My Canadian friend could not contain himself.
“These new studies out of India NUKE the Abortion-Breast-Cancer deniers,” Brent Rooney told me gleefully. “They simply NUKE them!”
Looking at the data Brent had sent me from his office in Vancouver, British Columbia, I could see why he was so excited. He had found twelve recent studies in the medical literature, all carried out on the Indian subcontinent, that looked into whether there was a link between prior abortions and breast cancer. And all twelve found that women who had had prior abortions were at an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Let me repeat that: each and every one of these studies done on the Indian subcontinent suggested a link between abortion and breast cancer.
Here are the actual numbers Brent sent me:
|Author||Year||Odds Ratio||95% Cl or p value|
|Rai et al.||2008||2.21||p < 0.05|
|Kaur et al.||2011||2.79||p < 0.001|
|Lodha et al.||2011||1.91||p = 0.214 (not sig.)|
|Santhy et al.||2012||1.22||not significant|
|Balasubrahmanian et al.||2013||2.08||1.15 – 3.75|
|Bhadoria et al.||2013||6.26||4.16 – 9.41|
|Kamath et al.||2013||5.75||1.27 – 25.99|
|Roy et al.||2014||10.66||p < 0.0001|
|Takalkar et al.||2014||2.8||1.82 – 5.12|
|De Silva ( Sri Lanka)||2010||3.42||1.75 – 6.66|
|Raza (Pakistan)||2011||6.80||p < 0.05|
|Jabeen (Bangladesh)||2013||20.62||data not shown|
Before your eyes glaze over, focus on the third column, the “Odds Ratio.” This is the key indicator here because it represents the odds of developing breast cancer if you have had a prior abortion (compared to the odds of developing breast cancer if you haven’t). Note that all twelve studies have an Odds Ratio greater than 1.0, indicating increased risk.
But get this: the average Odds Ratio for these twelve studies is 5.54. That means that the breast cancer risk for Indian women who have had prior abortions is five and a half times that of women who have not. Another way to put it is that you have a 554% increased risk of developing breast cancer if you have had a prior induced abortion. That’s pretty scary, isn’t it?
Abortion-rights activists, who like to argue that abortion has no lasting health risks, will find it very, very difficult to explain away such numbers. It’s not surprising that in recent years, when the topic of the ABC link comes up, many offer perfunctory denials and then quickly change the subject.
Another reason why these findings are so important is that women in India and neighboring countries are simply ideal subjects for studies of the ABC link. They marry early, do not use the pill, have multiple pregnancies, and breastfeed their babies. In other words, all of the other major risk factors for breast cancer are … absent.
Many women in countries like the United States, Australia, and Great Britain, on the other hand, all engage in other behaviors—besides abortion—that can cause breast cancer. They marry late or not at all. They use oral contraceptives when young and go on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) when older. They have only one or no full-term pregnancies. And they do not breastfeed.
When these “confounding factors”—as they are called—are present, they make it difficult to sort out just how much induced abortions raise a woman's lifetime breast cancer risk.
But they are largely absent in India, so the ABC link comes through loud and clear.
In fact,the ABC link these Indian studies confirm is stronger than other risk factors for breast cancer that we know of, such as advanced age, having a family history of breast cancer, or being childless.
These new Indian studies have come to light not long after the publication of a huge meta-analysis of 36 (thirty-six!) studies done in Mainland China. This study also showed a statistically significant risk of breast cancer following abortion. For Chinese women who have had one or more induced abortions the increased risk was 44% (Odds Ratio 1.44). The risk jumped to 76% for women who had had two or more previous abortions.
As Dr. Joel Brind, perhaps the leading authority on the Abortion-Breast Cancer link, notes, “The [China] study confirmed the results I and my co-authors from Penn State Medical College had reported in 1996 in the British Medical Association's epidemiology journal.” The Brind et al study showed an increased risk of 30% (Odds Ratio 1.3).
There are reams of reliable data. There are—literally—dozens of studies showing that women who undergo induced abortions have a significantly increased risk of developing breast cancer down the road. And yet …..
The abortion movement continues to whistle past the graveyard—where the bodies of women who have died from abortion-induced breast cancer are buried. It continues to try and discredit the mounting evidence of an ABC link by claiming, “Weak associations can turn up by chance and are therefore random and meaningless.”
Well, the associations revealed in the Indian and Chinese studies were not weak at all, but statistically very robust. Women deserve to know that they are at significantly greater risk of developing breast cancer if they undergo an induced abortion.
Why doesn’t the abortion movement—which claims to have the interests of women at heart—warn them about this risk? Why do they continue to concoct flawed arguments, and publish flawed studies, in an attempt to discredit an ABC link that has now been clearly proven?
It’s fairly obvious to me that the deniers are more concerned about promoting their own dogmatic beliefs than they are about saving women’s lives. The radical feminists believe that women need to be liberated from childbearing. The radical abortion movement believes that Planned Parenthood needs to make money. And the radical environmentalists believe the planet needs to be relieved of its burden of humanity.
They are irresponsibly advancing their own deadly agendas at the expense of science and women’s lives. What’s scientific and liberating about that?
Steven W. Mosher is the President of the Population Research Institute and the author of Population Control: Real Costs, Illusory Benefits.