August 27, 2002

RADLEY BALKO says that studies trying to link abortion and breast cancer are junk science. Excerpt:

As I noted below, epidemiologists rarely give much attention to any study with a risk ratio of less than 3.0 — that is, less than a 300% increase in likelihood of, in this case, breast cancer striking women who have had an abortion. Of the 63 studies on the abortion/breast cancer site, none poses a risk ratio of greater than 3.0. And, in fact, only two of them poses a risk ratio greater than 2.1, which is the risk ratio between pasteurized milk and lung cancer. Sixteen of the 63 represent either no increased risk at all, or actually show a negative risk — that is, women who had had abortions were less likely to get breast cancer. And over half of them — 35 — failed to show a risk ration of greater than 1.3%, what most epidemiologists consider to be the threshold of statistical significance.

So more of these studies showed no statistically significant link between abortion and breast cancer than did. Only two of 63 showed a higher correlation than a common, everday risk posed to us each time we put milk on our cereal. And none of the 63 showed a risk great enough to bump “correlation” into a possible “causation.”

Since Balko is pro-life, he deserves extra points for making this clear.

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