I had a few ‘pro-choice’ activists visit me in the office this week. They were obviously wanting to know a bit about what we are doing, and were polite enough to visit in person. This differs greatly from my experience in the past. I remember a vigil outside an abortion clinic many years ago. One of the pro-abortion counter protesters had a sign reading, ‘If Mary had an abortion, there would be no Christians”. Obviously they were going out of they way to offend us. But not my visitors of this week. They actually were polite, although for one of them, it was a rather assertive form of politeness. After helping themselves to some of our literature, they were kind enough to give me some of their own.
As soon as it was put in my hand I saw something that was wrong. Their brochure said that there was “no association between abortion and breast cancer”. They are obviously referring to the work of Joel Brind, but they made a really bold claim. If they had stuck to a causal link between abortion and breast cancer, they would have had many official organisations to back them up. Joel Brind’s work is controversial, and is not widely accepted outside the pro-life community. But they crossed the line from talking about causality, to using the word ‘association’. And in doing so, they crossed the line between what is ‘officially’ accepted and what is propaganda.
If a young pregnant woman asks whether having an abortion will mean she is more likely to get breast cancer, there are some clear answers, and they aren’t at all controversial.
Research has demonstrated that having children lowers the risk of breast cancer. The younger the age of the women at the first birth, the lower her risk of breast cancer. Also the more children a women has, the lower her risk. Some studies state that each child lowers the risk by 7%. Breastfeeding also lowers the risk, by 4 -5% per year of breastfeeding. Obviously, if the women aborts the child, she doesn’t get the protection of a full term pregnancy.
Some organisations warn that there is a short term increase in breast cancer risk after childbirth, and a slight increase in risk for women who have their first and only birth after the age of 35. I really don’t think that pro abortion groups are going to want to mention this, after all, if they do, then are going to have to admit that for the majority of women, childbirth and breastfeeding provides significant protection against breast cancer. And a woman who receives an abortion doesn’t get the benefit of breastfeeding, or a full term pregnancy.
So lets go back to our young pregnant woman considering an abortion, and wanting to know how it affects her risk of breast cancer. If she is a teen, and having a first baby, there is a very significant reduction in risk of breast cancer by giving birth to her baby. If she is in her 20’s, there is still a significant protection against breast cancer compared with not giving birth, or waiting until her 30’s. If she has already given birth to a child before the current pregnancy, there is still a modest protective effect of giving birth to the child she is currently pregnant with. And with any child born, she can breastfeed, which also lowers her risk of breast cancer. She won’t get any of this protection if she has an abortion. So when a pregnant woman asks about abortion and her chances of getting breast cancer, the answer for most of them is that if they have the abortion, their chances of getting breast cancer will be higher than if they let their unborn child live.
And none of that relies on controversial science.
I explained this to my pro-choice visitors. One of them immediately expressed his doubts and said he was going to look up this information. I hope he does. He might receive an education.
The New Zealand Breast cancer foundation, Lower the risk of breast cancer
Wikipedia, Risk factors for breast cancer
Susan G Komen, Lower your risk