Can Breast Cancer Be Linked To Abortion
The incidence of breast cancer has been on the rise in the recentyears, putting thousands of light risk and ending thousands othersevery year. In response, awareness campaigns on the same subject haveincreased multiple times over, as people seek to curb the effects ofthe disease. In the course of these campaigns, many points pertinentto the disease have risen, including numerous theories as to thereasons why the disease has been so prevalent in recent years. Asimilar debate that has raged on in the recent years is whether ornot abortion should be completely legalized or outlawed in thecountry. The pro-choice movement members opine that abortion shouldnot be tolerated at all while the anti-choice camp holds that that itshould be legalized as it is the right of every woman to decide thefate of their pregnancies. Pro-choice theorists have introduced apoint of intersection for the two issues, positing that abortionincreases the risk of contracting breast cancer. This debate revolvesaround two issues that have been burning in the public debatecircles. The outcome has the potential to save many lives and,therefore, it is vital to weigh the evidence on both sides anddetermine which has the stronger argument based on their evidence. Inthis respect, the view herein is that there is no significantrelationship between the abortion and breast cancer, and the linkbetween them is a plot by the anti-choice campaigners to tilt thedebate in their favor.
Abby Ohlheiserhas garnered experience researching and reporting on generalassignment for the Washington Post. He has built a reputation formeticulous reporting and detailed research on a wide range of topics.In 2013, he leveraged this experience to investigate the alleged riskbetween breast cancer and abortion, weighing the evidence on bothsides in an article published in “The Wire” magazine andlater adopted Cengage Learning subsidiary, Greenhaven Press. In hisreport, Ohlheiser indicated that although there have been a number ofstudies in support of both sides of this argument, the best reportsreported no link between abortion and breast cancer infections(Ohlheiser, 2016). Two of eight studies reported that there is nosignificant indication that induced abortions lead to breast cancerinfection. Dr. Susan Gatspur, a prominent cancer epidemiologistagreed that these two were the most credible studies among the eight(Ohlheiser, 2016). The relationship began to emerge as the quality ofthe studies declined, she added. Ohlheiser, after considering all theevidence, concluded that since there is no credible scientific causalrelationship between abortion and breast cancer, the motivationbehind the proliferation of the poor quality reports must bepolitical (2016). The ultimate aim of the political campaign is towin support for the anti-choice campaign that perpetuates it.
Joel Brind is abiology and endocrinology professor at the City University of NewYork’s Baruch College. His prominence qualified him as the scienceadvisor to the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, and cofounder ofthe Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. Greenhaven Press, Ohlheiser’sarticle publishers, carried his article titled "FaultyJournalism Denies the Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer"in their Gale publication (Brind, 2016). In the article, heirrevocably refuted the argument that Ohlheiser drove in his earlierargument. He first discredits Ohlheiser’s qualification to speak onthe subject by pointing out that the latter is not a scientist but aperpetuator of faulty journalism and political interests inconvincing the public about the inexistence of the ABC link. Hisargument advances, claiming that the concept of consensus thatOhlheiser bases her conclusion on is a political and not scientificmethod, and a majority of the groundbreaking scientific discoveriesgo against the opinion of the majority. Instead, he cites a“game-changing” study in China that discovered a 44% higherchance of breast cancer incidence in women that have procured anabortion (Brind, 2016). The resultant data from the study directlyrefutes the argument driven by the pro-choice advocates, whom heclaims are overlooking an important issue for political reasons. Heclaims that the previously credible journals from the West have builta wall of denial to promote the right to abort, while others,primarily Asian journals, are increasingly establishing an undeniableABC-link, pointing to up to 2000% breast cancer risk increase (Brind,2016). He cites evidence from China, whose one-child policy increasesthe abortion rate therein. In addition, he claims that majority ofthe refuters of the ABC-link only came following the “Roe v. Wade,”the case that legalized abortion in the USA, yet claims of the linkwere existent decades before the case (Brind, 2016). Therefore, heconcludes, scientific data indicates that the ABC-link exists and thesooner the pro-choice camp accepts this fact, the sooner the breastcancer epidemic can be defeated.
Greenhavenpublishers carried yet another argument on the ABC-link, disputingthe credibility of the link. Joyce Arthur, the author, is theAbortion Rights Coalition of Canada’s executive director. Informedby the research that she conducted on her way to her current post andwhile in it, she disputes the credibility of the study from China,faulting the methodology employed therein (Arthur, 2016). She singlesout “recall bias” as the fault, whereby the interviewees ignoredevents that they are not comfortable discussing. In this respect,women in earlier studies underreported their abortions, hence theimpression of higher abortion rates that correspond to the breastcancer rate increase in the last 20 years. In the 1996 studies, manywomen underreported their abortions due to fear of stigma (Arthur,2016).. Even in the current day, there is a discrepancy in thereporting, she argues, since women already diagnosed with cancer arehighly motivated to recall and report any instances of abortion,unlike those who are cancer-free. Moreover, she cites a recent studythat reported the existence of stigma against abortion in China. Thepresence of the error, then, invalidates the entire study, which isthe premise of the argument by the anti-choice advocates. She goesahead to propose the use of cohort studies to investigate theABC-link as it is more reliable (Arthur, 2016).. Notably, sheobserves that the arguments on the link do not consider other breastcancer risk factors, which are significant in their contribution tothe increase in the breast cancer rate. She concludes, then, thatthese advocates are only fear mongers that aim to strengthen thestigma against abortion at the expense of science.
In retrospect,both sides of the debate on the link between breast cancer andabortion make valid points. Ohlheiser points to the fact that themajority of the high-quality studies point to no crediblerelationship between the two. She conducts detailed research to backup her argument and does well to bring out her point by concentratingon the quality of the studies, rather than the quantity. In hisrebuttal of Ohlheiser’s argument, Brind seeks to discredit theformer but his argument is flawed. For one, his claim Ohlheiser usesconsensus is inaccurate as she uses two of eight studies, which arealso the most credible. In addition, Joyce Arthur picks his argumentapart, proving that the study he builds his argument around isinvalid. Moreover, he does not do enough to prove that the quality ofthe Western journals has declined in all aspects. Singling out thesubject of the ABC-link fits Arthur’s rebuttal that the anti-choicecamp only singles out the evidence that suits them so as to advancetheir ulterior motives. The detail in Arthur’s study, going back intime is convincing. Coupled up with the views that Ohlheiserexpresses and complimented by the weaknesses in the argument thatBrind advances, they convinced me that the anti-choice camp ismisconstruing facts. Their respective articles are enough to convinceme that the anti-choice advocates drive an invalid argument toinstill fear in the women and convince people wrongfully that thereis a link between abortion and breast cancer, while, in fact, thereis none.
Arthur, Joyce. "Anti-Choice Groups UseFlawed Studies to Establish a Link Between Abortion and BreastCancer." Breast Cancer,edited by Dedria Bryfonski, Greenhaven Press, 2016. OpposingViewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints inContext, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010982220/OVIC?u=lirn99776&xid=7829b0fc.Accessed 5 Dec. 2016. Originally published as "How Deeply FlawedStudies on Abortion and Breast Cancer Become Anti-Choice Fodder,"9 Jan. 2014.
Brind, Joel. "Faulty Journalism Denies theLink Between Abortion and Breast Cancer." Breast Cancer, editedby Dedria Bryfonski, Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints.Opposing Viewpoints in context,https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010982218/OVIC?u=lirn99776&xid=4671b858.Accessed 5 Dec. 2016. Originally published as "Activists WereQuick to Deny New Study Confirming Abortion-Breast Cancer Link,",10 Dec. 2013.
Ohlheiser, Abby. "Faulty Science Is Usedto Support Link Between Abortion and Breast Cancer." BreastCancer, edited by Dedria Bryfonski,Greenhaven Press, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints. OpposingViewpoints inContext, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010982217/OVIC?u=lirn99776&xid=dafeeaa3.Accessed 5 Dec. 2016. Originally published as "The FaultyScience of the Abortion-Breast Cancer Link," TheWire, 6 Dec. 2013.