Medicine & Science

Sinister Media Scam: CBS, Associated Press, misrepresent the abortion-breast cancer link

Slanted news coverage on the abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link late last year signaled the abortion industry’s anxious concern that more than a dozen states are considering legislation requiring doctors and state health departments to inform women about the ABC connection.

CBS and the Associated Press (AP) provided misleading news coverage in November to create the impression that there is little or no medical debate presently taking place on the ABC link. Both news outlets refused to report that five medical groups recognize abortion as a cause of breast cancer while a sixth group has called for “full disclosure” of a “highly plausible” link.

In the words of Dan Zanoza of Republicans for a Fair Media (RFFM), “I have been the director of RFFM for 10 years. However, on Thanksgiving night, the CBS Evening News violated nearly every journalistic tenet of objectivity and fairness concerning the reporting of a news story it ran regarding ‘attempts to limit a woman’s right to an abortion.’… This may be the most egregious example of agenda-based journalism RFFM has witnessed in over a decade.”


After the scandal involving Dan Rather’s use of forged documents during the presidential election, one might have expected CBS Evening News to pursue a higher standard of integrity. Instead, this program can only be characterized as “ambush.” CBS correspondent Cynthia Bowers falsely assured me that she wanted to give “equal time” to both sides of the issue. However, not a single portion of my 25-minute interview ever aired. Towards the end of it, Bowers abandoned her position of neutrality and identified herself as an abortion supporter.

Bowers also interviewed Jeanette Joyce, but censored her expert credentials. Joyce is a medical writer, a frequent lecturer and a registered mammography technician. She’s spent many years writing mammography courses and researching breast cancer, and is a board member of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer.

Nevertheless, CBS only identified her as “Jeanette,” a post-abortive woman who later developed breast cancer. Bowers falsely claimed that Joyce didn’t want her last name used. It wasn’t possible to tell that Joyce’s viewpoint differed from Planned Parenthood’s spokesperson, Vanessa Cullins, MD. Nor was it possible to tell that a second expert’s opinion—that of Jane Orient, MD, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons—differed from Dr. Cullins.

The Lancet

CBS and the AP also reported that the British journal The Lancet published a “review” of the ABC studies last year finding “no link” between abortion and the disease. Even though they represented that research as authoritative, the news outlets refused to reveal that numerous other medical experts harshly criticized The Lancet paper and identified serious flaws in it.

Edward Furton, editor of Ethics and Medics, a medical journal published by the National Catholic Bioethics Center, condemned The Lancet for “[p]icking conclusions ahead of time and arranging the evidence to support them.” He chastised the scientific community at-large for being unwilling “to speak out against the shoddy research that is being advanced by those who deny the abortion-breast cancer link.” Furton concluded, “When the public learns that a causal link between abortion and breast cancer has been downplayed by the scientific community—for reasons that are ideological rather than factual—the feeling of betrayal will be strong.”

CBS and the AP also chose not to tell women that there are recognized as well as contested breast cancer risks of abortion. The recognized reproductive risk factors for the disease include childlessness, small family size, delaying the birth of a first child, and little or no breastfeeding. Scientists (including the authors of The Lancet “review”) say the best way to prevent breast cancer is to have more children, starting before age 24, and breastfeed them longer. As one commentator wisely observed, a woman cannot breastfeed her aborted baby.


AP’s cover-up is more alarming than the CBS scam. After all, AP is the largest news agency worldwide, with some 15,000 bureaus in 115 countries using AP as a primary source.

During an interview with AP, Dr. Cullins told reporter Laura Meckler that women shouldn’t be told about the breast cancer risk because it puts a “false guilt trip” on women. (an odd admission from the nation’s largest abortion provider.) No other risk factor has merited this kind of hoodwink.

Meckler also coaxed Louisiana health officials into withdrawing a statement informing women about the ABC link from the health department’s website. She asked health officials why they retained the statement when the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) denies an ABC link. Louisiana officials confirmed the NCI’s position and immediately removed the health warning.

The NCI issued a statement in 2003 denying a link between abortion and increased breast cancer risk. The NCI, however, never challenged the biological explanation for the ABC link. It cannot do so because the explanation is physiologically correct. The government’s “findings” of “no link” runs contrary to 46 years of published epidemiological, biological and experimental evidence. Its statement is at war with itself because it recognizes that childbearing protects against the disease.


The NCI has far from a perfect research track record. The organization was dismally slow in recognizing a tobacco-cancer link. Despite decades of research and a mounting death toll, its expert Dr. W.C. Heuper told the New York Times in 1954:

“It may be concluded that the existing evidence neither proves nor strongly indicates that tobacco smoking and especially cigarette smoking represent a major or even predominating causal factor in the production of cancers of the respiratory tract and are the main reason for the phenomenal increase of pulmonary tumors during recent decades. If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one, if judged from the evidence on hand.”

Many others, including Dr. David Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, write that the tobacco industry used its extraordinary wealth to purchase the caches of leading scientists (including a past leader of the NCI and the American Cancer Society), key journalists, the nation’s foremost cancer research facilities, and even the American Medical Association. If the tobacco industry could corrupt science, then why not any other wealthy industry?

Abortion-injured women will not find justice until more women sue abortion doctors for failing to warn them about the breast cancer risk. A handful of lawsuits have already been filed across the country. The first U.S. lawsuit was settled late last year. The abortion industry might someday be facing what the tobacco industry has had to face—massive lawsuits filed throughout the country.

Karen Malec is president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. For more information on the ABC link and the Coalition’s work, visit

The breast cancer risk

The contested breast cancer risk has to do with whether an abortion leaves a woman’s breasts with more places for cancer to develop. Research shows there is only one mechanism that matures a woman’s breast tissue into cancer-resistant tissue—a third trimester process in pregnancy.

Girls are born with primitive, cancer-vulnerable breast lobules, known as TDLU’s, or terminal ductal lobular units. Cancers are known to develop in TDLU’s. During a normal pregnancy (not most miscarriages), the hormone, estrogen, stimulates the woman’s lobules to multiply and causes her breasts to grow larger.

At 32 weeks gestation, a process called “differentiation” protects her from the carcinogenic effects of estrogen by maturing her breast tissue into cancer-resistant lobules. The woman who has a full term pregnancy is left with more cancer-resistant tissue than she had before she became pregnant. Doctors further increase the post-abortive woman’s risk by prescribing oral contraceptives for her.

The process of differentiation explains why women with more children have a lower lifetime risk for breast cancer. By contrast, the woman who chooses to abort is left with more TDLU’s than she had before she became pregnant, and is therefore more susceptible to the disease.

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About the author

Karen Malec

Karen Malec is president of the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. For more information on the ABC link and the Coalition’s work, visit