Miscarriages and abortions have been repeatedly linked to a significant and
substantial increase in the risk of breast cancer. Women who have had
miscarriages need to know that they may be at risk; women considering abortion
need to know about this risk *before* they choose.
THE LINK BETWEEN ABORTION & BREAST CANCER
by Scott Somerville
The rate of breast cancer is rising rapidly in the United States, (Figure 1)
and in many other countries around the world. The rate of breast cancer is
also rising at an alarming rate among certain subgroups in America, such as
young African-American women and poor women in certain states. A fraction
of this rise can be accounted for through known risk factors, but a full 60% of
the increase has remained a mystery to scientists. The popular press has
been filled with articles such as "A Puzzling Plague: What is it about the
American way of life that causes breast cancer?" (_Time_, Jan. 14,1991) and "In
Pursuit of a Terrible Killer" (_Newsweek_, Dec. 10,1990).
What is the cause of this sudden surge in the breast cancer rate? Recent,
reputable, and repeated medical research indicates that it may be abortion.
Abortion of a first pregnancy interrupts the growth and changes which enable
the breast to produce milk, leaving the breast at a heightened risk of cancer.
This risk, multiplied by the millions of induced abortions around the world,
can account for the mysterious jump in the breast cancer rate. This report
discusses the twenty-two published studies which document a link between a
first-pregnancy abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer, and concludes
that women need to know about this risk before they choose abortion.
110 | *
Breast Cancer | * *
105 | *
95 | * *
100,000 | *
90 | * *
Women | * * *
85 | *
| * * *
1970 1975 1980 1985 1990
[Note: Due to the limitations of ASCII Graphs, we recommend that you acquire
typeset copies from the author. The graphs herein provided are to give
a general idea of the trends involved. ]
THE BIOLOGICAL LINK
A woman's first full pregnancy causes hormonal changes which permanently alter
the structure of her breast. The completed process greatly reduces the risk of
breast cancer. A premature termination of a first pregnancy interrupts this
process. Instead of protecting the breast from cancer, abortion leaves millions
of breast cells suspended in transitional states. Studies in animals and human
tissue cultures indicate that cells in this state face exceptionally high risks
of becoming cancerous.
Before a woman first conceives, her breasts consist mostly of connective tissue
surrounding a branching network of ducts, with relatively few milk producing
cells. When the first child is conceived, estrogen and other hormones flood the
mother's system. (The pregnant woman experiences this as morning sickness.)
Under the influence of these hormones, her breast cells undergo massive growth.
(The resulting tenderness of the breast is one of the earliest signs of
pregnancy.) The network of milk ducts begins to bud and branch, developing more
ducts and new structures called "end buds." These end buds begin to form
"alveolar buds," which will later develop into the actual milk-producing
glands, called "acini." This period of rapid growth towards maturity is when
breast cells arc most likely to be affected by certain cancer causing agents,
Around the end of the first trimester, the hormone balance changes. Estrogen
levels drop, and the level of other, different hormones begin to rise. The
growth phase comes to an end, and a new phase of differentiation and maturation
begins and continues until the child is born.
_Cell differentiation and maturation is the process by which cells become
specialized_. Most people know that all living creatures begin as a single
cell, which divides and reproduces. By mechanisms still barely understood by
man, these basic cells are directed to become different from one another.
Eventually, they become highly specialized into the various organs and tissues
of the body.
In the woman's breast, this process of cell differentiation is directed by
hormones produced in the later stages of pregnancy. _Once cells become
specialized, they are very unlikely to turn cancerous_.
When the child is born, the breast is ready to produce milk to nourish the
baby. _It will never return to its earlier state, or be as vulnerable to cancer
as it was in its immature state or during the growth phase of early pregnancy_.
The earlier this occurs, the lower the risk of breast cancer. Many studies have
found that giving birth, especially at an early age, lowers the risk of breast
cancer. Women who give birth before age 18 have about one-third the risk of
women who have their first child after age 35.
_Unfortunately, first-trimester abortions (whether spontaneous miscarriages or
surgically induced) appear to interrupt the breast maturation process at the
worst possible time_. When cells are reproducing the fastest, the risk that
there will be an error in reproduction is the highest. _Cancer results from
cells whose reproduction runs amok_.
Test tube studies on human breast cells indicate that human breast tissue is
similar in many ways to that of rats, and rat studies clearly suggest that
first trimester abortions could lead to breast cancer. For example, in rats,
the point at which breast tissue is most susceptible to cancer is when the
breast tissue is rapidly developing in early pregnancy. Treating rats with
carcinogens during this phase results in the greatest number of cancerous
tumors. Most abortions take place during early pregnancy, at a time when the
breast tissue seems to be highly vulnerable to cancer. _Terminating the
pregnancy would appear to leave the breast cells in a highly susceptible
THE STATISTICAL LINK
The biology of the breast suggests that abortion could cause breast cancer. It
this is true, one would expect to find that, as a group, women diagnosed with
breast cancer would have had more short-term pregnancies than other women. A
great deal of research has been done in this area, and repeatedly, reputable
studies have found unusually high abortion rates among women with breast
cancer. The increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortion exists
even after one adjusts for other known risk factors, such as the protective
effect of an early live birth.
in one study, for example, researchers did a long-term study of a group of
3,315 Connecticut mothers . (Figure 2) They were able to identify how many
of these women developed breast cancer over the years. Women with a miscarriage
before the first live birth were more likely to get breast cancer. Such women
had an increased risk of 350%, but some of this was due to the later age at
first birth among women who miscarried. After adjusting for this and other
known risk factors, there was still a 250% increase in risk attributable to the
Many studies show that women who miscarry or abort their first pregnancy in the
first trimester face an increased risk of breast cancer. Most of these studies
are so-called "case-control" studies. In a case-control study. researchers look
at two groups of subjects. One group is the group of "cases:" in this instance.
women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The other group are the
"controls." In our studies (see next section). these are women who are similar
to the "cases," except that they do not have reproductive system cancers.
Biologically, miscarriages and abortions may be able to cause breast cancer.
The statistical studies strongly suggest that a short-term pregnancy does, in
fact, cause this type of cancer. Furthermore, it would appear that the
increase in risk is very significant. An analysis of all reputable studies done
to date suggests, as a conservative figure, that women who have miscarriages or
abortions before the first live birth initially have a risk 50% higher than
women who do not. This risk appears to be strongly affected by the number of
short-term pregnancies, and the presence of a live birth later in life. The
only long-term follow-up study shows that the risk of breast cancer increases
with time (Figure 2).
The biological evidence is that abortion can cause breast cancer. The
statistical evidence is that it does. What does the abortion industry have to
say in its defense?
| X X X
| X = Abortion before first live birth
| Y = No prior abortion
9 | X
8 | X
5 | X
3 | X
2 | X X X Y Y Y Y Y
1 | X YY Y Y Y Y
| X Y
10 20 30 40
Time Since Live Birth (Years)
- Segi _et al_., 1957: Reported a higher rate of both miscarriages and
abortions among breast cancer patients; increased risk ranged from 100% to
400% among the different subgroups in the study. 
- Stewart and Dunham, 1966: More Israeli breast cancer patients had
pregnancies which terminated in the first trimester than did the control
- Yuasa and MacMahon, 1970: "There was a significant excess of [cancer] cases
reporting one or more abortions.''[l3]
- Lin, _et al_., 1971: Women with one or more abortions had a risk 50% higher
then that of women who did not; with two or more abortions, the risk rose
- Mirra, Cole and MacMahon, 1971: In a Brazilian study, more breast cancer
patients reported having had abortions than did the control group.[l5]
- Stavraky and Emmons, 1974: Thirty-seven percent of patients who developed
breast cancer after menopause had had at least one abortion; while only 27%
of women with other cancers reported an abortion.
- Choi _et al_, 1978: Women who had pregnancies lasting four months or less
show a statistically significant increase in breast cancer.[l7]
- Soini, 1977: Rate of breast cancer among women in Finland increased with
number of abortions.
- Dvoirin and Medvedev, 1978: Case-control study in the North Caucasus,
Soviet Union, found an increased risk in women with three or more induced
abortions of 240%. With one or two induced abortions, the risk was
- Kelsey, 1979: "Pregnancies of less than four to five month's duration may
be associated with an increased risk."
- Pike _et al_., 1981: First trimester abortion of first pregnancy led to
increased risk of 140% among women under 32.[2l]
- Le _et al_., 1984: French women who had an abortion at any time (without
differentiating between abortions before or after the first full pregnancy)
had a risk 17% higher than women without abortions; with two or more
abortions, increased risk was 58%.
- Hirohata _et al_., 1985: After multiple logistic regression analysis, risk
among women with any induced abortion was 52% higher than women without
- Hadjimichael _et al_., 1986: Abortion before first live birth, after
adjusting for other known risk factors, increased risk by 250%, leading him
to report, "These data indicate that an abortion prior to the first live
birth may increase a woman's risk of breast cancer." (See Figure 2)
- La Vecchia _et al_., 1987: Risk among Italian women with one or more legal
abortions before first live birth was increased by 42%.
- Ewertz and Duffy, 1988: Termination of first pregnancy before 28 weeks
increases risk by 43% times; two or more abortions before the first full
pregnancy increased the risk to 73%; one induced abortion with no live
births increased risk to 285%. 
- Yuan, Yu and Ross, 1988: Among Chinese women who developed breast cancer
before the age of 40, abortion before first full term pregnancy led to
increased risk of 140%. 
- Howe _et al_., 1989: Abortion of first pregnancy led to increased risk of
90%. Repeated abortions before live birth heightened risk by 300%. 
- Lindefors-Harris, _et al_., 1989: Women who had abortions before live
births had 88% greater risk of breast cancer than did women who had a live
birth before an abortion.
- Olsson _et al_., 1991a: Abortion of first pregnancy led to more aggressive
- Olsson _et al_., 1991b: Breast cancers of women who aborted their first
pregnancy showed 18 times the normal rate of INT2, a specific gene
associated with cancer.[3l]
- Parazzini _et al_., 1991: Legal abortions in Italy before first birth led
to increased risk of 30%.
The Abortion Industry Responds
Key individuals in the abortion industry have been aware of this link since at
least 1982. Malcolm Pike explicitly identified abortion as a risk factor in
breast cancer in 1981. A number of studies followed up his work. A close
look at who knew what, and when, leads to the inescapable conclusion that the
abortion industry has intentionally kept this information from its patients for
the last twelve years.
The industry relies on one hypothesis for its excuse to not tell women about
their risk: the "Recall Bias" theory. They suggest that women with breast
cancer are more likely to remember or admit previous abortions than a
comparison group would be. In effect, women with cancer tell the truth,
while healthy women lie. Thus, they suggest, studies which detect an increased
risk of cancer find a risk which isn't really there.
The risk is not merely apparent, however, because "recall bias" cannot account
for all the results. Recall bias might explain some studies, but it utterly
fails to explain the following:
1) At least one study uses patients with non-reproductive cancers as
controls, so one can hardly attribute "recall bias" to the
seriousness of their medical condition. Many of the studies use a
control group of women who have been admitted to a hospital. Any
hospital stay indicates a serious health risk, so even non-cancerous
women have a good reason to tell the whole truth.
2) Where one can check official abortion records, it appears that although
women do lie about their abortions, cancerous and non-cancerous women
appear to lie in equal amounts.
3) The long-term follow-up study previously discussed above (see Figure 2)
starts with a group of mothers at the time of live birth, and observes
what happens to them over the years. This study is therefore completely
free of "recall bias," but shows an increased risk of 250% over time.
4) Insofar as "recall bias" depends on women being unwilling to admit that
they had an abortion. it should not affect studies involving
miscarriages. Studies of miscarriages, however, routinely show an
increased cancer risk.
5) Insofar as "recall bias" depends on women forgetting their abortions,
it is simply unbelievable. The abortion industry may not consistently
claim that "abortion is the most private, personal decision a woman
will ever make" and then argue that large numbers of healthy women
forget their abortion history.
6) In two large studies of women which were based solely on official
abortion records (and therefore immune from recall bias), abortion of
the first pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of
If it could be proven that all findings of an increased risk can be explained
by recall bias or other well-documented factors, then the abortion industry
might not be required to inform all women of this research. It is not enough to
assert that "recall bias" may exist - the burden of proof is upon the industry
to explain, with each new study, why they should not now inform women of the
The "Swedish Data Massage"
One of the two large computer-based studies mentioned opposite was conducted by
Holly Howe and other researchers at the New York State Department of Health.
Howe set up a carefully designed study of New York State's cancer and fetal
death registries. This study is a devastating blow to the "recall bias" theory,
since it depends solely on official records, uses a large sample of women, and
can be followed up at any time by researchers with access to New York's
records. (Around 10% of all legal abortions in the country take place in New
York state, and every one is officially recorded in the Fetal Death Registry.)
It took years for Howe's research to be published. After several American
journals refused to print the article. it finally appeared in a respected
British journal, the _International Journal of Epidemiology_ in 1989.
The Howe study was followed up, within months of publication, by a much hastier
large-scale study in Sweden by Britt-Marie Lindefors-Harris _et al_., also
published in 1989. This research was largely funded by "Family Health,
International," a U.S. group which specializes in "contraceptive and family
planning research." Family Health, International is a research arm of the
The Swedish study begins with an elegant introduction which precisely
identifies the importance and plausibility of the hypothesis that abortion
causes breast cancer.
Many epidemiological studies have investigated the risk of cancer of
the breast in women who have had one or more abortions [citing 21
studies]. Although the findings were not entirely consistent, most
indicated increased risk.
This study has been aptly described as the "Swedish Data Massage." Like the
Howe study, the Swedish study is based on official computerized cancer and
abortion records, but unlike Howe. the Swedish team makes no effort to identify
a control group, nor do they focus on women who aborted their first pregnancy.
(In Sweden, unlike America, most women who get legal abortions have already had
one or more children, and thus most women in this study have the lower risk of
breast cancer associated with the protective effect of the first full
pregnancy.) The Swedish study knowingly lumps women who have already had a
child in with women who aborted their first pregnancy. The authors then compare
the combined results to the total population (which includes a very high number
of women who have had abortions) rather than to women who have not had
abortions. Through the use of these transparent statistical devices, the
Swedish researchers mask any possible link between first-pregnancy abortion and
breast cancer, and conclude:
Contrary to _most_ earlier reports, this study did not indicate any
_overall_ increased risk of breast cancer after an induced abortion in
the first trimester in young women. [Emphasis added.]
Despite their apparently intentional effort to hide the relationship, even this
Swedish study reveals some amazing statistics. There is only one paragraph in
the published study which says anything about first-pregnancy abortions. Women
who had an abortion after a live birth had a breast cancer risk of only 58% of
the "average" risk in the study. Women who had an abortion before a live birth
had a risk of 109% of ''average.''  Comparing these two numbers yields an
increased risk factor of nearly 88%, almost exactly the 90% risk reported in
Howe's New York State study.
This 88% increase, in a study based solely on official records, directly rebuts
the "recall bias" hypothesis. Yet Lindefors-Harris immediately conducted
another study for Family Health, International, in which she still tries to
prove the "recall bias" hypothesis. The abortion industry is trying to hide the
facts, not reveal them.
The Logical Link
Sherlock Holmes said, "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is
left, no matter how improbable, must be true." We are searching for a single
cause for the world-wide rise in breast cancer. As such, many of the potential
culprits can be eliminated.
_There are many possible causes of breast cancer, but we are looking for one
plausible cause of the sudden, global surge in this disease_. Genetics, diet,
radiation, miscarriages, and a number of other factors all seem to influence
the rate of the cancer. Unlike legalized abortion, however, most of these
factors have always been at work, to some degree, and are probably responsible
for a relatively stable base level of breast cancer. Unfortunately, in the
last forty years, the level of breast cancer has not been stable, but has been
rising sharply around the world. A full 60% of this increase remains a mystery
to American researchers. Something new must be responsible for the sudden
change in the rate of breast cancer.
1.6|L = Reported legal L
|I = Estimated illegal L L
1.4| L L L
| L L L
1.2| L L L L
| L L L L L
1.0| L L L L L L
| L L L L L L L
0.8| L L L L L L L
| I L L L L L L L L
0.6| I L L L L L L L L L
| I I L L L L L L L L L L
0.4| I I L L L L L L L L L L
| I I L L L L L L L L L L
0.2| I LI LI L L L L L L L L L
|LI LI LI LI L L L L L L L L
0|LI LI LI LI LI LI L L L L L L
69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
Rise in Number of Legal Abortions in America 
Aside from legalized abortion, the other prime suspect would be oral
contraceptives (the "Pill"). The Pill became popular in the 1960's, some 10 to
20 years before the increase in breast cancer in the U.S. first became evident.
This might fit the latency period for cancer. Some studies do suggest a link
between use of the Pill and breast cancer.
Nancy Krieger, a breast cancer researcher, suggested in 1989 that the
popularity of the Pill and/or abortion might account for the "cross-over
effect," the well-documented but highly troubling fact that young
African-American women have a higher breast cancer rate than do young white
women. while older black women face a lower risk. She theorized that if this
were true, one would expect to find higher breast cancer rates among young
upwardly mobile black women, because they use the Pill and abortion more than
do women on welfare. Krieger followed up her thinking with a careful study of
racial and economic patterns in the breast cancer rates of women in the San
Francisco Bay area. She found a significant increased risk for young
African-American women living in higher status neighborhoods. This supported
her hypothesis that the Pill or abortion could be the cause of the cross-over
The Pill could be partially responsible for breast cancer. but it alone cannot
be responsible for the sudden world-wide jump. Soviet women have had little
access to Western-style drugs, including the Pill. Without birth control pills,
or any other effective contraceptives, the Soviets have had one of the world's
highest abortion rates. If the Pill were the sole cause of the sudden jump in
breast cancer, one would expect no rise in the old Soviet Union. If abortion
causes breast cancer. however, one would expect a very sharp rise in the
incidence of breast cancer there. _In fact, the incidence of breast cancer
among Russian, Estonian, and Soviet Georgian women appears to have tripled
between 1960 and 1987_. (The Chernobyl nuclear disaster, although
devastating. has probably not had a significant effect on women living outside
The tripling of Soviet cases makes it possible to rule out a number of other
possible causes for the sudden world-wide jump. While young American women were
experimenting with illegal drugs, Soviet women were not. Soviet women have also
been spared most of the additives and preservatives in American foods.
_Abortion is one of the few influences which has been linked to breast cancer
and has been present on both sides of the Iron Curtain_.
The rise in breast cancer has routinely been blamed on changes in diet, but a
recent report states that the popular theory that eating fatty foods in
adulthood might cause breast cancer seems to have "bombed out."  It is hard
to provide much concrete evidence that dietary changes are actually responsible
for the dramatic rise in breast cancer around the world. In Japan, the rising
rate of breast cancer has been blamed on the introduction of red meat to the
Japanese diet. Women in the former Soviet Union, however, have not been eating
more red meat, while their breast cancer rate, as noted earlier, has tripled.
Women in the U.S. have become very health-conscious in the last several
decades, but they, too, have seen a huge rise in the rate of breast cancer. It
is very hard to believe that the rate of breast cancer in Japan is rising
because women are eating richer foods, is rising in the former Soviet Union
because women are eating more poorly, and is rising in the United States
because women are eating more healthful foods. It is far more reasonable to
attribute the world-wide rise in breast cancer to the one new world-wide risk
factor which _has_ been linked to breast cancer: abortion.
There are other facts about the sudden rise in breast cancer which can only be
explained by legalized abortion. _Almost every early study on breast cancer
which looks at socioeconomic status notes that rich women have a higher rate of
the disease than poor women._ Before 1969, a legal abortion in a hospital
was likely to cost more than $500, which meant that women of high economic
status were much more likely than other women to obtain abortions. This
would account for the historical link to socioeconomic status.
_Cheap and/or free abortions would change this pattern, and studies in states
which fund free abortions indicate that the pattern has changed_. Washington
state has long had a very liberal attitude towards abortion. The state
legalized it in 1970, several years before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe
v. Wade. As a result, rich women in Washington have had little trouble getting
abortions. In the early 1970s, Washington began to publicly fund abortions for
the poor. The results are striking. After the state started funding free
abortions, the breast cancer rate among poor women rose by 53% in the period
from 1974 to 1984, while it actually dropped by 1% among wealthy women. Rich
women, who supposedly have always had access to abortions, experienced no
increase in the rate of breast cancer, while the rate among poor women
skyrocketed. The most plausible explanation for this is the availability of
free abortions in Washington state.
| + +*+
1.0| +*+ +
1974-1977 1978-1981 1982-1984
Breast Cancer Rate Among Poor Women In Washington State
A similar study in California (which also funds abortions for the poor) found
that by 1990, among young white women. there was no difference in the rate of
breast cancer between rich and poor. Washington and California have
equalized poor women's access to abortion, and appear to have simultaneously
equalized their risk of breast cancer.
Different religions have very different teachings about abortion. Catholics and
conservative Protestants believe that human life begins at conception, and
therefore oppose abortion. while most Jews and liberal Protestants permit
abortion. One would expect that this would lead to a difference in breast can-
cer rates along religious lines. This is precisely what researchers have found,
with Jewish women showing a risk 2.8 times that of Catholics in one
multi-national study in 1983, and Protestant women showing a greatly
increased risk over Catholic women in Canada in 1978. This difference is
very, very hard to explain on any grounds _except_ for the abortion
Abortion is the one common factor that explains the rapid increase in breast
cancer from East to West, among rich and poor, and in black and white. _No
other single known risk factor can account for this world-wide surge_.
Studies Which Find No Link
As we have demonstrated, some researchers have intentionally obscured evidence
of the link. Many other researchers have accidentally muddied the waters
because they are unaware of the critical importance of the first live birth. A
large case-control study in Milan, Italy, for example, reported no link between
legal abortion and breast cancer. Over three-quarters of legal abortions in
Italy occur among women who have already had one or more children, however.
This means that these women are at a lower risk of breast cancer, because of
the previous live birth, even with a later abortion. Studies which lump all
abortions together often fail to find an increase in breast cancer.
Even studies that lump together all abortions sometimes find a statistically
significant increase in breast cancer. This result is probably due to
different national patterns of abortion use. In the U.S., for example, most
abortions occur before the first full pregnancy, whereas 60% of legal abortions
among Swedish women are performed on women who have had one or more children,
as are 75% of legal abortions in Italy. This can easily account for the
differing results in studies which fail to distinguish first from later
Until relatively recently, legal first-pregnancy abortions were quite rare.
Because of this, several studies done since the ground-breaking Pike study in
Los Angeles in 1981 depend on very small numbers of first-pregnancy abortions
in their sample. Sound statistical research depends on having enough cases
to be able to rule out chance as the explanation. Larissa Remennick, a Russian
researcher, carefully analyzed many of these earlier studies in her 1990 review
of the relevant research. On a larger scale, Dr. Joel Brind and a team of
researchers are performing a "meta-analysis" which compiles every research
result to date. Even these studies which do not find an increased risk among a
very small number of cases appear to be consistent with a 50% increase in risk.
The 1981 Pike study, which first suggested that abortions might cause cancer,
also found a higher risk for women who took the Pill. Earlier research on the
Pill had never been checked for a possible "confounding" risk of abortion. If
Pike was right, the Pill might also be called into question. Drug companies
quickly funded several studies, which, to be blunt, use research techniques
which seem designed to minimize finding that a particular drug or procedure
In two such studies, when the researchers compare women with cancer to women
without cancer, they make little to no effort to match the ages of the two
groups. The single biggest risk factor for cancer is _age_ . One study
compares a group of women who have cancer, with a median age of 52. to another
group without cancer, who have a median age of 40. It makes no sense to compare
women who discover they have cancer at age 52 to women without cancer at age 40
some of the younger women can expect to detect cancer in the next twelve years.
This factor makes the study unreliable.
In addition, the age difference means that the study compares women who were
very unlikely to get abortions to women who were very likely to get abortions.
The average woman with cancer in this study would have turned 40 about the time
that abortion was legalized nationwide. The average woman in this group,
therefore, would not be looking for a legal abortion of her first pregnancy.
The average woman in the cancer-free group, however, would have just turned 28,
making her a good candidate for a legal abortion of a first pregnancy. Counting
abortions among the older women and comparing them to abortions among younger
women leads to grossly unreliable results.
One other large-scale study does not report the median age, and therefore is
not so visibly flawed.  It was, however, conceived, conducted, reviewed,
and published very hastily, within mere months of the initial Pike study in
1981. (The paper was received by the journal on November 6, 1981, and was
accepted for publication within two weeks.) The authors quickly reviewed their
data from an earlier research project on oral contraceptives, and report an
"entirely reassuring" absence of any link. Given the steadily mounting evidence
from studies which have been done with more time and less research bias, this
"quick and dirty" report may not merit a great deal of reliance.
Each study which finds no link appears to be easily explained away, while the
studies that find a link seem very solid. If the researcher knows what to look
for, the link between abortion and breast cancer always seems to show up.
If You Are At Risk
Women who have had a miscarriage or an abortion before their first live birth
may find this report to be very alarming. Women who have had miscarriages will
need professional guidance from a doctor on how they should cope with this
risk. Women who have had abortions may need additional professional assistance
from lawyers and counselors. This report offers some information in each of
these areas, but women at risk are advised to seek personalized help from a
qualified professional who is made aware of her particular circumstances.
Medically, it is important to note that breast cancer can be one of the easiest
cancers to treat--if it is detected in time. Most women are aware of the
general risk of breast cancer, but many do not really believe it will affect
them. Our goal in making this information available is to save lives by
revealing the risk in time for women to act. A competent doctor who has read
this report and who knows your full medical history can best advise you on what
you should do. For some women, this may simply mean regular self-examinations.
For others, it may mean routine mammograms, under your doctor's supervision.
Legally, the abortion industry should be liable for damages both to women who
have contracted breast cancer and to those who are at increased risk. To hold
an abortionist liable, a woman must be able to prove that she probably would
not have had the abortion if she had known the full risk, and must prove that
her abortion probably caused the cancer. Because clear evidence of this link
has been available since 1981, every woman receiving an abortion after this
date should have been informed of the risk. Juries may find it hard to believe
that the average woman would knowingly choose to raise her risk of breast
cancer to Russian roulette's one in six odds. (If the last abortion occurred
before 1981, liability will depend on the circumstances surrounding the
Women seeking more information on their legal rights should contact a qualified
legal professional. Many attorneys are willing to represent a woman with a
valid malpractice claim on a contingency basis, where the lawyer only gets paid
if the case is successful.
Emotionally, women who realize that they are at risk may also need serious
counseling. The abortion decision can be the most intensely personal and moral
decision any human being ever makes. For years, religious opponents of abortion
have said that "God hates abortion." This makes it is easy for a woman at risk
to think, "I had an abortion. God will punish me. I am going to die." Such
thoughts are a dangerous trap.
Most counselors agree that no woman should have to live in fear of divine
punishment. The basic message of the Christian church has always been that
although God truly hates sin, He loves the sinner. The New Testament repeatedly
tells of how Jesus accepted people who had made tragic choices in their own
lives. See, for example, Luke 15:11-32 (the story of the prodigal son); John
3:16-21 (Jesus did not come to condemn); 1 John 1:8-10 (God will forgive sins).
People who have not read the New Testament tend to assume that a person has to
be good to come to God. However, the Bible says that all people are bad, which
is why God had to come to us (Romans 3:10-26). The Bible does require each
person to accept the moral responsibility for their actions, but offers
complete forgiveness for all who in faith accept that forgiveness. Pastoral
counseling is available at no cost at most churches.
Doctors, lawyers, and counselors are available to help women deal with the
risks outlined in this report. Not every woman will seek out or accept that
help. It is essential that such women encounter supportive and compassionate
people in time to prevent the predictable vicious cycle of fear, guilt, and
The Missing Link: The Media
Much of the information in this report has been available in published form for
a number of years. Why isn't this common knowledge?
When Pike published his initial research in 1981, the abortion industry acted
very quickly to do reassuring follow-up studies, which the medical journals
were quick to review and publish. Meanwhile, researchers reporting a
statistically significant connection between abortion and breast cancer had to
go to Britain to find publishers, even though their research was done on large
populations of women in places like New York or Connecticut. Even then, when
Howe's New York research was finally published in 1989, it was immediately
followed by a well-timed study funded by the abortion industry which reported
"entirely reassuring" results.
Dr. Joel Brind, a breast cancer researcher unaffiliated with the abortion
industry, stumbled onto the link in November 1992, and has been trying to get
the news out ever since. Spokesmen for the abortion industry report that the
evidence is "inconclusive" and that it "hasn't been suppressed." Scott
Somerville, the author of this report, has spoken to a number of journalists on
the subject, most of whom were extremely uncomfortable about the issue. A mere
handful of papers have reported on this material.
_The right to an abortion is important to many young, upwardly mobile women;
the right to choose, however, includes the right to know_. Those who suffer the
most from the silence of the medical and popular press are poor women,
young women, minority women, and women who have suffered miscarriages. If
this news had been reported in 1981, when the first clear indications of a link
were published, an entire generation of young, African-American women could
have been spared. If the 1986 study of the cancer rate among women with
miscarriages had been widely reported, women in that risk group would have had
seven years of opportunity for early detection which has now been lost forever.
Evidence from a number of different independent sources all converge on the
same conclusion: abortion before the first live birth dramatically raises the
risk of breast cancer. The abortion industry has had this information for at
least a dozen years, and has told no one. Instead, they have hidden behind the
"recall bias" hypothesis, which is demonstrably false. Up until the present,
the press has made little to no effort to warn women of their risk. Silence, in
this case, can mean death. We urge each reader to critically evaluate the
information in this publication. If you are convinced that this is a risk women
need to know about _before_ they choose abortion, please help us help them by
helping to distribute this report.
About the Author
Scott Somerville, Esq., is a graduate of Dartmouth College, (Phi Beta Kappa,
1979) and of Harvard Law School (cum laude, 1992).
 General Accounting Office, Breast Cancer, 1971-1991: Prevention, Treatment
and Research, Washington, D.C.: GAO/PEMD-92-12 (1991).
 Up 40% in Italy and Sweden, up 200% in the former Soviet Union. C. La
Vecchia, A. Decarli, F. Parazzini. A. Gentile, E. Negri. C. Cecchetti and S.
Franceschi, General epidemiology of breast cancer in Northern Italy. _Intl. J.
Epidemiol._ 16: 347-355 (1987). National Board of Health and Welfare, Cancer
incidence in Sweden 1971-1984, Stockholm: National Board of Health and Wellfare
(1987); L.I. Remennick, Reproductive patterns and cancer incidence in women: A
population-based correlation study in the USSR, _Intl. J. Epidemiol._, IX:
 N. Krieger, Social class and the black/white crossover in the age-specific
incidence of breast cancer: a study linking census derived data to
population-based registry records, _Am. J. Epidemiol._ 131: 804-814 (1990).
 E. White, J. Daling, T.L. Norsted, J. Chu, Rising incidence of breast
cancer among young women in Washington State, _J. National Cancer Inst._
79:239-43 (1987); Krieger, 1990, supra.
 E. Marshall, Search for a killer: focus shifts from fat to hormones,
_Science_ 259: 618-621 (1993).
 M. Ewertz, and S.W. Duffy, Risk of breast cancer in relation to
reproductive factors in Denmark, _Brit. J. Cancer_, 58: 99-104 (1988); J.L.
Kelsey. D.B. Fischer, R.K. Holford, V.A. LiVoisi, E.D. Mostow, I.S. Goldenberg,
and C. White, Exogenous estrogens and other factors in the epidemiology of
breast cancer, _J. National Cancer Institute_ 67: 327-333 (1981); J.L. Kelsey,
A review of the epidemiology of human breast cancer, _Epidemiol. Rev._, 1:
74-109 (1979) (citing fourteen earlier studies).
. "The higher susceptibility of terminal end buds to neoplastic
transformation is attributed to the fact that this structure is composed of
actively proliferating epithelium. Furthermore, autoradiographic studies show
that the greatest uptake of tritiated DMBA [a carcinogen commonly used in rat
studies] occurs in the nucleus of epithelial cells of the terminal end buds,
indicating that the highest DMBA-DNA interaction is associated with the
structure with the highest proliferative rate. This observation has been
corroborated by _in vitro_ experiments using human breast tissue." S.C. Brooks
and R.J. Pauley, Breast cancer biology, _Encyclopedia of Human Biology_, R.
Dulbecco, ed. (1991); See also, J. Russo, L.K. Tay, and I.H. Russo,
Differentiation of the mammary gland and susceptibility to carcinogenesis,
_Breast Cancer Res. Treat._ 2: 5-73 (1982). This monumental work (68 pages)
covers nearly every relevant aspect of the development and differentiation of
 Kelsey, 1979, supra (citing fourteen earlier studies).
 Russo, Tay and Russo, 1982, supra.
 O.C. Hadjimichael. C.A. Boyle. and J.W. Meigs. Abortion before first
livebirth and risk of breast cancer, _British J. Cancer_ 53: 281-284(1986).
 M. Segi, I. Fukushima, and M. Kurihara, An epidemiological study of cancer
in Japan, _GANN_ 48 (Supp): I ( 1957).
 H.L. Stewart and L.J. Dunham, Epidemiology of cancer of the uterine cervix
and corpus, breast and ovary in Israel and New York city, _J. Natl. Cancer
Inst._ 37: 1-95 (1966).
 S. Yuasa. and B. MacMahon, Lactation and reproductive histories of
breast-cancer patients in Tokyo, Japan. Bull. WHO 42: 195- 204(1970).
 T.M. Lin, K.P. Chen, and B. MacMahon, Epidemiologic characteristics of
cancer of the breast in Taiwan. _Cancer_ 27: 1497- 1504(1970)
 P. Mirra, P. Cole. and B. MacMahon, Breast cancer in an area of high
parity. _Cancer Res._ 31: 77-83 ( 1971).
 K. Stavraky. and S. Emmons. Breast cancer in pre-menopausal and
post-menopausal women, _J. Natl. Cancer Inst._ 53: 647-654 (1974).
 N.W. Choi, G.R. Howe, A.B. Miller. V. Matthews, R.W. Morgan, L. Munan,
J.D. Burch, J. Feather, M. Jain, and A. Kelly. An epidemiologic study of
breast cancer. _Amer J. Epidemiol._ 107: 510-521(1978).
 I. Soini, Risk factors of breast cancer in Finland, _Intl. J.
Epidemiol._, 6: 365-373 (1977).
 V.V. Dvoirin, and A.B. Medvedev, The role of reproductive history in
breast cancer causation, _Methods and results of studies of breast cancer
epidemiology_, 53-56. Tallinn, Estonia (in Russian) (1978).
 Kelsey. 1979, supra.
 M.C. Pike, B.E. Henderson, J.T. Casagrande, I. Rosario, and G.E. Gray,
Oral contraceptive use and early abortion as risk factors tor breast cancer in
young women, _Brit. J. Cancer_ 43:72-76 (1981)
 M.-G. Le, A. Bachelot, F. Doyon, A. Kramar, C. Hill, Oral contraceptive
use and breast or cervical cancer: preliminary results of a French case-control
study. in _Hormones and sexual factors in human cancer aetiology_, J. P. Wolff,
and J.S. Scott, eds. Elsevier Science Publishers, B.V. (1984).
 T. Hirohata, T. Shigematsu, A.M.Y. Nomura, Occurrence of breast cancer in
relation to diet and reproductive history: a case- control study in Fukuoka,
Japan, _Natl. Cancer Inst. Mono._ 69: 187 (1985).
 Hadjimichael _et al_., 1986, supra.
 C. La Vecchia, A. Decarli, F. Parazzini, A. Gentile. E. Negri. G.
Cecchetti and S. Franceschi, General epidemiology of breast cancer in Northern
Italy, _International J. Epidemiol._ 16: 347-355 (1987).
 Ewertz and Dufty, 1988, supra.
 J.-M. Yuan, M.C. Yu, and R.K. Ross. Risk factors for breast cancer in
Chinese women in Shanghai. _Cancer Res._ 48: 1949 (1988).
 H.L. Howe. R.T. Senie, H. Bzduch, and P. Herzteld, Early abortion and
breast-cancer risk among women under 40, _Int. J. Epidemiol._ 18: 300-304
 B.-M. Lindefors-Harris, G. Edlund. O. Meirik, L.E. Rutqvist, and K.
Wiklund, Risk of cancer of the breast after legal abortion during first
trimester: a Swedish register study. _British Med. J._, 299: 1430-1432 (1989).
This is not a case-control study, and claims to prove that abortion is not
related to breast cancer. See discussion of this study below.
 H. Olsson, J. Ranstam, B. Baldetorp, S.-B. Ewers, M. Ferno, D. Killander,
H. Sigurdsson. Proliferation and DNA ploidy in malignant breast tumors in
relation to early oral contraceptive use and early abortions. _Cancer_ 67:
 H. Olsson, A. Borg, M. Ferno, J. Ranstam, and H. Sigurdsson, Her-2/neu and
INT2 proto-oncogene amplification in malignant breast tumors in relation to
reproductive factors and exposure to exogenous hormones, _J. Natl. Cancer
Inst._ 83: 1483-1487 (1991).
 F. Parazzini, C. La Vecchia, and E. Negri, Spontaneous and induced
abortions and risk of breast cancer, _Int. J. Cancer_ 48: 816- 820 (1991).
Note, however, that illegal abortions account for a significant number of first
pregnancy abortions in Italy. See I. Figa-Talamanca, M. E. Grandolfo, and
A.Spinelli, Epidemiology of legal Abortion in Italy, _International J.
Epidemiol._ 15:343-351 (1986).
 In March, 1982, Willard Cates, Jr. wrote an article in _Science_ which
discussed the evidence of the link. (W. Cates, Jr., Legal abortion: the public
health record, _Science_ 215: 1586-1590. His manuscript was reviewed by D.A.
Grimes, C. Tietze, R.W. Rochat, and C.W. Tyler. These are authors who, between
them, have contributed many articles to the premiere journal of the abortion
industry, _Family Planning Perspectives_, as well as other important trade
journals such as the _American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology_, _New England
Journal of Medicine_, _Studies in Family Planning_ ,and _Obstetric Gynecology_.
Christopher Tietze, who reviewed the Cates article, has had an enormous amount
of influence in the abortion industry.
 Pike _et al_. 1981, supra.
 Cates, 1982,. supra.
 Stavraky and Emmons, 1974, supra.
 Howe _et al_, 1989. For example, official records for a first fetal death
may report it as a "miscarriage," even though the same woman on a second fetal
death report may list it in her prior pregnancy history as an abortion. This
practice does occur, but occurs both with cancer cases and with controls.
 It is possible that women might suppress the memory of an abortion. but if
this were the case. it would seem to be a fairly serious psychological
disorder, and so would be a mental health risk in its own right. If it can be
shown that women are unconsciously suppressing these memories, it would hardly
be accurate to call them "healthy."
 Howe _et al_., 1989, supra Lindefors-Harris _et al_.. 1989. supra
 Lindefors-Harris, _et al_., 1989. supra.
 Note, too. that according to the study, the "average" risk of breast
cancer is 40% higher than it was only a few years earlier. If one converts the
risk factors to reflect this 40% rise. one sees that women who have an abortion
after a live birth have an adjusted risk factor of 81%, while women who have
the abortion first have an adjusted risk of 153% that of Swedish women before
the legalization of abortion.
 It is absurd to have to resort to this sort of mathematical "reading
between the lines" in a study on a subject of this importance. I am grateful
that this research was published at the prestigious Karolinska Institute, home
of the Nobel Prize. and that the authors were forced to report all
statistically significant information, even if it might cut against their own
 Lindefors-Harris, Response bias in a case-control study: Analysis using
comparative data concerning legal abortions from two independent Swedish
studies, _Am. J. Epidemiology_ 134: 1003-1008(1991).
 Some of these risk factors are actually decreasing. Body fat has been
linked in some studies to the incidence of breast cancer (R.E. Frisch, Body
fat, menarche, and fertility, _Encyclopedia of Human Biology_, R. Dulbecco, ed.
(1991)), but American women have been getting thinner, not fatter, in the last
 Cates, 1982. supra.
 F. Clavel, A.S.E. Benham, R. Sitruk-Ware _et al_.. Breast cancer and oral
contraceptives: a review, _Contraception_ 32: 553-69 (1985); B.V. Stadel, S.
Lai, J.J. Schlesselman _et al_.. Oral contraceptives and premenopausal breast
cancer in nulliparous women, _Contraception_ 38: 287-99 (1988); D.R. Miller. L.
Rosenberg. D.W. Kaufman. _et al_., Breast cancer before age 45 and oral
contraceptive use: new findings, _Am. J. Epidemiol._ 129: 269-80 ( 1989): C.R.
Kay, and P.C. Hannaford, Breast cancer and the pill - a further report from the
Royal College of General Practitioners' oral contraception study, _Br. J.
Cancer_ 58: 675-80 ( 1988).
 Krieger, 1 990, supra.
 Remennick, 1989, supra. According to this researcher, more than three
quarters of Russian breast cancer cases in the former Soviet Union can be
attributed to reproductive factors (abortion, age at first birth, cumulative
fertility rate, age at marriage, and breast feeding).
 Marshall, 1993, supra.
 See, e.g., Choi _et al_, 1978, supra; S.S. Devesa, and E.L. Diamond,
Association of breast cancer and cervical cancer incidence with income and
education among whites and blacks, _J. National Cancer Inst._ 65: 515-28
(1980); Kelsey _et al_., 1981, supra; J.L. Kelsey, and N.G. Hildreth, _Breast
and gynecological cancer epidemiology_, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press (1985); C.
Lowe, and B. MacMahon, Breast cancer and reproductive history of women in
South Wales. _Lancet_ 1:153-156 (1970).
 Cates, 1992,. supra.
 Krieger. 1990, supra.
 An additional note on socio-economic status and breast cancer. Among
women in Taiwan, which had little to no experience with Western-style
abortions, researchers found no significant difference in breast cancer rates
with socio-economic status. Lin _et al_, 1971, supra. This supports the theory
that rich Westerners have breast cancer because they have traditionally had
more access to abortion.
 S.P. Helmrich, S. Shapiro, L. Rosenberg, D.W. Kaufman, D. Slone, C. Bain,
O.S. Miettinen, P.D. Stolley, N.B. Rosenshein, R.C. Knapp, T. Leavitt, Jr., D.
Schottenfeld, R.L. Engle, Jr. and M. Levy, Risk factors for breast cancer,
_American Journal Epidemiol._ 117: 35- 45 (1983). Other studies which
distinguish between religions also find an increased risk among Jews. See,
e.g., Kelsey _et al_., 1981, supra
 Choi _et al_, 1978, supra.
 La Vecchia _et al_, 1993, supra; Parazzini _et al_, 1991, supra; F.
Parazzini, C. La Vecchia, E. Negri, S. Franceschi, and L. Bocciolone, Menstrual
and reproductive factors and breast cancer in women with family history of the
disease, _International J. Cancer_ 51: 677-681 (1992).
 Figa-Talamanca _et al_., 1986, supra.
 Helmrich _et al_, 1983, supra, in a world-wide study in Canada, the U.S.,
and Israel; G. Kvale, J. Heuch, and G.F. Eide, A prospective study of
reproductive factors and breast cancer; 1. Parity, _Am. Journal Epidemiology_
126: 831-841 (1987); in Norway; R.S. Paffenbarger, Jr., J.B. Kampert, and H.-G.
Chang, Characteristics that predict breast cancer before and after the
menopause, _Amer. J. Epidemiol._ 11 : 258-268 (1980), in a study of Californian
women diagnosed with breast cancer between 1970-77; Lindefors-Harris _et al_.,
1989, supra (although, as noted above, this is hardly accidental).
 Le _et al_. 1984, supra.
 In Sweden, Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, Abortions
1975-1983. _Statistics of the National board of Health and Welfare_ (1984); in
Italy, Figa-Talamanca, _et al_., 1986, supra.
 H.-O. Adami, R. Bergstrom, E. Lund, and O. Meirik, Absence of association
between reproductive variables and the risk of breast cancer in young women in
Sweden and Norway, _Br. J. Cancer_ 62: 122-126 (1990): Risk factor for one
induced abortion before first full-term pregnancy was 0.7, where researchers
found only 15 such women in a study of 47? cases of breast cancer. The
confidence interval for this finding ranges from 0.3 to 1.5, which does not
rule out the possibility of an elevated risk.
L.A. Brinton, R. Hoover, and J.F. Fraumeni, Jr.. Reproductive factors in the
aetiology of breast cancer, _Brit. J. Cancer_ 47:757-782.(1983): Only 1.17% of
cases and 1.20% of controls had ever had an induced abortion, with even less
cases of abortion before the first live birth. Even so, researchers found that
miscarriage in first four months of first pregnancy led to risk 1.61 times
normal. The researchers also state, "[A]lthough based on small numbers, the
finding of excess risk among nulliparous women who experienced an induced
abortion is noteworthy."
Kvale, Heuch and Eide, 1987, supra. A finding of a slightly decreased breast
cancer risk among women who had abortions was not statistically significant,
and failed to show any dose-response gradient.
 L.I. Remennick, Induced abortion as cancer risk factor: a review of the
epidemiological evidence, _J. Epidemiology and Community Health_, 44: 259-264
 L. Rosenberg, J.R. Palmer, D.W. Kaufman, B.L. Strom, D. Schottenfeld, and
S. Shapiro, Breast cancer in relation to the occurrence and time of induced and
spontaneous abortion. _Amer. J. Epidemiol._, 127: 981-989 (1988); M.P. Vessey,
K. McPherson, D. Yeates, and R. Doll, Oral contraceptive use and abortion
before first term pregnancy in relation to breast-cancer risk, _Brit. J.
Cancer_ 45: 327-331(1982); S. P. Helmrich, S. Shapiro, L. Rosenberg _et al_.,
Risk Factors for Breast Cancer, _Am. J. Epidemiol._ 117: 35-45 (1983).
 For example, one common trick is to group subjects by age in five or ten
year blocks. This initially appears to be a reasonable way to match ages, but
yields very predictable, distorted results. Since cancer is very strongly
associated with increasing age, a group of cancer patients between the ages of
thirty and forty may have an average age of thirty-eight or even thirty-nine,
while the control group will have an average age of thirty-five. It can be
shown that even using five-year intervals can mask a 30% increased risk of
cancer in women under the age of 40.
 Rosenberg _et al_.. 1988, supra; Helrich _et al_., 1983, supra.
 Vessey _et al_., 1982, supra.
 Welfare mothers are often placed under heavy social pressure to abort,
despite their personal feelings about when human life begins.
 A teenager who has a live birth has a very low breast cancer risk; but if
she aborts and then waits a number of years before having a baby, she would
appear to remain at risk tor a longer time. Thus, this information probably
should have the greatest impact on the pregnant teenager.
*Hardcopy Design and Production by Darby H. Waters*
The abortion industry and national media have chosen not to present this data
to the American public, so we rely on you to distribute this information.
Please order as many copies as you can to give to friends, relatives, church
members, doctors, and women considering abortion in your area. Single copies of
this report are available for $5.00 each; 10 copies for $15.00; and 100 copies
Also available: "Does Abortion Cause Breast Cancer?" This single-sheet leaflet
summarizes the evidence in layman's terms. 100 copies are available for $5.00;
1000 copies for $30.00.
P.O. Box 871
Purcellville, VA 22132 USA
Copyright Notice (C) Scott W. Somerville 1993
This material is copyrighted. Shareware permission has been granted for
electronic distribution on the Internet. A two-color, glossy printed version
of this material may be obtained from Scott W. Somerville, P.O. Box 871,
Purcellville, VA 22132. Single copies are available for $5.00, 10 copies for