A women’s group has accused Redbook of misrepresenting research that associates breast cancer with induced abortion and the birth-control pill. The article, “Seven cancer facts you need to know now,” published in the September 2001 issue on sale today, denies the existence of an abortion-breast cancer link, calling it a “persistent rumor.”
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer seeks from Redbook an immediate and prominent retraction of the article. Karen Malec, president of the coalition, said, “They were just plain misleading and they bent the truth. Medical experts agree that breast-cancer risk is increased significantly each year that a first full-term pregnancy is postponed. This glaring omission of the facts reveals their ideological bent. We’re not surprised.”
As previously reported by WorldNetDaily, breast cancer is linked to reproductive hormones, particularly estrogen. Although science has yet to define specifically what causes breast cancer, it is uncontested that the sooner a woman has her first child, the lower her risk of developing breast cancer.
According to Dr. Joel Brind, president of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute and a leading researcher in what is commonly known as the “ABC link,” a woman’s estrogen level increases hundreds of times above normal upon conceiving – and one of the first physical changes to the pregnant woman’s body occurs in the breasts. That hormone surge leads to the growth of “undifferentiated” cells in the breast as the body prepares to produce milk for the coming baby. Undifferentiated cells are vulnerable to the effects of carcinogens, which can give rise to cancerous tumors later in life.
In the final weeks of a full-term pregnancy, those cells are “terminally differentiated” through a still largely unknown process and are ready to produce milk. Differentiated cells are not vulnerable to carcinogens. However, should a pregnancy be terminated prior to cell differentiation, the woman is left with abnormally high numbers of undifferentiated cells, therefore increasing her risk of developing breast cancer.
Most birth-control pills work by producing hormonal activity similar to that which occurs when conception takes place, thereby making it a suspicious agent in ABC link research as well.
The United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released guidelines on March 13, 2000, to its abortion providers last year cautioning them that ABC link research “cannot be disregarded.” The group also examined a 1996 review of the worldwide studies done by Brind, saying the doctor’s work was “carefully conducted” and “had no major methodological shortcomings.”
WorldNetDaily also previously reported that although 28 out of 35 studies published since 1957 have linked abortion with breast cancer, pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood continue to deny such a link exists and refuse to inform prospective abortion recipients of the studies. Planned Parenthood is being sued by three women in California Superior Court who allege that it makes “confusing, false, and misleading representations concerning the safety of abortion.”
A similar false-advertising lawsuit against an abortion clinic goes to trial today in North Dakota District Court. The plaintiff seeks to compel Red River Women’s clinic to inform women considering abortion about the evidence supporting increased risk of breast cancer.
The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international organization working to fill the gap in public knowledge about the increased risk, and to combat what it considers disinformation campaigns.
“As a cancer survivor, I am deeply disturbed by the Byzantine and egregious efforts of the abortion industry and its supporters in organized medicine to conceal the facts, just as the tobacco industry covered up a link between tobacco and cancer,” says Malec. “If experts like Redbook’s would only honestly represent the evidence of an ABC link, then women who’ve had abortions could take risk-reduction drugs (such as tamoxifen and raloxifene), and they’d be motivated to seek early detection of the disease.”
In the Redbook article, Dr. Mitchell Creinin of the University of Pittsburgh debunks the ABC link citing a single study. Yet the referenced 1997 Melbye study, itself, reported that “[w]ith each one week increase in the gestational age of the fetus … there was a three percent increase in the risk of breast cancer.”
Malec also points out that the Melbye study was “jettisoned” by its own publisher, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), three years after its publication.
“Had [Dr.] Creinin … properly researched these issues,” said Malec, “[he] would have learned that the NEJM published an article identifying abortion and oral contraceptives as possible ‘risk factors,’” asserts Malec.
The Redbook article also dubs the researched link between the birth-control pill and breast cancer as “myth,” again citing a single Oxford study as evidence.
The coalition disputes the argument made by Dr. Andrew Kaunitz of the University of Florida noting that the Oxford study was found to be flawed. Malec contends Kaunitz and Creinin dispute the links to breast cancer because of their involvement in research for contraception and abortion.
“Kaunitz led nationwide clinical trials to bring Lunelle, a new birth control method, to the marketplace. Creinin researched the use of ultrasound to determine the effectiveness of mifepristone and misoprostol (RU-486) for abortion. Many researchers are profiting from sales of contraceptives and abortions,” says Malec.
“Tragically, women will depend on Creinin’s and Kaunitz’s statements, and many will suffer and lose their lives because Redbook failed in its obligation to disseminate the truth,” she adds.
In response, Redbook’s executive editor Peggy Northrop tells WorldNetDaily, “We are committed to reporting any new facts that come up about this and any other issue having to do with reproductive health. But I think that reasonable people certainly disagree about this.”
Northrop defends the article’s reference to two experts stating, “We consulted experts that we know are concerned about women’s health. There are other experts that we consulted who are not in the story. Just because we only quoted two people does not mean we didn’t check this with others.”
Redbook’s Northrop also takes issue with Malec’s suggestion that women could take risk-reducing drugs.
“Since so many women have miscarriages and induced abortions, we believe that making women worry about choices they may not have been able to avoid in their life or taking drugs that are only given to high-risk women is irresponsible advice.”
The September issue of Redbook reportedly went into production last June. At that time the magazine was under heavy fire from feminist groups for snubbing the National Abortion Federation (NAF). Redbook had taken a stance contrary to many other women’s magazines and refused to run a NAF ad on the availability of the “Early Option” abortion pill (mifepristone/RU-486).
Redbook’s spokesman Paul Luthringer defended the decision, assailed by pro-abortion rights activists as “censorship,” by stating, “While Redbook prides itself on an open dialogue about sex, we must also walk a tightrope to satisfy regional mores that if engaged would negatively effect [sic] our business model.”