By Hwaa Irfan
Modern science has contributed greatly to perceiving the human body as a mechanical object that can just be programmed via modern medicine (prescriptive drugs, pills, surgery etc) to respond in a way that fits our desired lifestyles. We go blind to possible consequences to perceiving our bodies in such a fashion, to the extent that we are now (deniably paying the price), when 40% of all unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. alone end in abortion. We have removed the sanctity of marriage, because we have become emotionally removed to be able to sustain a nurturing relationship in marriage, and to see marriage as the protective means by which children are raised. Increasingly as such, without that protection, modern science has given us the freedom to have sex without marriage, and if we get pregnant to simply abort. Problem solved, case dismissed, or is it!
We play with the notion of what constitutes life, in order to allow life to be eliminated from our bodies. We can’t feel what that life feels, so we tell ourselves that life was not life at all, but what if there we as women are directly affected by removing that life which we were designed to bring into this world? Pro-woman, longstanding expert in obstetrics and gynecology, Dr, Christine Northrup summed the situation up as follows:
“One thing I’ve learned over the years, is that there is no such thing as sexual freedom. I think that’s why I’ve always been uncomfortable with the phrase “abortion on demand.” Having worked in the area of women’s reproduction for years, I realize that the current abortion debate is a symptom of the much deeper problem… As long as women continue to sacrifice their bodies for sexual pleasure of men, we will get nowhere. And as long as abortion is seen solely as a “women’s issue” we’ll get nowhere.
“Many women who have had repeated abortions have told me that they later came to realize that their sexual acting-out with men was a form of self-abuse, stemming from their self-loathing, and lack of self esteem. “Abortion on demand” implies that having sex somehow can and should be divorced from the other aspects of our loives, such as the need to be nurtured, held, or respected. It implies that the same behavior that we find abhorrent in men – having sex with no heed for its consequences – is okay for women. Why would women want to imitate (some) men in the sexual arena? We should be resisting any sexual contact with men who don’t also respect our souls and our innermost selves.”
Lost in the politics of women’s health and kept away from public debate, there has been medical evidence that abortion is a contributory factor in the increased incidences of breast cancer. The first evidence was published in the April 1957 English edition of the Japanese Journal of Cancer Research. The study, led by Patrick Carroll, looked at breast cancer rates in Britain, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic. He found that:
“Breast cancer incidence has risen in parallel with rising abortion rates. There is no doubt there is a causal relationship”.
Many studies have failed to ascertain the relationship between abortion and cancer and have failed to distinguish between miscarriages and induced abortions, argues Professor Brind.
Since mammalians share similar reproductive systems, the study used rats and examined the terminal end buds (TEB) within the mammary glands where cancer usually occurs. These cells develop for lactation and remain undifferentiated until the end of the pregnancy. Full-term pregnancy resulted in the maturity of TEB’s. Prevention of the maturity of these cells led to cancerous cells later.
Researchers theorize that this is because during puberty and pregnancy there is excess estrogen available, causing the mammary glands increase in size. The surge of estrogen then leads to the growth of undifferentiated cells in the mammary glands as the body prepares to produce milk. The mechanisms that support estrogen levels are the hormones progesterone, which helps balance estrogen – especially after pregnancy; and melatonin which reduces excess estrogen. All normal mammary glands have estrogen receptors and in some cases cancer cells also have these receptors feeding the growth of the tumor.
In addition, researchers found that carrying a baby to full term prevented this estrogen surge from creating cancerous cells. This was because in the last weeks of pregnancy these receptors become terminally differentiated in a mechanism still not fully understood. Once differentiated, these cells are less vulnerable to carcinogens. In miscarriages, as well, the level of estradiol, or ovarian estrogen, is much lower.
On the other hand, in induced abortions, the level of estradiol is much higher in the understanding that the body is sustaining a viable pregnancy. Miscarriages usually occur in the first trimester and induced abortions usually occur in the second and third trimesters. In one study, doctors were able to predict 90% of miscarriages based on estradiol levels alone.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, does not support the association between abortion and breast cancer, focusing on studies heavily dependent on historical data. This is probably out of the need to advance artificial means of population control. In fact, the WHO, Oxford Family Planning Center in Britain reacted strongly to the 1971 study by Malcolm Pike et al., published in the British Journal of Cancer. Pike’s research found a two to four-fold increase in the risk of breast cancer with induced abortions, spontaneous abortions and oral contraceptives. To challenge this, the Oxford Center produced a very large study in Sweden that showed no relationship between them. However, they could not provide the answer as to how many women in this study had induced abortions.
The most controversial study pro-abortionists use is the large-scale epidemiological study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. Using Danish registries, the conclusion was that “induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer.” However, this was a retrospective study, and relied heavily on computerized records, which dated back to 1973. The records of abortions going back to 1939, when abortion became legal, were available but not used. There were also 63,401 women on record who had had abortions but were classified as not having had abortions.
While the debate continues, breast cancer, common in developed countries, is now increasing in developing countries. The risk of breast cancer among the general population is now close to 12%. For those who have never had children, it is closer to 20% and for those who have had no children and at least one abortion it is closer to 50%. In the U.S., there are 240,000 new breast cancer patients annually – with a small percentage of them being men. The cause in men is unknown and 70% of female cases have no identifiable risk factors. By the time breast cancer is detected by a mammogram, the cancer would have been six to eight years old.
Taking the issue to court in Australia, a woman reached a settlement with an abortionist she sued for not telling her about medical evidence that had linked abortion to breast cancer. Charles Francis, who represented this woman, had also represented others on the basis of the psychological consequences of abortion. He said:
“I had to go into all the evidence and the expert medical views for the purpose of presenting the case. It seemed to me, looking at it as a lawyer looking at evidence, the evidence was fairly strong – certainly strong enough, we thought, for [us to have] a good chance at winning.”
President of U.S.-based Coalition on Abortion-Breast Cancer, Karen Malec, further commented:
“The abortion industry and its medical experts know that it will be far more challenging for them to lie to women about the abortion – breast cancer link when they are called upon to testify under oath”.
Dr. Brind emphasizes the health risks when he concludes:
“Even if the baby is going to be a goner, for the sake of the mother, it is far better to carry the baby to term.”
It is precisely for the health of the woman and the respect for life that Islam strongly advises against abortion and at the same time recognizes the possible maternal health risks involved for certain women mothers if they continue with the pregnancy. “Women’s health is the issue, not abortion.” Dr. Brind concluded, “What gives anybody the right to use women or any patients of any medical procedure as pawns in a political battle, whether it be to preserve the reputation of ‘safe abortion or anything else”.
Abortionfacts.com. “The Breast Cancer-Abortion Connection” Heritage House Inc.
BBCNews. “Anger Over Abortion Cancer Study.” Health.
Brind, Joel. “Breast Cancer and Abortion: Compelling Evidence: Official Denial.”
Dew, Diane. S. “Abortion Increases Cancer Risk. “ The Standard.
Foster, Julie. “Abortion-Cancer Link Goes to Court.” Litigation.
Goodenough, Patrick. “First Case Settled Linking Abortion to Breast Cancer.” CNSNews.com.
NCI. “Fact Sheet 353: Cancer Facts.” National Cancer Institute.
Reuters Health. “India Crackdown on Abortion in Female Fetuses.” Medscape.com.
Reidenbach, Faith. “Clues to Why Breast Cancer More Fatal in Blacks.” MedlinePlus.
W.H.O. International. “Induced Abortion Does Not Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer.” WHO Int.
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