Abortion and Breast Cancer: Recall Bias

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In recent years a number of studies have found a link between abortion and breast cancer.

One common rebuttal offerred by pro-abortionists is to point out that most of the studies done to date have relied on interviewing women, asking them if they have ever had an abortion and asking them if they have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and then comparing their answers. So, the pro-aborts say, probably women who have breast cancer are more likely to remember and/or admit that they have had abortions, and so perhaps the real cancer rate is unaffected by abortion. They call this, "recall bias".

It's hard to imagine someone forgetting that she has had an abortion. But even if this happens, it is not exactly clear why women who do not have breast cancer would be more likely to forget than women who do. No doubt some women do not want to admit they have had abortions, but again, it is not clear why women who do not have breast cancer would be more likely to cover up or lie than women with breast cancer.

But an experiment done in Michigan way back in 1980 may shed further light on this part of the debate. According to a report in the American Journal of Pathology, August 1980, pp 497-511, cancer researchers injected a number of pregnant rats with DMBA, a cancer-causing substance. They then aborted half the rats; the other half were allowed to carry their pregnancies to term.

Among the aborted rats, 77% developed breast cancer. Among the completed-pregnancy rats, only 5.5% developed breast cancer.

As the researchers did not interview the rats to determine which had abortions, "recall bias" could not have been a factor.


Source: Cancer Awareness Canada
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Posted 9 Sep 2000.

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