GUEST OPINION: Unaborted thoughts

By on October 22, 2013

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


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2 Comments

  1. elizabeth

    October 27, 2013 at 10:31 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Dr. Nelson, and thanks to JH Weekly for publishing it. Those ads always tick me off. This bs needs to cease. My mother died of breast cancer but “breast cancer awareness month” seems more and more to me like an excuse for some people to use bad/ debunked science to promote their particular ideology and for others to make money by selling a bunch of useless pink crap.

    • Blue Balls

      October 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Breast cancer awareness month is nothing short of a scam to get you to buy products from companies with pink ribbons or get mammograms that you don’t need. I’m over it. There’s nothing special about breast cancer compared to other cancers. And as was pointed out, lung cancer is far more dangerous and skin cancer is far more common. The fact is that you NEED to die of something. We don’t want you around forever.

      In the USA, there are about 40,000 deaths from BC/year. Seems reasonable.

      Leading causes of death from the CDC:

      Heart disease: 597,689
      Cancer: 574,743
      Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
      Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
      Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
      Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
      Diabetes: 69,071
      Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
      Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
      Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

      As for the abortion issue, it’s usually a religious issue so ignoring medical or scientific facts is par for the course. It’s also perfectly natural for them to use “scare tactics” – ever heard of the Devil?

      That doesn’t mean Right to Life of Teton County should play fast and loose with the facts but they have a more important issue than breast cancer. Abortion kills: According to the Guttmacher Institute, since 1973, roughly 50 million legal induced abortions have been performed in the United States.

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