Abortion Breast Cancer (ABC) link dispute

Abortion advocates, cancer organisations and official medical publications claim that there is no credible evidence linking breast cancer with abortion.

  • Studies advocates use to substantiate their stance are claimed to be flawed, and they tend to ignore the majority of studies that indicate a link.
  • Many international studies (28 out of 37) have shown a significant link with breast cancer among women who have had abortions.
  • Women have successfully sued abortion providers for not informing them that abortion can increase risk of breast cancer.
  • Studies also show that abortions that occur among women who have not previously had a live birth are the most carcinogenic.
  • The World Conference on Breast Cancer acknowledged that "induced termination of pregnancies" was a risk factor for breast cancer.
The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority received a complaint from Dr Margaret Sparrow on behalf of the Abortion Law Reform Association New Zealand Inc (ALRANZ), concerning a newspaper advertisement placed by the New Zealand Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC).

The newspaper advertisement commenced with the bold heading:

"I wish they had told me about the breast cancer/abortion link. Surely I was entitled to fully informed consent?"

The advertisement then continued as follows:

"Many international studies have shown a probable link with breast cancer among women who have had abortions. These studies say the risk increases with the abortion of a woman's first pregnancy; if she is young; if she has had other abortions; and if she has not born children."

ALRANZ, was of the view that the SPUC advertisement informing women that there was a probable link between the likelihood of contracting breast cancer and the abortion of a first pregnancy, was misleading and likely to cause fear.

The Complaints Board therefore concurred with the view of the Complainant ALRANZ, that a more accurate warning would have included the word “possible” rather than “probable” as "probable" overstated the position.

The Board ruled to uphold the Complaint.

The full procedings can be read on the ASA website.

A mammography technician and medical educator found her own breast cancer in a routine screening. Researching everything she could find about breast cancer, she came across the abortion/breast cancer link. Read her story here.

Many official organisations around the world claim that there is no credible evidence linking breast cancer with abortion. Studies they use to substantiate their stane are claimed to be flawed, and they tend to ignore the majority of studies that indicate that there could be a link.

When it comes to abortion, official bodies consistently deny any significant complications or dangers. Read more here about official denial of abortion complications.

First settlement in the U.S.
The All Women's Health Services of Portland, Oregon settled a lawsuit filed by a woman who accused them of failing to inform her that abortion could increase her risk of breast cancer. The case is the first such suit to be settled in the United States.

A judge signed the settlement, the amount of which was not made public, on Jan. 24, 2005.

The lawsuit stated that the woman, who had an abortion in 2001 at the age of 15, wrote on a clinic intake form that she had a family history of breast cancer.

The clinic, however, failed to inform her that abortion could increase her risk of contracting the disease, despite studies showing that women who abort their first pregnancy have an increased risk of breast cancer.

A 1984 study by abortion rights researcher Janet Daling, showed that women under 18 who have a family history of breast cancer, face a high risk of breast cancer after abortion. 

Studies also reveal that abortions that occur among women who have not previously had a live birth, are the most carcinogenic (cancer-causing).

Jonathan Clark, the attorney handling the woman's case, said that although people in the county were inclined towards abortion, "In the trial setting, the science would have come under close scrutiny. . . . . As I read the studies, which we would have tried to bring into evidence, they often showed abortion does pose increased risk for breast cancer."

Twenty-eight out of 37 studies conducted globally have found a link between abortion and breast cancer. Cancer experts acknowledge that having a full-term pregnancy, before the age of 30, lowers a woman's risk of breast cancer.

In 1997 the World Conference on Breast Cancer acknowledged that "induced termination of pregnancies" was a risk factor for breast cancer. Read more here.

Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, says that "women have been told lies about the research and cruelly exploited by two industries -- the breast cancer fundraising industry and the abortion industry." 

Motivation for denial
Women's organisations as well as family planners have invested a great deal of time, effort and money in promoting abortion as the safe alternative to an unwanted pregnancy. In countries such as America, much  research money is controlled by organisations and individuals who support reproductive rights. Read more here

The breast cancer fundraising industry and the abortion industry are seen, by Malec and other opponents of abortion, as denying the abortion link with breast cancer, for reasons of political expediency. For them to officially come out and say that abortion is even potentially harmful to women would create controversy that could lose them funding and support.