5th December 2013
Abortion Supervisory Committee,
Dear Ms Melkiau
Abortion Breast Cancer Link
I wish to bring to your attention the findings of a meta-analysis of abortion and breast cancer [ABC] in China, which was recently published in the prestigious, peer–reviewed international cancer journal, Cancer Causes and Control. This meta-analysis included 36 studies on the ABC link in China that had been published during 2012. Dr Yubei Huang et al, reported that the overall risk of developing breast cancer among women who had at least one induced abortion was significantly increased by 44 per cent.
These results, said the authors, were consistent with a previously published systematic review that was published in the British Medical Association’s epidemiology journal with colleagues from Penn State Medical Centre in 1996 which showed an overall significant 30 per cent increased risk of breast cancer in worldwide studies.
The new Chinese meta-analysis is of great significance, Not only does it validate the earlier findings from 1996 but its findings are even stronger, for several reasons:
1. The link is a slightly stronger one, i.e., 44% v. 30% risk increase with abortion;
2. It shows what is called a “dose effect”, i.e., two abortions increase the risk more than one abortion (76% risk increase with two or more abortions), and three abortions increase the risk even more (89% risk increase with three or more abortions). Risk factors that show such a dose effect have more credibility in terms of actually causing the disease.
3. Huang et al. states: “The lack of a social stigma associated with induced abortion in China due to China’s one child family policy may limit the amount of underreporting”. Putative underreporting of abortions by healthy women has been routinely invoked to discredit the ABC link–the lack of credible evidence notwithstanding. This line of attack—variously called the “response bias” or “recall bias” or “reporting bias” argument, has now been neutralized.
4. Huang et al. explains why two earlier high-profile studies in Shanghai did not find the link, essentially by citing and extending arguments, Dr Joel Brind had articulated in the British Journal of Cancer in 2004. In that published letter, he explained that the Shanghai population was unsuitable for studying the ABC link in the usual manner because the prevalence of induced abortion was so high (greater than 50%) in the general population. Huang et al. provided strong evidence for that explanation by performing what is called a meta-regression analysis of all the Chinese studies which meta-regression showed that the more prevalent abortion was in the study population, the lower risk increase associated with abortion.
5. The Huang study follows two new studies this year from India and Bangladesh, studies which reported breast cancer risk increases of unprecedented magnitude: over 600% and over 2,000%, respectively, among women who had any induced abortions.
We are aware that the pro abortion lobby refuses to accept that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer because it would diminish the claim that abortion is perfectly safe and will not harm the health of women.
These studies raise serious questions about women’s health. Our Society is aware that 1600 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in New Zealand and that an average of 580 women tragically die each year from breast cancer. We believe that many of these women die as a result of having had an abortion.
It is our duty to advocate for the health of women, the second victim of abortion. It is our firm belief that the abortion of the first child violently interrupts the differentiation of the cells in a woman’s breasts leaving her prone to developing breast cancer and that further abortions increase the risk. The evidence from around the world to ABC is overwhelming. The day will come when women will demand to know why they were not told, that having an abortion increased their risk of developing breast cancer. It is our belief that this important information should be given to women considering an abortion.
The meta –analysis raises several important questions:-
Does the Committee accept the conclusions of this important study?
Does the Committee believe that this information should be given to women considering an abortion?
Will the Committee give consideration to directing abortion providers to instruct counsellors to provide this information to ensure informed consent?