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The Abortion Breast Cancer Link

There have been several systematic review and meta-analysis of abortion and breast cancer (ABC link) since the 1990s.  The latest was published in 2013,  in the prestigious, peer-reviewed international cancer journal, Cancer Causes and Control.

This latest was a meta-analysis, meaning a study of other studies, where results from many studies are pooled.  Dr. Yubei Huang et al. reported that, combining all 36 studies on the ABC link in China that have been published through 2012, the overall risk of developing breast cancer among women who had at least one induced abortion was significantly increased by 44%.

These results, said the authors, “were consistent with a previously published systematic review." That review was the one Dr. Joel Brind published in the British Medical Association’s epidemiology journal with colleagues from Penn State Medical Center in 1996.  That study documented a 30% increased risk of breast cancer in worldwide studies.

In summary, here are the key findings from the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute:

  • Once pregnant, if a woman chooses to maintain her pregnancy and achieves a full-term pregnancy, she will decrease her risk of breast cancer.  ​​

  • Never becoming pregnant increases breast cancer risk.  If a woman undergoes an induced abortion she may remain childless, a condition that also increases her breast cancer risk.

  • Delaying pregnancy after age twenty increases breast cancer risk.  If a woman undergoes an induced abortion and brings a subsequent pregnancy to term, she has effectively delayed that full-term pregnancy, thereby increasing her risk of breast cancer.

  • Every full-term pregnancy after the first further decreases the​ risk of breast cancer.  If a woman has already had a full-term pregnancy and then chooses to abort a subsequent pregnancy she loses the risk reduction that an additional full-term pregnancy would have afforded her, thereby increasing her risk. 

  • The use of instruments such as dilators during an abortion increases a woman’s risk of having a premature delivery in future births.  If that premature delivery occurs before 32 weeks gestation, she will have an increased risk of breast cancer.

Since the Brind study came out in 1996, the pro-abortion advocates in universities, medical societies, breast cancer charities, journals, and even government agencies such as the National Cancer Institute have continued to try to undermine and dismiss the ABC link. Their fraudulent studies and media attacks, which culminated in a 2003 “workshop” by the NCI, attempted to officially declar the ABC link non-existent.

Since 2003, NARAL  (National Abortion Rights Action Leage) and others like them, have attacked pro-life pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), accusing them of lying to women by saying the ABC link is real.  The state of Maryland and New York City, tried to enact laws to muzzle the PRCs, which thankfully, the courts struck down as violations of free speech rights. 

However, the 2013 Chinese meta-analysis is a real game changer. Not only does it validate the earlier findings from 1996, but it is much harder to dispute for several reasons:

  1. The link they found is a slightly stronger -- 44% risk increase with abortion in 2003 study v. 30% in the 1996 study 

  2. Their study shows the risk escalates after more than one abortion: a 76% risk increase with two or more abortions and three or more abortions increases the risk to 89%. That the risk escalates with multiple procedures creates more credibility that it actually is causing the disease.

  3. The Huang et al. report states: “The lack of a social stigma associated with induced abortion in China may limit the amount of under-reporting."   Claims that healthy women prefer not to report the number of abortions they have had (called “recall bias” or “reporting bias”) is routinely invoked to discredit the ABC link – although there is a distinct lack of evidence to support this theory. 

  4. The 2013 Huang study followed right on the heels of two additional studies  from India and Bangladesh, studies which reported breast cancer risk increases of unprecedented magnitude: over 600% and over 2,000%, respectively, among women who had any induced abortions.

Positively Waiting's position is that deliberately withholding the ABC research is detrimental to a woman's ability to manager her healthcare.