Tucker Carlson's news website The Daily Caller is clinging to a dubious study to push the discredited claim that women who have had abortions are at greater risk for developing breast cancer. Public health experts have long maintained that no such link exists.
TheDC Points To Armenian Study To Promote Link Between Abortion And Breast Cancer
Daily Caller: “Study Shows Link Between Breast Cancer And Abortion, Cancer Institute: No Way.” A Daily Caller article headlined, “Study Shows Link Between Breast Cancer And Abortion, Cancer Institute: No Way,” reported:
Pro-life advocates have argued for years that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer -- due to hormonal changes during pregnancy which leave breasts more vulnerable to cancer. Despite their advocacy, the Department of Health and Human Services denies that there is any link.
On Monday the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer pointed to a new study which found a nearly 3-fold increase in the risk of breast cancer among Armenian women who had an abortion as yet another reason women should steer clear of the procedure.
The research found that induced abortions increased a woman's risk of beast cancer [sic] 2.86 times -- they claim however that “most evidence ... points to no effect.”
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer contends that political correctness was the reason the researchers claimed there is no link. [The Daily Caller, 11/29/11]
Public Health Experts Have Long Maintained That There Is No Link Between Abortion And Breast Cancer
Public Health Expert David Grimes: Study's Methodology Was “Grossly Inadequate.” In an interview with Media Matters, Dr. David Grimes, a clinical professor of OB/GYN at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and former chief of the Abortion Surveillance Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the study's methodology “one of the worst” he had seen. He stated that it was “grossly inadequate to attempt to gather detailed personal histories about women's reproductive lives by telephone,” adding that the study was not designed to study the relationship between abortion and cancer.
“In studies of this type,” he said, “the persistent under-reporting of prior abortions among healthy controls (social desirability bias) produces a spurious relationship between abortion and later breast cancer.” Hence, studies that “rely on only self-reports of abortion (as opposed to medical records) are not credible.” [Media Matters, 12/1/11]
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: No Causal Relationship Between Induced Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk. The American Cancer Society notes that public health experts have rejected past studies trying to link abortion to breast cancer:
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Gynecologic Practice also reviewed the available evidence in 2003 and again in 2009. ACOG published its most recent findings in June 2009. At that time, the Committee said, “Early studies of the relationship between prior induced abortion and breast cancer risk were methodologically flawed. More rigorous recent studies demonstrate no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer risk.”
In 2004, the Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer, based out of Oxford University in England, put together the results from 53 separate studies done in 16 different countries. These studies included about 83,000 women with breast cancer. After combining and reviewing the results from these studies, the researchers concluded that “the totality of worldwide epidemiological evidence indicates that pregnancies ending as either spontaneous or induced abortions do not have adverse effects on women's subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.” These experts did not find that abortions (either induced or spontaneous) cause a higher breast cancer risk.
At this time, the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer. [American Cancer Society, Revised 9/20/11]
Study Of Premenopausal Women Found No Association Between Abortion And Breast Cancer. An April 2007 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found no link between abortion and breast cancer. The study analyzed information from women between the ages of 29 and 46 years old and concluded:
Among this predominantly premenopausal population, neither induced nor spontaneous abortion was associated with the incidence of breast cancer. [Archives of Internal Medicine, 4/23/07]
Planned Parenthood: “Studies Have Shown That Abortion Is Not Associated With Breast Cancer.” Planned Parenthood has noted:
Studies have shown that abortion is not associated with breast cancer. Undaunted by the absence of compelling evidence, anti-choice extremists insist on making the connection anyway. Once more they are using misinformation as a weapon in their campaign against safe, legal abortion.
Anti-choice claims linking abortion and breast cancer fly in the face of scientific evidence. The National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have all refuted the reliability of such an association (ACOG, 2003; ACS, 2003; NCI, 2003). [Planned Parenthood For America, Updated 8/9/06]
NIH's National Cancer Institute: Abortions Do Not Increase Risk Of Breast Cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute:
In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world's leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman's subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. A summary of their findings can be found in the Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop.
NCI regularly reviews and analyzes the scientific literature on many topics, including various risk factors for breast cancer. Considering the body of literature that has been published since 2003, when NCI held this extensive workshop on early reproductive events and cancer, the evidence overall still does not support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer. [National Cancer Institute, Updated 1/12/10]
USA Today: “Researchers Found No Greater Rate Of Breast Cancer” Among Women Who Had Had Abortions. USA Today reported on the results of a 2007 Harvard study finding no link between abortion and breast cancer:
The new study, appearing in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at data from 105,716 women participating in the Nurses' Health Study, which was established in 1976 to study a wide range of health issues affecting women.
The women, ages 29 to 46 at the start of the study, were followed for 10 years. Every two years, they were asked about abortions, miscarriages and new breast cancer diagnoses. The researchers looked at medical records to confirm the diagnoses.
The researchers found no greater rate of breast cancer among the women who reported having abortions, compared to the other women. They saw no greater risk associated with multiple abortions and no greater risk linked with miscarriages. [USA Today, 4/23/07]
Anti-Choice Centers Use Discredited Studies As “Scare Tactics”
WSJ: Anti-Choice Centers Masquerading As Health Clinics Use Misinformation About Abortion As “Scare Tactics.” On October 12, 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported:
“These are anti-choice centers masquerading as health clinics,” said Ms. Lapin, a Manhattan Democrat. “Women who are scared and vulnerable and having a very tough decision to make have a right to factually accurate medical information, and the fact that these folks would purposely try to mislead them is not right.”
To demonstrate support for the legislation, NARAL Pro-Choice New York Foundation and the National Institute for Reproductive Health, organizations that support abortion rights, will release Tuesday a report exposing what they call the “lies, manipulations and privacy violations” of these centers.
The groups sent women pretending to be pregnant to the centers, and they received misinformation and experienced scare tactics, the report says. At one center in Queens, a woman was falsely told abortion could cause breast cancer, and there was literature there asking, “Is it really necessary to kill your baby?” the report says. [The Wall Street Journal, 10/12/10]