Another study confirms the link between abortion and breast cancer

Unborn baby scheming about new pro-life arguments

Story from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T ECM)


An abortion can triple a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer in later life, researchers say. A team of scientists made the claim while carrying out research into how breastfeeding can protect women from developing the killer disease. While concluding that breastfeeding offered significant protection from cancer, they also noted that the highest reported risk factor in developing the disease was abortion. Other factors included the onset of the menopause and smoking. The findings, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, are the latest research to show a link between abortion and breast cancer. The research was carried out by scientists at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka. It is the fourth epidemiological study to report such a link in the past 14 months, with research in China, Turkey and the U.S. showing similar conclusions.

[…]There has been an 80 per cent increase in the rate of breast cancer since 1971, when in the wake of the Abortion Act, the number of abortions rose from 18,000 to nearly 200,000 a year.

Earlier this year, Dr Louise Brinton, a senior researcher with the U.S. National Cancer Institute who did not accept the link, reversed her position to say she was now convinced abortion increased the risk of breast cancer by about 40 per cent.

Note that there were only 300 people in the new study, so it is a small study. The only reason that I blog this is because it confirms the Turkey study that I blogged on before, and the China study that I blogged about before, and the American study that I blogged about before.

There is an interesting comment on this story at Secondhand Smoke.

Here it is:

But let me tell you, as a former trial lawyer, the potential is here for tobacco company-type litigation against certain groups if cancer info was suppressed.

That’s from Discovery Institute fellow Wesley J. Smith, who majors in bioethics.

11 thoughts on “Another study confirms the link between abortion and breast cancer”

  1. The following information taken verbatim:

    From the National Cancer Institute Website (
    In February 2003, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a workshop of over 100 of the world’s leading experts who study pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Workshop participants reviewed existing population-based, clinical, and animal studies on the relationship between pregnancy and breast cancer risk, including studies of induced and spontaneous abortions. They concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer. A summary of their findings, titled Summary Report: Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Workshop, can be found at


    Swedish Study

    Since 1994, several exhaustive studies have found no tie between abortion and breast cancer. A 30-year Swedish study of 49,000 women indicated no link between abortion and breast cancer. Furthermore, the Swedish study did not suffer from an inaccurate reporting of medical histories because it was based on a national medical registry in Sweden and not based on interviews.

    Largest Study Ever in Denmark, 1997

    Published in 1997, a study from Denmark indicates no increased risk for women who had abortions when they analyzed medical histories of more than 1.5 million women. This larger more comprehensive study is persuasive because it does not rely upon interviews. Data came from Denmark’s national health records, thereby eliminating the possibility of “recall bias.” The study showed that even women who had two or more abortions were no more likely than those who never had an abortion to develop breast cancer.

    The Danish study analyzed the abortion histories of 10,246 women with breast cancer among 1,529,512 women. A total of 370,715 abortions occurred in 280,965 women. Among the 2.3% of women who had abortions after the first trimester (after 12 weeks), the researchers found a gradually increasing risk of breast cancer as the stage of pregnancy advanced. However, researchers concluded that the actual number of women with second trimester abortions was too small to warrant a firm conclusion. In Denmark, abortions are both legal and free, so there are fewer reasons for women to have abortions after 18 weeks unless there are other medical problems. These other problems might themselves be the cause of the increased cancer rate.

    Interestingly, women who had abortions prior to seven weeks of pregnancy actually showed a slightly decreased risk of developing breast cancer. But again, the actual number of women in this category is very small.

    Also in January 1997, a Netherlands Cancer Institute study documented the existence of “recall bias” and concluded it was a significant factor affecting early studies on the link between abortion and breast cancer.

    Other Published Reports: According to findings published in the January 2000 issue of Epidemiology, women who have had an induced abortion are at no more risk for breast cancer than their counterparts who did not have an abortion. Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health-Division of Epidemiology and the Mayo Clinic examined a study sample of 1986-1995 data from 37,247 Iowa Women’s Health Study participants ages 55-64, who, at the 1986 baseline, reported no history of breast cancer. Through 1995, 653 women underwent an induced abortion. The authors found that the age-adjusted relative risk of breast cancer among women with prior induced abortion was no greater than those who had never undergone an abortion, nor did the risk increase with increasing numbers of induced abortions. There were 438 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 person-years among women who reported they did have an abortion, compared to 392 cases of breast cancer per 100,000 person-years for women who did not have abortions. (Lazovich et al., Epidemiology, 1/00 issue). As reported by the Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, Jan. 25, 2000.


  2. Time will tell whether this is yet another example of the delusional left painting reality as they would like it to be, rather than the way it actually is. The left wants

    * there to be no link between breast cancer and abortion
    * guilt-free, consequence-free sex
    * abortion to not entail the taking of a human life
    * all cultures equal in abilities and outcomes
    * Darwinism/atheism to be true and Christian theism to be false
    * If there is a God, we all live forever in heaven
    * etc.


  3. That’s the first time I’ve heard the National Cancer Institute called either “delusional” or “left.” But I guess there’s a first time for everything.


    1. Your studies are all 2000 or earlier, right? My four studies are from the last 2 years, from multiple sources in multiple countries. Converging on the same hypothesis.


  4. This was published as an update to the study quoted above on the NCI Institute on 1/12 2010

    The following is verbatim:

    Regular Evidence Review

    NCI regularly reviews and analyzes the scientific literature on many topics, including various risk factors for breast cancer. Considering the body of literature that has been published since 2003, when NCI held this extensive workshop on early reproductive events and cancer, the evidence overall still does not support early termination of pregnancy as a cause of breast cancer. To view regular updates on this topic, please go to


    1. Maybe I’m missing something, but using your own link, I’ve found no studies more recent than 2004, which is six years ago. As WK said, his sources present info from the last two years. This doesn’t necessarily mean previous studies were wrong, but to continue using older studies to contest more recent disparate studies doesn’t really diminish the newer findings. At least it was conceded that the newer studies had a smaller number of subjects from which to gather their data, but the fact that different groups are coming up with the same conclusions is compelling.


      1. Are you missing something? Yes. Somehow, you completely missed the following paragraph in the link I posted above:

        “Abortion has been suggested as a cause of subsequent breast cancer. Studies showing an association used recalled information in populations in which induced abortion had a social or religious stigma, differential reporting of prior abortion by breast cancer patients, and controls. Trials conducted in social environments where abortion is accepted, however, have not shown an association with breast cancer.[107-112]

        A meta-analysis of women from 53 studies in 16 countries with liberal abortion laws was performed.[113] Analyses were performed separately on 44,000 women with breast cancer who had information on abortion collected prospectively (i.e., 13 studies) versus 39,000 women with breast cancer from whom information was collected retrospectively (i.e., 40 studies). The RR of breast cancer for women with spontaneous abortion was 0.98 (95% CI, 0.92–1.04 for those with prospective data collection and 0.94–1.02 for retrospective data). The RR after induced abortion was 0.93 (95% CI, 0.89–0.96; P = .0002) if the information was collected prospectively but was 1.11 (95% CI, 1.06–1.16) if it was collected retrospectively. Additional analyses of the number and timing of aborted pregnancies were performed, but none showed a significant association with breast cancer.[113]”


        Dude, I don’t get it. The NCI goes on the record in Jan, 2010, affirming its earlier findings that abortion is not a risk factor for breast cancer — and you seem…what’s the word. Incredulous? Disappointed?

        Geez, do you have any experience with this illness? My mother died of it 22 years ago, when she was 67. You don’t want to wish this on your worst enemy. Where’s your compassion, man? Your concern for women with this terrible disease? I looked for it in your and the other posters’ comments. It was strangely lacking.

        You know, I get it. I get it that you want to deter abortions, but surely you’ve got better arguments, more moral, compassionate arguments, in favor of the prolife position than this.


        1. So this is more like affirmation of old studies vs newer studies.

          I don’t understand what affirmation of old studies mean … is it like: we still believe in the older studies?


        2. I’m sorry about your mother.

          I thought this is why we’re discussing this? Because if new studies are starting to find links between breast cancer and abortion, then the right thing to do is to warn people


    1. Interesting analogy…


      “a new study from Sri Lanka linked abortion to breast cancer, which makes it the fourth epidemiological study in fourteen months pointing to the abortion/breast cancer link.

      About the same time a new study was announced which showed a seriously increased risk of subsequent premature birth after just one abortion, a risk that other studies have confirmed and shown to increase even more dramatically in anyone who has had more than one abortion.

      Oh, and let’s not forget the longitudinal research, of New Zealand’s very own Professor David Fergusson, showing a link between abortion and subsequent mental health problems – a link which has been shown by many other overseas studies also.”

      By the way, the link is actually about recent proposal in NZ of a bill that will make 24 weeks abortion on demand


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