Dear Friends:

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in its July 29, 2005 press release that a team of scientists has determined that combined oral contraceptives (estrogen plus progestogen) and combined menopausal therapy are "carcinogenic to humans." Menopausal therapy was formerly classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."  It has been upgraded to a Group 1 classification, "sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans."  Oral contraceptives received the same classification.

This provides additional biological support for a link between abortion and increased breast cancer risk.  All three risks involve estrogen overexposure.

The WHO findings have public policy implications for politicians and their bureaucrats who are playing politics with women's lives.  The Food and Drug Administration will decide whether to make Plan B, the "morning-after pill," available for over-the-counter sales.  Plan B is a high dose of oral contraceptives.

The governors of several states are forcing pharmacists against their consciences to fill prescriptions for Plan B and oral contraceptives. They're telling women that hormonal contraceptives are necessary for their "reproductive health."  All of it is designed to improve pharmaceutical sales and to win votes from clueless left-wing "women's groups."

Public policy implications also exist for schools whose health educators educate students on the use of hormonal contraceptives.

Your job is to be an activist and to spread the word.

Karen Malec
Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer


World Health Organization: Oral Contraceptives and Menopausal Therapy Are 'Carcinogenic to Humans'' / Scientists' Findings Provide Additional Biological Support for an Abortion-Breast Cancer Link

The World Health Organization (WHO) distributed a press release late last month announcing that a review of published scientific evidence conducted by a group of 21 scientists in eight countries has concluded that combined oral contraceptives (estrogen plus progestogen) and combined menopausal therapy are "carcinogenic to humans." [1]  Their research was conducted under the auspices of the IARC Monographs Programme of the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The British journal, Lancet Oncology, carried an article discussing the WHO findings this month.  Its authors, Vincent Cogliano and his colleagues, reported, "Most combined contraceptives are taken orally, but they can also be delivered by injection, transdermal patch, or vaginal ring." [2]

Findings Support Abortion-Cancer Link

Their findings provide additional biological support for a link between abortion and increased breast cancer risk.  The biological reason for all three risks is based on overexposure to the female hormone, estrogen, a recognized carcinogen.

The WHO press release indicates that the birth control pill increases a woman's risk for cancers of the breast, cervix and liver, but it decreases risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers. [3]

Public Policy Implications

The WHO's findings have serious public policy implications for governors of states that are coercing pharmacists to fill prescriptions for birth control and the morning-after pill, which is a high dose of oral contraceptives. Additional implications exist for the Food and Drug Administration, which is contemplating whether to permit over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill.

The WHO's findings should be of special concern for doctors, as well as the parents of childless adolescents and young women.  Research shows they are the most susceptible when exposed to carcinogens because of the immaturity of their breast tissue. [4,5,6] It should be of special concern in school districts whose health departments have been educating adolescents for years about the supposed need to use oral contraceptives.

Oral Contraceptives Increase Risk for Some Cancers, Decrease Risk for Others

The WHO press release indicates that the birth control pill increases a woman's risk for cancers of the breast, cervix and liver, but it decreases risk of endometrial and ovarian cancers. It says that "it is possible that the overall net public health outcome may be beneficial, but a rigorous analysis is required to demonstrate this" on a country-by-country basis and to "consider the effects on non-malignant diseases."

It's senseless to urge American women to use oral contraceptives for the purpose of reducing risk of ovarian cancer. In the U.S., breast cancer is the second greatest female cancer killer. Ovarian cancer is the fourth greatest female cancer killer.

The total number of expected female deaths from liver, breast and cervical cancer for this year is more than two times greater than the total number of expected deaths from ovarian and endometrial cancer. [7]

Minimizing the Risk

The WHO press release says, "There is a small increase in the risk of breast cancer in current and recent users of oral contraceptives." It is scientifically accurate to refer to a 24% risk increase as "slight" or "small," but such a statement misleads the majority of women who are not medical or scientific experts.  Many of these women might conclude that a small risk is "no big deal."

Abortion supporters often use the same argument when speaking of the abortion-breast cancer link. However, here's the problem.  When an already high lifetime risk of breast cancer for the average American woman (13.4%) is increased by just a small percentage (24%), that means that many thousands more women will develop the disease than would otherwise have developed it.

The WHO press release says reassuringly, "However, ten years after cessation of use, the risk appears to be similar to that in never-users."  The truth is, this isn't reassuring at all.  It takes eight to ten years to develop breast cancer.  If the woman hasn't developed cancer in eight to ten years after quitting oral contraceptives, she probably isn't going to develop the disease as a result of using the drugs.

Some experts say they will continue to prescribe oral contraceptives because the studies were based on higher dose oral contraceptives, not low dose oral contraceptives.  Yet, one commentator cleverly responded, "Is a little arsenic better than a lot of arsenic, or is it still poison?"

One might compare the argument to the development of low tar and nicotine cigarettes that the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the tobacco companies foisted on the American public in the 1970's.  They told Americans that these cigarettes were "less carcinogenic," but this turned out to be untrue.

Chris Kahlenborn, MD, author of the book, Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, reported in his book that low dose oral contraceptives are more dangerous because they contain more potent progestins. The progestins used in these drugs make the breast cells divide more rapidly, and this causes cell division errors or DNA errors.  When the progestins are omitted, however, women develop endometrial cancer.

Combined Menopausal Therapy

The WHO reports that combined menopausal therapy increases the risk of breast cancer and endometrial cancer. There was insufficient evidence to establish that menopausal therapy provided protection from any cancers.  The WHO claims there are "beneficial and adverse effects other than cancer" for women who use combined estrogen-progestogen menopausal therapy, but further assessment is needed.

The WHO upgraded the classification for combined menopausal therapy from "possibly carcinogenic to humans" to a Group 1 classification, "sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans."

A Trail of Deception

Although the National Toxicology Advisory Panel of the National Cancer Institute did not recognize estrogen as a carcinogen until 2001, cancer researchers knew at least as early as 1988 that estrogen is a carcinogen. [3] In fact, the most effective breast cancer treatments in use work by impeding the effect of estrogen or preventing its formation in the patient.

Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy should have been identified as risk factors after the publication of the award-winning Henderson lecture in 1988, entitled "Estrogens as a cause of human cancer." [3]

The Henderson lecture acknowledged the abortion-cancer link, and it was cited in the 1991 and 1998 editions of an authoritative medical text, The Breast, to support a statement that, "first-trimester abortion increases (breast cancer) risk." [8] The medical text is used by breast disease specialists.

Strangely, in a table listing the risk factors for breast cancer, the 2004 edition of The Breast identifies hormone replacement therapy as a risk factor for breast cancer, but oral contraceptives and abortion are improperly listed as having "no effect."

Furthermore, the text of the 2004 edition contradicts what is reported in the table (and a busy doctor might only read the table, not the text itself).  The text reports a 24% increase in risk among users of oral contraceptives.  That's pretty close to the 26% risk increase reported by the Women's Health Initiative for users of hormone replacement therapy. [9]

One would expect the risk increases associated with using oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy to be similar because both contain steroidal estrogens and progestins.

The text of the 2004 edition of The Breast includes a discussion of the abortion-breast cancer link; and it, too, contradicts what is reported in the table.  It reports a 38% increase in risk for women who have abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Why Teens Are Especially Cancer-Vulnerable

Estrogen overexposure is particularly harmful for women who've never had a full term pregnancy.

Childless women are the most cancer vulnerable because they have primitive Types 1 and 2 lobules, otherwise known as "terminal ductal lobular units" (TDLU's). [4,5,6] Cancers are known to develop in TDLU's. Childless teenagers and women who use oral contraceptives are using these drugs during the most cancer-vulnerable period in their lives.  The estrogen in oral contraceptives stimulates the young woman's TDLU's.

A woman's breast tissue isn't matured into cancer-resistant, milk-producing tissue - Types 3 and 4 lobules - until the third trimester of pregnancy. During this trimester, a maturation process called "differentiation" protects her from estrogen overexposure that takes place starting early in a normal pregnancy.

Tragically, many physicians recommend abortions for teenagers and childless women. After the abortions are performed, doctors "add fuel to the fire" and further raise breast cancer risk by prescribing oral contraceptives.

Doctors prescribe drugs containing estrogen for teenagers with relatively insignificant problems, such as acne or irregular menstrual cycles. Antibiotics can be used to treat acne. Having irregular menstrual cycles is a good thing. It means that the adolescent is being exposed to less estrogen every month and, therefore, has a reduced breast cancer risk.

Morning-After Pill: High-dose Oral Contraceptives

The World Health Organization's findings have serious implications for public policy. For instance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to make Plan B (the morning after pill) available for sale over-the-counter. Plan B is a high dose of oral contraceptives.

The governors of several states, including Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, are busy playing politics with women's bodies.  They're imposing rules on pharmacists that obligate them to fill prescriptions for oral contraceptives and the morning after pill (MAP).  The governors are siding up to quisling women's groups and pharmaceutical companies that promote sales of hormonal contraceptives.  Feminist dogma says it's necessary "for women's reproductive health." The governors appear determined to gain brownie points from feminists and pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Kahlenborn offered his medical opinion on the carcinogenicity of the MAP.  He said:

"Since the WHO declared oral contraceptives to be carcinogenic, then the MAP, which is composed of high-dose oral contraceptives, has the potential to be carcinogenic if taken frequently; women who take the MAP five times a month are taking an equivalent of a full month's worth of oral contraceptives.   There are no specific studies on the carcinogenic potential of the MAP; however, given the WHO's new position, one must acknowledge that the MAP certainly has the potential to cause breast cancer." [10]

He that has ears to hear, let him hear.  Governor Blagojevich and Hillary Clinton, can you hear?


1. Press Release No. 167, "IARC Monographs Programme Finds Combined Estrogen-Progestogen Contraceptives (the "pill") and Menopausal Therapy Are Carcinogenic to Humans," World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer, July 29, 2005. See

2. Cogliano V, et al. Carcinogenicity of combined oestrogen-progestagen contraceptives and menopausal treatment. Lancet Oncology 2005;6:552-553.

3. Henderson BE, Ross R, Bernstein L. Estrogen is a cause of human cancer: The Richard and Hilda Rosenthal Foundation Award Lecture. Cancer Res 1988;48:246-53.

4. Russo J, Reina D, Frederick J, et al. Expression of phenotypical changes by human breast epithelial cells treated with carcinogens in vitro. Cancer Res 1988;48:2837-2857.

5. Russo J, Russo IH. Development of the human mammary gland. In Neville MD, Daniel C (ed). The Mammary Gland, Plenum, NY 1987:67-93.

6. Vorher H. The Breast, Academic, New York 1974:1-18.

7. "Estimated New Cancer Cases and Deaths by Sex for All Sites, US, 2005," American Cancer Society, Inc., Surveillance Research. Statistics include female deaths due to cancer of the liver and the intrahepatic bile duct.

8. Robert B. Dickson, Ph.D., Marc E. Lippman, MD, "Growth Regulation of Normal and Maglignant Breast Epithelium," The Breast: Comprehensive Management of Benign and Malignant Diseases, edited by Kirby I. Bland MD and Edward M. Copeland III, MD; (1998) W.B. Saunders Company; 2nd edition; Vol 1, p.519.

9. Writing group for the Women's Health Initiative Investigators. Risks and benefits of estrogen plus progestin in healthy postmenopausal women. JAMA 2002;288:321-33.

10. Personal correspondence from Chris Kahlenborn, MD.


The Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer is an international women's organization founded to protect the health and save the lives of women by educating and providing information on abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

Tax-deductible, credit card donations can be made at Donations can be mailed to: the Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer, P.O. Box 957133, Hoffman Estates, IL 60195. The IRS recognizes the coalition as a 501(c)3 organization.


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