The Medical Journal of Australia and me: The story so far - Babette Francis
by Babette Francis
In the Medical Journal of Australia (201), 6 October 2014, in the format of a "letter to the editor", Kerry-Anne Phillips et al reported on a study which claimed that induced abortion is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer for Australian women. I responded with a "letter to the editor" pointing out that the study was flawed because it did not distinguish between induced abortions and miscarriages: most first trimester miscarriages unless they are caused by an accident such as a blow to the abdomen do not increase risk because the estradiol levels do not rise high enough to cause breast cell multiplication (or to maintain the pregnancy). Not distinguishing between abortions and miscarriages dilutes any observed abortion/breast cancer risk. The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute (USA), the international Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer and Endeavour Forum Inc. have repeatedly pointed this out, but here again we find another flawed study giving unjustified reassurance to women about induced abortions.
Well the MJA declined to publish my letter, in which I had also listed ll studies from India, ten of which showed statisically significant increased risk of breast cancer caused by induced abortion. When I complained to the editors about their refusal to publish my rebuttal, they offered to publish a short 250 word letter. Incidentally when I refer to "letters to the editor of the MJA", this is not a simple process like writing to the editor of a newspaper or magazine where all that is required is one's postal address and daytime phone number. A letter to the editor of the MJA is a complicated process which required me to seek the assistance of a computer expert - it took us hours to negotiate the process, including declaring "conflicts of interest". (I wish I had some!). Anyway I was given a number code and waited patiently for weeks. In the meantime I published my original rejected "letter to the editor of the MJA" in our Newsletter No. 157, February 2015.
Eventually the (apparently new) editor of the MJA, Professor Stephen Leeder, emailed me to say that because I had published my original (rejected) letter to the MJA in our Newsletter, they now declined to publish my short 250 word letter to the editor of the MJA. (My original rejected letter had been of approximately the same length as Kerry-Anne Phillips letter and had included new information on the Indian studies.) The editors of the MJA seem somewhat keen to keep from women the news that induced abortion is not a safe procedure so far as breast cancer risk is concerned. Even if the MJA declined to publish my letter to the editor, one would have hoped they would list the Indian studies as well as the many other studies from China, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey and Sri Lanka, and initiate discussion on the topic. However, it is gratifying to know the MJA editors are reading Endeavour Forum's Newsletters on line - they will thus learn more about the Abortion Breast Cancer link!
How researchers get the politically correct results: I quote in full a letter in "Broken Branches", Anne Lastman's Newsletter Issue 103, Feb/Mar 2015:
"Regarding the comments on the Australian research into breast cancer. Earlier this year (I think it was this year but maybe late last year) I received a letter from someone at our major cancer Hospital who was looking for women to participate in a large scale research project into causes of breast cancer. I was delighted. However when the questionnaire came, one of the questions asked was - how many children did you have, including miscarriages, but specifically stated that this should NOT include any abortion that might have taken place! I was really shocked and annoyed and saddened. Why would this major hospital specifically eliminate abortions! I wrote back to her to say that it was pointless for me to be a part of this Survey as I believed that abortion was one of the causes of breast cancer etc. etc. Needless to say I didn't hear from them again.
"Could this be the same project that found no connection between abortions and breast cancer? Sorry I cannot remember the name of the Professor in question.
"Take care and God bless, Love,