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NCI Posts Revised Fact Sheet on Abortion and Breast Cancer

The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes for Health, which drew criticism for altering a fact sheet last fall on the so-called link between abortion and breast cancer, posted a revised fact sheet on Friday concluding that abortion does not increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. That conclusion was reached after a three-day NCI conference last month, where over 100 of the world’s leading breast cancer experts confidently announced that the strongest statistical evidence shows no link between abortion and breast cancer.

This finding foils the latest attempt by the Bush Administration and its anti-abortion supporters to impose a conservative ideology on the evidence-based scientific and medical community. Last fall, NCI modified a fact sheet that had previously stated that scientific evidence overwhelmingly denied the link between abortion and breast cancer; the revised fact sheet called the data “inconsistent.”

“While I’m pleased that the new NCI fact sheet is consistent again with the strongest statistical evidence in stating that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer, it’s interesting to note that this fact sheet’s wording is significantly watered down compared to the 1996 fact sheet,” said Beth Jordan, MD, medical director of the Feminist Majority Foundation. The 1996 NCI fact sheet stated in its opening sentences, “A public information campaign is currently stating that women who have had an induced abortion are more likely to develop breast cancer and suffer a deadlier form of the disease. In fact, these statements misrepresent the information in the scientific literature.”

“The current NCI fact sheet benefits from the landmark Danish study disproving the link as well as the review of 100 of the world’s leading researchers studying pregnancy and breast cancer risk. One would have hoped for the language of the new fact sheet to reflect these findings and be even stronger than the 1996 fact sheet, but politics are clearly still influencing science at the world’s leading scientific research center,” said Dr. Jordan. “Let’s hope that the Bush administration will finally put this issue to rest and go on with the important business of conducting research truly designed to make an impact in improving women’s health.”

LEARN MORE Read the transcript of a chat with FMF Medical Director Beth Jordan, MD, on “Religion vs. Science” under the Bush Administration

Sources:

NCI 3/21/03; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 3/20/03; Feminist Daily News Wire

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