As one who has had to mourn the death of a sister following breast cancer,

it was disheartening to discover that one of the main resolutions coming out

of the First World Meeting on Breast Cancer and its prevention, held in

Hamilton, Canada, in July 1997, was... to ban all pesticides, despite any

scientific indication that they could act as carcinogens at the levels

legally prescribed. We all remember that a similar drastic move several

years ago caused a serious resurgence of malaria and millions of deaths in


One of the points made in most editorials at the time was that breast cancer

risk is most dramatically affected by environmental stresses on young women

as their breast develop. No one can seriously question this. However, one

stress factor was

conspicuously absent from those listed, i.e. the proven connection between

breast cancer and an aborted first pregnancy. To date, 30 separate

peer-reviewed studies of induced abortion have been published worldwide,

with 24 showing increased risk. It is rare in the epidemiological

literature to find any potential risk factor so universally associated with

any disease as induced abortion is with breast cancer (miscarriages carry no


There are clear and simple to grasp physiological reasons why abortion might

promote the development of breast cancer later in life It is, first of all,

a medical reality that most known risk factors for breast cancer are

characterized by some form of estrogen overexposure. (This is why doctors,

who have long recognized the effects of estrogen on breast cancer risk, are

very careful in prescribing such medications as post-menopausal

estrogens replacement therapy for older women, especially those with any

family history of breast cancer).

An abrupt artificial termination of pregnancy plays havoc with the normal

hormonal profile of pregnancy. In the early weeks of pregnancy, a woman`s

breast tissue is highly stimulated by a powerful surge of estrogen. Once

terminally differentiated into

milk-producing cells by other hormones late in a first pregnancy, breast

tissue mature permanently and breast cells can no longer be stimulated to

reproduce. When an abortion cuts short that pregnancy, a woman`s breast

tissue is left in a dangerous stimulated but undifferiented state,

increasing the risk of later cancerous development.

Despite overwhelming evidence of a 30 to 50 percent increase in risk of

breast cancer for women who abort their first pregnancy, pro-choice

advocates have persuaded the medical community - and the mainstream media -

that proof of such a link is inconclusive. Such mainstream media as the

Globe and Mail summarily rejected

scientific analyses by expert breast cancer researchers, epidemiologists,

endocrinologists with top international reputations, as "specious zealotry

by the rabid right-to-lifers resorting to scare tactics."

The reputation of abortion as safe for women is crucial to the pro-choice

movement. One needn`t, therefore, look very far to find the motivation

behind the increasingly desperate attempts to prevent public access to the

considerable body of evidence of a

connection between induced abortion and breast cancer. The research has been

buried or even discredited because it undercuts the pro-choice argument that

abortion has no long-term risks.

You`d think that those feminists who claim to believe in women`s rights

would be anti-abortion if they learned the facts on what abortion does to

woman, namely, evidence of a 30 to 50 percent increase in risk of breast

cancer following termination of a

first pregnancy. But no, their minds are made up, and they refuse to let

anyone confuse them with the facts. So much for informed consent! Were

breast cancer, however, as definitely linked to any other procedure besides

abortion, the uproar would be deafening. That single study finding that

there is an 80 percent increase risk of prostate cancer among men who have

had vasectomies was reported in headlines everywhere. One would therefore

have expected to see the breast cancer/abortion research findings making

banner headline news also.

If, as science now shows quite conclusively, abortion is a calculated risk

factor that is almost always the result of a personal choice, it is

avoidable in a way environmental risk may not be. How can anyone who is

truly interested in the welfare and health of women knowingly suppress or

ignore this kind of information? How patronizing for pro-choice leaders to

decide that women other than themselves are insufficiently intelligent to

make informed decisions based on what scientific literature

has to say about abortion and cancer.

It is nothing short of criminal that young women aren`t being warned by

their self-appointed leaders and our country`s medical watchdogs of the

significant risk of a procedure they might want forego because of the risk

involved. As for the Canadian media, their silence on the "risk factor that

dares not speak its name" is truly killing women.

For the organizers of the Hamilton conference, some 1.6 million extra cases

of breast cancer worldwide did not seem to merit their concern. This, once

more, is a chilling reminder that pro-choice advocates regard access to

abortion as a higher priority than the safety and health of women.

Thaddee Renault

Pro-Life Family Program

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