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Letter by BABETTE FRANCIS to the Producer of “Life Matters”

Babette’s letter was read on Radio National on Monday, 6 August 2001

“Life Matters” (16/7/01)reveals its bias by using the shooting of a guard at a Melbourne abortion clinic to imply that the pro-life movement cares only about unborn children and not about their mothers, and that is is some “new” pro-life tactic to pretend to be concerned for the well-being of mothers. It is pro-life people who for decades have run pregnancy support services where women are helped with the problems that made their pregnancies difficult, whether it be abandonment by boyfriend or parents, poverty, incompleted education or unemployment. Pro-lifers support women throughout the nine months of pregnancy and remain friends with them and their families thereafter. Abortion providers don’t care about these women’s problems - it is a case of walk in, hand over the money, and limp out - with the same underlying problems that brought them to the abortuary in the first place, plus additional physical and emotional problems that will surface months or years later.

Women should ask themselves whom they can trust - the abortion referrers and providers who are making millions out of the predicaments of women with unplanned pregnancies, or pro-lifers who spend their own money to help such women. The concern for pregnant women by abortion providers and those who support the industry would be more convincing if they were providing their services free as do those in pregnancy support services.

However, it is in Life Matters references to the link between induced abortion and breast cancer that the program is most inaccurate. Professor Joel Brind is not a mere academic, he is Professor of Endocrinology at Baruch College, City University of New York, and President of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, USA. Those are precisely the kind of qualifications that make him eminently qualified to comment on the hormonal causation of breast cancer following induced abortion. While he is not an epidemiologist, his co-researcher, V.N. Chinchilli is an epdemiologist and is pro-choice. Their meta-analysis “Induced abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer” was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 1996; 50: 481-96. Brind’s papers and articles have been published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, and when he visited Australia, he did not only speak in Canberra and Perth, but also did “Grand Rounds” in major teaching hospitals in Victoria. His scientific credentials are impeccable, and his list of publications on scientific matters far more impressive than those of his critics on Life Matters.

Many of the statements made by the speakers on Life Matters in regard to induced abortion and breast cancer are quite outdated. A few years ago anti-cancer organisations were claiming there was no link – they are far more circumspect now.

The UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has shifted its ground - instead of saying “no link” {between induced abortion and breast cancer} they now say in their13 March 2000 Guidelines for the care of patients requesting abortion that the association between induced abortion and breast cancer is “inconclusive”. This means the safety of abortion (in regard to breast cancer) cannot be guaranteed. The RCOG also said that there were no methodological flaws in the meta-analysis by Dr. Joel Brind, V.N Chinchilli and colleagues, who found an average 30% increased risk of breast cancer following induced abortion, and that their conclusions “could not be disregarded”.

Dr. Tom Stuttaford, medical columnist for the London Times, who is pro-choice and who last year had denied the link between abortion and breast cancer, this year in his column on 17 May 2001 wrote: “Breast cancer is diagnosed in 33,000 women in the UK each year; of these an unusually high proportion had an abortion before eventually starting a family. Such women are up to four times more likely to develop breast cancer”.

Professor John McCaffrey, Chairman, Queensland Cancer Fund, in a letter to the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (17/8/00) wrote: “Our previous review of the literature, together with reviews by our sister organisations in other states have led us to the attitude that we can neither support nor deny the linkage {between abortion and breast cancer}.

What is significant about his letter is that it reveals that the anti-cancer organisations in Australia had a private discussion among themselves and concluded that they could not support or DENY the linkage, but the women of Australia were not informed. This is not good enough in regard to a potentially fatal and always mutilating disease, which may result from an elective (i.e. medically unnecessary) operation.

The Melbye study in Denmark, often quoted by pro-abortionists as the “gold standard” proving that there is no risk of breast cancer following induced abortion, is flawed as acknowledged by Professor Robert Burton, Director, Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria. Melbye started counting breast cancer cases in 1968, but only counted abortions from 1973. One cannot count incidence of a disease for five years prior
to the suggested cause. Furthermore, Melbye assumed abortion was legalised in Denmark in 1973, but the law was only liberalized then. Abortion was legalised in 1939, and Melbye missed counting an additional 30,000 abortions which are recorded in the Danish Life Statistics between 1940 and 1973. These women, some of whom developed breast cancer, were counted by Melbye as not having had abortions, when in fact their abortions are on record.

However, as also acknowledged by Professor Burton, even the Melbye study found that second trimester abortions increased breast cancer risk. In a subsequent study on premature births, Melbye found that premature births, i.e. third trimester abortions, increased breast cancer risk. The increased risk does not disappear until the last few weeks of a full-term pregnancy when most of the breast cells are differentiated into milk-producing cells.

Dr. Sally Redman of the Australian National Breast Cancer Centre, in response to the horrific 40% increase in the incidence of breast cancer between 1987 and 1997, said there was “an underlying trend of new cases which could not explained by earlier detection of women whose cancers would previously have taken longer to diagnose”. She went on to speculate that this increase might be because women were growing taller: “not fatter, just taller and larger”. (Sydney Morning Herald, 12/8/99). We were given the same specious reasoning from Professor John Catford, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, who said the appalling increase in breast cancer might be because women were growing taller and were better nourished! Does the pro-abortion lobby suggest the solution is to keep women short and malnourished?

Interestingly, the figures published in the Melbourne Herald Sun (20/5/01) on increased height, showed that the big increase in the height of Australian women occurred between 1895 and 1922.There was no increase between 1922 and 1958, and between 1970 and the present time there has only been a 4mm increase in average height. This does not explain a 40% increase in the incidence of breast cancer.

However, it is significant that this horrifying increase in breast cancer has occurred approximately 30 years after the big rise in abortions following the Menhennitt (1969) and Levine (1971) rulings in Victoria and NSW respectively, which de facto legalized abortion. Thirty years after exposure to a known risk factor (such as smoking or sunburn) is approximately how long it takes for cancer to develop.

It is acknowledged worldwide that the younger a woman is when she has her first full-term pregnancy, the less her risk of breast cancer. Every abortion delays a full-term pregnancy. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding for 24 months for one or more babies, reduces breast cancer risk. It is not possible to breastfeed an aborted fetus.

In the only study on Australian women (Rohan et al, Adelaide, 1988) induced abortion was found to be the greatest risk factor of all, greater even than family history of breast cancer. The results of this study, funded by the CSIRO, were not revealed to Australian women, not even those taking part in the study. It is still not publicized in Australia, and only surfaced in a meta-analysis by a French researcher, N. Andrieu, published in the British Journal of Cancer, 1995, 72: 744-51.

In the study by Janet Daling (Journal of the Natonal Cancer Institute, 1994; 86: 1584-92), every woman who had an abortion before age 18 and who also had a family history of breast cancer, developed breast cancer by age 45. (Daling is pro-choice). Abortion referrers and providers do not take detailed family histories before aborting young girls. Indeed, many young girls do not even know if there is a history of breast cancer in their families.

When medical experts such as Burton, McCaffrey and the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists say the research is “inconclusive”, or the risk “cannot be denied”, not to mention Dr. Stuttaford who writes of a four times as high a risk, how does Life Matters have the temerity to assure listeners that abortion is safe in regard to breast cancer? At the very least your program should inform women who have had induced abortions or are childless at 35 years of age and over, that they are in a high risk group and need to be extra vigilant abour breast examinations and mammograms.

For the information of those who don’t understand the mechanism by which induced abortion increases breast cancer risk, it should be explained that cumulative exposure to estrogen increases breast cancer risk. This risk factor operates with early puberty, late menopause and being childless. All these are acknowledged worldwide as being risk factors because in these conditions women are exposed to extra menstrual cycles with exposure to estrogen. In pregnancy there is a big surge in estrogen which causes breast cells to proliferate (multiply). If the pregnancy is artificially aborted, these proliferating cells are left vulnerable to cancer. The cells do not stabilise into milk-producing cells until the last few weeks of a full-term pregnancy. Most first-trimester miscarriages do not increase risk because the rise in the level of hormones is not sufficient to either maintain the pregnancy or to cause breast cells to proliferate.

There is increasing evidence that a metabolite of estrogen is not merely a tumour promoter but is a carcinogen which leaves a signature trail of mutations somewhat similar to the carcinogens in cigarette smoke.

It takes a while for new research to percolate through the medical community. It took 10 years for a researcher in Western Australia to convince scientists worldwide that many stomach ulcers were caused by a bacterium, h.pylorii, and were not due to tension or excess acid. We have only been publicizing the abortion-breast cancer risk for the past two years, and already the scientific community has shifted from their “no risk” position to “inconclusive”, while Dr. Stuttaford, medical columnist for the prestigious London Times, has come out openly and acknowledged that the risk following abortions is four times as high. Women should take heed of an honest pro-choice doctor.

Finally, we do encourage women to sue abortionists for the physical and emotional damage caused, especially when there is so much concealment of the risks, and we are delighted that there are several cases launched in the USA and in Australia. The High Court of Australia set tbe bench mark in the case of Rogers v. Whitaker, when it found that doctors had a duty to warn even if the risk was as low as 1: 14,000. In an induced abortion that level of increased breast cancer risk is reached simply by the postponement of a full-term pregnancy, let alone the additional risk caused by the abortion itself. Of course abortionists are worried about publicity on the increased risk of breast cancer,because it blows sky-high their myth that they are performing abortions in the interests of women’s health.

Why do feminists object to women seeing pictures of fetal development as under the ACT legislation, especially now when there are three-dimenstional films available of life in the womb? Feminists sound like unscrupulous salesmen who do not want buyers to examine the products they peddle too closely. Feminists would have no objection to a woman seeing a picture of her inflamed appendix prior to its removal, why do they want to keep the fetus - and its mother - in the dark? Could it possibly be because the fetus is not just a blob of tissue like an appendix but has an identifable head, arms, legs, eyes and mouth, and sucks its thumb? The abortion industry and the feminists who support it, are on a collision course, not merely with pro-lifers, but even more with science and photography.





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