Arizona Legislators Won’t Tell Women of Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 2, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Legislators Won’t Tell Women of Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
April 2, 2004

Phoenix, AZ ( — When the Arizona House of Representatives discussed legislation designed to lay out a cancer control plan for their state, they rejected a proposal to include the abortion-breast cancer link.

Rep. Karen Johnson (R-Mesa) proposed that the state’s plan seeking federal cancer research funds include "a discussion of the link between abortion and an increased incidence of breast cancer."

The proposal was rejected by a narrow 23-20 vote.

The cancer control plan, SCR 1027, encourages the state Department of Health Services to adopt a plan to outline the state’s cancer problem, priorities, needs of the community, gaps in education and services, and goals to address the discovered problems.

Rep. Johnson told fellow lawmakers that the “well-kept secret” of the abortion-breast cancer link needed to be included.

She explained that, as estrogen increases in pregnancy, it stimulates the production of breast tissue. According to Johnson, it is not until the last eight weeks of pregnancy that those cells actually become milk producing cells – but if the pregnancy is terminated early, those cells do not convert and remain undifferentiated, and more susceptible to cancer.

Johnson cited several medical journals, including the Journal of American Medicine, which published a study in 1996 showed a "positive association" between abortion and breast cancer, and showing that the link becomes greater among women with a history of abortions.

A similar study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, reported "significantly elevated" reports of breast cancer in post-abortive women, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that the risk of breast cancer in women who had an abortion was 50 percent higher than other women.

Pro-life groups were pleased with Rep. Johnson’s efforts to address the abortion-breast cancer link in the legislation.

“We applaud Karen Johnson for taking every opportunity to ensure Arizonans are receiving the facts and truth,” Shane Wikfors, Executive Director of Arizona Right to Life told

“The same handful of lawmakers who voted against medically accurate information for women would rather sacrifice scientific research and discovery at the hands of a powerful abortion industry," Wikfors added. "Thursday’s vote made it very clear that they would rather inject their political agenda into the debate instead of finding a cure."

Rep. Ted Downing (D-Tucson), said he opposed the proposal because he feels legislators should not include any specific provisions in the state’s cancer plan, but leave the pursuit of individual cancer research subjects to scientists.

A recent Oxford University study is among a few that have denounced the abortion-breast cancer link. However, Oxford did not conduct an actual study but simply reviewed other studies that had been conducted previously, and discounted some results because they assumed women who had breast cancer were less likely to lie about prior abortions than healthy women.

Professor Jack Scarisbrick, Chairman of LIFE, a U.K.’s pro-life group, said, "The evidence that induced abortion is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, particularly when the pregnancy is a first one and where there is a family history of the disease, is overwhelming, despite this latest paper. Twenty-eight out of the 37 studies worldwide into the abortion/breast cancer link (ABC link) show that the procedure increases a woman’s chance of contracting breast cancer later in life."

Related web sites:
Arizona Right to Life –