's leaders claimed to have conducted a "comprehensive review" of the abortion-cancer link and to have invited experts from both sides of the debate to present their arguments. The NCI videotaped the entire workshop. Anyone with the slightest interest in the workshop can view the video and would find that a comprehensive review was never conducted and that only one side of the debate was presented - that abortion does not raise breast cancer risk. The entire workshop was a political charade. Most of the 100 scientists invited to the workshop have never studied the abortion-cancer link.

11. The federal government (through the auspices of the NCI) is the largest funder of cancer research in the U.S. Dr. Brind, the only scientist at the workshop who voiced his dissent, said that a number of scientists whose work showed risk increases for women who have abortions, privately complained that they feared the loss of their federal funding if they acknowledged a link publicly.

12. Then there is that same, tired argument that recall bias or report bias is a factor that results in flawed research. As we have said many times, there are currently no scientists who claim to have found evidence supporting this argument - that breast cancer patients are more likely to accurately report their abortion histories than are healthy women. The only group of scientists who have made this claim (Lindefors-Harris et al. 1991) subsequently withdrew their claim in a 1998 letter to the editor after Dr. Brind proved in a medical journal that they covered up an abortion-breast cancer link among Swedish women. You can read more about it here:

13. A review study in the British journal Lancet by Valerie Beral et al. published in 2004. [Beral V, Bull D, Doll R, Peto R, Reeves G. Collaborative Group of Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Breast cancer and abortion: collaborative reanalysis of data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 83,000 women with breast cancer from 16 countries. Lancet 2004;363:1007-16.]

The study Beral et al. 2004 was criticized for its flaws in five papers by four authors (independently of one another). One critic, Ed Furton, used harsh terminology to describe this "piece of work." He called it "shoddy research". (A majority of the studies reviewed by Beral et al. include studies with unpublished abortion data. Anyone with the slightest interest can confirm this.)

The five papers are:

Schlafly A. Legal implications of a link between abortion and breast cancer . J Am Phys Surgeons 2005;10:11-14. Available at:
Brind J. The abortion-breast cancer connection . National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly Summer 2005; p. 303-329. Available at:
Lanfranchi A. The abortion-breast cancer link revisited . Ethics and Medics (November 2004) Vol. 29, No. 11, p. 1-4.

Furton E. The corruption of science by ideology . Ethics and Medics (Dec. 2004) Vol. 29, No. 12, p. 1-2.
Brind J. Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer: A critical review of recent studies based on prospective data . J Am Phys Surg Vol. 10, No. 4 (Winter 2005) 105-110. Available at: <

14. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' doctors do abortions. It's not surprising that they deny the risk. They also promote the use of combined (estrogen plus progestin) oral contraceptives which the World Health Organization has labeled "carcinogenic to humans" (July, 2005), along with combined hormone replacement therapy. ACOG does not tell women that combined oral contraceptives and combined hormone replacement therapy contain the same drugs, or that combined oral contraceptives contain an even larger dose.

15. The naysayers neglect to mention that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists acknowledged the findings of the 1996 "Comprehensive review and meta-analysis" by Dr. Joel Brind of Baruch College and his Penn State authors. Brind et al. reported a 30% increased risk for women who have abortions after the birth of a first child and a 50% increased risk for women who have abortions before the birth of a first child. The RCOG's guidelines warned its abortion doctors that, "the Brind paper had no major methodological shortcomings and could not be disregarded."

When the British press got wind of the RCOG's warning in 2000, the RCOG quietly removed the warning from its press release. It shows what the RCOG is willing to say when its doctors feel its politically safe to do so.

In its latest conclusions on abortion-cancer research, the RCOG cited a review paper published in 2003 whose authors support a woman's right to be told about the known breast cancer risk of abortion - the loss of the protective effect of a full term pregnancy. The review paper is:

Thorp JM, Hartmann KE, Shadigian EM. Long-term physical and psychological health consequences of induced abortion: A review of the evidence. Obstet & Gynecol Survey 2003;58:1.

16. Those against A-BC link information complain that the decision to have an abortion is a difficult one, but it would not be a difficult decision if women were given accurate, unbiased information. The problem is that there are far too many people who are more interested in protecting abortion ideology than protecting women's health. If the federal government and the cancer establishment had wanted women to know about the abortion-cancer link, they would have told us about the existence of a large body of research dating from 1957.

Karen Malec
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer

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