Bioethics Journal reports Lancet review is flawed

Bioethics Journal Charges Lancet, Scientific Community with Cancer Cover Up / CBS and Associated Press, Nevertheless, Represent Lancet Article as Authoritative

The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer notes an editorial by Editor Ed Furton, MA, Ph.D. in the December issue of a bioethics journal, Ethics and Medics. 1  Furton charged that a widely reported "review" of the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) studies published in the Lancet was seriously flawed for having omitted 15 studies reporting risk elevations "for no good reasons" and using an "inappropriate control group."

The Lancet reported a statistically significant 11% risk elevation among retrospective studies and a significant 7% risk decrease among prospective studies. 2

Furton accused the Lancet of allowing its pages to be "used as a political platform," and setting aside "objective standards of scientific research." He accused the Lancet of "picking conclusions ahead of time, and arranging the evidence to support them." He chastised scientists for failing to "speak out against the shoddy research that is being advanced by those who deny" the link because they fear ostracism and the loss of grants.

Furton's editorial follows a November article by Associate Professor of Surgery Angela Lanfranchi, MD, FACS who identified the Lancet's flaws. 3 Furton's and Lanfranchi's articles are published at

The Associated Press and CBS Evening News featured stories about pending informed consent legislation. 4 5  Both cited the Lancet article and a statement from the U.S. National Cancer Institute as authoritative. CBS was informed about the Ethics and Medics editorial one day before its story aired.

Ironically, the same CBS program featured another story challenging the government's credibility as a reliable source of health information because its scientists moonlight as consultants for pharmaceutical companies.

Both news outlets represented ABC research as if there were consensus in the medical community that there's no ABC link.

Karen Malec, president of the coalition, declared

"Every journalist who cited the Lancet as authoritative is morally obligated to inform women that:

  1. Ethics and Medics' sharply criticized the Lancet;
  2. Five medical groups recognize a cause-effect relationship; and
  3. A sixth organization called for "full disclosure" of a "highly plausible" relationship. 6 7

When asked if they would protect women's health by alerting women to these facts, CBS declined to comment.  AP reporter Laura Meckler responded by disingenuously claiming that it's against AP policy to publish "opinion pieces" (although she also has Lanfranchi's factual analysis).

"I doubt the AP has never published quotes from scientists who've criticized published research," objected Mrs. Malec. "Protecting the abortion industry, even if it costs women their lives, is the number one goal for the AP and CBS."

CBS interviewed coalition board member Jeanette Joyce, but censored her credentials.  She's a medical educator, a lecturer, and a registered mammography technologist who has spent many years writing and researching about breast imaging.  CBS identified her only as a cancer survivor named "Jeanette" who'd had an abortion.  CBS falsely claimed she didn't want her last named used.

"Is it customary for CBS to interview experts and then to conceal their identities as experts?" asked Mrs. Malec. "Apparently, CBS News has no intention of repairing its reputation after Dan Rather's use of forged documents."

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. Furton E. The corruption of science by ideology. Ethics and Medics (December 2004) Vol. 29, No. 12.
  • 2. Beral V, Bull D, Doll R, Peto R, Reeves G. Collaborative Group of Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Breast cancer and abortion: collaborative reanalysis of data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 83,000 women with breast cancer from 16 countries. Lancet 2004;363:1007-16.
  • 3. Lanfranchi A. The abortion-breast cancer link revisited. Ethics and Medics (November 2004) Vol. 29, No. 11.
  • 4. Meckler L. Women wrongly warned cancer abortion tied. Associated Press, November 9, 2004.
  • 5. CBS Evening News, November 25, 2004.
  • 6. Medical groups recognizing a cause-effect relationship include: the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Catholic Medical Association, the Polycarp Research Institute, and the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute.
  • 7. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons issued a statement in November 2003 calling for "full disclosure" of a highly plausible" link."

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