The Media Hides What Others Already Know: Abortion Hurts Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 23, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

The Media Hides What Others Already Know: Abortion Hurts Women Email this article
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by Karen Malec
November 23, 2006 Note: Karen Malec is the president of the Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer.

Abortion industry consent forms admit that abortion is associated with a number of serious health risks. Nevertheless, when it comes to induced abortion, many U.S. journalists and their medical experts "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil." Although the evidence shows otherwise, they continue to represent abortion as a "safe" procedure.

Planned Parenthood of Australia’s website includes consent forms that list 12 serious complications from a first trimester abortion (not counting the risks of anesthesia). It says that some complications include: "infections … a tear in the cervix that may require stitches … incompetent cervix/stenosed cervix (too tight or too loose cervix which may impair future fertility), Asherman’s syndrome (cessation of periods and adhesions in uterus that may impair future fertility), depression or mood disturbance, suicide. …"

Although the consent forms do not say so, infection and a damaged cervix are recognized risk factors for premature birth. Impaired fertility – which causes women to have few or no children – is a known risk factor for breast cancer.

These are inconvenient facts for the "safe abortion" lobby. The truth, however, is not an impediment for abortion enthusiasts in the media and Congress – like Rep. Henry Waxman and other Democratic members at the House Government Reform Committee – who periodically accuse crisis pregnancy centers of "misinforming" women about the risks of abortion.

Four months ago, the Institute of Medicine, or IOM, acknowledged that a "prior first trimester abortion" puts women at risk for having prematurely born children.

The incidence of premature birth has jumped an astounding 40 percent from 8.9 percent in 1980 to 12.5 percent today. One in eight U.S. births is premature. Normally, a 40 percent increase in any disease or condition would have caused health authorities to initiate preventive measures, but we’re talking about abortion. Abortion is special, and it’s not just any elective surgical procedure.

A prematurely born child is at risk for brain damage, cerebral palsy and neonatal deaths. Last year, premature births cost U.S. society an astounding $26.2 billion. Is it any wonder that the U.S. is experiencing a health care crisis? The cost is borne by consumers, employers, taxpayers, insurers, doctors and hospitals.

How many lawyers have unwittingly sued the wrong doctors – obstetricians, not abortionists – for causing cerebral palsy in prematurely born children?

In an Australian lawsuit against an obstetrician, Judge Michael Graves decided that Dr. Alan Kaye was not responsible for Kristy Bruce’s cerebral palsy because her mother had had an abortion shortly before she conceived Kristy.

Clearly, the unprecedented increase in premature births is a catastrophe for our nation, but news reports on premature birth have been strangely silent about the abortion-premature birth, or APB, link. Their studied avoidance of the "a" word is striking.

For example, Time magazine covered a story on the subject in a Nov. 13 article entitled, "Ahead of their time." Did its journalists read the list of risk factors in the IOM’s report? Although the report is quite lengthy, one would think that the list of risk factors would be required reading for every journalist reporting on the subject.

According to Time magazine, "doctors can’t figure out why" the number of premature births "keeps going up" in "one of the world’s richest countries." It’s not hard to figure out why there are more premature births when 60 out of 60 significant studies dating from 1963 point to abortion as the culprit.

The increase in premature births was entirely foreseeable. In 1967, Malcolm Potts, medical director for International Planned Parenthood, acknowledged in the journal Eugenics Review that the risk of having a premature birth has the greatest impact on teens who have abortions before age 17.

The Hungarian communist government, concerned about the increase in premature births, responded to the evidence of an APB link by limiting access to abortion in 1976. Even they possessed enough integrity to correct the problem. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for U.S. health officials who have allowed medical ideology to interfere with their professional judgment and are intent on continuing the charade.

Predictably, the March of Dimes and the Johnson and Johnson Pediatric Institute will spend $1.5 million on a project to reduce premature births at six Kentucky hospitals. Why not save the money and tell women the truth?

According to Canadian medical researcher Brent Rooney, Poland caused its premature birth rate to drop by 41 percent between 1995 and 1997 without spending a dime. After throwing off the yoke of a communist government, the Poles limited access to abortion to cases of rape, fetal defects and risks to the mother’s life.

A premature birth is biologically the same event as an abortion. Similar biological events have similar effects on breast cancer risk. Research shows that a premature birth before 32 weeks gestation more than doubles the mother’s risk of breast cancer. The biological reason for it is simple.

The childless woman has immature, cancer-susceptible breast tissue known as Type 1 and 2 lobules. Most breast cancers are known to develop in these lobules. Her breasts do not fully mature into cancer-resistant tissue until the last eight weeks of a full term pregnancy.

During the first two trimesters of pregnancy (assuming that her pregnancy is normal and that she will not have a first trimester miscarriage), her breasts double in volume. What causes this growth? Estrogen, a female hormone (and a carcinogen) increases dramatically and stimulates the lobules to multiply. Hence, she develops more cancer-susceptible lobules.

She receives protection from the deleterious effects of estrogen during the last eight weeks of pregnancy when other hormones shut off the multiplication process and mature her tissue into cancer-resistant Type 3 lobules. After birth, the lobules fill up with milk and are called Type 4 lobules, which are also cancer-resistant.

The woman who has a full-term pregnancy is left with more cancer-resistant lobules than she had before she became pregnant. The more children she has and the earlier she has her first child, the lower her risk is.

The longer she breastfeeds during her life, the lower her risk is. Breastfeeding is beneficial because it keeps her lobules matured as cancer-resistant Type 4 lobules. It reduces her lifetime exposure to estrogen because she has fewer menstrual cycles.

On the other hand, the childless woman who has an abortion has two breast cancer risks. Scientists agree on the first risk – the effect of delaying the birth of her first child. It means that she loses a chance to mature her breast tissue into cancer-resistant tissue at a younger age. The only risk that scientists debate is whether the abortion left her with more cancer-vulnerable lobules than she had before she became pregnant.

Additional evidence shows that combined oral contraceptives and combined hormone replacement therapy – drugs that contain estrogen and progestin – are risk factors for breast cancer. The evidence provides biological support for an abortion-cancer link.

In 2005, the World Health Organization listed combined oral contraceptives and combined hormone replacement therapy as "Group 1" carcinogens. Last month, a scientific meta-analysis in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings concluded that the use of oral contraceptives before a first full-term pregnancy is "associated with more aggressive premenopausal breast cancers."

Journalists with a feminist bias generally ignore studies whose authors conclude that either oral contraceptives or abortion are breast cancer risks. Yet, when a study of lesser significance reports the opposite conclusion, they rush to the presses. Their readers will never be told if, at some later date, other scientists write letters to medical journals showing that the lesser study was fatally flawed.

Two years ago, journalists from the print press and the television media raced to tell women that a large, scientific review of 52 studies in the British journal Lancet found no link between abortion and breast cancer. What they did not know was that the Lancet’s authors used highly unorthodox methods. A majority of the studies they selected – 28 papers – included unpublished abortion data.

Yet, the same journalists ignored a scientific paper published last year in the journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. The author, Joel Brind, reviewed 10 studies that were being widely used to reassure women that abortion does not raise risk for the disease. Brind wrote: "Collectively, these studies embody many serious weaknesses and flaws. … These recent studies, therefore, do not invalidate the large body of previously published studies that established induced abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer."

Researchers admit that the reasons for an abortion-cancer link are biologically plausible. Not one researcher has ever tried to refute the biological explanation for the link. Animal research and an overwhelming majority of the epidemiological studies support the link, but ABC News says that women shouldn’t worry their pretty little heads about those little details.

In a Nov. 16 story, "Clinics try to steer women from abortions," ABC News reporter Dan Harris said that crisis pregnancy centers "mislead women by telling them … that abortions can lead to breast cancer, sterility and depression." He claimed that the information has been "long discredited by the medical community."

Never mind that cancer groups agree that increased childbearing, starting at a younger age, and increased duration of breastfeeding markedly reduce breast cancer risk. Babette Francis, a feisty Australian woman said it best. How do you breastfeed a dead fetus? How do you have a larger family and abort your pregnancies? Perhaps Dr. Tim Johnson and other medical experts at ABC News can come up with a way to do it.

Even Planned Parenthood of Australia admits that the risks of abortion include infertility, depression and suicide. Why don’t the folks at ABC News and the abortion enthusiasts in Congress want women to know?

The emperor has no clothes, but abortion enthusiasts act as if he’s wearing a smart, new set of clothing. This attitude explains why the risks of breast cancer for the mother and premature birth for their children have been covered up since 1957 and 1963, respectively.

It doesn’t matter how high the body count climbs. Women and their "wanted" children are nothing more than "collateral damage." Preserving the mythology that abortion is "safe" is of supreme importance, not respect for human lives.