It’s taken a while but the story linking abortion and breast cancer is finally starting to get out.

As breast cancer rates soar – one in nine women will get it in her lifetime – study after study confirms the link.

But because of the nature of the issue involved, the effect abortion has on breast cancer is very seldom discussed publicly. The silence, say many cancer experts, makes the tragedy of breast cancer even worse. Women who have had abortions are not on the lookout for the early warning signs and women contemplating having an abortion are not aware of the medical dangers they will face later in their lives. Breast cancer is becoming more of an issue and its causes are mainly unknown. The link with abortion, say cancer experts, can be ignored no longer.

The latest data making the connection comes in a report published recently in the Medical Post. Dr. Nadine Andrieu, of the Gustave-Roussy Institute in Villejuif France, told an international conference on the prevention and detection of cancer that women who have a family history of breast cancer are at greater risk if they opt for an abortion.

Dr. Andrieu reported the highest risk to be among women who have had breast cancer in the family and have had two or more abortions in their lifetimes.

“These findings indicate the risk associated with a family history of breast cancer increases following spontaneous or induced abortions, and is amplified by events resulting from abortions in general,” the Medical Post reported.

The evidence has been around for a long time, with the first study dating back to the 1950s. According to a new survey released by Scott Somerville, of Life Dynamics, there are now more than 24 published studies which show the link between abortion and breast cancer.

Somerville, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, recently published the report which summarizes the growing evidence of the long-term dangers of abortion.

Before you Choose, The Link Between Breast Cancer and Abortion, describes the story of one woman who could have been spared her ordeal with breast cancer if she had known of the risks she incurred by her two abortions in the 1070s.

“Other women need to know about this research in time for it to save their lives,” the report says. “They need to know before they choose.”

The 24 studies which Somerville highlights boil down to one fact – women who have abortions face a greater risk of breast cancer.

Scientific studies of human breast cells show that hormonal changes occur during the first full pregnancy and if it is interrupted they are left vulnerable to cancer.

“First trimester abortions (whether spontaneous miscarriages or surgically induced) appear to interrupt the breast maturation process at the worse possible time,” Somerville writes. “When cells are reproducing the fastest, the risk that there will be an error in reproduction is the highest. Cancer results from cells whose reproduction runs amok.”

“The biological evidence is that abortion can cause breast cancer,” he says. The statistical evidence is that it does. What does the abortion industry say in its defence?”

The answer is not much. The industry has failed to deal with the problem and in spite of its goal of giving women a choice, refuses to allow this information to be given to pregnant women.

The first study on the connection between breast cancer and abortion was published in 1957. It shows an increased risk of up to 400 per cent for some women who have abortions. Other studies show at least 27 per cent heightened risk for women who abort their children. Most of the results place the heightened risk somewhere between these two figures. The studies, from around the world, were not sponsored by any particular group, either pro-life or otherwise. Each one duplicates, with variations in the increased risk, the pioneering study from 1957.

In spite of pleas by many women and women’s groups for greater research and information to fight this disease, the studies have rarely seen the light of day.

They are well known to the abortion movement, Somerville maintains, but they are either ignored or rationalized. One way which studies are subverted is by using the so-called “recall-bias” theory which states that women who have breast cancer remember their abortions while healthy women don’t.

Planned Parenthood, with a direct stake in the abortion industry in the U.S., has discounted the potentially devastating evidence.

“Since no reliable, accepted study shows a link between abortion and breast cancer this is not information that should be conveyed to clients,” Planned Parenthood states. “In fact, to do so would be irresponsible. Bogus medical arguments and flawed conclusions serve only to create unwarranted fear in women; in no way do they contribute to informed consent.”

But the independent evidence is there for all to see, Somerville says, and it is essential to inform women who are contemplating abortions and who have had them. He has published the studies and analysis in booklet form which is available from AIM, P.O. Box 871, Purcellville, VA 22132 or by calling (703) 668-6527.

He says the abortion industry could be legally responsible for increasing the risk of breast cancer in women without informing them of the potential dangers if they go through with the operation.

Dr. John Willke echoes the warnings about the dangers of abortions to women later in life. The Cincinnati doctor spoke to MPs and their aides in Ottawa recently describing the scientific studies which show the higher risk to women of breast cancer if they have abortions. Dr. Willke, whose visit to the MPs was organized by Campaign Life Coalition Ottawa, held a press briefing which was largely ignored by the media.

Ottawa journalist Claire Hoy compared the coverage of Dr. Willke with the extensive reporting given to a new drug which will fight AIDS.

In five major newspapers which covered the AIDS drug extensively “not a single word appeared about Willke’s comments,” Hoy wrote in the Ottawa Hill Times.

“But my point isn’t that the AIDS news conference should have been ignored,” he continued. “Not at all. Both events deserved coverage. After all, breast cancer will kill 5,300 Canadians this year. AIDS will kill less than 100. Go figure.”

Take a Closer Look at the Facts

A 16 year old girl has a 10% lifetime risk of breast cancer
If she gets pregnant…
• Having the baby in her teens reduces her chances of getting breast cancer to 7.5%
• If she has an abortion [and has at least one child in her 20s] her risk rises to 15%
• If she has an abortion and never has another pregnancy her risk rises to

One woman in nine will develop breast cancer and 25% of those will die from it.

Increasing the Risk

One measure of the deadliness of cancer is its recurrence. In one study, women who developed breast cancer had a 10.5% rate of recurrence within three years if they had only live births. Those women who had one abortion were twice as likely (20.5%) to have a recurrence of cancer within that time. Women with two or more abortions were three times as likely (32.3%) to have such a recurrence.
H.E. Ownby, S. Martino, L.D. Roi., L. Howard, J. Russo, S. Brooks and M.J. Brennan. Breast Cancer Res. Treat (1983)

Doctor makes House call

Dr. John Willke, president of the International Right to Life Federation, was in Ottawa, March 8. He was invited by Action Life Ottawa to speak about the timely issue of breast cancer and its link to abortion. Campaign Life Coalition took advantage of the visit and hosted a luncheon in which Dr. Willke spoke to 12 MPs, including Liberals Tom Wappel, Jessie Flis, Rex Crawford, Bernard Patry and Paul Forseth; Reform Party members Barry Breitkreuz, Ken Epp and Myron Thomas and PC Elsie Wayne. The MPs listened to Dr. Willke as he explained that over 20 international studies have demonstrated that abortion of a first pregnancy almost doubles the risk of developing breast cancer.