Truth cannot be denied

Posted: Friday, April 04, 2003

Reference is made to Carolyn Brown's letter taking the position that there is no relationship between induced abortion and breast cancer. She talks about problems with "recall bias" in studies that result in inaccurate and non-valid findings.

Clearly we are supposed to believe the claim of an abortion-breast cancer relationship is based on faulty study design with "recall bias" problems. That is not the case. One of the best studies conducted in this country in 1987 was based on medical records of abortion not on interviews after the fact. Another well-know study was conducted by Janet Daling of the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle. She tested for recall bias in her study and demonstrated that it was non-existent. It is interesting to note that Daling is pro-choice.

Dr. Brown has a great deal of explaining to do in her efforts to deny the abortion-breast cancer linkage. Thirteen of 15 studies conducted in this country and 29 of 38 studies worldwide show there is an increased risk of cancer for women who have had abortions. These studies were published in peer-reviewed articles in such journals as American Medical Association, National Cancer Institute, Epidemiology, British Journal of Cancer and American Public Health Association.

On controversial matters the National Cancer Institute has shown itself to be something other than objective and unbiased. For example, the first study to show a link between tobacco smoking and lung cancer was published in 1929. NCI did not acknowledge that link until 1957. To get a sense of the lack of objectivity of the NCI, I encourage the reader to go to the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute Web site at www.bcinstitute.org and read the minority report for the NCI workshop "Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer" referred to by Dr. Brown. For factual and reliable information this is a good Web site.

What we are seeing here is something similar to tobacco company denial of a connection between smoking and lung cancer. Abortion supporters don't want to know the truth. Therefore, the harmful effects of abortion must be down played or ignored. However, truth has a life of its own. It cannot be denied forever.

This is one more example of the need for a law that requires that women be fully informed of the risks before undergoing an abortion.

Sidney D. Heidersdorf

Juneau



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