Penn Pressures LifeNews to Cut Story on Abortion-Breast Cancer

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 12, 2011   |   2:31PM   |   Washington, DC

Last month, LifeNews reported on a new study published by scientists who examined diabetes mellitus type 2, reproductive factors, and breast cancer — finding a statistically significant association showing a 2.86-fold increased breast cancer risk from a single induced abortion.

The study, published in Taylor & Francis, also found that delaying a first full-term pregnancy, which is frequently done by women having abortions, also raises the breast cancer risk wheras giving birth resulted in a 64% reduced risk. Although the researchers confirmed dozens of other studies showing the abortion-breast cancer link, they discounted their own findings.

Sarah Kagan of the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania was one of the co-authors of the new study and, shortly after publishing our report on it and the abortion-breast cancer risk it presented, Penn officials contacted LifeNews to pressure us to remove the article about it.

Joy McIntyre, director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing wrote LifeNews asking us ” to remove this online article” claiming “LifeNews has taken what we consider to be extreme liberties in re-packaging the study results as a mechanism to underscore’s agenda, which in no way correlates to the scientific basis and aims of the research study.”

McIntyre claimed LifeNews “grossly misrepresented” the results of the study and she requested LifeNews “remove the article as soon as possible” despite containing no examples of any supposed misrepresentations.

Joel Brind, a Ph.D. researchers and professor at Baruch College, who is considered the foremost authority on the abortion-breast cancer link by virtue of his own studies on the topic, called the Penn letter an attempt at censorship.

“The news that the University of Pennsylvania’s Marketing and Communications Director, Joy McIntyre, sent a nasty letter to in an attempt to censor its reporting on the latest breast cancer study from Armenia did not surprise me as much as the fact that a paper confirming the abortion-breast cancer link was allowed to appear at all in the peer-reviewed literature with a University of Pennsylvania pedigree,” he said.

Brind said the bigger censorship is that the authors “perhaps were not allowed to-characterize their findings honestly in the politically correct atmosphere of the U.S. and Europe.” As a result, Brind said, “The paper discounted its own results, even so far as to editorially comment on its result of an almost 3-fold increased breast cancer risk with induced abortion with the sentence: “This finding is not robust.”

“Such inappropriate editorialization in the very body of the paper, as well as the general downplaying of the abortion-breast cancer finding, raised red flags with me,” he said.  “Well, a quick Google scholar search turned up Khachatryan’s original thesis upon which her peer-reviewed study was based. It was no surprise to me that her original thesis did indeed highlight the ominous finding of such as strong abortion-breast cancer link (ABC link). Right in the abstract, under “Conclusions”, the ABC link was listed. But in the peer-reviewed paper, the only conclusion was to cite ‘the need for further investigation.'”

Brind continued:  “In the body of the paper, the discussion section ended with the need for “future investigation”, as well as the aforementioned statement about the finding’s not being “robust.”.In contrast, Dr. Khachatryan’s original thesis ended with an official “conclusion” section which lists 4 factors as “independent risk factors for development of breast cancer.” One of those factors listed is ‘induced abortions.'”

“The first expression of censorship of the Khachatryan study is the shaping of the study’s conclusions as published in the peer-reviewed literature: much watered-down from the original thesis which unequivocally confirms the ABC link,” Brind concluded. “The letter from UPenn’s Joy McIntyre demanding the retraction of the article which cited the study’s findings accurately was at least the second attempt to censor the findings.”

Karen Malec of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, who brought the results of the study to light, also commented on the attempted censorship. She also cited the lack of veracity from the authors in covering up their own findings.

“Funny that the director of Marketing and Communications accused you at of having an agenda that ‘doesn’t correlate’ to the scientific findings,” Malec said. “It would not have been difficult for Khachatryan’s group to do a PubMed search for 51 of 68 epidemiological studies linking abortion with increased breast cancer risk. Yet, they falsely alleged, ‘Most evidence points to no effect,’ and cited two studies – Melbye et al. 1997 and Beral et al. 2004 – to support their claim.”

“The former reported a statistically significant 89% risk increase for women with abortions after 18 weeks gestation. The latter received severe criticism in five medical journal articles,” Malec said. “Khachatryan’s team also suggested the results showing a statistically significant 2.86-fold increase in risk among women who had abortions were ‘not robust.’ That correlates more with politically correct dogma than with their team’s scientific evidence.”