Jewish World Review Sept. 19, 2003 / 22 Elul, 5763

Drs. Michael A. Glueck & Robert J. Cihak

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Politics prevents women from learning about abortion/breast cancer risks


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Whatever your personal, spiritual or scientific beliefs regarding abortion you have the right to know the facts.

Abortion-on-demand has been with us for over thirty years - far too long for most people to remember what the pro-abortion movement promised America in the years preceding Roe v Wade. "Woman's Body, Woman's Right" - I want it because I want it - was only part of the sales package.

Two other claims were made. One was that, when every child was a "wanted" child, unhappy marriages, divorce, child abuse, spousal abuse, and sundry other woes and dysfunctions would evanesce. The other claim: Abortion-on-demand would have neither physical nor psychological long-term ill effects.

Some thirty years later, we can numerate abortion's "benefits" to society. >From decades of soaring divorce and spousal abuse, abortion-on-demand has been a disaster. Nor is it any longer possible to deny the long-term psychological effects, not when everyone has a story to tell, about themselves or someone they know. But only now is the evidence of long-term physical danger becoming scientifically apparent.

And lots of people don't want you to know about it.

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According to a new study published in the Summer 2003 Issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JP&S) titled "The Abortion-Breast Cancer Link: How Politics Trumped Science and Informed Consent" some scientists, women's groups, doctors and media outlets, for their own personal and political purposes, have consistently suppressed or ignored research that establishes a direct link between abortion and breast cancer. [http://www.aapsonline.org/jpands/vol8no2/malec.pdf]

The JP&S article discusses the epidemiologic evidence of an ABC (Abortion-Breast Cancer) link; the silence and denial of the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the American Medical Association and women's groups; media filtration of the story; the bitter opposition of pro-abortion politicians; the implications for patient care; and medical malpractice issues. Further, as a result of withholding this evidence women considering abortion are not given adequate information about the real risks and are not given enough information to provide valid consent.

According to Malec, political and medical authorities suppressed or ignored several studies conducted as early as 1957 as well as later post-Roe research that showed significantly higher rates of breast cancer in the "Roe Generation." For example, in 1996, Joel Brind, Ph.D., professor of biology and endocrinology at City University of New York's Baruch College, and co-authors published a review of the data on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer; they estimated that an excess of 5,000 cases of breast cancer were attributable to abortion, and that the annual excess would increase by 500 cases each year. They predicted 25,000 excess cases in the year 2036.

But now comes politics - the politics of abortion as a political issue, and the politics of getting your research funded. Political pressure has apparently induced some authors of the cited studies to recant their own findings. Holly Howe, an author of a record-linkage case study in 1989, worked with a group of American Cancer Society (ACS) researchers who reviewed the research. By 1997, 11 of 12 US studies indicated increased risk, but Howe still stated the research - including her own - was "inconsistent" and that she could not arrive at "definitive conclusions."

Malec also found that the web pages of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and leading American and Canadian cancer organizations contain false statements, misrepresentation, and omissions in their discussions. One erroneous "fact sheet" on the NCI website attempted to deny the ABC link, citing 15 American studies. Yet the NCI provided some funding for most of the 15 American studies; and 13 out of 15 found that women who had abortions had an increased breast cancer risk.

Scientific and medical authorities admit that the reasons for this data suppression are political. The president of the American Society of Breast Surgeons said that she presented her concerns about getting information to the public about the abortion-breast cancer link to her board, but the board felt it was "too political." The director of the Miami Breast Cancer Conference explained that there was no presentation on the program because it was "too political." George Lundberg, former editor JAMA, said that abortion was on the journal's "don't touch" list.

These failures are an egregious example of medical organizations also suffering from the New York Times Syndrome and place a higher priority on political sensitivities than on accurate reporting of the general or scientific news.

So what's the remedy? Malec suggests that the whole issue may end up in court. Perhaps it will. But for now, just add "scientific honesty" and "medical integrity" to the list of abortion's victims - a fact that should cause you a certain sadness if you're pro-life . . . and a certain fear if you're not.

Authors' Note: One of the writers supports a woman's choice to abort her fetus and the other supports the unborn baby's right to life.




Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Robert J. Cihak, M.D., is a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and a Discovery Institute honorary fellow and board member. Both JWR contributors are Harvard trained diagnostic radiologists. Comment by clicking here.

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