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Head In The Sand

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November 2009

The Book of Genesis says that God created the land animals on the sixth day. It must have been a fun day. Needing a good tree trimmer, He created the long-legged, longer-necked giraffe. For controlling those unruly herds of antelope, He came up with the rhinoceros. Long before baby strollers were a hit, He gave mama kangaroos a pouch. Not content with just having white horses and black horses, He made that black-and-white striped model.

Then there’s the ostrich, the largest and heaviest living bird. For whatever reason, God didn’t want it to fly. He sure did want it to run. Able to cover sixteen feet in a single stride, an ostrich can cruise at 31 mph and hit speeds of 43 mph. If cornered, the ostrich is one tough old bird. It has a four-inch claw on each foot and can kick a lion to death. But one bit of ostrich fact is not fact at all: an ostrich does not bury its head in the sand. Too bad we can’t say the same about ourselves.

The human body is perhaps God’s greatest work of art, an amazing combination of bones, muscles, joints, tissues, organs, nerves, vessels, and fluids all functioning as one. With proper diet, exercise, and balanced work and rest, our bodies can run for decades. But abuse our bodies and we get into trouble. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.

Of course, even if we keep ourselves in the best shape, we’re all subject to disease. And for years, the disease taking center stage has been breast cancer. There’s a good reason for it. Breast cancer is the greatest cancer killer among women between ages 20 and 59. In 2005, approximately 186,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer; over 41,000 women died from it. The incidence of breast cancer increases dramatically as women age. Before age 30, one in every 2,525 women is diagnosed with it. By age 45, it’s one in every 94 women.

Over the last 30+ years, there has been about a 40% rise in the incidence of breast cancer here. For the last 36 years, abortion has been readily available. Other countries have also reported significant increases following the legalization of abortion. Coincidence? Scientists have been researching a possible link between abortion and breast cancer. A 1957 study found that women having abortions were nearly three times more likely to develop breast cancer than those who did not.

The medical studies have identified two risk factors. The first is known as the “independent risk.” A woman’s breasts enlarge during pregnancy. Her hormones estrogen and progesterone increase the number of her lobules (a duct and milk glands). As lobules develop, she is at increased risk of breast cancer. But as her pregnancy moves to full term, her baby’s hormones help mature her breasts into cancer-resistant tissue. By full term, 85% of her breast tissue is cancer resistant. Abortion interrupts this process, leaving more places for cancer to start. An early miscarriage does not create the same risk because a woman’s hormone levels are usually too low. And because abortion often causes premature delivery in later pregnancies, the woman remains at increased risk.

A second risk factor flows from the delay in childbearing. It is universally recognized that a married woman decreases her risk of breast cancer by not postponing her first full-term pregnancy. One study reports a 3.5% increase in risk for each year of delay. The ready availability of abortion causes women to delay pregnancy until later years, a decision that increases the risk of breast cancer.

How solid is the science? About 70 studies have been conducted on the link between breast cancer and abortion. Approximately 80% of them have reported that abortion is a risk factor for breast cancer. Just this year, a U.S.-Turkish hospital study reported a 66% increased risk of breast cancer among Turkish women who had abortions. Natural miscarriage did not increase the risk.

Unfortunately, the strong evidence of an abortion-breast cancer link is not being shared with women. Back in 1994, renowned researcher Dr. Janet Daling found a 50% increased risk caused by abortion. Her work was criticized even after she told the world that she was pro-choice. In 2003, the National Cancer Institute declared that there was no link at all. Groups like Planned Parenthood and Susan G. Komen for the Cure deny any link. President Obama recently authorized millions of taxpayer dollars to kill human embryos but so far has not authorized a penny to research the link. Why the silence?

It’s because big-abortion has placed ideology, political power, and profit ahead of women’s health. Immorality aside, abortion is an act against nature, an act of war on a woman’s body. Ironically, a medical procedure that treats an unborn baby as a cancer increases the risk of that mother’s cancer. Yet for 30+ years abortion rights advocates and politicians have wrongly sold women on the “safety” of abortion. For the sake of their own interests, they remain quiet. For the sake of the women, we must speak.

On the sixth day God also made us, His greatest creations. And though we’re a whole lot different from the ostrich, we do share one thing in common. We were not created to stick our heads in the sand either.

Paul V. Esposito is a Catholic lawyer who writes on a variety of pro-life topics. He and his wife Kathy live in Elmhurst, Illinois, where they raise their six kids.

© Paul V. Esposito 2009. Culture of Life. Permission to copy and distribute for pro-life purposes is granted. Comments? Visit us at

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