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GUEST OPINION: Unaborted thoughts
JACKSON HOLE, WYO – I was looking through the JH Weekly this morning and noticed an ad on page 5 sponsored by Elaine Kuhr and Right to Life of Teton County. She should know, of course, that there is no medical or scientific basis whatsoever linking abortion and breast cancer. There is an association between delayed or absence of pregnancy and some forms of breast cancer, but this is not related to abortion in any way. There is also a link between the use of high estrogen birth control pills and some forms of breast cancer but use of birth control pills usually obviates the need for abortion.
I carefully reviewed the links she provided to support an association between abortion and breast cancer and again found no credible medical or scientific evidence for such a relationship. One website provided showed several positive associations in disreputable, foreign “journals” using poor science or no science at all to support their biased conclusion. Only one reputable journal was quoted and it showed NO link between abortion and breast cancer.
According to a well-referenced post on Wikipedia.com: “A number of major medical organizations such as the American Medical Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, World Health Organization and the United States National Cancer Institute have analyzed larger studies regarding induced abortion and breast cancer. Their uniform conclusion is that there is no causative link between induced abortion and breast cancer.”
The American Cancer Society noted with concern that: “The issue of abortion generates passionate viewpoints in many people. Breast cancer is the most common cancer, and is the second leading cancer killer in women (lung cancer is the first). Still, the public is not well served by false alarms. At this time, the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer.”
The RTL ad could have more accurately said that NOT terminating a pregnancy in a young woman causes cervical cancer. There is a much stronger link between cervical cancer and pregnancy at an early age than between later pregnancy and breast cancer. However, neither malignancy is related to abortion or chemical termination of pregnancy.
I understand that Ms. Kuhr and other RTL groups use scare tactics rather than science or sound education to discourage abortion and that is certainly their right. However, when they blatantly lie to facilitate scare tactics, it is the role of the established medical community to educate the public. I hope she will continue her RTL efforts through education and counseling but not through scare tactics and bad science.
– Loren Nelson, MD