Congressmen want NCI webpage errors fixed


An international women’s organization today severely criticized 12 congressmen who demanded that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson instruct the National Institutes for Health to re-post an erroneous web page on the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) website discussing the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) research.

On October 21, 2002, twelve House Democrats led by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (R-California), sent a letter of protest to Secretary Thompson accusing HHS of having allegedly allowed ideology to “subvert scientific decision making.” The Waxman group had several concerns, one of which included discussion of the ABC research appearing on a National Cancer Institute web page. They said, “Scientific information that does not serve the Administration’s ideological agenda is being removed from HHS websites.”

The 12 members of Congress offered no scientific support for their assertions by including a scientific fact sheet addressing the research. None of the members of the Waxman group is a physician.

The NCI took down its web page in June 2002 after 28 members of Congress, including a physician, Dave Weldon, M.D., objected that the information presented by the agency was “scientifically inaccurate and misleading to the public.” Unlike the Waxman group, they offered support for their claims of impropriety by providing a fact sheet analysis of the inaccurate March 6, 2002 web page.

Mrs. Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, remarked that “The real ideologues are the NCI scientists, who are guilty of gross scientific misconduct, and their supporters in Congress, who behave like tobacco state politicians and have their hands in the pockets of the abortion barons. They’ve shown a reckless disregard for the lives of women. Their behavior is disgraceful!”

Mrs. Malec said the Waxman group “should be more concerned about women’s lives than ideology. Women from the Roe v. Wade generation are losing their lives to breast cancer in unprecedented and disproportionate numbers.” Last year’s report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) shows that breast cancer rates between the year that abortion was legalized - 1973 - and 1998 jumped more than 40%. The increase since the mid 1980’s is entirely confined to women of the Roe v. Wade generation, not to the older group of women. 1

Mrs. Malec asked, “How do Waxman et al. and the NCI explain that? They don’t even try. If environmental factors and early detection were responsible for this disparity, then wouldn’t the increase have occurred among older women too?” asked Mrs. Malec.

Commenting on the JNCI’s statistics, Joel Brind, Ph.D., the lead author of a 1996 review and meta-analysis examining the ABC research 2, observed that, “Abortion can explain the entire rise in breast cancer since the mid 1980s, and it's not just because the rise is in women young enough to have had an abortion; it's also that the absolute numbers of increased cases fall within the range of the numbers we predicted in our 1996 meta-analysis.”

Mrs. Malec publicly asked the Waxman group these questions: “Does it trouble Waxman et al. that the NCI has been publicly accused of either lying or misleading the public about the research by a scientist and 5 doctors, two of whom have served as members of Congress?

“Does it disturb the Waxman twelve that the NCI omitted from its web page the vast majority of the 37 ABC studies in the worldwide literature, including all but two of the 15 American studies? Thirteen U.S. studies report increased risk. Most of them were paid for, at least in part, by the NCI, thanks to U.S. taxpayer money. Why does the Waxman group want to keep women clueless?

“Epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health cited abortion as a risk factor in 1986 when they wrote to the British journal, The Lancet, and said unequivocally, “Induced abortion before first term pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer.” 3 They knew 16 years ago that abortion causes breast cancer, but never told women.

“The National Physicians Center for Family Resources cites breast cancer as a ‘long term complication of abortion.’ Three other medical organization (including the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the Catholic Medical Association and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recognize the significance of the research. An authoritative medical text used by breast disease specialists cites abortion as a risk factor. 4

“Given this information, what possible right do Waxman and company have to suppress the truth? Don’t these facts impose a strong duty on the nation’s medical, political, scientific and journalistic elite to inform us that 45 years of ABC research is not driven by ideological considerations, but rather by a genuine concern for the lives of women?

Mrs. Malec concluded, “Apparently, the Waxman twelve want to keep women in the dark about the truth because they have no respect for our lives. It’s a slap in the face for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women’s organization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

  • 1. Howe et al. Int J Epidemiol 1989 June;18(2):300-4.
  • 2. Brind et al. (1996) J Epidemiol Community Health 50:481-96.
  • 3. Wingo et al. (February 22, 1986) The Lancet, p. 436.
  • 4. Robert B. Dickson, Ph.D., Marc E. Lippman, MD, "Growth Regulation of Normal and Malignant Breast Epithelium," The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Diseases, edited by Kirby I. Bland MD and Edward M. Copeland III, MD; (1998) W.B. Saunders Company; 2nd edition; Vol 1, p. 519.

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