The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer announced that a lawsuit was filed yesterday in a San Diego court by three California women against Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliate, Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties. The suit accuses Planned Parenthood of having mislead women about the safety of abortion. Research published over nearly a half of a century has linked the procedure with increased breast cancer risk. The incidence of breast cancer among American women has climbed 40% in the last quarter of a century since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. The incidence of all other cancers has declined in the U.S. over the same period.
The plaintiffs, Agnes Bernardo of Chula Vista, Pamela Colip of Loma Linda, and Sandra Duffy-Hawkins of Sacramento, are not demanding monetary damages, but they are demanding Planned Parenthood to provide women with accurate information about the overwhelming evidence that abortion raises breast cancer risk. The plaintiffs are represented by the Thomas More Law Center located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
A 1996 review and meta-analysis of the studies found that induced abortion raises a woman’s breast cancer risk by 30%. The leading author of that paper written in collaboration with scientists from Penn State College of Medicine, Professor Joel Brind of Baruch College of the City University of New York, has written extensively about an ongoing effort by scientists to cover-up the research. [Brind et al. (1996) J Epidemiol Community Health 50:481-96]
In the only study specifically commissioned by the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Janet Daling and her colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center reported that “Among women who had been pregnant at least once, the risk of breast cancer in those who had experienced an induced abortion was 50% higher than among other women.” [Daling et al. (1994) J Natl Cancer Inst 86:1584-92]
The only statistically significant prospective study (one based on medical records, not interviews and which, therefore, rules out any possibility of recall bias) was conducted in New York and found a 90% increased risk. [Howe et al. (1989) Int J Epidemiol 18:300-4]
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer provides a wealth of information about the research, public policy and women’s legal rights at www.abortionbreastcancer.com.
Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, reported that “Twenty-eight out of 37 studies published since 1957 have associated this elective surgical procedure with breast cancer. We applaud the efforts of the Thomas More Law Center to assist women. Women have a right to make fully informed decisions concerning their own health. If a women are denied crucial information about the risks of a procedure, can it really be said that a choice ever belonged to them? Accurate information about the research has been censored by Planned Parenthood and its supporters since abortion was legalized in the U.S. nearly three decades ago. It was censored by the same people who ardently professed that they cared about women’s health. Planned Parenthood’s greed will cost women their lives and devastate families. This is a travesty of justice.”
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.