Claiming that formula is dangerous is like claiming that abortion causes cancer

Newborn in mother's hands

Opponents are clear about one thing; women don’t understand the risks. They aren’t giving informed consent because they aren’t fully informed. Sure, they may be counseled about the major risks, the ones that could kill you, but deaths are rare. The other complications are so much more common. If women only knew of the myriad risks, they’d never choose it in the first place.

Opponents recommend far more extensive counseling, preferably counseling that takes place long before the decision needs to be made. They helpfully offer books and websites as well as in person counseling about ALL the risks, not just the ones that doctors deign to mention.

Inevitably there has been a backlash against the opponents but the opponents claim the high ground with the retort: “Are you saying that there are NO risks?” Everyone knows that there are risks and that comment exposes those in favor as being the lying, evil people that they are. Opponents are providing a valuable service by carefully and extensively counseling women about the risks. Once they know, they will reject the choice.

Think I’m talking about anti-choice advocates who work tirelessly to prevent women from choosing abortion? Think again.

I’m talking about lactivists and formula.

Don’t believe me? Consider the passive-aggressive, utterly tone deaf response of Fraser Health, The choice is yours: supporting moms to reach their baby feeding goals, to criticism of its breastfeeding “contract,” which I wrote about yesterday (Mom shaming is the new slut shaming). Sidney Harper, lactation consultant and Project Development Nurse, Baby Friendly Initiative, wrote:

What I find most interesting is that our culture seems to be comfortable hearing about the benefits of breastfeeding but seems uncomfortable talking about the risks of artificial baby milks or formula. Research has shown that there are higher chances of colds, flu, ear infections, diarrhea and vomiting among other illnesses with formula use.

It is easy to turn to formula when breastfeeding challenges present themselves. Mothers who deliver their babies in Fraser Health are offered support and encouragement to increase their confidence and meet their own breastfeeding goals whether in hospital or at home in their community.

Breastfeeding is normal and for most babies any breastfeeding is good. If a woman is breastfeeding but is advised by a health care provider that formula is needed, formula is given as we would give a medicine – the right amount of formula for the right period of time can be very useful.

Channeling Henry Ford who famously described the color choices for the Model T thus:

Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants so long as it is black.

For Harper,  any new mother can make any choice of infant feeding so long as it is breastfeeding.

It’s not a coincidence that lactivists like Harper and the Fraser Health “Baby Friendly” Initiative have taken a page from anti-choice activists. They both have the same aim: to conceal their true purpose while pretending that they are concerned about informed consent, trying to place any and all obstacles to formula feeding in the path of women who might choose it.

Neither group feels constrained by the truth. Reasoning that the ends justify the means, both groups routinely exaggerate and even fabricate “risks.” Seeking, above all else, validation of their personal philosophical beliefs, both groups struggle to convince women who would choose differently that those choices are wrong. Both groups have zero regard for what happens to women once they reject the disapproved choice. They care about women up to the moment that they are forced into the “correct” decision; whatever happens afterward must simply be endured by the women they have duped.

Most of is can easily recognize the tactics of anti-choice activists for what they are, mendacious attempts to force women to make approved decisions. Most of us can easily recognize that the pregnancy “support” centers have no interest in supporting pregnancy and certainly have no interest in supporting the babies that result from those pregnancies. They are exclusively concerned with foisting their philosophical views on everyone else. Their pious bleating about “informed consent” masks their true motivation.

We should recognize the tactics of lactivists for what they are, mendacious attempt to force women to breastfeed or feel guilty if they don’t We should recognize that breastfeeding “contracts” have nothing to do with supporting women in finding the choice that is best for them. Advocates are exclusively concerned with foisting their parenting views on everyone else. Their pious bleating about “informed consent” masks their true motivation.

In responding to the criticism, Fraser Health should try again. They should withdraw the breastfeeding contract immediately, and issue an apology for ever using it in the first place.

301 Responses to “Claiming that formula is dangerous is like claiming that abortion causes cancer”

  1. sankoji
    September 5, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    “Their pious bleating about ‘informed consent’ masks their true motivation.”


  2. Who?
    August 30, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    The World Congress of Families aren’t letting the facts get in the way of whipping up a bit of self-righteous frenzy among the righteous.

  3. Hannah
    August 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

    Sadly, many of the ones claiming abortions cause cancer will be among those claiming formula is dangerous. It may be an apt parallel, but especially in cases of Patriarchal religious movements, there is going to be a huge crossover among the people who believe those two things.

  4. Guesteleh
    August 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion. Discusses how women in countries where abortion is prohibited are using drugs to end their pregnancies.

    • attitude devant
      August 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Thank you for posting that. My dad, who was famously arch-conservative, interned at Cook County Hospital in the 1940s. They had a special ward where they treated the women who were dying from botched abortions. This was pre-antibiotics so there was little that could be done for most of them. He never forgot the horror….or the smell. When I was a junior in med school he pulled me aside and told me that making abortion safe and available was a moral imperative that I must obey. I was so shocked (he was a staunch Republican and very protective of his daughters) that I could hardly reply.

      Misoprostil —- fabulous stuff. Those poor Irish women.

      • Dr Kitty
        August 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

        Northern Ireland has always had a higher use of diclofenac than the rest of the UK.
        I have always wondered if that was due to the obvious market here for arthrotec (diclofenac+misoprostol).

        Certainly I know that women here are choosing online pharmacies rather than a flight to England more and more often.

        I think the Cicada Collective needs to get their act together though- if you are in a position to get illegal abortion drugs, you should be able to get your hands on actual pain killers.
        I’d take 800mg of Ibuprofen and 1gram of paracetamol over coconut water and aromatherapy any day of the week, but I’d much rather have some Oxycodone.

        If you’re having a miscarriage or medical abortion you need effective pain relief.

        I used to write medically managed miscarriage patients up for 60mg Codeine QDS+Diclofenac 75mg BD+Paracetamol 1G QDS.

        • Ash
          August 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

          And go to prison for distributing oxycodone in the US? I think there’s a reason why they are not doing so.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

            But they are already illegally obtaining medications for abortion, which is a felony.

            My point is, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, or at least try and offer some effective analgesia (OTC NSAIDs and Acetominophen/paracetamol, which are legal) rather than lavender and wishful thinking.

            Nothing stopping a woman from seeing her primary care physician or an ER presenting as a spontaneous miscarriage and requesting pain relief, and really I think that should be the (legal) option encouraged.

            Unless a woman disclosed she had induced an abortion, no one would have any way of knowing or any reason to investigate.

          • Ash
            August 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

            My understanding is that the group called the Cicada Collective, located in the US, doesn’t provide drugs.

            “The training included a session on the basics of how misoprostol and
            mifepristone are administered in clinics and how to help ease the
            discomfort of miscarriage. (The group brainstormed ideas: Breathing.
            Tea. Aromatherapy. Coconut water. Heating pads. Peppermint oil.) But
            Sabat and the other trainers steered clear of any mention of how to get
            misoprostol and mifepristone online or anywhere else outside a clinic.”

        • Mishimoo
          August 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

          I just want to say thank you for doing your best to manage miscarriage pain. I’ve had 3 OP births with back labour, nuchal hand/arm, nuchal cord, and 1 with mild shoulder dystocia in the mix – all of which were done without pain relief. They did not come anywhere near as painful as the miscarriage I had. They were 4-6/10, it was 10/10. It was the most painful thing I have ever done, and all I was told that I could have was 2 panadol every 6-8 hours. So thank you for being an awesome doctor and providing great care!

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

            I see no reason to make a sucky situation even suckier.

  5. Siri
    August 28, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    OT, but I have to share: A meeting has been called by an infant feeding specialist and a local children’s centre to discuss my team’s poor breastfeeding rates in a specific area. I’m going along to remind them that mode if feeding is not an outcome, but a process; the outcome is whether or not a baby thrives. Also, ‘my team’ doesn’t feed babies; individual mothers/parents do, and it’s not for us to start wringing our hands just because they are making the ‘wrong’ choice. Wish me luck!!

    • fiftyfifty1
      August 28, 2014 at 8:37 am #

      Knock ’em dead Siri!

    • Dr Kitty
      August 28, 2014 at 9:21 am #

      It is one thing if someone really wants to breastfeed, and can’t.
      It is another if someone really DOESN’T WANT to breastfeed and is being co-erced into it.

      I’m guessing the specific area in question has a high deprivation index, and a lot of teen mums still living with their families.
      My guess is these women
      a) See their breasts as primarily sexual and don’t want to use them to feed a baby
      b) Like handing the baby off to other relatives so that can go out and still enjoy being young, and’ don’t want to be tied to a pumping or feeding schedule.
      c) Just don’t see why they should bother, because literally everyone else they knows formula feeds and no harm appears to be done.

    • wookie130
      August 29, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

      Good luck…you are 100% spot on with your views, I believe, and kudos to you for giving them a voice at this meeting!

  6. Sue
    August 27, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    One line gives her away:

    “formula is given as we would give a medicine”.

    Nope. Formula is food.

    • fiftyfifty1
      August 28, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      The person who wrote that is so sanctimonious that she probably considers herself generous for not calling it poison.

  7. August 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Looks like an apology will be forthcoming!

    • auntbea
      August 27, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

      Looks like when you have been publicly outed as being in clear violation of medical ethics, someone in the legal department starts getting a move on.

    • theadequatemother
      August 27, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

      I hope the document also gets pulled from use and I would encourage the hospital to do some work with patient experience around the BFHI program. I am sure this contract isn’t an isolate incident of mother shaming or bastardization of the evidence to fit an agenda. While you have their ear demand a review of policies and patient experience around breastfeeding and mandatory rooming in etc

  8. Who?
    August 27, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Well as recently as a week or so ago a senior Australian federal government minister claimed that abortion is linked to breast cancer:

    He’s been roundly shouted down by pretty much everyone, and claimed he was cut off, misquoted, taken out of context and generally treated like a woman (okay I made that last bit up, but you see where I’m coming from).

    This is all linked to the World Congress of Familiies, to be held in Melbourne shortly.

    • Sue
      August 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

      There is an organised movement amongst the anti-abortion lobby that runs this breast cancer trope – I have come across them (and debated them) on The Conversation. They failed to see my point that, since up around 10% of early pregnancies end in miscarriage (spontaneous abortion), they should be much more worried about that than induced abortion. They wanted to argue that the effect on breast development was somehow different – even though either form of abortion could occur at widely varying gestational ages.

      Their rationale is very tenuous, but they are very persistent.

      • Who"
        August 27, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

        You’re very patient.

        The Conversation published a piece by a cancer (I think) specialist who is now fielding questions from breast cancer patients wanting to know whether their abortion caused their cancer. The doc said she never asks about abortion re breast cancer because it isn’t relevant, but that this ‘report’ gave sick patients one more thing to feel rotten about.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          August 28, 2014 at 7:34 am #

          This is an important point.

          You know, once you have breast cancer, the only reason it matters why you got it is if it helps you get better.

          IF it even were true that someone got breast cancer from an abortion, so what? That doesn’t help them.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 28, 2014 at 8:35 am #

          “The doc said she never asks about abortion re breast cancer because it isn’t relevant, but that this ‘report’ gave sick patients one more thing to feel rotten about.”

          This is an important point. Cancer patients already wrack their brains looking at their past behavior to try to figure out what could have caused the cancer. It’s a phenomenon well known among health researchers that if you ask cancer patients about past “bad” behaviors, they are more likely to admit them than people without cancer. An example is past drug use. If you ask non-cancer patients about any past drug use, they frequently say “no”, because they either figure, “What’s in it for me if I share this sensitive information?” or because they really haven’t thought about it in years and have almost forgotten. A cancer patient, in contrast, already has been wracking her brain to come up with The Cause and has already remembered and self-recriminated over that joint smoked behind the garage in 9th grade, and guiltily spills the whole story.

          Likewise when you ask women about previous pregnancy histories. Non-cancer patients tend to list only their pregnancies that end in babies. They frequently leave out miscarriages and almost always leave out abortions. But ask a cancer patient about her reproductive history and she tells every detail.

          Because of this phenomenon, scientists who do research in cancer epidemiology consider patient recall surveys of risk factors to be an unreliable and do not use them. Anti-Abortion zealots, however, have no such scruples. As Dr. Amy says, for them the ends justify the means.

      • Cobalt
        August 28, 2014 at 8:32 am #

        That’s my rationale for ignoring a lot of the crap from anti-abortion activists. God/nature/the universe/bad luck/random chance/whatever ends vastly more pregnancies than human choice does.

        It’s a baseline risk that can’t be mitigated.

  9. DaisyGrrl
    August 27, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    Update: So CBC did a story on this debacle and this was Fraser Health’s response, “When reached for a response, Fraser Health apologized for the pamphlet, which it said was old. It says it is rushing to put out a new one with better wording. The health authority says it wasn’t their intention to offend. It was simply providing information to help women make informed decisions.”

    The tone has changed tremendously since yesterday’s doubling-down. Here’s the CBC link for those interested:

    • PrimaryCareDoc
      August 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

      They’ve also posted a reply on their FB page.

      • DaisyGrrl
        August 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

        Just saw it. It looks like no more women will be subjected to that atrocious form. Hurrah!

        Hopefully whatever they replace it with is more balanced and sensitive to the women in their care.

    • Belle
      August 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      There is an article on Huffpost Canada too.

  10. August 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Bravo – but may I note that Fraser Health is not alone in its breast feeding stance – rather it is part and parcel of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and echoed by public health agencies across the country (ie. Ottawa)… If we can turn the tide here, maybe we can make other advances.

  11. Ellen Mary
    August 27, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I am sure this is going to set off a firestorm, but consider it a public service for your blog traffic.

    We *know* that early childbearing reduces breast cancer risk. We know that certain types of Combined Oral Contraceptives (specifically those higher in Estrogen) also increase breast cancer risk.

    So maybe D&C/E/Suction Aspriation itself, or RU486 doesn’t directly cause Breast Cancer. But that is some ProChoice shape shifting right there . . . That is their stock and trade.

    Because if I am pregnant @ 27, I have an opportunity to reduce my risk of Breast Cancer. If I end that pregnancy and delay pregnancy with say, a Combined Oral Contraceptive for another few years: my NET risk IS increased via that particular reproductive choice. If I choose to carry that child to term and then breastfeed that child for two years, my NET Breast Cancer risk IS decreased. I could cite this if you want, but why bother, these are well known facts. Early pregnancy and breastfeeding are widely acknowledged to be risk reducers for Breast Cancer . . .

    So did the *surgery* or medication increase my risk itself? No but that is a narrow definition designed to keep women from assessing the real lifetime risks of choosing to end a pregnancy and then delay pregnancy.

    • Guesteleh
      August 27, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Christ, where do I begin? Abortion doesn’t increase cancer risk at all. That is 100% bullshit.

      The Early Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Risk Workshop looked at population studies, research results from dinical settings as well as animal research. From this work they felt highly confident in stating several facts:

      • Women who have their first child at an early age have a decreased risk of breaat cancer.

      • Breast cancer risk is about the same for women who don’t have children and those whose first birth Is after age 30.

      • More children translate into an even lower risk of developing breast cancer although age at first birth is the most significant factor.

      • Women have a higher risk of developing breast cancer for a “brief period of time after the birth of a child.

      • Induced abortion is not associated with increased breast cancer risk.

      • The longer a woman brestfeeds has a a small association with a decreased breast cancer risk.

      Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, presented the findings. In an interview with reporters after the advisory board briefing, she said even though the findings clearly show that “the biggest bang for the buck is the first birth and the younger you are the better off you are,” woman should not necessarily make life-altering decisions based on these findings. cisions based on these findings. “There are so many other messages we can give women about lifestyle modification and the impact of lifestyle and risk that I would never be a proponent of going around and telling them that having babies is the way to reduce your risk.”

      • Ellen Mary
        August 27, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

        If someone had presented EVEN the last post you made to me when I ended my pregnancy, I would have quite possibly made a different choice. Even if they had said that much, instead of ‘no risk’. Because there is some nuance to what you posted. There were a few ways in which I was denied informed consent, chiefly by asking medical questions to a ProChoice volunteer and not realizing I should demand face time with a doctor to ask medical questions (ask me how this is sorta like asking medical questions to a lay midwife!) What I actually needed someone to tell me was that drinking one beer a day and smoking a few cigarettes didn’t ruin my baby as I feared it had (at 4 weeks pregnant) . . . The breast cancer thing was a minor consideration, but it was an actual consideration for me, and if I had been aware that keeping an earlier pregnancy could have reduced my risk, it would have made a small difference to me, personally.

        It is this researcher’s opinion that women should not make pregnancy choices based on Breast Cancer risk but that is just an opinion . . . She states the basic facts that I mentioned in my post: that choosing to carry an early pregnancy to term AND breastfeeding that baby could be considered a risk reduction strategy.

        • Elizabeth A
          August 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

          Ellen Mary, I have the same objection here that I have when people claim that breast feeding reduces the risk of cancer:

          You can’t really make decisions on what to do today on the basis of something that might happen to you decades down the road.

          If you are pregnant TODAY, you need to make decisions about that pregnancy on the basis of the other factors in your life right now. Those factors might outweigh a hypothetical risk of breast cancer. They might not. But if, as various other people have pointed out, the additional abortion-associated risk of breast cancer is nil, other factors certainly override it.

          I’ll add, for what it’s worth, that I am sure I never would have developed breast cancer if I hadn’t had a c-section. I’d have died two years before diagnosis. Risk is a cost of continued existence.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

            It is paternalism though, for anyone to decide what any woman should or should not make decisions on the basis of. Women’s decision making considerations are as varied as stars in the sky. Maybe you think it is foolish for me to breastfeed in hopes of reducing my breast cancer risk, but it is at least as tolerable to me as other strategies at my disposal . . . I hear your objection and your points though, they are valid and worth considering . . .

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

            If a risk factor doesn’t actually exist, it’s not paternalism to think that bringing it up in decision-making is misleading.

            I don’t think it’s foolish to breast feed, but I think cancer prevention is a kind of low-priority factor. Given the importance of feeding the baby, enough, and keeping a roof over the baby’s head, and not going nuts yourself from exhaustion or post-partum depression, I think that at the end of it all, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

            I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, at age 36, after breast feeding two children for a combined total of 34 months. I would far rather have not had breast cancer, and I understand that preference. However: at no point would I recommend that anyone build major life decisions around fear of cancer.

          • Who?
            August 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

            Thankyou for what you shared and in particular your last point. Fear takes over lives, and it’s sad how many women are so terrified of getting bc or of it coming back that they lose the power to live happily.

          • AllieFoyle
            August 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

            Are you serious? The”paternalistic” pro-choice movement is pretty much the only reason women retain any choice over their reproductive health decisions in this country at all.

          • Amy M
            August 27, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

            I don’t think anyone thinks its foolish for you to breastfeed, in hopes of reducing cancer risk. As long as you CAN breastfeed and WANT TO, that may be a beneficial effect. However, suggesting the opposite: “You’ll get cancer if you don’t breastfeed!” or “You must not care if you get cancer, if you aren’t breastfeeding” would be wrong. I am not saying you are suggesting that, but it seems clear that the people at Fraser are.

        • auntbea
          August 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

          But is it childbirth that leads to reduced cancer risk? Or the pregnancy itself? Is there evidence that one has to carry the child to term to get the benefits? Childbirth is a pretty good indicator that a woman has been pregnant, so unless they are also controlling for “ever pregnant”, we can’t know which it is.

          In other words, if it turned out that all ones needs is implantation, would you want women to know that? So that, if they so choose, they can intentionally pregnant at 16, and then terminate the pregnancy, as a means of reducing their risk of breast cancer?

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

            Nope, no one has ever suggested that . . .

          • auntbea
            August 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

            No one has ever suggested what?

        • Guesteleh
          August 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

          No one makes a decision to become or stay pregnant based on breast cancer risk. That is a bunch of horseshit. 17-year-old girls don’t say oh, I’m going to get knocked up by my boyfriend and risk lifelong poverty and terrible outcomes for my child because hey, maybe I won’t get breast cancer 40 years from now. It’s specious argument, aka complete fucking bullshit used as a rhetorical strategy to shame and intimidate women out of abortion.

          • PrimaryCareDoc
            August 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

            Yeah. My mind is boggled by this line of thinking.

          • Karen in SC
            August 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

            Mine too. I’m past menopause, should I schedule my double mastectomy and hysterectomy so I don’t get cancer. I’ve heard an overall risk factor of 1 in 8, so that’s what I should do.

            Better yet, chop them off as soon as breastfeeding is done!

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

            No one makes a decision to become or stay pregnant based on breast cancer risk.

            I won’t say “no one” makes the decision, but I will say that, even if there is a reduction of breast cancer risk, it is a case of “all other things being equal, there is a reduction in risk, and all other things are never equal.”

            Throw it in the mix in the decision making process, fine. But give it the weight it merits, which means you don’t make a decision based on it.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

            Again, YOU are deciding what women base their decisions on and using it as an excuse to deny them full medical information. And you are predicting the whole future of some fantasy 17 year old woman, and practicing ageism. I know women who have had wonderful children at 17 who thrive and they thrive.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

            I know some of those women too.

            But none of them based their childbearing decisions on breast cancer.

          • AllieFoyle
            August 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

            In this scenario, who is trying to deny medical choice to whom? No one — no one at all — has said that women shouldn’t have access to information about cancer risks, or that individual women shouldn’t be able to choose to keep a pregnancy for whatever reason, just that most women choosing abortion are doing so for reasons they weight more heavily than some future statistical breast cancer risk. This conversation is absurd anyway, because no one at all is trying to limit a woman’s right to continue a pregnancy. It’s the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy that is at risk.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

            That statement is totally false on a global scale, just saying. GLOBALLY, the right to continue a pregnancy is the right that is at risk more ofte. There are FAR more women in China than in the US. Sometimes pregnant women there get put in jail for being pregnant. Sometimes they get kidnapped by Government thugs. The right to carry to term HAS been threatened even in the US, with compulsory sterilization taking place in my state even until the 1980s. So the way the US feminists act like the only right that has ever been threatened is the right to terminate is really infuriating.

          • PrimaryCareDoc
            August 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

            You are so far out there, you’ve left the solar system.

          • auntbea
            August 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

            God damn those US feminists being concerned about legal conditions in the US! All those American women who want to terminate should realize that somehow carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term helps imprisoned Chinese women!

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 5:29 am #

            Wow. Nice herd of straw horses. Did you rustle’em up yourself?

          • anh
            August 28, 2014 at 8:50 am #

            prochoice advocates argue vehemently for a woman’s right to determine the outcome of her pregnancy, no matter what that choice is. I for example give money to abortion groups and the same amount to groups that help teen mothers.
            You are talking about teensy statistical outliers that aren’t real problems in US society. It’s a total strawman argument.
            Globally, there are most likely far more women who would love to access to reliable birth control than those fighting to keep a pregnancy. Even if you just added up the number of women in China and India (included India because there are issues with familial forced abortion for women pregnant with girls) it’s still just 1/3 of the world’s population of women. Definitely not a majority problem

            I’d encourage to try and intellectually grasp feminist and prochoice ideology before you try to discuss it with others

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

            Yeah, those horrible US feminists, being concerned with the rights of women in the US. So frustrating. Why don’t they fix human rights in China first and why aren’t they more concerned with forced sterilization a generation ago?

            FWIW, many US feminists are also concerned with international human rights, especially reproductive freedoms. Feminists are a diverse group, but you are ill-informed if you believe that many are in favor of human rights abuses anywhere in the world.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 5:43 pm #


            No, really, it isn’t continuing wanted pregnancies that is the right that is globally at risk.

            210 million pregnancies in 2008.
            80 million unintended.
            21.6 million unsafe abortions.
            47,000 women died from unsafe abortion.
            That is 13% of all maternal mortality.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

            This headline is ridiculous, as it is promoting the Pill when really IUDs are a much more reliable method especially if you are trying to comply with coercive family planning, but this gives you an idea of the scope of women’s rights oppression in China, which is FAR larger than the US.

            The rate of abortion there is 1 in 100 vs. 1 in 500 in the US. Even if you seek to increase abortions in the US, they wouldn’t increase to 1 in 100, let’s say for the sake of argument that even 2 in 100 are the result of coercion and a coercive policy (does the WHO condemn OCP?) . . . That is a low estimate of 2.6 million not altogether voluntary abortions in China alone . . . That is to not ever count the amount of abortions worldwide that are forced by parents and partners . . . Both rights are threatened but China shows us VERY clearly that state sponsored abortion =/= liberation.

            47,000 women died, that is truly horrifying. 2.6 million women *at least* had to continue to live after having a fetus forcibly removed from them by authorities . . .

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm #


            In China, BTW, they put an IUD in as soon as the placenta is delivered, and trim the threads so short it can’t be removed. Which is fun when a woman emigrates and I then have to try and remove it.

            Oh, you know what else they have in China?
            Orphanages full of surplus girlls and babies with disabilities. My parents have volunteered in some.
            I have a picture of my dad literally covered in Chinese toddlers (super cute).

            They looked after triplets that were abandoned on the orphanage doorstep. Premature babies left out in the cold do not do well.

          • Guesteleh
            August 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm #


            Using data from the British Household Panel Survey, this study examines the relationship between several outcomes in early adulthood (e.g., education, inactivity, earnings, and health) and being born to a teenage mother. Besides standard cross-sectional multivariate regression estimates, we also present evidence from nonparametric estimates and from estimates that account for unmeasured family background heterogeneity by comparing siblings born to the same mother who timed their births at different ages. Regardless of the econometric technique, being born to a teenage mother is usually associated with worse outcomes. An important channel of transmission of this adverse effect is childhood family structure, which plays a more powerful role than childhood family poverty. Albeit smaller, some of the detrimental effects are also found for children of mothers who gave birth in their early twenties.

          • Guesteleh
            August 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

            P.S. Women should not be denied ACCURATE medical information, not bullshit scare scenarios cooked up by anti-choicers.

          • Cobalt
            August 28, 2014 at 6:37 am #

            The link between teen parenthood and persistent poverty is whole lot stronger than your backwards engineered link between abortion and cancer. I wonder what poverty does to someone’s lifetime cancer risk.

        • Carolina
          August 27, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

          You really would have changed your mind about termination based on a hypothetical breast cancer risk decades down the road? What were your reasons for terminating if such a distant hypothetical would have changed your mind? Would it suddenly have been the right time for a baby? Would you have suddenly had the resources to make it work? I’m really confused. Most people I know who have terminated absolutely did not think they could care for a baby at the time. They all eventually had other children, but there was likely nothing that could have been said or done at the time to make a difference.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

            Part of why I terminated was that I bought all the ProChoice Rhetoric hook, line, and sinker. It is just a choice right? And I had bought it ever since I got my first copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves @ 16. Later I bought the HomeBirth Rhetoric too . . . I never even considered that any other perspective was anything but ‘crazy AntiChoice talk’.

          • auntbea
            August 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

            Uh….it IS just your choice. Breast cancer risk or otherwise does nothing to change that.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

            Right, and so you made a choice that aligned with your beliefs and values at the time, and your posts seem to indicate you are now angry that the PP staff were unable to tell that your values and beliefs would radically alter many years down the line.

            Lack of psychic powers notwithstanding, I’m pretty sure the PP staff did their best to assist you with acting on the choice you had made.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

            No. Dr. Kitty, when I went in and said “I think that I have ruined this baby by drinking 1 beer per day and smoking some cigarettes”, I think a real OB/GYN would have SCIENTIFICALLY and MEDICALLY told me that belief was untrue. Instead I said it to a ProChoice Liberal Arts major who said ‘mmmmhmmm’ and noted it on a form.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

            I’m not sure your experience was typical.
            People DO change their minds, right up until the very last second.


          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

            This author’s experience was typical of the type of regulated red state NARAL deplores. She paid cash, she had to drive, she got a packet with pictures of fetal development. I paid nothing, it was walkable from my house, and no one ever even said the word fetus to me. I had several U/S but that was to rule out Ectopic as I was as early as I could be.

            She didn’t change her mind at the last second, she didn’t keep her apt.

            It is no secret that abortion can be a very different experience based on the state you are in. Her experience was hers, mine was mine. I think something in the middle would approach open access & informed consent.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

            Didn’t you flounce? Wasn’t your work here done?

          • anh
            August 28, 2014 at 8:44 am #

            If you were there to obtain an abortion and they tried to convince you that smoking a few cigs and drinking a few beers wouldn’t ruin your baby, that is in essence trying to talk you out of your choice. That’s a step away from trying to convince you that, yes, you can afford to have a child. or no, you wont’ have to quit school. or no, you won’t resent this child.
            They are there to listen and answer questions. they aren’t there to correct you. They aren’t there to tell you your reasons for getting an abortion are valid or not. I don’t know how different an OB would have been. They know you are there for an abortion. In my opinion they are doing a crappy job if they try to dissuade you from it. It’s your decision not theirs
            (on another note, you claim you got an abortion at 4 weeks, or at least counseled at 4 weeks. That’s almost impossible given it’s almost impossible to know you’re pregnant at that point…I am calling shenanigans)

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

            Giving medically correct information is not trying to talk women out of their choice. If a woman says ‘I want to have an abortion because my baby has two heads’, it would not be trying to talk her out of it for a medical professional (who is the one who should be doing medical counseling) says ‘your baby only has one head’ . . . It is actually impossible to have minimal alcohol intake affect an embryo that early on . . . But I didn’t know that and I wasn’t corrected. However, it is BY FAR not impossible to know you are pregnant at 4 weeks gestation . . . The First Response Early Result measures only 20miuHCG . . . You can know 9 days past ovulation . . . That is when I usually know, but in this pregnancy I was younger so I didn’t test until my missed period. I knew 14dpo, which would be 4 weeks LMP. I think the procedure took place a 6weeks LMP, but only because I was initially told it could be ectopic because it could not be visualized. I didn’t claim the actual procedure took place at 4 weeks LMP, although if I had, I could have been speaking of 4 weeks gestation, since that is what 6 weeks LMP is . . . It was central to my ProChoice way of thinking that the earlier it is, the less it really matters. I was wrong about that . . . gestation doesn’t actually change as much as you would think, I personally found.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 5:38 pm #

            To be clear, THAT is who I discussed my care with, NOT a MD or a CNM. I only saw a CNM on the day of the procedure, after I had already been called back . . . I could have asked again then, and I totally should have, but I believed at the time that the options counselor was medically equipped to discuss it with me. And I wasn’t clear on her total lack of medical training, because I saw her INSIDE a medical office.

            I was too far in to the procedure at that point. I can’t explain it to someone who has not been through it, but once you get to a certain point, it is unlikely, still technically possible, but very unlikely to turn back. Like after you have already shown up for it and been called into the consultation room.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
            August 28, 2014 at 11:20 am #

            But you could have consulted with a doctor, you chose not to. I’m pretty sure many teenage girls in America know about PP and got BC there or some type of service at some point. Blaming PP for not informing you about your future feelings and risk factors for a procedure you were choosing without asking questions is not PP’s problem. It was a choice you made in regards to what was supposedly best for you and you can’t turn around and blame Pro-Choice “rhetoric” for your decision. There had to be other reasons for you to choose abortion, not just that you were pro-choice and an abortion was in line with your belief system in regards to all pregnancies for someone your age. From the above stated comments it seems like you have a problem thinking for yourself and forming your own opinion on matters relevant to your life and easily follow others, and I say this with concern, not snark.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

            Thanks for your concern. To get personal, going through something like ending a pregnancy and realizing the reality & gravity of that too late does make you look at yourself. I don’t actually know what was wrong with me that I was so easily influenced by the ProChoice rhetoric (which I maintain is not altogether honest) and ALSO so concerned about what my family & my partner’s family thought that I was willing to end my pregnancy over it . . . It is a source of great regret.

            I will leave you with a very old Dr. Amy post where she tries to inject a tiny bit of reason into the rhetoric ‘on demand, without apology’ that maintains that it is always a great choice for any reason.

        • AllieFoyle
          August 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

          So, let me see if I have this straight: You
          are angry with the people who risked their own safety to provide you with an abortion years ago (which you presumably chose and sought out) because you missed an opportunity to hypothetically reduce your cancer risk?

          Things to consider:

          When was this? What data was actually available at that time?

          How large is the hypothetical risk reduction anyway? Is it large enough that people should be counseled to have children when very young? Are hcps negligent for not advising women to get pregnant early in life? If not, then how can you consider someone negligent for providing a service that women freely and expressly choose for the purposes of controlling when they have children?

          You’ve explained your feelings about your experience and concerns, but do you think that other women who choose to have abortions are likely to share your priorities? I’m having a hard time imagining a scenario in which a women who wants to terminate a pregnancy changes her mind because of a very small hypothetical population-level decrease in future breast cancer risk. The data discussed here is freely available now, but I have never seen or heard of anyone freely choosing to get pregnant early in life specifically in order to decrease their risk.

          What motivation are you ascribing to the pro-choice movement and your abortion providers specifically? Do you feel that it’s likely that people who have devoted their lives and career to ensuring that women have access to reproductive choices and health care are somehow maliciously withholding harmful information from women?

          You obviously have some regrets about your experience, and I’m sorry about that. Many other women in the same scenario are nothing but grateful that they had access to that abortion.

          • auntbea
            August 27, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

            My friend chose to get pregnant earlier rather than later specifically to reduce her breast cancer risk. But we are talking getting pregnant right after she married and bought a house at 24, not choosing to get (or stay) pregnant when she was unable to provide for a child. And also, she is really prone to catastrophizing about cancer and takes all sorts of OTT precautions in all aspects of her life.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

            Thank you for your kind words.

            No one risked their safety to provide my abortion. It was in a very liberal, very ProChoice area. There were no protestors and no clinic escorts. It was in an old hip looking house. I think ProChoice really forgets that Abortion is a fee for service industry, just like any other part of medicine. And one that gets PLENTY government funding, depending on your state. Maybe even moreso. It is a business NOT a community service.

            People say that CPMs risk their freedom too, and paint them as heroines. Dr. Amy has done a great job deconstructing that.

            I would say that no amount of a service being threatened excuses informed consent. I was using PP for my primary care, I didn’t even really realize I could have gone to see a mainstream OB/GYN to discuss my pregnancy. I should have been given face time with a doctor *before* it was ‘game time’ to discuss my options . . . If you have a NON medical professional doing options counseling (mine was a chick with a bachelors who was doing a some ProChoice volunteering), how can women really assess their options?

            In any case, whatever. It was a poor choice I made, but I didn’t really get some info that might have changed my mind . . . I wish I had been smart enough to look for it.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 3:53 pm #

            I live in a state so blue that it has achieved a platonic state of blue-ness.

            When I was in high school, a man with a gun walked into an abortion clinic located in an old, hip-looking house, and shot the receptionist.

            By the time I finished college, I had to go through two layers of security in a building that looked like a bunker to get birth control. There were protesters. There were clinic escorts. In this incredibly liberal, pro-choice area, these things still exist.

          • Guesteleh
            August 27, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

            Who the hell was stopping you from consulting an OB? It was your choice to go to Planned Parenthood first. Presumably because you wanted and got an abortion. But somehow you’re blaming them for not talking you out of the decision.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

            Planned Parenthood frames themselves as THE PLACE for young hip informed women to get their PRIMARY Health Care! They were my ‘doctor’. I didn’t even know that there was another option at that time. Call me medically illiterate if you want . . . But I thought that was where you were supposed to go. Planned Parenthood wants people to go there for annual gyn care and they market their services as such. I went to PP because they were my provider. I thought they would be the ones to give me accurate info, unlike those CRAAAAZY ProLifers . . . But really had I been medically literate and grown, I would have gone to an OB/GYN doctor for care first and for any option counseling. If you check out who they target market, it is young women. So maybe every other young woman on the planet knows their whole history and specialty. I knew they provided abortion care. I did not at the time consider them to be an abortion clinic.

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 4:12 am #

            You were grown. You were 27. I had 3 kids at that age, and had to be ‘medically literate’. Your excuses seem increasingly far-fetched.

          • PrimaryCareDoc
            August 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

            I think you’re misunderstanding informed consent. You were getting informed consent for the procedure, which does not and never has increased the risk of breast cancer.

          • AllieFoyle
            August 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

            The government does not fund abortions! And if you think that abortion providers are not placing their lives in danger by providing services that women desperately want then you are delusional. Anti-abortionists harass and intimidate them day and night. There have been bombings and killings.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

            i walked into PP, filled out a paper, they applied the pregnancy medicaid numbers to me, and my abortion was 100% paid for, on my blue state. The state I live in now has medicaid coverage for abortion too. Washington State is considering legally requiring all ACA plans to cover it. I didn’t even pay $1. Also the Fed Gov funds PP. I’m not usually right about too much on here but I am sure of this part.

          • jhr
            August 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

            The Federal Government does NOT fund Planned Parenthood. Patients on Medicaid may use their Medicaid benefits to pay for their GYN service at Planned Parenthood. What you have said is similar to saying that the Federal Government funds my podiatrist because I am on Medicare.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

            They do though.
            45% of their revenue comes from Government Sources . . . That includes reimbursements but it also includes TitleX funding.

            And in NY, OR, WA, etc, basically the Blue States, you can get pregnancy medicaid when you come in to the clinic (much higher income limits) and the state (not the fed) will fund the abortion from their portion of medicaid . . .

            NARAL definitely is openly advocating for the repeal of Hyde and for federal medicaid dollars to fund abortion nationwide. As they did after Roe, until Hyde. Additionally, most private insurers in the US fund abortion, and I am *sure* if NARAL had their way it would be considered ‘preventative care’ without a CoPay . . .

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

            How much money would PP get from government sources if they quit doing abortions?

            If the answer is, “The same amount” (or more, because they wouldn’t be so demonized by the pro-life side), then that means they are not getting government funding for abortions.

            But note that jhr specified the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, which, very clearly, does NOT fund the abortion services of PP.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

            He said they don’t fund PP at all, which is false.

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

            No, he didn’t.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

            By your own link, Planned Parenthood’s pregnancy termination services amount to only 3% of what they do.

            And you cry ‘paternalism’ but seem to think it would be best if some medical authority figure (and we all know how much you trust doctors) had talked you out of the procedure that you sought out and showed up for? Huh?

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

            It is their largest source of revenue. The 3% is a trumped up number based on counting every condom handed out as an individual ‘service’. I am surprised y’all don’t see through at least a LITTLE of the rhetoric on the PP side. Because it is there.

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

            We don’t need to “see through it” because we view abortion as a necessary and humane health service for women. It could be 101% of their revenue and I would be perfectly fine with it.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

            I don’t care if PP does other stuff or not, the abortion services they offer are important, and in order to remain open and continue to provide those services they have to be viable businesses.

            I ABSOLUTELY believe that the state should pay for abortion services, but then I believe the state should fund ALL health services, because healthcare is, IMO a basic human right, not a luxury optional extra. Abortion care is part of comprehensive women’s healthcare, not a super-secret off-menu item that you should be forced to self fund because it is too icky for the Pro-Life taxpayers to stomach funding.

            Quakers don’t get to opt their taxes out of funding the military. Pro-lifers shouldn’t get to opt out of abortion cover.

          • attitude devant
            August 28, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

            Do you have a source for the claim that it is their largest source of revenue? Knowing you, you don’t. And your claim makes no sense, because if abortion is such a cash cow, why, in my blue state, is our local Planned Parenthood the only abortion provider for hundreds of miles around?

          • Busbus
            August 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

            It should be funded by government programs, just like other medical procedures. No one should have to go through with an unwanted pregnancy just because they aren’t able to pay (or access) a much wanted abortion. Before, I believe that you (Ellen) claimed that you are not for cutting off access to abortions for women who want them. But arguing in favor of keeping women from receiving Medicaid funds for an abortion, or trying to get legislation passed that will effectively close abortion providers in an area (for lack of funding or by passing impossible restrictions) is exactly that: it’s meant to keep women from accessing an abortion who have already decided that they need one.

            I have no problem with anyone who says, I could not and would never want to have an abortion. For a good part of my life, I used to say that (as in many other areas, former black and whites have turned grayer as I got older). However, my personal feelings on the issue didn’t ever keep me from being pro-choice. The fact that *I* felt that abortion wouldn’t be an option for *me* didn’t mean that I wanted to restrict other women’s access to it. That’s what I find so disgusting about current anti-abortion activists—everything they do is based on forcing (or shaming, as in the awful harassment-demonstrations going on outside abortion clinics) *other* women to dance to *their* tune. That’s paternalistic and tyrannic.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

            Right. Someone said ‘they don’t’, I said, ‘they do’ and I proved it, and you are now saying ‘AND THEY SHOULD’ . . . I think women on Medicaid should probably be able to access funding, as long as pregnancy is covered at the same level. I think there should never be a pregnancy tax like there is in China, and I have actually paid 4000 appx for each child . . . With private insurance.

            But whatever, the whole ‘qualifying women based on pregnancy medicaid numbers in the clinic that day’ is a little bit on the shady side . . . I don’t actually think abortion should be generally 100% ‘free’ I think it should, if elective, always have some sort of a copay, if only a nominal one, because there is a heavy cost to those who provide it. And whatever the cost is, I think the cost of carrying to term should never exceed it . . . Because that would create an economic incentive to NOT carry to term, or a tax on birth . . .

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

            “And whatever the cost is, I think the cost of carrying to term should never exceed it . . . Because that would create an economic incentive to NOT carry to term, or a tax on birth . . .”

            Should this also apply to women on private insurance? What about women who pay cash? Because an abortion simply takes less medical care than going to term. It costs less because it ACTUALLY COSTS LESS to provide.

          • FormerPhysicist
            August 27, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

            And there is always the huge economic incentive NOT to raise a child. Children COST to rear. And cost a LOT to rear well. You aren’t going change that. And women actually know that.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 8:48 am #

            My my FormerPhysicist, by the way you talk you would think that women who choose abortion might be taking into account whether they are equipped to provide a child all the resources it needs rather than only being selfish thoughtless girls who have engaged in bad behavior and want to get away with it!

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

            State governments DO fund them. Check your facts if you are so adamant about me checking mine!

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

            The federal government doesn’t. And can’t. Apparently some states can choose to (though in some places limited to certain circumstances– medically necessary, rape, incest…), though I’ve never lived anywhere where that is the case. Unfortunately, as I think poor women shouldn’t be prevented from accessing abortion.

          • Medwife
            August 27, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

            Sure. If you had heard the theory that you would decrease your breast cancer risk, you wouldn’t have had an abortion.

            Do yourself a favor and take some responsibility for your decisions. It is really unbecoming to reject the overwhelming medical evidence that, taken as a whole, opting for that abortion was less of a risk to your health than carrying that pregnancy to term, because the cognitive dissonance between that choice and your religion makes your head hurt.

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 4:04 am #

            You were so obsessed with avoiding cancer that you drank and smoked and had unprotected sex. Ellen Mary, it’s ok to regret aborting your baby. It’s ok to miss that pregnancy and to wish in hindsight that you’d chosen differently. I spent years regretting mine, until my 5 kids came along and wiped out the memory, or at least the painful aspects of it. It’s ok to grieve for a lost pregnancy, even if you chose to end it. Everything else is just mental contortions, transference and, quite frankly, nonsense. Own your decision, own your emotions, and you will heal. Stop pretending it’s about risk of breast cancer.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

          “If someone had presented EVEN the last post you made to me when I ended my pregnancy, I would have quite possibly made a different choice.”

          I call total bullshit. You claim that avoiding breast cancer has always been a huge motivator for you ever since you witnessed your mother’s diligence with getting mammograms when you were a girl. But then you claim that you were drinking a beer a day at age 27, which increases risk of breast cancer by 12%. So here you are saying that you would have continued your unwanted pregnancy and breastfed the baby all to achieve decreases in breast cancer risk that are disproven at worse (abortion) and tiny at best (breastfeeding).

          Naw, it appears to me that Ellen Mary does whatever she darn well pleases when she makes her choices, but when she experiences cognitive dissonance about these choices she blames others for her choices.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

            Citation on any amount of Alcohol raises your risk 12%? I wasn’t drinking a beer a day the entire time I was 27 . . . Bofa says alcohol is good for you in small doses. 😉

            I really you doubt you can cite ‘a beer a day for a month around your 27 birthday increases breast cancer risk 12%’ but you can try.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

            And I can totally own that drinking alcohol & breast cancer have a relationship. I have seen that they do. I mostly try to avoid it. Good thing Budweiser doesn’t have a big campaign to convince women the evidence is disputed & contradictory. Because that would suck.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

            Of course it’s a good thing that Budweiser doesn’t dispute the evidence, because the evidence on the alcohol/breast cancer link is solid and agreed upon by all scientists who study the matter.

            This is in contrast to health “connections” that are totally disputed, contradictory, or even downright disproven. Examples of these are breastfeeding/health claims, abortion/breastcancer claims, birth control pills/breast cancers claims etc. (in other words all the ridiculous claims that Ellen Mary loves to harp on about).

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

            So no citation then.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

            Let it be duly noted that Ellen Mary is glad to Google up a citation whenever it suits her motives but mysteriously loses that ability the moment an idea doesn’t agree with her agenda.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

            I asked you to cite a specific fact and you replied with an insult. Just so we’re clear on what actually happened.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

            Oh god in heaven help me…UN. AB.LE to Gooooogle….Fiiiingers won’t ….worrrrk. Doesn’t fit myyyyyy AGENNNNNDA!!!!!!! CAAAAAAAN’T!!!!

          • Elizabeth A
            August 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

            Why do you of all people need a citation? I’m sure it’s on somewhere.

    • Guesteleh
      August 27, 2014 at 2:16 pm #


      A scientific panel appointed by the director of the National Cancer Institute has concluded that there is no evidence that having an abortion increases the risk of breast cancer later in life, a suggestion raised earlier on the agency’s Web site.

      Critics have contended that the Bush administration revised its fact sheets on the connection between induced abortions and breast cancer to satisfy conservative constituents, a charge that administration officials have rejected.

      The panel’s conclusion was based on four new studies and a review of earlier ones that were all reported at a cancer institute workshop in late February.

      The panel, which was composed of the institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors and Board of Scientific Counselors, unanimously accepted the findings from the workshop on Monday. The cancer institute posted the board’s decision on its Web site on Wednesday but did not call attention to it.

    • Amy M
      August 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

      I’m guessing your mom was/is positive for a BRCA gene, or some other gene associated with breast cancer? If so, you can get tested to see if you carry the same risk. IF you have such a genetic set-up (BRCA or other similar), you KNOW your risk is higher, no matter what you do. Maybe you can help reduce the risk some by having a child before age 30, but it would still put you in a different category of risk than someone who doesn’t have that genetic signature. If having a child before 30 and breastfeeding are things you want to do, and can do, then great! You may have decreased your breast cancer risk. But shaping your life around those two events seems like overkill, and comes with no guarantees about cancer in your future.

      • Ellen Mary
        August 27, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

        No she was tested & is negative. Was there some controversy about the test being incomplete? I seem to remember that, but yes, negative. She was diagnosed with an extremely small amount of Breast Cancer after MANY years of extremely aggressive screening. She watched her best friend die of BC when I was in my teens, so she chose to have both breasts removed. She is also a smoker, so . . . In any case, just because of this, it has always been on my radar . . . I actually went to see a breast doctor before my first planned pregnancy following a lump, waiting for the all clear because of the slight risk that pregnancy itself can feed an existing cancer.

        • Dr Kitty
          August 27, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

          Ellen Mary, your own personal view that continuing an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy and bearing actual increased risks of PPD, bleeding, infection, disability and death, as well as having to either raise a baby or place a baby for adoption outweighs a theoretical, but not proven, reduction in breast cancer risk is not one that most people would be in agreement with.

          If continuing a pregnancy had NO risks, then. your argument that to do so would be worth it to possibly reduce breast cancer risk might be more convincing.

          But ” a theoretical reduction in breast cancer risk” really doesn’t stack up as a big plus point when women are actually weighing up their options.

          If that was the ONLY reason a woman decided to continue a pregnancy, I’d have serious concerns.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

            Fact is many pregnancies fall into the category of ‘somewhere between wanted and unwanted’. Also just a note from my spiritual side, that it is very ProChoice euphemistic language to speak ONLY of the pregnancy and not of the embryo/fetus . . . A pregnancy may be worthless to you if it is ‘unwanted’ but an embryo/fetus is never worthless and its worth is not determined by how its host feels about it . . . But whatever, it is rare, IMO that a woman is totally set on whether she wants to continue her pregnancy or not when she gets a positive test . . . I didn’t say it was the only reason I would have continued my pregnancy, but I wish I had heard a lot more about the issue instead of just ‘no risk’.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

            it is rare, IMO that a woman is totally set on whether she wants to
            continue her pregnancy or not when she gets a positive test . . .


            Women celebrate positive tests in a variety of internet fora every day. Cruise on over to Facebook and check out all the “Woohooo!!! BFP!” posts. Or babycenter. Or MDC.

            I would agree that ambivalence about pregnancy is common, but not that being sure of a desire to be pregnant is rare.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

            It is your opinion, not an objective fact, that an embryo has intrinsic worth.
            It is not my job to tell people how to feel about their pregnancy, nor what choice to make.
            I personally don’t think an embryo has intrinsic worth, or a soul, or personhood.

            It has to be a choice they are happy to live with forever.
            You made a choice, and you’re struggling to live with it. I get that, and I’m sorry that is what happened.
            Other women will make the same choice and won’t give it a second thought.
            Your regret doesn’t justify removing choices from other women, or presenting them with misinformation or outright lies. You may feel you are protecting them from themselves, but you have no right to do that.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

            I haven’t removed a choice from any woman. When do you think a fetus would attain ‘personhood’. Birth? Or after? So how would a 25 week fetus have personhood outside the womb by an accident of fate/cervix but not inside of it?

          • Guesteleh
            August 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

            I don’t care how much personhood a fetus does or doesn’t have, a woman can’t be forced to compromise her health to carry an unwanted pregnancy (and yes no matter what you think pregnancy is far more hazardous to a woman’s health than an abortion). This is comparable to the right a person has to decline organ donation or even a stem cell donation.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

            In my opinion no foetus has personhood. A baby is a person when it is no longer inside another human being. That human being can choose to make decisions based on the best interest of the foetus, but she doesn’t have to, because she is not just a vessel.

            You have your bright line for personhood, I have mine.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

            I can’t resist this one, sorry: if NO fetus has personhood until it is outside the woman’s body, then what is the issue with Homebirth. Is it just informed consent for you? Just about psychological risks to the mother? Or would the fetus itself have the right to state of the art medical care. I know what I think, it was when I fully recognized & comprehended the personhood & independent rights of my fetus that I got myself to a hospital based provider . . . It does sorta baffle me now when ProLife women are HomeBirth & HBAC advocates . . . Because it is really a ProChoice move, if the risks to the woman are the only thing being considered, homebirth looks slightly more favorable.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

            I think every woman has the right to have a baby wherever she wants, however she wants.
            But most women want a live, healthy baby.
            They deserve true information and properly trained attendants.

            Homebirth in the USA is more dangerous than hospital birth.
            CPMs are undereducated, unprofessional and unaccountable.
            Those are the facts I think women deserve to know.
            They can choose to ignore those facts, but they should have them.

            Most women who choose HB think that is “as safe or safer” than hospital, and that is WHY they choose it. They are wrong and deserve to know that.

            I can be sad when babies die because their parents made bad choices without buying into the personhood of a foetus.

            Your choices and motivations are yours, they, once again, are not universal.

          • LibrarianSarah
            August 27, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

            You keep using the words “ProChoice” and “ProLife” but it is becoming increasingly apparent that you don’t know what they mean. No one on this blog things that the government should ban homebirth. That is what we talk about when it comes to being “ProChoice” not “abortion is awesome and everyone should get one.” It’s “the government should not tell a woman what to do with her own body.”

            As for homebirth, the problem is we have provider that won’t be eligible in any other country providing a medical service and spreading false information about the safety of that service. Dr. Amy seeks to correct the misinformation about the homebirth/natural childbirth movement. Hence the blog.

            Now Ellen, you have said multiple times that you wanted to take your ball and go home so do us all a favor and stick the flounce.

          • Who?
            August 27, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

            Concerns with homebirth arise for women whose primary goal is a healthy, live baby. Women are perfectly entitled to refuse treatment they consider unnecessary, right up to the death of the baby, or their own death: what they shouldn’t do is blame others if the baby dies or they are injured in the process.

            So women who care only about their ‘experience’ and are quite okay with a baby as by-product-home birth away. But if the goal is the best chance at ending up with a live, optimally well baby, go to hospital and take medical advice.

            Simple really.

          • Ennis Demeter
            August 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

            That’s exactly why anti-choicers hate abortion so much: they can’t get past the fact that a woman has the life or not-life decision power. But who else should have it?

          • Montserrat Blanco
            August 27, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

            No, pro-choice means pro-choice, no “you are not allowed to have a live baby”. It means that you can choose if you want to have the baby or not. The reason behind it is that a woman has the right to choose if she carries a baby to term or not because you do not get personhood until you are born and therefore the right of the woman is more important in that case.

            But if you choose to have the baby (and supossedly everybody that carries a baby to term in a country where abortion is legal has chosen that) you should get a live baby in the end. That is the pro-choice argument. Nobody ever says that you should not have a baby if you want to.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
            August 28, 2014 at 11:06 am #

            Again, because those mothers usually want their baby and want their baby to live

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

            ” A baby is a person when it is no longer inside another human being. ”

            And would you believe that the Bible even backs you up on your opinion? Do you know the punishment for causing the death of a (born) person in the Bible? It’s death! This can be true even in accidental deaths; the Bible gives the example of chopping wood with an old axe and having the axe head fly off and kill someone.

            But do you know what will happen to you if you get mad at a pregnant woman and attack her and punch her in the stomach and cause her to lose the pregnancy? Is it death? Heck no! All you have to do is pay her husband a pre-determined monetary fine to re-imburse him for the loss of his property.

            I’m not kidding. It’s all there spelled out in the Bible in minute detail down to the cost of the fine!

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 3:34 am #

            Yup, and Talmud describes a foetus “as water” for the first 42days after conception, and a Jewish woman should end a pregnancy to save her own life or health if she is in the position where she has to choose.

          • Jenny_from_da_Bloc
            August 28, 2014 at 11:04 am #

            The difference being that usually a woman who continues a pregnancy to 25 weeks or beyond usually wants the baby. They usually don’t change their minds at 24.5 weeks and decide to have an abortion. Not a good example to prove your point

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 11:20 am #

            Ask that of the people who wrote the Bible. Whoops, I mean ask that of God, because God wrote the Bible. As I have detailed elsewhere, causing the death (even accidental death) of a born human is a crime punished by death in the Bible. But attacking a pregnant woman and causing the death of her fetus is treated as a property crime. The husband of the woman is paid a specific monetary fee to compensate him for the loss of his “property”, and the matter is considered closed.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm #

            “it is rare, IMO that a woman is totally set on whether she wants to continue her pregnancy or not when she gets a positive test ”

            Actually I “break the bad news” of unplanned pregnancy to women frequently, and in my experience a large majority know immediately what they want (abortion or giving birth) and follow through with it and are happy with their decisions.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 27, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

            Actually I “break the bad news” of unplanned pregnancy to women frequently

            Oh please, what do you know. Ellen Mary knows more about it than you do. Just ask her.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

            Does anyone else feel ethically squicky about the notion of bringing children into the world to reduce their parents’ cancer risk? If you’d be fine not having the baby, provided there was no impact on risk factors, is it emotionally advisable to have the baby?

            I was taught both the pro-choice argument that women are not incubators, and fetuses achieve personhood at birth, and the notion that people should have babies in a selfless spirit – if you can choose to have babies, you should choose to do so only if meeting the needs those babies have would be an appealing job. You don’t have to love every diaper change and sleepless night, but you should understand that you’re in this for the long-term joy of watching your kids grow strong and capable, and for the anxiety of hoping that they’ll find happiness and talk to you about it.

            I would not encourage anyone to sign on for that load of hope and fear before they felt ready, cancer reduction be damned.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

            “Does anyone else feel ethically squicky about the notion of bringing children into the world to reduce their parents’ cancer risk? ”

            Actually nobody does worry about this because NOBODY ACTUALLY DOES THIS.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

            Well, Ellen Mary says she would have done just this. And thinks people should be offered the chance to do just this. I do options counselling a LOT and I concur with you cancer is the farthest thing from ANYONE’S mind at that moment. It is BEYOND absurd.

          • auntbea
            August 27, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

            Fifty, you’re my favorite.

          • Montserrat Blanco
            August 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

            I have never been pregnant before. This is my first pregnancy. I planned and chose to become pregnant. I was lucky I could got pregnant easily and naturally. I have never had an abortion, either spontaneous or induced.

            Having said that. I knew I was assuming a slight (very slight) increase in breast cancer risk by delaying having children well past 30 years old. I knew I am assuming a higher risk pregnancy by doing so. And you know what? I do not care. It would be far worse for the child to have a mother not able to support it or care about it or having a child with the wrong father than assuming a slight increase on a particular type of cancer. I am not having a child for myself. I am having a child because I want to be able to make the child happy and loved. My son is not an instrument of my health and wellbeing. You can get a higher decrease in risk of breast cancer by not smoking and keeping physically active than by having a child. I would suggest doing that and not bringing a child into the world just to achieve a slight decrease on your breast cancer risk.

            I sincerely hope your children do not read this so that they do not feel mere instruments on your strategy for breast cancer avoidance.

          • Careri
            August 27, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

            I also had my children when I was ready — emotionally, financially, relationshiply, other relevant ly’s — and in my thirties. I was diagnosed with breast cancer before they were two. Is there a chance the two events are linked? Meh. Do I care? No.
            Cancer sucks but it is one small part of a much larger life. I would not have made different reproductive choices, risking my stable and joyful life, for the tiny chance that maybe I could have avoided that one type of suffering.

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 3:05 am #

            Ok Ellen Mary, put your money where your mouth is. What was the worth or value of my 9-week fetus that I chose to stop hosting at 19? The exact value please, and show your workings. If I had sent you that fetus, what would you have done with it? How would you have demonstrated its intrinsic value, what useful purpose could you have served with it? Because if you can’t answer that (and don’t give me any spiritual crap; I want hard facts and figures), you are just a stupid, abortion-shaming load of hot air.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

            If you sent me a fetus in the mail, I would call the Police . . . Because I would suspect that there needs to be an investigation into that wonton disrespect for human life that puts a human fetus in the mail . . . But when my m/c resulted in a fetus of 10 weeks, I had a burial & a funeral . . . The question you have written is a deranged one. What if you sent me any corpse in the mail? I think that’s illegal on a biohazard tip anyway. But if anyone doubts there is bullying on here, I will just refer them to your last sentence.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

            Yes! Investigate the wonton disrespect for human life!

            I think there’s some spring roll and rangoon disrespect that should also be looked into.

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

            Those chicken satays are looking at me funny…

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

            You’ve ignored my questions and accused me of being deranged. But you’re being bullied. Right.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

            When I miscarried I flushed it, both times.
            You’re not answering the question.
            If an embryo has inherent value, what exactly, in monetary terms, is it worth.

    • Durango
      August 27, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

      Abortion? On this blog post? Seriously?????

      • Ellen Mary
        August 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

        This blog post has abortion in the title?!? Are you for real??? Why does Ellen Mary discuss *actual abortion* when we play the abortion card!?!

        • Durango
          August 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

          Sorry, it is, but your take is a huge derailing. Again.

    • August 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      Well, the reality for women is that you are damned no matter what you do. Certain varieties of cancers are more prevalent in sexually active women, some in childless women, some in virgins, some in women who have given birth. Even women who have breastfed are not free from risk. To try and assign a single behavoir or act as being THE thing that makes you liable to cancer is ridiculous; there are always a combination of factors.

      My mother, z”l, smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day for 50 years. She died from ovarian cancer. Her lungs were probably black as pitch, but they weren’t cancerous.

      • Elizabeth A
        August 27, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

        Well, the reality for women is that you are damned no matter what you
        do. Certain varieties of cancers are more prevalent in sexually active
        women, some in childless women, some in virgins, some in women who have
        given birth. Even women who have breastfed are not free from risk. To
        try and assign a single behavoir or act as being THE thing that makes
        you liable to cancer is ridiculous; there are always a combination of

        On top of all that, there are cancer risks associated with both cancer screening AND cancer treatment.

    • Carolina
      August 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      Ah, it’s so fun to have the anti-choicers weigh in. NOT HAVING A EARLY BABY is what increases the risk. Same as if you never got pregnant because you abstained.

      • auntbea
        August 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

        Yes, but we are talking conditional probabilities here. Given that a woman is pregnant, what is the best course of action?

      • Busbus
        August 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

        Well, I think Carolina raises a valid point here. If anti-choice activists were so concerned with mitigating breast cancer risks, why are so many of them also so obsessed with abstinence-only education? They should applaud any woman who gets pregnant early! Maybe she just *really* thought about her risks and made an informed decision, taking *all* future risks into account. I mean, who wants to get breast cancer. Right!?

        • Busbus
          August 27, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

          Oh, I just answered my own question: States with abstinence only sex ed tend to have higher teen-pregnancy rates than states with comprehensive sex ed. Duh. Maybe the abstinence and anti-abortion rights activists are secretly engaged in a covert attempt to get all women pregnant early and then deny access to abortions IN ORDER TO CURB BREAST CANCER RATES. Oh. Sneaky bastards.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

            Oh god that makes me feel so loved and cared for! I just feel so special and safe when people make sneaky paternalistic decisions for me based on what my *real* needs must be rather than what I foolishly insist are my needs.

    • attitude devant
      August 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Ellen Mary, derailing an SOB post? Whoever would have thought?

      • Smoochagator
        August 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

        Yeah, I read her comment and was like, “Buh…??” And then I saw who posted and was like, “Oh FFS, her again?!”

    • attitude devant
      August 27, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

      Wrong about abortion, AND wrong about birth control pills. “Ever users” of the pill have consistently lower rates of breast cancer in study after study after study. It is not a powerful effect (as the prevention of ovarian cancer by the pill is) but it is reproducible again and again and again. In fact, even women whose mothers had breast cancer do not have an increased risk of breast cancer if they take the pill.

      Please stop spouting crap here. You NEVER have any adequate citations for any of the junk you claim. Because you’re on your phone and have three kids. If you can’t support your claims, don’t post here.

        • Elizabeth A
          August 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

          Your link says that rarely prescribed, high-dose birth control pills may carry an increased risk of cancer. Most birth control pills, however, do not.

          Also, your link doesn’t include a reference to the actual study. Plenty of press releases are misleading.

          • PrimaryCareDoc
            August 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

            I’ve never prescribe high dose OCPs. Not once.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

            Even the doctors in the press release linked seem to not prescribe them.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

            In the UK there are no 50mcg pills on the market…
            And there haven’t been for at least 10 years.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          August 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

          Don’t. Just don’t.

          You are out of your league, and don’t think that you can google something on your phone and throw out a link like you know what you are talking about.

          Seriously, this link is why you believed that there is an association between birth control and cancer? You’ve seen this link before, and it convinced you?

          Or, after blowing smoke and getting called on it, you did a desperate search to find anything to save face?

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

            This study was the most recent place that a link was found. And the link was undisputed with prior, higher dose formulations, which yk, my mother and my husband’s mother took . . . So it isn’t like there has never ever been a link . . .

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

            Is there an actual scientific publication behind that anywhere?

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

            So there USED to be a link, in the past, but for some reason, you felt a need to bring it up now?

            And you are complaining about who is getting informed of what?

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

            No, there is a link which MAY be able to be mitigated by using the lowest dose products . . . But the nature of the formulation is one that increases risks. It is like alcohol is definitely associated with liver damage full stop. But maybe if you don’t drink too much, your liver will be fine.

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

            Actually, small amounts of alcohol can even be healthy for you, so the assumption that risks are “mitigated” by lower doses does not follow, EVEN ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN ANALOGY!

    • AllieFoyle
      August 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      Because if I am pregnant @ 27, I have an opportunity to reduce my risk of Breast Cancer. If I end that pregnancy and delay pregnancy with say, a Combined Oral Contraceptive for another few years: my NET risk IS increased via that particular reproductive choice. If I choose to carry that child to term and then breastfeed that child for two years, my NET Breast Cancer risk IS decreased.

      Yeah, so why doesn’t everyone choose to have children as early as physically possible? Why are we only concerned about abortion? We should encourage every woman to have a baby as early as she can… because nothing is more important than a small decrease in your future breast cancer risk. And abortion should be no problem for women who’ve already had that important first child, right?

      It is clear that no one on this blog thinks a woman should make ANY life decisions based on avoiding a risk like breast cancer

      Right. Because saying that a small statistical decrease in breast cancer risk isn’t worth the consequences of carrying an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy to term (or forcing someone else to do so) is exactly the same thing as saying no one should ever consider cancer risk in any decisions.

      I could cite this if you want, but why bother, these are well known facts. Early pregnancy and breastfeeding are widely acknowledged to be risk reducers for Breast Cancer . . .

      Oh, I think you should bother.

      So did the *surgery* or medication increase my risk itself? No but that is a narrow definition designed to keep women from assessing the real lifetime risks of choosing to end a pregnancy and then delay pregnancy.

      I think most women choosing abortion are aware of the real and significant lifetime risks of carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term — risks that for most far outweigh a tiny statistical decrease in future risk of one type of cancer.

      Look at your choice of phrasing. Do you really think people in the pro-life movement are actively plotting to “keep women from assessing the real lifetime risks”? The anti-abortion movement is definitely actively working to keep women from being able to make any choices about ending a pregnancy though.

      I personally feel denied informed consent by the ProChoice rhetoric that abortion is just safer than pregnancy, full stop.

      Well, sorry, but it is. Pregnancy is statistically much more dangerous than abortion. Provide some evidence if you are trying to claim otherwise.

      But that is some ProChoice shape shifting right there . . . That is their stock and trade.

      The only shapeshifting I see here is in your weird contortionist attempts to make it appear that pro-choice advocates are the ones oppressing women.

      • Ellen Mary
        August 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

        Whatever, my work here is really done. I don’t need to cite that earlier childbearing reduces breast cancer. It is on, I am sure. I have a problem with the idea that Breast Cancer should never be a factor in women’s reproductive or infant feeding decisions. Maybe I have a more clear picture of exactly how devastating the breast cancer experience can be to women . . . And exactly how common of an experience it is. I’ve been concerned about reducing my risk from an early age . . .

        • Elizabeth A
          August 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

          You just tipped way far over into insulting.

          You think you have a clearer picture of how devastating the breast cancer experience can be than I do? Really? How? How did you *possibly* acquire such a viewpoint? Was it by reading Because they leave out some details.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

            No by walking with my mother, relatives and friends through the experience, I decided it was something worth thinking about when I made my own life decisions . . . Dr. Kitty has questioned my fitness as a mother for even considering risk reduction as part of my reproductive/infant feeding plans . . .

          • Dr Kitty
            August 27, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

            No love, I said I’d have serious concerns about any woman who chose to continue an unwanted pregnancy solely because she wanted to slightly reduce her risk of breast cancer.

            I never questioned your fitness as a mother.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

            You think walking with cancer patients (whatever the hell that means) somehow gives you a clearer picture about cancer than being a cancer patient. Uh huh.

            Please leave now.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

            I didn’t say that, and you know it. I never compared my experience to that of a cancer patient. You asked where I got my information that breast cancer can be devastating to a woman and I answered your question.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

            You said “Maybe I have a more clear picture of exactly how devastating the breast cancer experience can be to women . . .”

            I didn’t ask where you got your information. I asked where you got information that you thought gave you a clearer picture of what cancer is like than actual cancer patients have.

            As far as I can tell, your information is, exactly, “breast cancer can be devastating to a woman.”

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm #

            You are inferring ‘than cancer patients’. My statement was that I feel as if I may have a clearer picture of the devastation of Breast Cancer than any person who steadfastly maintains that it is an unreasonable thing to consider when planning one’s life’. I don’t get personal on here, I don’t know why y’all can’t help it. If I was as sure as y’all claim to be that the truth was on my side, I wouldn’t need to stoop to character assination & putting words in someone’s mouth.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

            My statement was that I feel as if I may have a clearer picture of the
            devastation of Breast Cancer than any person who steadfastly maintains
            that it is an unreasonable thing to consider when planning one’s life’.

            I steadfastly maintain that breast cancer risk is an unreasonable thing to consider when making life-altering choices like whether or not to have a baby right now. I am a breast cancer survivor.

            You’ve been incredibly insulting. Stick your damned flounce.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

            If you would stop with your character assignation, I will stick with my flounce. Truce, Promise. I didn’t mean to say anything about the experience of any person with cancer or be personally insulting. For whatever you can say about me on here, I am not OUT to get personal and I take great pride in not getting personal online. I think Breast Cancer is common enough and devastating enough to consider when planning one’s life. That is all.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

            No, Ellen Mary, it doesn’t work that way.

            This is the internet. We all get to say what we damn well please, and we all get to judge each other on that basis. If you walk away, you don’t get to stand around and argue with us about what we say. If you don’t walk away, we start to point out that you flounced ages ago.

            You don’t seem to put much thought or effort into the factual accuracy of any of your posts, and your flounce was just another example of this generalized carelessness. When you aren’t saying idiotic things, you’re saying insulting ones, and both of these habits are equally accidental – you don’t care enough to be thoughtful.

            You could stop the bunch of us from commenting on this feature of yours in a number of ways. You could improve, or you could stop talking. Until you take one of those pathways, you’re getting what you deserve.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

            Funny, as careful as I may or may not be, I do seem to be able to refrain from accusations & character assassination on Dr. Amy or other posters here, which, by evidence here, seems quite difficult. It doesn’t take education to throw around insults like ‘idiotic’ & no one is going to ask you to cite your source on the official rules of the flounce. You might fool everyone else on here with your bullying posts, but you haven’t fooled me. Good thing, because I am a real person who could really have a hard time coping with your hateful insults if I was just one iota less stable.

          • Who?
            August 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

            I think people say your ideas and assertions are idiotic, not that you are an idiot.

            However, the bigger point is that you have strong feelings about what you share, and others have strong feelings about what they share. Many of the posters here also have years of medical training and experience and know more than you do. Which doesn’t mean necessarily that they feel more passionate, or that they would encourage or discourage any particular course of action, but they do truly know what they are talking about.

            One of the risks of leaving the expression of beliefs that are based on other than facts uncorrected is that someone who none of us know takes your advice and experience to heart and relies on it, perhaps even to the exclusion of the advice of their doctors. While any damage coming from that would not be your responsibility, it’s important that the challenges are made.

            I admire you for stepping in to a place which isn’t an echo chamber for your belief-there is nothing more comforting than be surrounded by a positive reinforcement; but if you want or need to be agreed with you may be more comfortable elsewhere.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:41 am #

            That is perhaps why I come here. I really don’t like Echo chambers . . . I like to constantly challenge my own ideas. I liken the debate here to being jumped in an alley, where everyone but you has a knife & I actually do truly appreciate people’s differing POV.

            In other groups I am in, I try to present ideas like ‘VBAC at home carries serious risks’ that I have learned here . . . However, it seems like the echo chamber factor can be really strong and I get referred to VBACFacts . . . I appreciate anything that I have learned here that will make me a safer mother . . .

            However, I really don’t take it personally when people disagree passionately with my ideas. I even learn some . . . I was going to make this a separate post @ some point, but the other day I even fed my baby some formula, to see if y’all were right and I would find it ultra liberating (he still wanted to nurse right afterwards, so it didn’t give me the liberation of the afternoon off I was hoping for, but I did learn that nothing much really happened, his poop didn’t even change measurably. And when I opened the can, it did seem a little bit like a miracle, to use Dr. Amy’s analogy, like contact lenses.)

            What I take a little bit personally is when people decide what kind of person I am and then decide to tell a lot of other people just how wretched and horrible my entire character is . . . I don’t really see how I could not take that personally . . .

            I just want to address whether I had children to reduce my cancer risk. I just see that as an added bonus & a benefit. I *always* wanted a family, I am only seeking to reduce ANY risks in my life so that I may provide for them for as long & and as vigorously as I can . . .

            (((Hugs))) to all. <3

          • Who?
            August 28, 2014 at 1:06 am #

            People here do feel passionately.

            I don’t agree with you on most things, and I do think you overreact to how people respond to some of what you say. For instance, if you quote as a resource to doctors and cancer survivors, you deserve the serves about it, just not from me because I don’t know enough to have an opinion.

            For instance, if I wasn’t reading with my kind eyes I might think your anecdote above about formula for the baby included some snark and was gratuitously shallow. If you had said-

            After reading the post and comments I decided to give the baby some formula and see how it went. It was fine, s/he was happy but still hungry and I’m now confident I could give it if there was a need.

            That would have been constructive and positive and my kind eyes would have had a much needed rest.

            If you want others to be kind, get ready to use your kind eyes when reading and use your kind brain when thinking of the effect of your words and be aware of your mood when you write them.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

            If you ask me to cite something like ‘early childbearing reduces breast cancer risk’ that is widely accepted, for the last 20 years, I am going to do the same thing as if you ask me to cite that the internet exists. Refer you to Google. No one else here regularly drops links. I understand, it is more common to ask for links if you disagree with what someone is saying, but when I do provide links, those are derided . . . If they prove what I am saying, I must have ‘scrambled for them’ or ‘not read the paper’. If I offer a general link because the fact is so widely accepted and I am feeling just a TINY bit snarkly because I have been called so many PERSONALLY INSULTING names, I must not know that it is too general.

          • moto_librarian
            August 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

            Just stop. Now. You had an abortion. It seems clear that you feel some lingering guilt about that, and I am sorry, but it is disingenuous to pawn your decision off on the fact that a doctor didn’t tell you that having babies before age 20 might decrease your breast cancer risk overall. By your reasoning, doctors should tell teenage girls to start getting pregnant in high school, which is ridiculous on its face. You must know that what you’re saying here regarding abortion counseling is also utterly ridiculous.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

            And she wasn’t even less than 20. She says she was 27, so too late for the protective effect.

          • moto_librarian
            August 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

            That makes it even worse. Gah.

          • attitude devant
            August 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

            Oh Christ on a cracker. 27 years old and she has the gall to claim later that her youth and naivete made her an easy target for those evil abortion clinic staffers.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

            Oh in certain circles a woman is never considered old enough to be able to make independent decisions in her own self interest. Silly women are so easily duped that paternalism is needed to save them from themselves!

          • Guesteleh
            August 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

            No one else here regularly drops links.

            Are you fucking kidding me?

          • Who?
            August 28, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

            Show me one personally insulting name that has been used to describe you on this post. Just one.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

            “If I WERE just one iota…”

            Feeling responsible for your education here.

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 2:49 am #

            1. Disagreement is not bullying. 2. Vigorous disagreement with/ridicule of idiotic statements is not bullying. 3. Calling statements idiotic is not character assassination. 4. You are not the only real person on this board. 5. You have no idea how ‘stable’ anyone else is on here; your POV is entirely self – centred. 6. A lot of your recent posts are truly ignorant and offensive. 7. You are not a victim here. 8. People can wish you well while also wishing you would stop posting silly, derailing comments. 9. You can do better than this. 10. So do it!

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

            I can tell the difference between bullying and disagreement. Here it is for you: Disagreement is ‘I disagree with what you wrote. Vigorously.’ Bullying is: ‘because of what you wrote, you are the most horrible person, truly a shit head. You have no education, you are crass, you are an idiot’. Can you tell the difference, now?

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

            tone trolling. The final resort of those with weak arguments.

          • Siri
            August 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

            Except no one but you has used those words.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 28, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

            I don’t care where “you’re a careless person who says stupid things, and you have pissed me off” falls on your spectrum. If failing to appreciate what you choose to think of as your genius makes you think I’m a bully, so be it.

            Also: proposing internet rule 2. The Flounce is a Lie.

          • LibrarianSarah
            August 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

            That is not bullying that is insulting. Bullying involves an imbalance of power, a pattern of repeated harassment and involves school age children. Someone calling you an idiot in an argument is not bullying. And that is the worst thing you have been called here. Nobody said you were “the most horrible person,” or “truly a shit head.” Whether you realize it or not you have said some incredibly insensitive things and demonstrated a lack of insight.

            Most of the people who post here are more educated than you on medical topics. They are also more educated than me on medical topic as well which is why I usually defer to them and their knowledge on those topics. You knew what you posted would “set off a firestorm” so you really can’t act like the victim once the firestorm happens.

            Here is a link on the definition of bullying please quit misusing the term as when people scream “bully” at the drop of a hat, real bullying is taken less seriously.


          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

            Can you really have bullying between anonymous commenters? One of the requirements of bullying is that there is an imbalance of power. It’s true that imbalance of power is manifested in many ways, but what power does one anonymous commenter have over the other?

          • Siri Dennis
            August 28, 2014 at 2:40 am #

            Can be devastating? CAN be devastating?! Lady, breast cancer, ANY cancer, is devastating to everyone. Not can be; is.

        • AllieFoyle
          August 27, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

          Your work here is done? Ok then.

          And right, you are the only one here with any first-hand experience with breast cancer and the only one concerned with reducing your risk. Or rather, other women’s risks… by ensuring that they can’t access abortion.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

            I didn’t say anything about preventing access. I said something about the ProChoice rhetoric about breast cancer not being a risk when a woman considers not continuing her pregnancy AT ALL. I don’t agree & I think you have to have a pretty narrow view to make that statement.

          • Therese
            August 28, 2014 at 12:48 am #

            Don’t you think the ProLife rhetoric is even worse? They’re the ones encouraging abstinence, which is delaying childbearing. How many cases of breast cancer are they responsible for???

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 11:59 am #

            You consider it “pro-choice rhetoric” to say that abortion doesn’t cause breast cancer? I would consider it simply the truth.

            And what do you think pro-choice means? It’s about making sure that women have access to abortion if they choose it. What’s the distinction between being against the pro-choice movement and working toward restricting access? I really don’t see much of a difference.

        • Dr Kitty
          August 27, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

          Uh huh, none of us can have any experience of how devastating breast cancer can be, because none of us agree with you. Logic fail.

          About 1 in 9 white western women will get breast cancer. Most will survive it, just for the record.
          5 year survival for breast cancer at my local cancer centre is 85%.

          I’ve had lots of patients diagnosed with cancer.
          The ones who are still alive 5 years on mostly have breast cancer.
          The ones who died had lung, pancreatic, bowel, ovarian, oesophageal, brain, bone, skin and liver cancer.

        • OldTimeRN
          August 27, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

          What happens if after you did everything right in trying to prevent breast you still get it?

          Most times you can’t live your life just to prevent something almost impossible to prevent from happening. If you aren’t meant to get breast cancer you are meant to get it. There are way to many people doing everything wrong that don’t get it and way to many people doing everything right that do get it.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

            Right, why get Mammograms even?!? Some women are just MEANT to get breast cancer! Where do I recognize that line from? Oh yes, Homebirth Midwifery!

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 11:53 am #

            A mammogram is a quick, non-invasive screening — hardly comparable at all to bearing and raising a child for 18+ years, especially at a time when you are not emotionally and financially prepared to do so.

            And the costs and benefits of just a simple routine mammogram are not even that straightforward. There’s evidence that routine screening doesn’t really save many lives and increases the rate of treatment for cancers that might never have caused a woman a problem within her lifetime.

          • Box of Salt
            August 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

            Ellen Mary “Right, why get Mammograms even”

            Do you understand the difference between prevention and detection?

            Mammograms are looking for cancers that already exist.

            Reducing your risk factors is hoping that you can prevent developing the cancer in the first place.

            You need to sit back and think some of these things through before posting.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

            I was addressing the deeply offensive idea that women who get Breast Cancer are just ‘meant to’. Meant to by who? I understand the difference between prevention and detection, and like many, I wish we concentrated MORE on prevention . . .

          • AllieFoyle
            August 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

            Why is it deeply offensive to acknowledge that getting cancer (or any other illness, for that matter) often comes down to the vagaries of biology and genes and, well, just plain bad luck?

            I find it more offensive to perpetuate the idea that cancer and other forms of illness are avoidable if you just do all the right things, especially if you’re extending it so far that “doing the rights things” means doing something enormously life-altering like having a baby before you are ready.

          • Young CC Prof
            August 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

            Yeah, I’ve heard that cancer overall is about 40% lifestyle, but most lifestyle-related cancers are lung (smoking), skin (sunning), or HPV-related, with slight diet effects mixed in. Genes are also a big part of it, but the single biggest factor in determining who will get cancer and who won’t is pure blind chance.

          • Amy M
            August 29, 2014 at 7:50 am #

            Also, if you live long enough, you’ll probably get some kind of tumor, and die WITH cancer, though not necessarily FROM cancer. Over time, the ends of the DNA are shortened from so many cell divisions, and that leaves some tissues vulnerable to cancer cells developing there, since the body’s own cancer fighting mechanism is no longer working. People live a lot longer now than they did a few generations ago, it makes sense that we see more cancer. (I realize that’s only one reason, but still….)

          • Medwife
            August 28, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

            Meant to by who? You tell us, you’re the religious one.

        • Sue
          August 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

          ”my work here is really done”

          Now THAT is a major insight gap!

        • Hannah
          August 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

          “It is on, I am sure.”

          You’re sure? You didn’t even bother to look? If it IS on there, the least you should do to actually support this statement is *find where it says that and link it*. What you said just makes it look like you’re spouting off things you’ve read somewhere and never bothered to actually check whether it’s true or not.

    • Ellen Mary
      August 27, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

      In any case, it has been a fun hour or two y’all. Please, continue discussing Fraser health . . . I enjoy being insulted here but I never mean to totally derail the post in the way that it totally gets derailed. So I am walking away from the computer/closing the window. Try not to say anything too horrible about me in my absence as it might move me to reply. In any case, despite the vigorous and frequently insulting debate, I sincerely appreciate the generally kind tone people have taken when speaking about my own reproductive experience I shared here. I mean it. <3

      • attitude devant
        August 27, 2014 at 5:56 pm #

        Everyone here wishes you well. Truly. But good lord, lady! Learn some intellectual humility, or at least develop some reasoning skills. You seem to have swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, a powerful load of pseudoscientific crap and regurgitate it out, completely undigested, at regular intervals. And then you argue with people who have extensive training and experience in these areas. As the saying goes, you are ‘often wrong and never in doubt.’ It’s infuriating!
        And then when we ask you to back up your assertions you tell us to look around on Sigh.
        Grow up. Get some real education. Or at least be open to hearing that you are wrong when you are wrong.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          August 27, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

          The thing I don’t get is that Ellen Mary is not enough of a noob to be unfamiliar with the folks here and their expertise, so Pablo’s First Law shouldn’t be an issue. Yet, she is the poster child for it.

          • Guesteleh
            August 27, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

            I hate feeding the troll but when she posts blatant lies like “ZOMG abortion causes cancer” I feel like I have to refute her just so lurkers don’t think she’s right.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

            You know, I don’t she’s a troll, to the extent that the term implies being nasty for nastiness sake. I think she honestly thinks she knows better and is explaining it all to us.

          • Sue
            August 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm #

            I think you’re right, AD. Not malevolent, but huge deficit in insight.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 11:39 pm #


          • D/
            August 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

            IDK, it could be like “someone” I know who is a poster child of repeat speeding tickets in a well-known and well-patrolled speed trap. “She” is well aware of the legal speed limit, the consequences of violating it, and is now even on a first name basis with the ever vigilant officers who enforce it. It’s like there is just a disconnect between the brain and foot sometimes 🙁

          • Ellen Mary
            August 27, 2014 at 8:32 pm #

            Do you TRULY envision yourself as some type of police force who is giving me speeding tickets? I am afraid to ask what the speeding ticket is in your analogy. Internet spankings?

          • Young CC Prof
            August 27, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

            No, no speeding tickets on the Internet. It’s just looking silly.

          • attitude devant
            August 27, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

            She just replies to stuff like that because she has nothing to say to her more substantial challengers.

          • fiftyfifty1
            August 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

            Pablo’s First Law is helpful only for those not hopelessly blinded by Dunning Kruger and/or ideology.

    • OldTimeRN
      August 27, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      “Early pregnancy and breastfeeding are widely acknowledged to be risk reducers for Breast Cancer”

      Except when they are not. But by then no one cares about the woman who did everything right yet still ends up with cancer. Is someone apologizing and offering support to the woman the evidence didn’t work for? Don’t answer that. We all know the answer.

      • Ellen Mary
        August 27, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

        Do you tell people not to exercise & adopt healthy eating practices because they might get sick anyway?

        • Sue
          August 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm #


        • Who?
          August 27, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

          I suspect the actual message is

          ‘Be a reasonable weight, do some exercise, don’t smoke, drink moderately, but don’t imagine anything you choose to do or not do guarantees you a long healthy life and dying peacefully in your own bed.’

        • Dr Kitty
          August 28, 2014 at 9:16 am #

          Nope, but I don’t suggest they make major life decisions with dramatic consequences affecting the lives of others in order to possibly slightly reduce their risk of a single cancer from 1 in 9 to 1 in 9.5.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 28, 2014 at 11:14 am #

          Actually if your goal is to reduce breast cancer, you should NOT tell women to adopt healthy eating. The best strategy would be to tell them to develop anorexia nervosa. Of course anorexia comes with some downsides, but it works for reducing breast cancer. Are you angry at your doctors for withholding this information? I mean they knew this but they didn’t tell you!!! Where’s full informed consent when you need it?!

    • Trixie
      August 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

      So you’d bring children into the world solely as a means of slightly decreasing your risk of cancer?
      That’s nuts.

      • Ellen Mary
        August 27, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

        No, I planned to bring children into the world and could have used information on the advantages of different timing strategies from a medical POV.

      • theNormalDistribution
        August 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

        Oh lordy. I can’t be the only one who thinks that a double mastectomy would have less impact on my life than taking responsibility for the life of another human being.

        • Who?
          August 28, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

          I’ve voted up 1 on this, would have voted up 10 if I could.

        • Dr Kitty
          August 28, 2014 at 6:28 pm #


        • Elizabeth A
          August 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

          Having done both, I can assure you that you are correct.

          Even with the failed reconstruction, mastectomies have meant I needed some surgical recovery time, and some new bras.

          Children, though? Recovery time and new bras are the tiniest tippity tip of the iceberg.

    • survivorsfriend
      August 27, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      Tell that to my friend who had a baby at 24, breastfed for 2 years and has now battled both breast and ovarian cancer, and cancer does not run in her family at all, she’s the first person ever to have any form.

    • Sue
      August 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

      By that reasoning, Ellen Mary, we could say that becoming a nun ”causes” breast cancer.

      Having an abortion is only one of a MYRIAD of things that could potentially delay childbearing. Let’s think of some others:

      Having a (natural) miscarriage
      Having endometriosis
      Not meeting the right person with whom to procreate
      Being on teratogenic medications
      Being in prison
      Being poor
      Finishing career training

      Then there’s this – the person having an induced termination of pregnancy may be doing so to LIMIT their family size, after already having had children.

      Would we expect people to say ”I got breast cancer because I was too choosy about partners” or “I didn’t minimise my breast cancer risk because I couldn’t afford to raise children”?

      Can you not see how ridiculous the argument is?

      • attitude devant
        August 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

        I remember vividly sitting in our med school lecture hall listening to the oncologist talk about breast cancer (I am old enough that at the time this was occurring breast cancer was considered incurable), and when child-bearing was mentioned as a protective effect, ever single one of the 34% of us who were female collectively inhaled, only to exhale when the lecturer told us the effect was modest unless we had a baby BEFORE age 20. Well, eff that noise, you know? Like I’m going to have a baby way before I’m ready just to modify my cancer risk? Ha!

        • KarenJJ
          August 27, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

          19yo me would have shrugged my shoulders and decided to hope that breast cancer research found some better treatments in case future KarenJJ needed them.

          Thus far future KarenJJ has gotten lucky with neither breast cancer AND treatments have gotten better.

          If only 19yo KarenJJ had been better at using hats and sunscreen I might have avoided my one minor brush with cancer altogether.

          • Who?
            August 28, 2014 at 12:10 am #

            It’s true. My 50 year old friend needs a knee replacement (long story involving skiing). The doc is hesitant to do it, as it will ‘only’ last 20 years, and she then can’t have another. Her view is she’s ready to enjoy 20 active pain free years while he and his colleagues improve the art and science of knee replacements, and take her chances in about 19.5 years time.

            Will be interesting to see how that one pans out!

        • Careri
          August 27, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

          That’s the thing. I live within the anecdote, first term pregnancy at 34 and breast cancer diagnosis at 36. My sister had her first child in her teens and is still cancer free, high risk screening and all. I’d pick my path again. (It does help that survival rates are so much better now.)

        • FormerPhysicist
          August 28, 2014 at 7:18 am #

          I’m in my 40’s, married with 3 children, enough money. I’d GREATLY prefer breast cancer to another child right now. I have a chance of living through breast cancer.
          I’d have rather gotten cancer in my teens, too.
          And, the correlation ISN’T 100%.

      • Ellen Mary
        August 28, 2014 at 12:22 am #

        Nuns have historically had a higher incidence of breast cancer. My father’s aunt was a nun who died of breast cancer . . . Oh look, the association of being a nun with breast cancer was noted in . . . wait for it . . . 1713 . . .

        • Siri
          August 28, 2014 at 2:29 am #

          It’s also an established fact that no mother ever died of breast cancer. And it’s simply not possible that nuns, not dying in childbirth or of starvation, would simply live longer and therefore be at greater risk of cancer. No, it HAS to be their lack of pregnancies.

        • Sue
          August 28, 2014 at 4:33 am #

          And….she misses the point AGAIN. Sigh.

        • AllieFoyle
          August 28, 2014 at 9:41 am #

          So where is the outrage against the catholic church? They negligently failed to tell women that becoming a nun increased their cancer risk!

          • LibrarianSarah
            August 28, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

            Poor women probably only became nuns because they fell for all the ProCatholic rhetoric hook, line and sinker.

    • Sarah
      August 28, 2014 at 12:11 am #

      I think you’re coming from a position of trying to a helpful but you don’t understand much about breast cancer and environmental vs genetic influences.
      Looking at populations we know there are modifiable risk factor for breast cancer- the biggest ones are diet, smoking and alcohol intake. The rest of them- breast feeding/ childbearing etc have a very small overall effect. If you have a family history of breast cancer or a known BRCA mutation then childbearing and breast feeding makes little to no difference.

      • Ellen Mary
        August 28, 2014 at 1:44 am #

        This is a smaller study, but a 32% reduction in risk for BRCA1 carriers doesn’t seem that negligible to me. Can you explain why it would be considered negligible?

        • Sarah
          August 28, 2014 at 4:09 am #

          That’s a good paper but you’ll notice the effect only comes into play when women have breast fed for a year or more- I’m not sure where you are located but in Australia in 2006-2007 the percentage of mothers still breast feeding at 12 months was 28% and exclusively breast feeding was 0%. From the methodology
          it looks like breast feeding was measured in months but not how much milk the mothers were producing (ie- some mothers might be doing multiple feeds at six months, others were not.

          And of course there no risk reduction in BRCA 2 carriers.

          However this paper is interesting and if I can find some supporting studies I will discuss with my clinical team. Obviously it’s not very useful as we won’t recommend breast feeding as a risk reducing measure but we should absolutely inform women about it if the risk reduction is real.

        • AllieFoyle
          August 28, 2014 at 9:21 am #

          Why are you changing the subject again? First you try to imply that there is a causal link between abortion and breast cancer and that therefore abortion providers are negligent for not telling you about a causal relationship which doesn’t even exist.

          Abortion does not cause cancer. Allowing women to choose when and whether they have children is not a conspiracy to increase breast cancer risks. There are many factors that women consider when deciding when and if they will have children: future breast cancer risk is, for most, a minor factor, and not because people don’t know or care about breast cancer, but because they realize that the timing of childbearing has significant far-reaching effects on their own lives and that of their children, and also that many factors influence breast cancer risk and a lot of it is just down to luck.

          You could suggest that extended breastfeeding is a good cancer-avoidance strategy for BRCA1 carriers, but their risk is already so high that a 32% reduction in risk still leaves them at significantly increased risk — so much so that I imagine prophylactic mastectomy seems like a better strategy than having a pregnancy before you are ready and still having a high risk of cancer. And of course, there are all the other women (the vast majority) who develop breast cancer without having that specific mutation.

          But again, you were trying to implicate abortion in breast cancer risk, now it’s lack of extended breast-feeding. Pick a point and stick with it.

          • carovee
            August 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

            Bravo AlliFoyle. That was a lovely response.

    • Roadstergal
      August 28, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Oh, sigh, I’ll bite.
      So yes, let’s suppose that before your abortion, they had indeed warned you of the possible gnat’s fart of an increased lifetime risk of breast cancer through not having a child early in life. And on the other side, had warned you of the increased lifetime risk of gestational diabetes, eclampsia, clincal depression and PTSD, gestational diabetes, surgery, teraing, sexual dysfuntion, incontinence, prolapse, etc etc etc that continuing with pregnancy would carry. Would you have considered that proper informed consent?

      • fiftyfifty1
        August 28, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

        That’s a great point Roadstergal! If we decide that we must go over *every* possible risk not matter how theoretical or disproven, don’t we have to include both sides? I wonder why Ellen Mary hasn’t responded to your question!

    • attitude devant
      August 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      Get a grip. YOU were pregnant at 27. YOU chose an abortion. No one forced that on you. You, by your account, made an appointment, had an intake interview, and came back for a second visit to have the procedure. And now, after three (I think) kids you regret your choice. But instead of ovary-ing up and saying “I chose badly” or “I would choose differently today” you blame Planned Parenthood for paternalistically (!) not talking you out of your choice. Can you even HEAR how ridiculous this is? Are you completely unable to take responsibility for your adult actions?

      • Ellen Mary
        August 28, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

        I 100% own that I made a choice. I accept full responsibility. Just correcting a few things: I regretted it almost immediately. As soon as I realized, viscerally, that the products of conception was political language obscuring the reality of a human embryo. I didn’t regret it after 3 kids! I am nearly to the point of true freedom from the remorse & sorrow after 3 kids.

        I blame Planned Parenthood for using CNMs/MDs in a very shall we say, sparing way. I had lots of medical questions & I was asking them of someone not medically trained. At least I should have been referred to someone who could give me medical answers. PP has been caught on camera giving inaccurate medical info, I am hardly the only one who has said that. I accept responsibility for not proactively seeking out another opinion, but I am most embarassed that I knew next to nothing of PP’s history & thought of them as my feminist up with women BFF instead of an medical business that provides abortions. But thier marketing does give that impression.

        I feel like I began to regret my abortion the minute it actually happened (chemical) & I realized the gravity what I had done. Instead of seeing at as a liberated, feminist NBD.

        • Roadstergal
          August 28, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

          You regretted it almost immediately because you suddenly realized at that moment that you had increased your risk for breast cancer (even though you hadn’t)? I have so very much gotten lost in the point you were trying to make in the first place re: the topic of this post.

          • Ellen Mary
            August 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm #

            When people respond to me, usually with a personal insult thrown in . . . I am just responding . . . I would have appreciated some nuance to the Breast Cancer argument, but at that time I believe that anyone that wasn’t 100% spouting the PPAction/NARAL party line was a total fool.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

            at that time I believe that anyone that wasn’t 100% spouting the PPAction/NARAL party line was a total fool.

            So… if the PP worker *had* given you a nuanced discussion of breast cancer risk, would it have made any difference to you then? Or would you have written it off as her being an interfering soandso who was insufficiently orthodox for your comfort?

          • Roadstergal
            August 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

            Do you understand that the ‘Breast Cancer Argument’ didn’t have much nuance because, well, there’s no ‘there’ there? Even the gnat’s fart I mention below only seems to apply for having a first child under the age of 20, which you weren’t. And even if we bring ourselves to an AU where you were actually under 20, would you have felt fully informed, today, if they had sat you through a long discussion of the real and likely lifetime risks to mental, physical, and economic health from continuing the pregnancy vs the small population-level increased lifetime risk of one specific cancer due to choosing to not have a child before the age of 20?

          • attitude devant
            August 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

            Who is insulting you? Not Roadstergal. Not me.

        • fiftyfifty1
          August 28, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

          “that the products of conception was political language obscuring the reality of a human embryo.”

          Actually the term “products of conception” isn’t political language at all. It’s medical language. It is used because early in pregnancy it’s hard to tell one type of tissue from another with the naked eye, but in a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or induced abortion situation ALL of the products of conception need to be passed (embryo, proto-placenta etc) or you with have an incomplete miscarriage which carries medical risks.

          • Dr Kitty
            August 28, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

            ERPC is medical shorthand for a D&C (or suction) for incomplete miscarriage.
            It stands for Evacuation of Retained Products of Conception.

            Not to be confused with ERCP- endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography.

            Medicine is full of fun, easily confused acronyms.

        • Lisa
          September 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

          Planned Parenthood’s “history?” What history do you speak of? Because I have spent countless hours of mine studying Sanger and Planned Parenthood. I’d LOVE to see what you think their history is, I really would. Since you brought it up. Let’s hear it. What history?

          My prediction is, you will not answer me. You havent asked 99% of what was asked of you.

    • b-p
      August 29, 2014 at 4:28 am #

      So, you have had your breasts and related tissue removed then?

  12. Alannah
    August 27, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    If anyone would like to drop Fraser Health a line about how all this makes you feel:

  13. DaisyGrrl
    August 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    I think what I find most offensive about Fraser Health’s position is that it is in no way supportive of the mother or the baby. By using these scare tactics and shaming mothers who do not breastfeed, they are telling mothers that it’s their fault if their children become sick and medical professionals will blame them for their children’s illnesses unless they breastfeed.

    Instead of shoving this lying form in front of exhausted new moms, how about a different approach? Once the baby’s been cleaned up and things have calmed down a bit, ask the mother “have you thought about how you will be feeding little bub?” then LISTEN to her answer. Don’t shame her if she doesn’t want to breastfeed – there’s probably a reason that’s none of the hospital’s business as to why it’s not going to happen. Make sure mom knows about the appropriate resources available for infant feeding in general, and if she says she wants to bf or combo feed, offer her a consultation with an LC who can provide respectful and practical guidance.

    Looking at infant mortality data over the last 100 years shows that modern obstetrics, public health initiatives, and FORMULA have saved millions of lives. The judging and the shaming need to stop. If baby is healthy and thriving, then everything else is gravy.

    • Melissa
      August 28, 2014 at 2:59 am #

      That is what should be done. Talk to the Mom. If they want info offer it to them.

      I knew someone who worked with a non-profit that promoted breastfeeding to young mothers. One of the things that she would complain about is when the girls told her that they didn’t want to breastfeed because “it’s gross, those are for sex, not for a baby.”

      But she began to realize that 1) those ingrained ideas aren’t going to be solved by trying to force them into doing something they find disgusting and 2) sometimes that was just the excuse they used because the actual reason for not breastfeeding was too personal. Saying that it’s gross was a way to get out of it that allowed them to feel in control of the situation. Having to explain about how thinking about breastfeeding triggered memories of sexual abuse or that breastfeeding wouldn’t be possible because they weren’t going to be living with the child since a relative would be caring for it made them feel vulnerable. Acting as if the person suggesting bf was the one out of line gave them power.

      TL:DR sometimes people give silly reasons for their choices because the truth is too hard to talk about.

  14. August 27, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    Thank-you for taking the time to point out the obvious, sadly the ability to hear and respond appropriately is exceedingly rare.

  15. Amy M
    August 27, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    I’ve seen this online: Lactivist makes an obnoxious statement about formula and says that women who formula feed should just “own it.”. Some poor mother feels she must justify her choices, and explains why she used formula. If she’s not sufficiently broken-hearted about failing to breastfeed, she’s defensive. After all, no one can make her feel guilty! That’s on her. If she “owns” her decision, it will be made clear that she must not have known the risks and/or she’s a lazy, selfish, unfit mother. Lactivist will say something like “well, if you are ok giving your baby inferior food…” Maybe worse, because Lactivist believes that mothers who don’t breastfeed SHOULD feel guilty, and if they don’t, Lactivist isn’t trying hard enough.

    Our culture, at least online and in nursing circles, has formula feeders losing no matter what. Either they are defensive or they are selfish and lazy, but no matter what they say or do, nothing will satisfy these Lactivists.

    • sleuther
      August 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

      I agree with this, Amy M. Very well put. This is why I don’t usually go into my “reasons” for FFing my kids. I had reasons. My husband and my OB/GYN and our pediatrician agreed with these reasons. That’s it. If I don’t say what the reasons were, judgmental idiots won’t be tempted to poke holes in them. I don’t care what they think.

      By the way, DD1 started middle school today and her younger sister started second grade. Both are doing great.

      • Amy M
        August 27, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

        Yeah, I’m with you. I never shared my reasons online, except on the FFF blog. In person, I talked about it with friends, but none of them were judgemental. My boys started K today, and they are also doing fine.

    • KarenJJ
      August 27, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

      Well said. That’s been my experience too online. Thankfully in real life I’ve found *most* other mothers to be a lot more flexible and compassionate and realistic in their thinking.

  16. The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
    August 27, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    What I find most interesting is that our culture seems to be comfortable hearing about the benefits of breastfeeding but seems uncomfortable talking about the risks of artificial baby milks or formula.

    I’d like to hear these “benefits” of breastfeeding that are not in comparison to formula feeding.

    Let’s even take something that is said but may or may not be true. OK, breast feeding decreases your risk of breast cancer. Decreases it with respect to what? Presumably, it must be decreased with respect to your risk of breast cancer if you formula feed, right?

    So the “risk of formula feeding” is implicit in the statement that “Breast feeding decreases your risk of breast cancer.” So in what we are we not talking about it?

    • fiftyfifty1
      August 27, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      “I’d like to hear these “benefits” of breastfeeding that are not in comparison to formula feeding.”

      Maybe we could accomplish this by doing a breast variation of the classic duck joke.

      Q: What is the difference between Breastfeeding?
      A: One breast is both the same!

      Nope, didn’t work. You must be right.Talking about the decreased risks of breastfeeding implies increased risk of formula feeding.

      • Young CC Prof
        August 27, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

        I could compare breastfeeding to, say, feeding your baby on beer and bread crumbs. Or whole vegetables.

        • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
          August 28, 2014 at 7:45 am #

          I could compare breastfeeding to, say, feeding your baby on beer and bread crumbs. Or whole vegetables.

          Yeah, this was all I could figure. Breastfeeding vs …. doing nothing, which means that you don’t have any children.

          But that’s not what they are talking about, of course.

  17. Guesteleh
    August 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    Off-topic but interesting: How social media silences debate. Relevant to the NCB thread-purging phenomenon.

  18. Mandi Foster Davis
    August 27, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Since I didn’t lactate with either of my babies, I find myself wholeheartedly believing that formula feeding was far less risky than breastfeeding for my kids. You know, since breastfeeding them would have definitely led to death by starvation.

    • Ash
      August 27, 2014 at 11:45 am #

      You shouldn’t have given artificial formula to your children. Instead, you should have followed the natural and organic ways of our ancestors, who used bread soaked in milk or indentured servants who were obligated to be your wet nurse.

      • Mandi Foster Davis
        August 27, 2014 at 11:50 am #

        I know, I’m such a failure as a mother.

        • Elizabeth A
          August 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

          I’m starting a club. Come on over! We can have margaritas and let the kids watch inappropriate media.

          I’ll write up some rules for Pocoyo: The Drinking Game, and we’ll play it very quietly.

          • Life Tip
            August 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

            Are the rules: 1. Turn on Pocoyo 2. Start drinking

            If so, I’m familiar with the game.

          • Elizabeth A
            August 27, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

            Come over anytime. I’ll show you the secret cupboard where I hide the *good* cookies.

      • Liz Leyden
        August 27, 2014 at 12:32 pm #

        My ancestors *were* the wet nurses.

        • August 27, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

          I’d frankly “purchase” or “rent” a wet nurse before I’d buy donor milk on Craigslist.

          Hmmmm….that might be a good byline for surrogate mothers, you know? “Rent-a-Wet-Nurse-R-Us”.

          • Amy M
            August 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

            You could call your organization “Nurses in the RAW!”

            (RAW=rent a wetnurse)

          • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa
            August 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

            Lots of traffic to the website, but very little business. Although you could add some testimonials…

            “My husband convinced me to rent a wet nurse after finding your web site…”

      • Life Tip
        August 27, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

        Or participated in the time-honored tradition of watching your child die. All natural!

    • DaisyGrrl
      August 27, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

      I spent the first four months of my life slowly starving to death because my mother didn’t produce enough breast milk for me. I’m glad she finally “gave in” and fed me formula.

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