Women Misinformed about ABC Research


The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer accused Chicago Parent, the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization and Northwestern University Medical School physician Valerie Staradub, M.D. of falsely reassuring women of the safety of abortion and of minimizing the lifetime risk of breast cancer for American women. Two articles appeared in the October, 2001 issue: the first entitled, “One in eight,” by Darcy Lewis; the second entitled, “Myths and Facts about Breast Health,” by Eugenia Levenson. 

Mrs. Karen Malec, president of the women’s group, said “Chicago Parent expects women to believe that the research is pro-life mythology.” Twenty-eight out of 37 studies published over nearly a half of a century, most of which were conducted by abortion supporters, have demonstrated that abortion is a risk factor for breast cancer. They were published in respected journals. A medical book published in 1998 and the 1988 Henderson lecture both say that a first trimester abortion increases risk. 1 “Chicago Parent and Y-ME would have women believe that scientists publishing in highly regarded journals like the Journal of the National Cancer Institute don’t practice science,” said Mrs. Malec.

Mrs. Malec asserted, “The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health knew in 1986 that abortion causes breast cancer. Their epidemiologists, Phyllis Wingo and Bruce Stadel authored a letter to the journal, Lancet, and said, ‘Induced abortion before first term pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer.’ 2 How dare these agencies keep it from women?” Mrs. Malec added, “How can Chicago Parent, Y-ME and Valerie Staradub, M.D., a breast surgeon at Northwestern University Medical School, report that having a first full term pregnancy (FFTP) before age 30 and breast feeding reduce risk, but then deny that abortion is linked to breast cancer? How can a childless woman reduce her risk by having an earlier FFTP and breast feeding if she’s aborted her child?” 

Dr. Staradub relied on two tools currently being employed by the abortion industry to discredit the abortion-breast cancer research: reporting bias theory and the 1997 Melbye study. The group’s website at <www.AbortionBreastCancer.com&gt; explains why reporting bias and the Melbye study are not valid reasons to excuse the abortion-breast cancer research.

“Reporting bias theory is a lame excuse for denying a causal relationship,” said Mrs. Malec. “There isn’t a single study whose scientists presently assert that they’ve found believable evidence of this phenomenon in the research.” 

Mrs. Malec asserted, “Dr. Staradub selectively reported the data. She failed to tell Chicago Parent’s readers that the 1997 Melbye study found a statistically significant 89% increased risk among women who’d had abortions after 18 weeks gestation. 3 How is it that she missed the fact that Melbye’s publisher, the New England Journal of Medicine, no longer agrees with Melbye’s conclusion that abortion has no overall effect on breast cancer risk? The journal identified abortion as a possible ‘risk factor’ in February of 2000. 4 Melbye’s been severely criticized for its errors. Even a non-scientist could recognize some of the errors.” 5

Mrs. Malec argued, “If Dr. Staradub and Y-ME want to talk about Chinese studies, why did they omit the Bu study which reported an almost tripling of a Chinese woman’s risk if she has a single abortion? A highly regarded scientist, Dr. Janet Daling of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute, co-authored that study.” 6

Mrs. Malec asked, “Why is the truth being censored from women? We refer Dr. Staradub to the website, <www.johnkindley.com&gt;, for a Wisconsin Law Review article which discusses the legal liability of physicians who fail to inform their patients of the increased risk.” 

For women between the ages of 20 and 59, breast cancer is the greatest cause of cancer deaths. Breast cancer rates have increased among American women 40% since 1973 when abortion was legalized. 

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. Robert B. Dickson, Ph.D., Marc E. Lippman, M.D., “Growth Regulation of Normal and Malignant Breast Epithelium,” The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Diseases, edited by Kirby I. Bland, M.D. and Edward M. Copeland III, M.D.; (1998) W. B. Saunders Company; 2nd edition; Vol. 1, p. 519; and Henderson, B.E., Ross, R., Bernstein, L.; “Estrogens as a cause of human cancer,” The Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award Lecture, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California; Cancer Res 48:246-253, 1988.
  • 2. Lancet, Feb. 22, 1986, p. 436.
  • 3. Melbye et al. (1997) N Engl J Med 336:81-5.
  • 4. Armstrong (2000) NEJM 342:564-71.
  • 5. Joel Brind & Vernon Chinchilli, Letter, “Induced Abortion and the Risk of Breast Cancer,” 336 NEJM 1834-35 (1997).
  • 6. Bu et al. (1995) Am J Epidemiol 141:S85.

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