Can Tax Tithes Sanctify the Odor of Mendacity?

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64 comments posted
Abortion and Breast Cancer

I can't comment on the bulk of your post, but I have done an in-depth review on the literature showing a relationship between abortion and breast cancer. Every original study to date was conducted by researchers who are personally pro-choice. The only research conducted by pro-lifers was a "meta-analysis" that examines the collective data from all previous studies.

As far as I can tell from the research, every known risk factor for breast cancer involves either (a) the patient's genetic background or (b) the patient's exposure to estrogen. The hypothesis that abortion might increase the risk of breast cancer simply follows from the fact that early pregnancy exposes the female body to a LOT of estrogen.

People who have examined the relationship between the estrogen load of early pregnancy and subsequent breast cancer risk fall into two groups. Some researchers treat this as a valid scientific hypothesis, and design experiments that are intended to find out what, if any, relationship exists. Other researchers treat this as a political attack on a woman's right to choose, and design experiments that are reminiscent of the tobacco industry research on the relationship between smoking and lung cancer.

People who have their minds made up in advance aren't likely to take the time to read the scientific research and form their own conclusions. That includes right-to-lifers who want there to be a link between abortion and breast cancer and pro-choice people who DON'T want there to be any link.

The nice thing about science is that it doesn't ultimately depend on what we want. The scientific community will get around to figuring this out eventually. Maybe the Chinese will be the first to treat it as a medical matter, not a political issue.

You might want to take a look at the breast cancer rates among young women in China, by the way...

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 17 January 2006 - 8:29am
There is one thing about this

Correlation does not equal causation. The rooster call does not make the sun rise.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 17 January 2006 - 9:36am
Dr. Sommerville, I presume

but I have done an in-depth review on the literature showing a relationship between abortion and breast cancer.

By any chance, was this for Accuracy in Media or are you a scientist?

As far as I can tell from the research

My impression from your post is that you consider this to be an open question. I'll have to wait until your return to find out whether your perspective is that of an expert in the field.

By any chance, are you the executive director at Patrick Henry's Center for the Original Intent of the Constitution?

You might want to take a look at the breast cancer rates among young women in China, by the way...

Sure. Do you have a journal cite?

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 17 January 2006 - 10:01am
According to the scientific community ...

... they already have figured it out -- presuming, of course, that one considers the Karolinska Institute and the National Cancer Institute to be "scientific."

Research findings from the Karolinska Institute:

A study of just under 4,000 women by doctors at Sweden's Karolinska Institute found no link between terminations and the disease.

:::

Researchers identified 1,759 women who had given birth between 1973 and 1991 and then gone on to develop breast cancer by comparing data from the Swedish Medical Birth Register and the Swedish Cancer Register.

They then looked at the same number of cases from the birth register who had not gone on to develop cancer.

All had been asked if they had previously had any abortions while receiving maternity care.

Researchers found 383 of those who went on to develop breast cancer and 473 of those who did not had had at least one abortion, suggesting terminating a pregnancy was not linked with an increased risk of breast cancer.

In fact, women who had had at least one abortion had a reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those who had none.

:::

Dr Gunnar Larfors, who led the research, said: "We have looked at some 4,000 journals from maternity centres in which women have responded to standardised questions about abortions, among other things, and have not found any correlation between abortions and increased risk of breast cancer.

"In fact, aborted pregnancies had some preventive effect in our study."

Findings of 2003 investigational workshop sponsored by the National Cancer Institute:

The Workshop was established to provide an integrated scientific assessment of the association between reproductive events and the risk of breast cancer. Participants represented a diversity of breast cancer expertise, including epidemiologists, clinicians, basic scientists and breast cancer advocates. The Workshop evaluated the current strength of evidence of the characteristics of pregnancy related to cancer (epidemiologic studies), the biologic changes resulting from pregnancy that may be involved in modifying breast cancer risk (clinical studies), and the biologic mechanisms identified (animal studies).

This report summarizes the epidemiologic, clinical and animal studies findings related to early reproductive events and breast cancer risk, and each finding is given a Strength of Evidence Rating* [Note: a rating of "1" signifies "well-established"]. Gaps in research knowledge for each scientific area are identified, and recommendations for future research directions are provided.

Epidemiologic Findings

Early age at first term birth is related to lifetime decrease in breast cancer risk. (1)

Increasing parity is associated with a long-term risk reduction, even when controlling for age at first birth. (1)

The additional long-term protective effect of young age at subsequent term pregnancies is not as strong as for the first term pregnancy. (1)

A nulliparous woman has approximately the same risk as a woman with a first term birth around age 30. (1)

Breast cancer risk is transiently increased after a term pregnancy. (1)

Induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. (1)

Recognized spontaneous abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. (1)

You might want to take a look at the breast cancer rates among nuns, by the way . . . even though it's 300 year-old news.

But some people just never say die.

moiv's picture
Posted by moiv on 17 January 2006 - 11:48pm
Science, Religion, and Politics

I'm an attorney, so that makes me a JD, not an MD. Yes, I served as Executive Director for the Center for the Original Intent of the Constitution. I'm a member of the Supreme Court Bar.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the "breast cancer rates among nuns" comment. For 300 years, researchers have been aware that there is some kind of correlation between childbearing and breast cancer. In the last century, it has become quite clear that exposure to estrogen is THE non-genetic risk factor for breast cancer. It also has become perfectly clear that a full-term pregnancy differentiates breast tissue in such a way that it is less susceptible to cancer.

In light of these two accepted medical facts, it is easy to predict that the breast cancer rate among nuns should be higher than it is for women in general. It's a simple application of the biology to the sociology.

There's little debate (today) about the impact of spontaneous abortion (miscarriages) on breast cancer risk. Miscarriages are often caused by an estrogen deficit--there just isn't enough of the hormone to keep the pregnancy going. When I first looked at the research in 1992, this wasn't at all clear. Subsequent studies have pretty well ruled out any relationship between miscarriages and breast cancer.

Having said that, the subsequent studies have NOT ruled out any relationship between induced abortion and breast cancer. Some studies have been very carefully designed to determine whether there is a relationship or not. Others have been designed to cloud the issue. I'd be happy to walk through any study any time to point out how the methodology influences the results.

If you don't feel like nitpicking the design of every study, here's a simpler way to test this hypothesis. Just look at the breast cancer rates in different nations, cultures, and subcultures. I submit that every group of women with a high induced abortion rate has a high or rising breast cancer rate, and I submit that this correlates perfectly with the biological hypothesis: estrogen exposure increases risk; induced abortion increases estrogen exposure without the protective effect of a full-term pregnancy.

That's not a "post hoc propter hoc" argument. It's a scientific hypothesis which can be tested. Just get some rats, get them pregnant, induce abortion, and look at the resulting breast cancer rates. If they don't go up, I'll shut up.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 18 January 2006 - 8:27am
You misread statistical studies

You make the common mistake made by armchair scientists. Correlation does not imply causation.

You want to walk us through how you imbue raw data with all sorts of implications that aren't there? Go ahead and try. Your assertions here are quite unconvincing.

Also, you're wrong about the association of estrogen and breast cancer. You might want to update your "research." It's not quite so simple. (Hint: Look at the presence of progesterone in post-menopausal hormone regimens. Look at the kinds of estrogens and progesterones tested. How are they made? Where do they come from? I mean, really, is a possible association between breast cancer and mare's piss a valid indicator of what's happening in women's bodies with un-medicated endrocrine systems?)

Why do women sometimes abort pregnancies? Why do women sometimes develop breast cancer? It's pretty clear that you have no idea as to the answer of either question, so your claims of association between the two are meritless.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 18 January 2006 - 11:14am
exposure risks

In the last century, it has become quite clear that exposure to estrogen is THE non-genetic risk factor for breast cancer. It also has become perfectly clear that a full-term pregnancy differentiates breast tissue in such a way that it is less susceptible to cancer.

Actually, a first pregnancy increases the risk factor for breast cancer for up to 15 yrs after birth. Your second statement is a long-term effect.

So, do you advocate for a mandatory health warning for first-time pregnant women of this increased risk if they give birth?

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 18 January 2006 - 11:35am
Are we going to question estrogen now?

There's plenty of solid science in this field. There are known factors like estrogen, known relationships like the impact of a first full-term pregnancy, and the like. It is not hard to construct a biological model which takes account of these known factors and applies them to the sensitive area of human reproduction. When you construct such a model, you can make predictions about breast cancer rates among different groups.

If the scientific model is sound, these predictions will generally prove to be reliable. It's like having a geological theory that allows you to predict where oil is likely to be found. You take the theory, go out and drill, and see whether you find oil. If you find oil, it's a good theory. If you don't find oil, try something different.

The abortion/breast cancer model leads to some predictions. The age-adjusted breast cancer rate should be higher among young African-American women than it is among older black women. (It is.) It should be higher among genetically Japanese women raised in the US than it is in Japan. (It is.) It should be higher among Jewish women than their next door neighbors. (It is.) It should be higher among more educated women than less educated women. (It is.)

I don't think anybody has ever done a study of breast cancer rate by political affiliation, but the theory would predict that Democrats should have a higher breast cancer risk than Republicans. Anybody want to find out whether they do?

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 18 January 2006 - 1:26pm
Let me clarify that

I'm not saying that we should compare Democratic women to Republican women without adjusting for other relevant factors. That wouldn't be fair: single women lean Democrat, married women lean Republican. I'm saying we should cross-match a large-scale breast cancer screening database with the voting rolls, comparing apples to apples. If the Democratic women don't have a higher breast cancer risk than otherwise-identical Republican women, then I'm wrong and I'll shut up about this issue.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 18 January 2006 - 1:59pm
Just wondering

"Otherwise identitical"?

How do you rule out all the other variables, like stress, diet, weight, family history, work environment, local environmental issues like pollution, pesticides, childhood exposures, and a host of other potentially carcinogenic influences?

I think I could safely predict that if roosters don't crow, days tend to be shorter in the winter. Therefore, by your logic, roosters make days longer in winter. Of course, what your logic would not take into account is that roosters tend not to be so prevalent in higher latitudes.

Your armchair scientific method fails the #1 test in that you are so focused on "proving" a result convenient to your politics that you ignore other factors that invalidate your conclusions.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 18 January 2006 - 2:28pm
Political Affiliation

I'm suggesting that we use a breast cancer screening database to compare Democratic women to Republican women, after controlling for variables like family size, age at first full-term pregnancy. I'd be happy to match up women by zip codes, too, so that we can make sure that local environmental issues are the same.

I'm not sure I can adjust for stress, diet, or weight, but I'm pretty sure Democrats and Republicans average out to be more or less equally fat, stressed, etc.

I'm having a little trouble following the rooster argument, by the way. Could you run that past me again?

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 18 January 2006 - 2:50pm
Can you elaborate?

I'm suggesting that we use a breast cancer screening database to compare Democratic women to Republican women, after controlling for variables like family size, age at first full-term pregnancy.

This is quite interesting. Can you elaborate a bit? What might such a model illuminate?

Are there other ways in which people have been studied for medical problems, diseases, genetic markers in which political affiliation is part of the initial profile?

Is it or might it be of value to determine how the women came to each political affiliation? In other words, is the affiliation inherited or did they make a familial break. And of course how does such a back ground to political affiliation affect the model? Or do you just accept their declaration of party? Where do Independents fall? Chronic non-voters? Never registered? And so on.

Really unusual model, I would think, but I don't really know.

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 18 January 2006 - 5:08pm
Simple or simplistic?
Miscarriages are often caused by an estrogen deficit--there just isn't enough of the hormone to keep the pregnancy going. When I first looked at the research in 1992, this wasn't at all clear.

It's even less clear today. But although a certain level of estrogen is certainly necessary for an adequate blood supply to the endometrium, long before 1992 it already had become plain that progesterone is the hormone most vital to the successful establishment of an early pregnancy.

That aside, much more current findings on the subject of trophoblast attachment have produced fertile ground for future study.

About 6 days after fertilization, the embryo is shaped like a sphere. The surface of the sphere is made up of a layer of specialized cells called the trophoblast. At this phase of development, the embryo is called the blastocyst. The trophoblast later gives rise to the cells that will form the fetus’ part of the placenta. (The placenta is made up of both maternal and fetal tissues.) The trophoblast is coated with a protein known as L-selectin. The wall of the uterus is coated with carbohydrate molecules. The researchers believe that as the blastocyst travels along the uterine wall, L-selectin on its surface binds to the carbohydrates on the uterine wall, until the blastocyst gradually slows to a complete stop. After this happens, the cells that later become the fetus’ contribution to the placenta develop. The placental tissue from the fetus then invades the uterine wall by sending finger-like extensions into it. These projections make contact with the maternal blood supply, becoming the pipeline through which the fetus derives nutrients and oxygen, and rids itself of carbon dioxide and wastes.

The embryo's own contribution to its successful implantation bears a fascinating similarity to the mechanism of invasive cancer.

Trophinin: Role in human embryo implantation and cancer.

Invasion of the trophoblast into the endometrium, an essential element of embryo implantation, resembles invasion of malignant tumors. At the initial phase of implantation, the trophoblast and the uterine epithelium establish their first contact via their respective apical cell membranes. We have identified new molecules, trophinin, tastin, and bystin that mediate cell adhesion between trophoblastic cells and endometrial epithelial cells at the respective apical cell membranes. Trophinin is an intrinsic membrane protein, and tastin and bystin are cytoplasmic proteins. All of these molecules are strongly expressed in cells involved in embryo implantation in humans.

It has become increasingly apparent that "estrogen" can no longer serve as a one-size-fits-all answer for every breast cancer pop quiz. Before it was derailed into a tangential conversation about America's favorite antiabortion scare tactic, the theme of this discussion was the politically-motivated promotion of religious belief over scientific knowledge. That spreading trend does women a grave disservice by glossing over the complicated subject of breast cancer with the simple but shopworn A-B-C hypothesis. So why don't we go with your own opening suggestion, and be content to let the scientists sort it out?

Maybe someday they'll figure out why women in Vietnam, who have the highest abortion rate in the world, are so much less likely to develop breast cancer than women of Vietnamese origin born in the US -- along with all Asian-American women born in the West, who have a breast cancer risk 60% higher than Asian-Americans born in the East.

moiv's picture
Posted by moiv on 19 January 2006 - 12:34am
This thread is getting a little long

Should I move this discussion to my own blog?

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 25 January 2006 - 12:16pm
A Corporation named Planned Parenthood

You have rattled on at length about this "clinic" and the Catholic Church and subsequently the tax payers and you are suggesting that women will pay the bill. Let me see, I wonder if they learned this corporate behavior from somewhere? Oh yeah I remember, Planned Parenthood. PP is the largest provider of abortions in the country and a multi million dollar business to boot. Talk about corporate America. They are right up there. It is beyond me why those who dislike corporate America support them so soundly. Let me see what do they peddle that the Catholics don't? Contraception, abortions, supposed women's health, faulty condoms, emergency contraception to men no less, and sex. For with out sex no one would need their services. So the big corporation needs to do something to improve its profit margin.

Do you need documentation? Sorry, the one site I would send you to was pulled by the State of Vermont because it was actually porn. The site was the Man Phone paid for by taxpayer dollars. It will not be coming back because the State of Vermont owns it and once the talking heads saw what corporate PP had put on a state web site paid for by taxpayers they were shocked at its content. It was telling guys to go enjoy, use a condom and oh by the way get some emergency contraception to give to your partner just in case she does not know about it. Keep it in your medicine cabinet for her. Well excuse me but women don't need men buying medicine for them. Whose bright idea was that anyway? Oops forgot - it was corporate PP. Society tells women to be careful not let someone slip you a date rape drug and then we use tax payer dollars to have corporate PP tell guys to intentionally keep drugs around for a woman to accept from him to take. Not very empowering of women are they?

There was a study conducted in New England in 1999 called "A Study of 10,296 Pediatric and Adolescent Papanicolaou Smear Diagnoses in Northern New England." 73% of the pap smears samples came from corporate PP. The age group was 10-19 years of age. One of the things this study was looking for 'squamous intraepithelial lesions'. These lesions can lead to HPV which leads to cervical cancer. Yup, cervical cancer can be related to sexual activity. Conclusion --- "Because the development of SIL and hence cervical cancer is causally related to sexually transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, this high rate of abnormal Pap smear results of both an infectious and precancerous nature in this population may reflect a high level of sexual activity among adolescent girls." Answer? Provide early cervical Pap smear screening in the sexually active pediatric and adolescent population. The study is right. If a 10-19 year old is going to be sexually active they MUST get annual pap smears so that death from cervical cancer might be avoided. But Hello! Why not teach these 'women' how to keep their bodies clean from sexually transmitted diseases in the first place? But, no, corporate PP would not get as much tax dollars if they did that.

Never mind breast cancer. They peddle cervical cancer and the connection between HPV and cervical cancer is well documented by the NIH, CDC and American Cancer Society. But wait there is another answer for this "problem." Let's make a vaccine to prevent the contraction of HPV. Goody another corporation can cash in on women's health. We eat foods that are organic because we don't want to ingest pesticides yet women are encourage to pollute their bodies with diseases and then take either medicines to control the diseases or vaccinations to try to prevent them. Vaccinations hold their own medical issues for the human body.

Check out corporate PP's teenwire.com - intended for, duh, teens. You can learn what the caloric content of semen is. Eww. Why is corporate PP so intent on pushing kids towards sex? Oh believe me it is not because the kids are going to do it any way. It is because it would not serve corporate PP's purposes - that of providing so called medical care for abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. Diseases they make SURE they need to provide care for by encouraging guys to use condoms and keep emergency contraception in their bathrooms. I wish that true feminism would come back because it is now a dark day for women when abortion, emergency contraception, and faulty condoms (that are rated double poor - 23 out of a list of 23 - by Consumer Reports) are heralded as a step forward for women. Corporate PP is NOT pro woman and it is NOT feminism. It empowers men to do what every they want with women.

Now I call that a racket that out does the Catholics by along shot.

RJD's picture
Posted by RJD (not verified) on 18 January 2006 - 10:53pm
Priceless
You have rattled on at length about this "clinic" and the Catholic Church and subsequently the tax payers and you are suggesting that women will pay the bill. Let me see, I wonder if they learned this corporate behavior from somewhere? Oh yeah I remember, Planned Parenthood.

When you begin with the premise that the Roman Catholic Church learned corporate behavior from Planned Parenthood -- or from anyone else, for that matter -- you completely forfeit the expectation of having anything that follows taken seriously.

But thanks for sharing.

moiv's picture
Posted by moiv on 19 January 2006 - 12:58am
Nope you missed the boat

"When you begin with the premise that the Roman Catholic Church learned corporate behavior from Planned Parenthood -- or from anyone else, for that matter -- you completely forfeit the expectation of having anything that follows taken seriously. But thanks for sharing."

The Catholic church caught onto the methods that PP uses to get money from the government. Surprise, surprise. No one tops the Catholics for organization of a religion. PP could learn from them on that one. Not taking the rest of my comments seriously only lets the death of women from sexually transmitted diseases continue unopposed.

For their sakes, I am glad I shared.

RJD's picture
Posted by RJD (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 4:39pm
I DEMAND better trolls!!

Surely there are places trolls are obtained?, like bulbs each spring for the window boxes?

The ones here seem to be of the vegetable variety, rather than animal or mineral.

Better Trolls!

Even the cheap seats are calling for Better Trolls!!

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 19 January 2006 - 1:35am
hear hear!!!

i agree! no more lazy trolls!

we demand hardworking ones! trolls that give cites to sources to back up their opinions!

more troll citing or less troll sighting!

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 19 January 2006 - 2:10am
working troll

Wow! What thoughtful responses. I have never been called a troll before. I have been called a pro-abort before believe it or not! I find that a "prolife view" of an old-time feminist is not really accepted, as witnessed by the comments posted. I could say I find no enlightenment here only ignorance but you know what that gets women no where. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion but no one is allowed to have their own facts. So if the documentation is what you want then here it is:

The Man Phone has been removed from the internet; even the archives don't have it any more. Here is the quote from the site. I downloaded it before it was removed. This site is talking to "men" as referenced by the name of the site. "You can get EC at Planned Parenthood, other medical providers, or emergency rooms. Planned Parenthood uses a sliding fee scale which means people are charged on their ability to pay. If you need EC, they'll work it out. Just be sure to get EC as soon after unprotected sex as possible. You or your partner can also buy an EC Kit to keep in the medicine cabinet just in case. You don't have to wait for an emergency."<\I>

The Centers for Disease Control has a ton of information on HPV and cervical cancer and of course a vaccine is in development to prevent contraction of HPV. Corporate America will of course benefit from this financially big time. I bet Planned Parenthood will be handing out these vaccines as well should the vaccines ever be put on the market. But I guess if we are pushing the risk factors for contraction of this virus then we are going to need a vaccine.

The National Cancer Institute has this to say, "Human papilloma virus (HPV) is now recognized as the major cause of cervical cancer, a disease that kills more than 200,000 women around the world each year. HPV is very common, however, and of the more than 100 types of HPV, fewer than 20 are considered "high-risk" for the development of cancer. The following is a brief guide to HPV, including transmission, incidence, treatment, and its connection to genital warts and cancer.

Pages from the American Cancer Society's web site concerning HPV show that HPV is a nasty virus to be taken seriously. This is not punishing women for having sex. This is punishing women for not being smart about it. Sometimes is just might be smarter to not do it. It just depends on how careful one is about who they pick to be with. This is yet one more place that the selling of sex is causing problems for women's health.

What Women Should Know about HPV and Cervical Health "Who can get cervix cancer? Since almost all cervix cancers are caused by HPV, any woman who has had sex can get cervix cancer. Certain kinds of HPV, smoking, and having the HIV or AIDS virus increase a woman’s chance of getting the disease. Women are most at risk if they don’t have Pap tests at all or as often as they should."

"HPV Linked to Some Head and Neck Cancers Cervical Cancer Virus Linked to Some Head and Neck Cancers - Article date: 2000/05/10"

"Detailed Guide: Anal Cancer Do We Know What Causes Anal Cancer? Although the exact cause of most anal cancers is not known, most doctors tie it to infection with HPV. A great deal of research is now under way to learn how HPV causes anal cancer."

"Detailed Guide: Vulvar Cancer What Are the Risk Factors For Vulvar Cancer? Certain HPV types can infect the female and male genital organs and the anal area. These HPV types are passed from one person to another during sexual contact. Sexual contact at a young age increases the likelihood of HPV infection and increases the time during which HPV infection may progress to cancer. Having a large number of sexual partners or having sex with persons who have had many sexual partners increases the risk of exposure to HPV."

And finally the Study of 10,296 Pediatric and Adolescent Papanicolaou Smear Diagnoses in Northern New England For all of the info that is has in it the part that is most concerning is that 10-14 year old girls even NEED pap smears.

Bottom line is that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation going on and it is NOT all in the religious right's back yard. Big corporations are fighting for the "money" to "help" women. Cervical cancer will kill more women than abortion EVER did. The left has a lot of explaining to do. The kind of sexual revolution out there is dangerous to women's health. Period. It is a vicious circle. Abortion must be protected. Why? So that sexual freedom can abound. Yet protecting it is killing women. Round and round we go.

RJD's picture
Posted by RJD (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 4:32pm
Good news,

depending on your perspective. You said:

Sorry, the one site I would send you to was pulled by the State of Vermont because it was actually porn. The site was the Man Phone paid for by taxpayer dollars. It will not be coming back because the State of Vermont owns it and once the talking heads saw what corporate PP had put on a state web site paid for by taxpayers they were shocked at its content.

You can still access The Man Phone via the Wayback Machine. Where is the porn? What I see is a joint PPNE-Vermont Dept of Health project seeking to educate men with the goal of reducing teen pregnancies. Where is the porn?

You are deliberately misleading. The real story is here.

Note that PPNE would be perfectly happy not to link to outside sites they have no control over, but

Lobbying against the website are anti-abortion activists -- long-time foes of Planned Parenthood. In a recent newsletter, the Vermont Right to Life Committee railed against the Man Phone and asked its members to contact the health department and the governor to complain about it.

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 8:08pm
A more balanced perspective

Let's see if we can get you another perspective so that you can't be accused of deliberately misleading people. The Rutland Herald, Jan 1, 2006:

The Manphone gift - The governor scores some easy points with the right The Rutland Herald is NOT a right leaning newspaper nor is reporter, Darren Allen, a staunch supporter of the prolife movement. This article is more balanced than the one you posted from Seven Days which IS a left leaning paper and it is not actually a newspaper. It was definitely NOT reporting the real story nor did they report all of it.

You may see a "joint" effort but that is not exactly what happened. Planned Parenthood got the money to do the site. The VDH did not pay any attention to what they were putting up in the name of the VDH. Well now they do and rectified the situation.

The Rutland Herald article is quite plain that Planned Parenthood crossed the line with taxpayer dollars and went too far and it was not just because of an outside link. The Vermont Department of Health was not impressed with what it found there. Apparently they never went and looked before this time. There is a real problem with this age group not using appropriate precautions and that a web site of this nature could be useful if tastefully done. The "long time foes of Planned Parenthood" did not win getting the info off of the internet forever. It will simply be more tastefully done. The money will now go to someone else to put up a web site. But do read the article yourself. I would hate to mislead you again. As for the porn, I guess that will have to depend on your definition of porn.

RJD's picture
Posted by RJD (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 10:29pm
thanks for the second source

Always good to have multiple perspectives. I don't agree with you that the Rutland Herald is "quite plain that Planned Parenthood crossed the line with taxpayer dollars and went too far and it was not just because of an outside link." It does make clear that two VT citizens, Ehlers and Beerworth were offended. Gov. Douglas' health commissioner on the other hand:

doesn't necessarily object to the approach of the Manphone. "It is an innovative way to reach a high-risk population," Jarris said in an earlier interview. "This was an attempt to reach that population."

What he objected to was the outright titillation of a link on the site to a non-Planned Parenthood Web site where DVDs and videotapes offering sex advice, erotica and pornography can be bought.

With respect to Mr. Ehlers.

I don't think encouraging men with sexual strategies is going to do that. I didn't see in the federal mandate that it was to mock, belittle and demean men."

Since we can still look at the site, here is what Mr. Ehlers feels "belittled and demeaned" men:

Women like men who:

* Take their time during sex

* Do lots of foreplay

* Focus on giving pleasure to their partner

* Aren't just focused on her crotch, but her whole body

* Ask what feels good and stop and listen when she says it doesn't feel good

* Don't force her or manipulate her to do things she doesn't want to do

* Try new things

* Talk and snuggle afterwards

* Ask about birth control

Here is my perspective. Young men b/t 18-24 who are searching online to understand sexuality and inform themselves about birth control are responsible young men and make good partners. Not only does this prevent unwanted teen pregnancies, but it's a good start toward decreasing domestic violence.

How would the majority of Vermonters feel on this issue?

With respect to Ms. Beerworth:

One of them she objects to reads, "The only foolproof way to be sure you're not going to get these diseases or not get your partner pregnant is to not have sex. But if you choose to have sex, you really need to use a rubber. Make sure you've always got one on you. You don't want to have to run to the store when things are getting hot and heavy – it tends to kill the moment."

I just don't understand her objection. First, abstinence is advised as foolproof against STDs. We all agree, I think. Then it advises preparation if sexual activity is anticipated. What is preferable -- sex without a condom because kids don't want to go to the store or safe sex?

I am asking you these questions with an open mind.

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 11:26pm
If the link was the only

If the link was the only questionable item on the site then why not just delete the link? Instead, they had the whole web site pulled. Interesting, I would suggest that it did go too far in some respect. Ehlers and Ms. Beerworth have their opinions about this site and they are part of a bigger picture as well. They are not alone in their points of view. This site will not bring about the desired results and this of course is my opinion.

Pregnancy and even abortion are survivable. The culture that surrounds why we even need abortion or have so many unwanted pregnancies is not good for women. Have sex, enjoy, use a condom, and if you make a mistake the woman can take a drug to prevent pregnancy. Better yet be on some form of birth control just in case. This is all fine and good except that having sex has a price tag. Can women afford the price? Can men?

What is the price? - A rise in breast cancer, cervical cancer, and a whole host of other diseases that are sexually transmitted. We are pouring or want to more easily pour estrogen down women's throats to prevent pregnancies and avoid abortion that we are killing many women with things that are worse than pregnancy. Crying out for more contraception, more FREE contraception so that there will be less abortions is not going to cut it for me. A natural consequence of women keeping their bodies clean waiting for the right time will have a by product of far less abortions than we have now with all the contraception, emergency contraception, and condoms in the world have thus brought us.

In a world where eating organically, using no genetically engineered foods, and no growth hormones in the food chain is prized - I am stunned that women are so quick to swallow pills and interrupt their monthly cycles and if pregnant interrupt the natural process of pregnancy to be just like men free from all "consequences" of sex. Unfortunately for the guys, sexually transmitted diseases are causing them a great deal of consequences now as well.

Hang the cervical cancer! Hang the life long struggle with herpes! Hang the fact that I am taking in too much estrogen and could increase my risk of breast cancer! Worse yet hang telling the kids what's in store for them! Sex ed should contain hours and hours of information on all the diseases they can contract. Discussion of a condom should take 5 minutes. Oh yes sex ed needs to be changed and any program should be about avoiding sex not having sex. I am not talking about abstinence only programs either.

Your perspective that this will lower domestic violence just does not resonate with me. According to the Vermont Crime Report and also stated by Senator Leahy, Vermont had about a 5% decrease in violent crime in 2004 and 58% increase in rape. Something is wrong and I doubt very much that the religious right is causing all of this. I think the left has a few problems of its own. Foaming at the mouth to protecting abortion will not solve this it will only make it worse. Abortion is NOT the problem. It is a symptom. To directly protect women instead of abortion will indeed do some good. A woman is a garden and to gain entrance a guy needs to prove to that he is worthy. It needs to be more than dinner, a movie, and emergency contraception.

RJD's picture
Posted by RJD (not verified) on 20 January 2006 - 7:41pm
Well there ya go...

Lacking the resources or ability to continue the conversation you throw down the troll card. That's a pity. So sad and disappointing.

Ellen's picture
Posted by Ellen (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 7:39am
I think yours qualifies as

...one of the silliest comments on the site yet.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 19 January 2006 - 1:42am
RJD is right. Pro-lifers

RJD is right. Pro-lifers finally learned from the tactics of Planned Parenthood and the Alan Guttmacher Institute--take it as a compliment.

You and yours are obviously quite upset that we dare copy of the taxpayer funding portion of those tactics. Well, too bad. So sad. Competition is a b**tch isn't it? And you can whine and complain all day long about the science of the issue but in the marketplace of ideas, and public perception (where the tax dollars are really bought and sold) killing children just isn't as warm and fuzzy and acceptable as helping women have those babies and placing them in families that want them. It isn't as heart touching as that first ultra-sound that proves (scientifically) that that child has a beating heart or that it's no longer a blob of tissue but has fingers and toes, yawns and cries.

Face it 'ladies'. You've been beaten at your own game. Margaret Sanger is long dead and gone and you need to deal with your anger or the deception you're living under or your own issues with the Catholic Church and move on. You focus on the 'science' so you don't have to focus on the real problem. And I challenge you to take a moment to serious weigh the truth of this paragraph. Are you pro-choice because of the science or because you have other issues? You don't have to say here...but that question will haunt you until you come to terms with it. And don't be shocked if you find your answer, like Norma McCorvey, among your sworn enemies. The truth is the vast majority of us don't hate YOU. We hate killing children and we hate that women are deceived into believing that abortion is a legitimate answer to their problem. Don't confuse the two.

Ellen's picture
Posted by Ellen (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 7:55am
Vietnamese abortion rates

You said:

Maybe someday they'll figure out why women in Vietnam, who have the highest abortion rate in the world, are so much less likely to develop breast cancer than women of Vietnamese origin born in the US -- along with all Asian-American women born in the West, who have a breast cancer risk 60% higher than Asian-Americans born in the East.

That's exactly the kind of thinking that could move us toward a breakthrough. Why is that? It can't be genetics, so it must be either lifestyle or environment. Something about America raises the breast cancer rate by 60%. But what is it?

I'll take a look at Vietnamese abortion patterns. Does anybody know whether Vietnam has been using abortion at this rate for long? Abortion used to be outlawed in Romania, in the bad old Soviet era, but that changed dramatically after the Berlin Wall came down. If the abortion/breast cancer hypothesis is true, one would predict that age-adjusted breast cancer rates would show younger Romanian women have a higher risk than their mothers, just as younger African-American women have a higher risk than their mothers did at their age (the mysterious "crossover effect").

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 8:10am
Better Trolls: You Asked, We Answered!

I'd like to be thought of as a better-than-average troll... sort of like those ape-men in the GEICO commercials, if you've seen them. So here is a link to the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, which has been doing heroic work in trying to map the incidence of breast cancer in this upscale Long Island community. These hardworking activists believe that pesticides or other organic chemicals may have an impact on breast cancer rates. These environmental activists say:

cancers, like breast cancer, are a direct product of industrial era chemicals. In particular, much attention is now focusing upon groups of chemicals that affect the body's hormonal system. In Our Stolen Future, Dr. Theo Colburn and others argue that synthetic chemicals mimic natural hormones and trigger hormone-related cancers, like breast cancer.

Their hypothesis, in a nutshell, is that DDT breaks down to DDE in the environment, and that DDE acts a bit like estrogen on the system. This hypothesis has been well-documented and tested extensively. (See the write-up here.) So far, nobody has been able to show a link between pesticides and breast cancer. That may be because estrogen acts more like estrogen than DDE does, and the risk is coming from inside women's bodies, not from outside them.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 8:50am
wow

Must feel good, having your arms wrapped around the "Truth" like you do, all righteous and full of yourself.

We're upset b/c you people lie. You drive forward poor arguments rife with logical fallacies and misapplications of scientific studies. You're part of a larger movement that also relies on lies, poor reasoning and this incredibly stupid "marketplace of ideas" thing, as though something is "right" because more saps have been convinced to believe it. You hide behind faux-science because you know you'd have a harder time persuading people if you admitted that your beliefs are based solely on your superstitions.

I will admit that I've come to admire the sheer ruthless efficiency of your "movement" over the last several decades. Congrats on your "victories". I hope that you feel good as more and more women and children sink beneath the waves of poverty, unable to extricate themselves as jobs disappear and the meager education provided by this benighted culture leaves them less and less able to fend for themselves. I hope you feel full of righteous satisfaction as men sit at the bedsides of their wives to say goodbye as a pregnancy-gone-wrong kills them, there being no doctors left willing to risk the wrath of the law to perform a procedure that could have saved them.

Take comfort in your superiority, and please take joy in your hobby of stomping around in communities where you're not welcome, where your zealotry and ignorance only reaffirm the great danger we who believe in the Enlightenment and reason and equality confront. You are the barbarians inside the gate, and it's important that we see closely the crazed ignorant bloodlust in your eyes.

There is nothing "pro-life" about your movement. Life is more than biological function. Life is conflict and hard choices and crushing pains and soaring joys. Life is learning and growing and taking control of your OWN destiny. You people want no part of that. You HATE human choice, human freedom and human equality. You're pro-control, pro-suppression, pro-punishment. You project your self-loathing and hatred of this life that frightens you onto others. Like centuries of zealots before you, you wrap the cloak of rightousness about you to hide your fear, your hatred, to mask the stench of your ignorance.

You people make me sick. I despise you. I despise the old patriarchical ignorant cult you call your religion. You are my enemy. You are the enemy of modernity, of reason and of self-determination.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 19 January 2006 - 8:51am
That's what I would call a negative reaction

I've heard conservatives argue against "global warming" with this kind of rhetoric:

You drive forward poor arguments rife with logical fallacies and misapplications of scientific studies. You're part of a larger movement that also relies on lies, poor reasoning and this incredibly stupid "marketplace of ideas" thing, as though something is "right" because more saps have been convinced to believe it. You hide behind faux-science because you know you'd have a harder time persuading people if you admitted that your beliefs are based solely on your superstitions.

I don't care for this kind of argumentation myself, whether it is being used by my friends or my enemies.

Look, I know that what I am saying here makes people angry. I really am sorry about that. On the other hand, I really do believe that every week of early pregnancy increases a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer by about 3%, and that abortion interrupts a biological process that would otherwise help protect women from some risk.

If you would choose an abortion, even with some additional risk, fine. Lots of women choose estrogen replacement therapy because they conclude that early detection and good medical care makes the risk worth the reward. It's a medical choice that women can and do make every day.

I just think women ought to be making their own choice, based on the best medical information available. In my opinion, women ought to be informed about this particular issue before they choose.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 9:33am
informed

I just think women ought to be making their own choice, based on the best medical information available. In my opinion, women ought to be informed about this particular issue before they choose.

So, I ask you again. Do you advocate for informing women pregnant for the first time that her risk for breast cancer increases for up to 15 years after birth?

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 9:53am
Sorry to make you ask twice

I do think that women ought to know about their transient increase in breast cancer risk after a full-term pregnancy. Young mothers don't generally think of breast cancer all that much (with everything else they have going on!) and it would be good for them to pay a little more attention to regular program of breast self-examination (BSE). In my opinion, a competent gynecologist ought to inquire about the patient's family history of breast cancer as a part of routine prenatal care, and make sure the patient understands the long-term protective benefit of a full-term pregnancy as well as the short-term risks.

Breast cancer risk is sharply associated with age, so the transient increase in risk raises a low risk for a short time, while the long-term protective effect reduces a higher risk for a long time.

Here's a Breast Cancer Risk Calculator that doesn't include either the short-term increase in risk. It does a nice job of showing the long-term protective effect, though. Go try it out--you'll see how the choice to have a baby affects your risk.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 10:53am
short- and long-term health risks

make sure the patient understands the long-term protective benefit of a full-term pregnancy as well as the short-term risks.

You are aware that a comprehensive discussion by a medical professional of the health risks associated with a full-term pregnancy vs an induced abortion would lead to the conclusion that an abortion is a statistically safer medical decision?

dblhelix's picture
Posted by dblhelix (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 2:48pm
I don't give a shit whether you like it

my entire life I've been reading and hearing lies and misrepresentations hurled from the right without reply. We on the left have been too polite, too "tolerant" ... well, not me. Scorn for scorn. I will not hide my contempt.

My biggest problem with YOUR take on all of this is this faux concern that women have "information", information that you want to provide as "facts" when this question is in great dispute. It's the same fake concern that's used to make women wait 24 hours after receiving counseling. What contempt that betrays for the women and their health-care providers. As though a woman doesn't KNOW that the cells growing inside her are living tissue. As though she hasn't already had to think hard about her choices, perhaps agonized over them. No, not enough, you have to self-righteously treat them as ignorant children, waving your half-truths and incomplete studies in their faces. In the continuing drive to paint abortion providers as blood-sucking vultures, your movement refuses to accept that they are DOCTORS who are constrained by medical ethics to provide the patient with information she needs to give informed consent.

When the right succeeds to criminalize abortion, and I've already absorbed the understanding that you will succeed, at least in half the country, THEN women will be left without support and information. Women ... will ... die. Not a very "pro-life" result.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 19 January 2006 - 10:19am
You must be so proud

...of giving birth to government programs to invade women's bodies sieze control of the wombs that actually make the babies. Such power! You do realize that once the government is clearly established as the controller of human breeding, then the government can also force abortion of pregnancies.

Maybe you're not worthy of having children. Maybe you're not the right kind of person. Don't worry. It's not your decision. The State decides. That's what you want, right?

Amazing how you folks embrace fascist state-run human breeding programs with hardly a blink of an eye. And it's especially amazing how out of one side of your mouth you rail against abortion, while in all your actions you do everything in your power to make abortion more likely and more common in society.

Let's face it, "lady." If you were really opposed to abortion, you'd be pushing for better realistic sex education in the schools, you'd be advocating for better access to cheap and effective birth control, yYou'd be screaming for approval of the emergency contraceptive Plan B -- all things proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies and, therefore, demand for abortion of those pregnancies.

But no, you oppose those things, don't you? I wonder why that is? Seems like you'd rather make a big holier-than-thou noise than actually do anything about unwanted or unexpected pregnancy and actually reducing abortion.

And that creates the great irony of this political age: that the "anti-abortion" zealots are really only striking a pose, and are in fact doing everything they can to increase demand for abortion. Because this isn't about abortion at all, is it? It's about putting women in their place -- punishing them -- for having sex.

(I bet you're also a big supporter of gutting welfare, medicaid and Social Security. Yes, you're so "pro-life" aren't you?)

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 19 January 2006 - 10:13am
My interest in breast cancer

I first became interested in what has been called the "breast cancer epidemic" while I was at law school. I stopped to talk to an anti-cancer activist underneath a banner that read "1 in 9" and I wanted to find out what she was talking about. That was the first time I ever realized that breast cancer rates in America were rising, and that nobody had any idea why.

I've grown used to having people dismiss my interest in this subject. I'm getting used to having people assume the worst about my motives. I really don't expect anyone on this link to believe what I'm saying, but I do think it would be good for some open-minded folks to take a look at the evidence and judge for themselves.

There are some very decent pro-choice researchers out there who are investigating this issue. The best one I know is Dr. Janet Daling, out in Seattle. Here's a snip from her website:

Etiology And Genetics Of Breast Cancer - A major emphasis of my research in recent years has been breast cancer. Working with Dr. Kathleen Malone, we have completed interviews on 1,400 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45 during the years 1983-1992 and a similar number of general population controls. A primary interest in these studies was the role of oral contraceptive use and induced abortion in the etiology of these tumors. Currently, we are funded to follow-up this cohort of women to determine their survival and relate it to tumor markers as well as patient characteristics and exposures. This cohort, as well as their control group, also are the focus of family studies looking at the genetics of breast cancer. We are also using DNA samples collected from these women and their controls to assess the role that the BRCA1, BRCA2 and AT genes play in this disease and to identify other genes. These studies are done in collaboraton with Drs. Peggy Porter, Elaine Ostrander, and Lue Ping Zhao.

Dr. Daling personally supports abortion rights, but she has some good personal reasons to devote her life to ending breast cancer, too. She's the kind of person who can talk about a red-hot issue like this one without having the discussion veer off into politics or religion. I wonder if she would be willing to take a look at my prediction about party affiliation?

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 11:12am
Upthread I asked you to

expound on the party affiliation model you are interested in pursuing....

Marisacat's picture
Posted by Marisacat on 19 January 2006 - 11:23am
The Party Affiliation Test

I would be happy to expound. Since I think that induced abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, I think one can make some surprising predictions. For example, we know that one reason women choose abortion is to complete their education. Women who get pregnant and drop out of school are less likely to have an abortion than women who get pregnant and don't drop out. This means that abortion rates probably correlate to higher education to some degree. We call this a "proxy variable": education isn't the same as abortion, but the two factors are correlated. If you think abortion ups the risk of breast cancer, you would predict that higher education would be associated with breast cancer risk. (It is.)

The political affiliation test works the same way. Nobody is saying that registering Democrat causes cancer, any more than that reading books causes cancer. I'm saying that women who have chosen an abortion in the past are more likely to register Democrat than Republican. (This ought to be fairly easy to document. If it isn't true, a lot of politicians are sure going to be surprised!) So party affiliation should be a "proxy variable" for abortion, just like higher education is.

If we didn't already know that higher education was associated with breast cancer risk, I'd be offering that as my startling prediction. Since that surprising fact is already out of the bag, I offer the party affiliation test. I'm suggesting we take two groups of women (Republican and Democrat) and match them up, item for item, on each known risk factor for breast cancer (including higher education) and see whether Democrats really are more likely to get breast cancer. If they do, we've either established that party affiliation causes cancer ... or we've demonstrated that there is SOME kind of lifestyle choice that discriminates between the parties.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 11:56am
Daling then, NIH now

I googled Dr. Janet R. Daling a couple of ways. I would like to state I'm not qualified to judge the soundness of her work, or her research nor will I be doing that in this comment. I do, however, know how to read.

If I google Dr. Daling using only her name, not her title, its clear that her 1994 study has been adopted by the pro-fetal-life crowd. The google search is here:

Janet R Daling

Almost every site is a belief-based political site. I quit when I got to Free Republic.

I then tried her name with the title:

Dr. Janet R. Daling

and found some legitimate sites that I feel are perhaps grounded a bit more in fact. The problem seems to be though, that the study is fairly old in terms of the internet, having been published sometime in 1994. If you follow the links you'll see that the few links that reference the study don't load.

The New York Times article on the study works fine though, and here's some of what it says:

New Study Links Abortions and Increase in Breast Cancer Risk

By LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN (NYT)

Published: October 27, 1994

A new federally financed study has found that women who have abortions increase their risk of breast cancer.

But the authors of the study cautioned that the overall results and specific findings should be viewed as hypotheses, because of limitations in the way the study was designed and conducted. Other experts concurred, saying the results were far from conclusive. Earlier studies investigating such a link have come up with inconsistent findings.

In the new study, involving 1,800 women in three counties in Washington State, women 45 years or younger who had had an induced abortion were found to have a 50 percent greater risk of developing breast cancer than women of comparable age who had been pregnant at least once and had never had an abortion.

The risk did not vary by the number of abortions or by the history of live births. But the risk was highest among women who had an abortion before the age of 18, particularly if after eight weeks' gestation, or after the age of 30.

No increased breast cancer risk was found among women who had miscarriages, or spontaneous abortions. The study was conducted by a team headed by Dr. Janet R. Daling of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle.

:::snip:::

The researchers said that it would be premature to make abortion decisions based on the study.

Women "should not give this study any weight in a making a decision now," Dr. Noel S. Weiss, a co-author of the study, told The Associated Press. "But the findings are provocative."

:::snip:::

Karin Michels, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, said Federal health statistics showed that the annual rate of newly occurring breast cancer in a 40-year-old woman in the United States was 1.28 per 1,000. A 50 percent increase would amount to about 1.9 per 1,000.

The small increase, Dr. Rosenberg said, "severely challenges" the ability of scientists to determine whether abortions were truly a cause of the increased risk or whether the increase simply reflects a bias from the design of the study or the way interviews were conducted.

:::snip:::

The women in the control group were called at random by telephone and asked about abortions and other intimate details of their reproductive history.

"That is a flaw in the design," Ms. Michels said, because women who had breast cancer are more likely to disclose an abortion than women who did not develop breast cancer. Women, particularly teen-agers, may be afraid of disclosing that they have had an abortion, and such a bias could easily explain the findings of the new study by producing an underestimate of the number of women in the control group who had had abortions, Ms. Michels said.

Now, lets fastforward 11 or 12 years. As the quote above states, the findings of the 1994 study were "provacative", and spurred additional research. Today, in 2006, the following information, and much more, is available online at the National Institute of Health website.

Abortion, Miscarriage, and Breast Cancer Risk

Current Knowledge

In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. A summary of their findings, titled Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop, can be found at http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/ere-workshop-report.

Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop

Epidemiologic Findings

  • Early age at first term birth is related to lifetime decrease in breast cancer risk. (1)
  • Increasing parity is associated with a long-term risk reduction, even when controlling for age at first birth. (1)
  • The additional long-term protective effect of young age at subsequent term pregnancies is not as strong as for the first term pregnancy. (1)
  • A nulliparous woman has approximately the same risk as a woman with a first term birth around age 30. (1)
  • Breast cancer risk is transiently increased after a term pregnancy. (1)
  • Induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. (1)
  • Recognized spontaneous abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. (1)
  • Long duration of lactation provides a small additional reduction in breast cancer risk after consideration of age at and number of term pregnancies. (1)
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension is associated with decreased breast cancer risk. (2)
  • Maternal DES exposure is associated with an increase in breast cancer risk. (3)
bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 19 January 2006 - 1:27pm
way to go bay!

we can always rely on you to do the indepth research that provides substantive answers! thanks again!

artemisia's picture
Posted by artemisia on 19 January 2006 - 1:36pm
Yes, I'm aware of the NIH position

The 1994 Daling study was provocative, all right, and spurred "additional research." The "definitive study" study that came out afterwards was the Melbye study from Denmark, which included 1.5 million women--a huge number for this kind of research. That study reported no increase in breast cancer risk, which ended the discussion as far as a lot of people were concerned.

Here's the problem, though: that study relied on computerized records of abortions which went back to 1973, but the researchers ignored all abortions before that time. Abortion has been legal in Denmark since 1939; and there are records of abortions that go back to that year. There were 63,401 women who were classified as not having had abortions when you can prove that they did have abortions--and the women who were misclassified were the older women, who were most likely to develop breast cancer.

Now, there may be some smart people out there who can help me understand how you can get good data out of a study which includes 63,000 invisible abortions among the oldest women, who have the highest breast cancer risk. Maybe this really is good science and I'm just too stupid to understand it. But it sure likes they monkeyed with the results to me.

Here's the kicker: it is the Melbye study that shows a statistically significant 3% per week increase in breast cancer risk for every week of pregnancy prior to an induced abortion. That figure only shows up in the data when you compare women who had registered abortions with other women who had registered abortions. (This weeds out all the "invisible abortions" among older women.) Take out the bad data and the abortion/breast cancer risk shows right up again.

So... I'm sure you all have better things to do than beat this dead horse. After all, if women knew that abortion might increase their risk of breast cancer, many of them would choose to abort anyway. Cancer is probably the least of their concerns.

Still... I wish they had the right to make their own choice.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 19 January 2006 - 4:02pm
Now, there may be some smart
Now, there may be some smart people out there who can help me understand how you can get good data out of a study which includes 63,000 invisible abortions among the oldest women, who have the highest breast cancer risk. Maybe this really is good science and I'm just too stupid to understand it. But it sure likes they monkeyed with the results to me.

They addressed this point in the original study:

However, we found that the risk of breast cancer among women with a history of induced abortion was no different from that among women without such a history, nor did we find that the number of induced abortions influenced the risk of breast cancer. Therefore, it is unlikely that missing information about abortions before 1973 affected the results of our analysis.

If the risk was really due to abortion, you'd have seen it in the younger groups as well--and there was nothing there. All you have is Brind with his conspiracy theories being the sole dissenter. And gee, it's not like Brind has his own agenda or anything.

Additionally, you're conflating two different things. A completed pregnancy provides a net protective effective against the development of breast cancer. Having an abortion--or miscarrying early--causes the woman to lose this protective effect. That's not the same as saying her risk of breast cancer "increases." She's simply back to square one, with the same risk she had prior to getting pregnant. To say otherwise would be like telling a woman who formula-feeds her baby that by doing so, she's increasing her risk of breast cancer (as breastfeeding provides additional protection). Do you see how that's intellectually dishonest? Yet that's the kind of thing that's peddled at many clinics in several states in the US. It's not supported scientifically, it's fear-mongering to serve an agenda, and it's wrong.

One more comment:

I really don't expect anyone on this link to believe what I'm saying, but I do think it would be good for some open-minded folks to take a look at the evidence and judge for themselves.

Ah, yes, the old "you're not open-minded" argument. Don't you think that, perhaps, many of us have already done that? Don't you think scientists do that *every day*?

Y'know, for myself, I'm against abortion. I found myself pregnant as I was getting ready to start grad school. I could have had an abortion, but chose not to. It was the right choice for me, but going through all that, I'd never wish it upon someone who didn't want to continue. I'd never want to scare someone into going through all that with false information. I didn't hear about the "ABC" link until, hmm, maybe 1997 or 8--and did exactly what you suggested. I looked into it, and it didn't take long to find out how poorly supported it was. And that was before the 2003 NCI report--I had to go dig out decade-old articles from the original journals because so few were on the web; order others that weren't present in our library; etc. So yeah, it's pretty insulting to suggest that those of us--the vast majority of us who've read all the science lit on the topic--are just "close-minded" (or intimidated by the NIH in some way, as Brind suggested).

Okay, one more thing--your party connection. It wouldn't fly. First, I don't know where you found the term "proxy variable." It's not one that's used in epidemiology. You're thinking confounders. Second, you say "I'm saying that women who have chosen an abortion in the past are more likely to register Democrat than Republican. (This ought to be fairly easy to document. If it isn't true, a lot of politicians are sure going to be surprised!)" Thing is, it wouldn't be "fairly easy to document" without introducing other confounders. You'd think you'd have learned about how bad self-reporting biases are after reading about the ABC link. Would Democrats be more likely to report having previously had an abortion, since they may be more likely to be pro-choice themselves? Would Republicans be less likely to accurately report, since that's something of a no-no in their circles? It would be a mess, and even if you found a connection, as you yourself mention, it can already be explained by other factors, such as SES.

Epi isn't something that can easily be done (or critiqued) by "armchair" scientists such as yourself. Didja ever think maybe there's a reason why the world's leading experts (and most of us minor leaguers) reject the ABC "hypothesis," or do you attribute it all to everyone of us being "personally pro-choice?"

Tara's picture
Posted by Tara (not verified) on 20 January 2006 - 12:00pm
Didja ever think...

Didja ever think... maybe there's a reason that she has the right over her own body.

Didja ever think... maybe there's a reason she does not want to continue a pregnancy or raise a child.

Didja ever think... maybe there's a reason that thousand of women each year are dying of bothched in countries where abortion is illegal.

Didja ever think... maybe there's a reason she is not telling you what to do with your body, yet you feel you have the right to demand what another human can do with her body that will have life long reprocussions.

Didja ever think... maybe there's a reason why you are not God.

Didja ever think... that you have no intention of carrying or raising another woman's child.

Didja ever think... maybe there's a reason that women who want abortions couldn't give a fly hoot what the hell you think...???

disgusted dem's picture
Posted by disgusted dem (not verified) on 20 January 2006 - 12:28pm
Just to clarify 'cause I'm

Just to clarify 'cause I'm not sure if that's directed at me or not--as I said, Y'know, for myself, I'm against abortion--meaning I chose not to have one, and it would take something fairly extreme for me to terminate *my* pregnancy. But I'd never dream of imposing *my* views on anyone else. Pregnancy is a bitch (at least, mine were)--and as I said, I'd never wish it on someone who didn't want to take it to term. As a health professional, I know very well that we need access to safe, legal abortions, or women will simply find another way to do it. Just so we're clear 'n' all.

Tara's picture
Posted by Tara (not verified) on 20 January 2006 - 1:21pm
i think he misconstrued

i'm in a hurry and read your earlier comment quickly but, to me, you just defined the essence of choice. you made the choice that's right for you and yet you don't seek to impose your moral views on situations, and women, you don't know. and that's absolutely the correct position.

trust the woman to choose. she knows herself, and her needs and her situation far better than anyone else could.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 20 January 2006 - 1:58pm
Not just a definition of "choice"

but more broadly one of feminism, and even more broadly, humanism.

Too often the anti-humanists claim that those of us who believe in autonomy and freedom "denigrate" those who choose other paths, more traditional paths. That we look down on them. Perhaps some do, at least in the sense of being glad NOT to be so constrained, but it's telling that only one point of view EMPOWERS PEOPLE, while the narrower one empowers some institution or another, whether it be a church, a government or a board of doctors "approving" abortions.

That is the essence of humanity though: the freedom to make one's own choices, for one's own reason, without feeling any drive to force others to make the same choices.

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 20 January 2006 - 2:11pm
I appreciate your comments

Tara, thank you for a thoughtful and helpful response. If I could discuss this issue with people like you more often, I'd feel a lot better about things. What troubles me is the sense that politics has trumped science in this field, and that women are making choices without really knowing the facts. If I'm wrong about the A/BC link, I'd really like to know it.

You note that Melbye addressed his reasons for ignoring 63,000 invisible abortions. I read what you quoted, but I'm still mystified by how they do the math. It sounds to me like they ignored 63,000 induced abortions, found no evidence of a link (after ignoring them), and so decided they could ignore them. I know that can't be right, but I've never been able to understand what they are really saying.

You see, what they found was that the incidence of breast cancer in Denmark had gone up by 40% over several decades, and that women who had induced abortions had the same (40% higher) risk of breast cancer as other Danish women had. But why has the overall breast cancer rate gone up 40%?

The most obvious suspect would be oral contraceptives. Women who get abortions in Denmark don't tend to use the Pill; women who use the Pill don't tend to need abortions. The Pill used to provide a high dosage of estrogen, which has always raised red flags among breast cancer researchers. That's why they keep trying to lower the dosage and balance the estrogen with other hormones.

If estrogen is the biggest non-genetic risk factor for breast cancer, and if Danish women are getting exogenous estrogen (from the Pill) or endogenous estrogen (from induced abortions), then one would predict that (a) the overall breast cancer rate in Denmark would go up and (b) there wouldn't be a big statistical difference between women who get estrogen from the outside as opposed to those who get it from inside.

If Melbye had compared women with induced abortions against the historical breast cancer rates, he would have found a statistically significant 40% increase in risk. You can't ignore 63,000 "invisible abortions" if there's a 40% increase among the "visible" ones.

The 40% historical increase is perfectly consistent with the 3% per week increase in risk among women who had "visible" abortions. If that statistically significant finding is for real, then an induced abortion at 13 weeks of pregnancy would raise breast cancer risk by 39%. That would explain why modern Danish women who abort are 40% more likely to get breast cancer than their mothers were.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 20 January 2006 - 2:34pm
An awful lot of speculation here
But why has the overall breast cancer rate gone up 40%?

The most obvious suspect would be oral contraceptives.

Why? I look at all the things that have changed in the past "several decades," and the Pill is just one of many.

By the way, the Pill is not just estrogen. And in its early form, the Pill consisted of much higher doses than it does now. Also, estrogen is not estrogen is not estrogen. It's like saying "air." It simply is not specific enough.

And simply assuming that this purported increase in breast cancer is caused by the Pill is simply foolish. Why not the proliferation of electromagnetic transmissions such as television, cell phones and a bevy of other devices? Why not the increased use of certain kinds of pesticides? Why not the increased stress of living in harder economic times?

Why even assume that this is in fact a real increase in breast cancer? Detection methods are much better now than they were "several decades" ago. Time was when a woman got breast cancer and only knew, once it spread to her lungs, that she couldn't breathe.

"Perfectly consistent"? Using your logic I could prove that roosters make the sun rise.

What troubles me is the sense that politics has trumped science in this field, and that women are making choices without really knowing the facts.

Kettle, met pot. If anyone has a political agenda here, it's you. Or do you claim your wild speculations are in fact non-partisan on this issue?

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 20 January 2006 - 4:17pm
Speculation, you're kidding right?

"And simply assuming that this purported increase in breast cancer is caused by the Pill is simply foolish. Why not the proliferation of electromagnetic transmissions such as television, cell phones and a bevy of other devices? Why not the increased use of certain kinds of pesticides? Why not the increased stress of living in harder economic times?"

Talk about speculation. When a woman is getting a prescription for the pill or hormone replacement therapy there is always talk about her risk of breast cancer. This is not politics this is science. These other 'devices' may very well cause damage to the human body but it is well documented that estrogen plays a part in breast cancer. There are other factors that play into breast cancer. Estrogen is stored in fat. Obese women are at higher risk. There is estrogen pollution in our environment either from farm animals or from human sewage, etc. Does this mean that women should not be allowed to choose to use these drugs? Of course not! She must weight the risk as in all other things in life. But to deny that the risks exist is not fair to women. IF there is a possible connection between abortion and breast cancer, and this has not been conclusively ruled out, then we need for women to know.

For some reason we as a culture want for sex to be without consequences. Well it is not and never will be. Sex is a natural and sacred part of life and it should be treated with respect. But that is not what is going on. Follow the money. There is NO magic pill and abortion is not the only consequence.

It might be interesting to know the difference between democratic women and republican women's rates of breast cancer. Do democratic women have more abortions than republican women and therefore more breast cancer? There are a lot of variable that would need to be considered. As we can see from HPV transmission and cervical cancer that if you are living a life style that does not put you at risk for contracting HPV then your risk factor for cervical cancer will go way down. If you are part of the culture that likes to think sex has no price tag if you would just use a condom or take birth control, then your risk factors just went up for at least cervical cancer. Is there such a connection for breast cancer as well? Science will keep on looking and we will know more by and by.

RJD's picture
Posted by RJD (not verified) on 21 January 2006 - 11:28am
Keep jousting with straw men

If it makes you feel better, knock yourself out. I was not speculating. I was calling you on your speculations.

You really should read up on your medical literature. Here are some points you don't seem to be grasping:

* There is no single estrogen. There are dozens. The estrogens that occur in women's bodies are not the same estrogens that occur in the Pill.

* Estrogen has not been associated with breast cancer. In fact, the association is with synthetic progesterones that are in the Pill and hormone replacement regimens. The only reason that progesterones are even included in such are because estrogen alone leads to a near 100% incidence of uterine, endometrial and/or ovarian cancer within a few years. But make no mistake, it's the synthetic progesterone that's associated with breast cancer and, as far as I know, there have been no definitive studies on natural progresterone.

* Women considering the Pill are warned about any potential health risks. That's what doctors do, lest they risk malpractice suits. Why would you think women are not warned of potential health risks?

* There are many known carcinogenic factors in our environment, including EM radiation, massive use of pesticides, toxic chemicals used in home building, furniture upholstery and bedding, preservatives in food...the list goes on.

For some reason we as a culture want for sex to be without consequences.

Ah, now we get to your real argument. You think women should be punished for having sex. Hence your wildly speculative arguments against the Pill and abortion.

But wait. Men have sex without consequences. Why is it that men -- and it's mostly men -- want to take away women's rights over their own bodies?

Maybe what we should do is "fix" men so that they don't go around impregnating women without sharing in the consequences they give to women. And only if a man gets permission from a woman willing to bear his offspring would he be allowed to get his family jewels reconnected.

Sound radical? Why is the government's marching into women's wombs any less radical?

And I'm curious: Why do you want women to bear consequences of having sex?

As we can see from HPV transmission and cervical cancer that if you are living a life style that does not put you at risk for contracting HPV then your risk factor for cervical cancer will go way down. If you are part of the culture that likes to think sex has no price tag if you would just use a condom or take birth control, then your risk factors just went up for at least cervical cancer.

Again your agenda comes through loud and clear. Today the only risk to HPV and cervical cancer is induced by right-wing radicals (like you?) who oppose distribution of the 100%-effective vaccine because they (you?) want women to be punished for having sex.

Why should sex have a price tag? Because you say so? And we should hold back medical science in order to satisfy your medieval notions of sexuality? That is sickening and full of malice, wishing such avoidable consequences upon people who don't subscribe to your prudish values.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 21 January 2006 - 12:52pm
Wow!

My real argument is not that "women should be punished for having sex." My argument is that the breast cancer rate in America has gone up by a huge amount, which our medical experts have not been able to explain by reference to any known risk factor. The various estrogen-like chemicals (ranging from the human hormone, to the chemical in horse urine, to synthetic chemicals) have well-documented effects on breast tissue. It makes sense to zero in on the various sources of estrogen if you really want to find out why breast cancer rates are going up.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 23 January 2006 - 2:07pm
About that party affiliation thing...

Tara, I emailed one major researcher about the discussion we are having here (I'd rather not mention the researcher's name, since this isn't a popular topic), and the researcher said:

It gave me great pleasure to hear from you again. You pose quite an interesting question. I am certain that you will find such relationship, with certain exceptions.

This researcher then suggested that Dr. Angela Lafranchi might be a good person to take a look at the political affiliation question.

Dr. Angela Lanfranchi

Surgical Associates of Central New Jersey

515 Church St., Suite 1

Bound Brook, N.J.

732-356-3562

732-356-0493

Let me be perfectly clear about what I am suggesting as a research strategy. I am not trying score gratuitous points by picking up on stuff we already know (nulliparous women are more likely to develop cancer, but married women tend to register Republican, so Democrats are more likely to be nulliparous). I am suggesting we use existing breast cancer registry data that will allow us to control for these known and/or suspected risk factors. If we take a hard look at a large sample and find no statistically significant difference between political parties, I will agree that the evidence does not support an abortion/breast cancer link.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 20 January 2006 - 3:50pm
Here's Why I Want to Look at Political Affiliation

MediaGirl, you said:

There are many known carcinogenic factors in our environment, including EM radiation, massive use of pesticides, toxic chemicals used in home building, furniture upholstery and bedding, preservatives in food...the list goes on.

None of the items you've listed would tend to affect Democrats more than Republicans. If we did a carefully controlled study that matched up similiarly-situated Democrats and Republicans, we could quickly find out whether one group had a higher incidence of breast cancer than the other. If they did, we could take a new look at "political factors" like abortion. If there was no difference between the groups, we would look harder at radiation, pesticides, chemicals in the home, etc.

As it is, we don't know where to look, and women are dying.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 23 January 2006 - 2:29pm
Why would you say that?

Pollution is localized, sometimes by distance, often by watershed. EM radiation is focused in certain areas. Pesticides concentrations are higher by far in rural areas. What preservatives and colorings and artificial additives in foods varies by food type, which means that different cultures and different dietary habits will lead to different exposures.

All of these mean that there could be a disparity seen in association with party affiliation.

Of course, what that would imply I have absolutely no idea. But I think that it's a very interesting exercise to try to find some kind of difference between Democrats and Republicans, because for the life of me I see very little difference, except for the neo-fascist radical right wingers who actuall want the government to intrude on our lives more and more.

What "political factors like abortion" do you see? Do you really think that Republicans have fewer abortions? Maybe you should talk to some people who are in a position to know, and ask them about all the women who go in, saying, "I'm pro-life, but this is an exception."

Of course, if you really wanted to save women's lives, you'd support women's health clinics for low-income women, so that all women can get screened properly. That will do more than trying to shoehorn theories about causes of breast cancer into the already flimsy "pro-life" rhetoric.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 23 January 2006 - 3:20pm
The Personal Is Political

I grew up with an outhouse and an annual family income of $6,000, and I am very much in favor of women's health clinics for low-income women. I've drafted legislation ("The Anti-Poverty Tax Credit") which is intended to increase the amount of money that flows to women and children in need. But this thread isn't about my suggestions for tax policy.

My argument here is that we ought to look at the data we already have to see if there is any measurable difference between the parties. If there is, it will either show Republicans are a little more likely to get breast cancer or that Democrats are. If Republicans are more at risk, I'd look into factors like organic foods v. pesticides. If Democrats are more at risk, I'd take a new look at abortion. If there is no difference between the parties, we ought to look harder at electro-magnetic fields, environmental toxins, and the like.

Look at it this way: I would be convinced that there is no abortion/breast cancer link if someone took a good hard look at the data and found no "tilt" towards Democrats. I wrote an article on this subject back in 1993 ("Before You Choose") and have a short, published piece in a medical journal. If I am persuaded that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans, I solemnly assure you that I will publicly and repeatedly announce that I have been convinced that the abortion/breast cancer link does not exist.

Isn't that worth something?

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 24 January 2006 - 1:22pm
Breast cancer-Abortion Link?

Scott, I think you're barking up the wrong tree on this one, but don't take my word on it. I recommend to you "The Republican War on Science", in which author and journalist Chris Mooney devotes an entire chapter to the trumped-up breast cancer-abortion "link." I think said link is at best correlative, and at worst almost completely fabricated in an attempt to give pro-lifers' stance a scientific feel.

TrackerNeil's picture
Posted by TrackerNeil (not verified) on 24 January 2006 - 2:00pm
I'll Take a Look at It

TrackerNeil, I appreciate your comment. I haven't heard of that book in the past, but it sounds like it's worth finding.

I don't know how much you've looked at the evidence for the link yourself, but I'll assume you've done enough thinking about it to feel confident that there really isn't any association. Obviously, I've come to a different conclusion.

What do you think of my suggestion that we put the abortion/breast cancer hypothesis to a real test by seeing whether my "political affiliation" prediction is accurate?

Please note: the breast cancer registry data contains enough information about known or suspected risk factors so that we can really match up similarly-situated Republicans with Democrats. I'm not trying to drum up a bogus finding that only says what we already know about the impact of age at first full-term pregnancy, and so forth. I'm saying that if the abortion/breast cancer link is real, it ought to show up the minute you check to see whether political affiliation correlates to breast cancer risk.

And, just to make it interesting: I promise to publicly "recant" and renounce my past public statements about this link as soon as somebody can show me that a well-designed and replicatable study of American women shows no correlation between political affiliation and breast cancer risk.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 24 January 2006 - 2:51pm
More research

The hypothesis already *has* been put to a real test, Scott, and it failed to stand up. In 1997, a giant New England Journal of Medicine study of 1.5 million Danish women, widely accepted by the scientific community, discounted this supposed link. The National Cancer Institute assembled more than 100 experts who came to the same result. The only folks who don't accept these data are those who have an ideological stake in the matter.

This debate illuminates the larger issue, which is the way conservatives have manipulated science to serve their own political ends. They present a scientist on the outliers of scientific community, like Michael Behe, and present him against someone like Richard Dawkins, who stands right in the scientific mainstream, and argue that they're equivalent. They're not. Joel Brind, an ally of James Dobson's Focus on the Family, contests the findings of NEJM and the NCI, but that's like putting Olive Oyl up against Xena the Warrior Princess in a cage match. The former is a shadow of the latter.

The abortion-breast cancer link has already been disproven to the satisfaction of the majority of the scientific community, so I just don't see the point in further studies.

TrackerNeil's picture
Posted by TrackerNeil (not verified) on 24 January 2006 - 8:07pm
You may have missed the earlier comments on the Melbye study

I discussed the Danish study further up this thread. If you scroll up (or search for the word "Melbye") you will see that I pointed out the 63,000 known abortion cases they treated as "no abortions." I won't repeat my questions about that study here, but I'd be happy to do upon request.

The central problem with the Melbye study is that it ignores the original premise of all this abortion/breast cancer research. That original premise was laid down in 1981, in a study by Dr. Malcolm Pike. Pike has long argued that estrogen is the prime mover in breast cancer etiology, which raises serious questions about oral contraceptives. Pike decided to study breast cancer cases in young women, comparing women who used the Pill to those who did not. Unlike all previous studies, however, Pike realized that the Pill was not the only possible source of estrogen. He gathered data on women who had a short-term pregnancy (whether induced or spontaneous abortion) as a third category.

When Pike compared women who got estrogen from outside the body (the Pill) to women who got estrogen from inside the body (abortion and miscarriages) to women who had no excess estrogen, the results were startling. You can read it for yourself if you can find it on the web.

Pike MC, Henderson BE, Casagrande JT, Rosario I, Gray GE. "Oral contraceptive use and early abortion as risk factors for breast cancer in young women. Br J Cancer 1981; 43:72-6.

So here's my problem with the Melbye study. The Pill is very common in Denmark. Breast cancer has gone up by 40% in Denmark in the last few decades. If Pike's research is correct, women who take the Pill have an increased risk of breast cancer, but so do women who abort. Comparing women who abort to Danish women in general may be merely comparing women with endogenous estrogen to women with exogenous estrogen. All that it proves is that estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer. It doesn't prove that abortion is "safe."

Ok, ok... so I can go on all day about why I don't view a "giant" Danish study as conclusive. If this were any other topic in science, we'd be replicating the Danish study, subjecting it to peer reviews, and making sure that any legitimate questions had been answered. It seems like abortion is the exception to every rule, though--so instead of researching this issue until it is as indisputable as the curvature of the earth, we're relying on the National Cancer Institute's website to keep women alive.

Scott W. Somerville's picture
Posted by Scott W. Somerville (not verified) on 25 January 2006 - 9:39am
That was 25 years ago

You may not have realized this, but cancer research has advanced a tad since then. Just since 2000 there have been several major studies on breast cancer. You really should get up to date.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 25 January 2006 - 1:28pm
In other words

You want a study to prove that your preconceptions are wrong.

I simply want some indication that something is right.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 24 January 2006 - 6:31pm
but building a career/avocation

on a logical fallacy is so much fun!! (Or maybe this one!)

Madman in the Marketplace's picture
Posted by Madman in the M... on 24 January 2006 - 8:42pm