Talk:Abortion–breast cancer hypothesis/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Well here is the article. I apologize for all the references, but I felt it necessary given the subject matter to have the first draft contain them. Then as time passes I, or others can remove them. I hope it isn't a total disaster. --RoyBoy 18:36, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Context of the Devra Davis quote

The quote from When Smoke Ran Like Water is talking about pollution, not abortion. The context of this quote makes it sound like Davis is critical of abortion, and I have no information to suggest that she is. There is certainly no moral equivalency between polluting the environment and elective abortion. NTK 13:49, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)


That is indeed true, however it was not my intention to imply she is critical of abortion; or even is supporting the ABC link. That is why I put "feminist" and "ABC skeptic", but I am confident it is an appropriate quote on the validity of rat-human comparisons. Whether she is talking about environmental pollution or something else entirely I believe the quote stands on its own. I can certainly attempt to clarify that since I do not want to provide a false impression. BTW, is there such a thing as a feminists against abortion? I put in "pro-choice" prior to feminist, but that seems redundant. --RoyBoy 18:08, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Roy you said you were moving the Lancets meta-analysys here off the main abortion page because it fit you page better and was more on topic. Yet its not HERE. I can look it up again although it shouldn't be hard for you to find by going through drafts on the abortion page (if you don't know how to look through the different edits i can explain it). I still think there is a LOT of bias on this page. Since it is a debate posting articles that are generally only in support of your view/position is inappropriate. As a debate (and it is a debated topic) there should be more links to the other side and a better explanation of them when they occur (ie to the same level as the original studies are explained.)--Marcie 10:24, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yes it is. It is labeled as the Beral study, which I think is more appropriate. I should throw in a reference to it being in Lancet since that is how it is being described by the media. --RoyBoy 00:37, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Lancet etc

It isn't just the Lancet study. This entry has serious POV problems. The problem is not so much with the facts presented as the tone, which seems to give equal weight to both proposition (which is not neutrality). I'm inserting a npov notice and I'll be back to elaborate. --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 20:05, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

What took you so long :)... although I'm confused by 'equal weight' not being neutrality. Because current public sentiment of the issue is not reflected in the article? And "Lancet" is in there as Beral; oh yeah, and 1,2,3,4 I declare an edit war! My first, this should be fun! I'm reverting the mention of Lancet in the intro to provide "perspective" on the debate before they even read the article... give me a break. As I mentioned to Marcie elevating a study on the ABC issue to the intro is hardly NPOV.
This is one example of non-equal weighting being part of the NPOV article and the reason i was concerned with it. If 75% of the world thinks one way 25% the other way and we don't know for sure which is which there should be clear evidence of the 75% going into the talk then a discussion of why others think differently--Marcie 22:07, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Good point. As you probably noticed, I decided to sleep on it instead of reverting it right away; and after reading this I'll probably concede to keeping a mention of it in the intro. However I likely will still insist on altering it in some way, perhaps putting back my sentence about it still not being disproven. And as of now I dislike the fact the Beral study is mentioned twice; but I may have to live with it as long as its flavor of the month. Since that is indeed the case I'm putting back the Media Bias section. (not part of the ABC issue my foot, if necessary I'll make it explicit to avoid re-deletion)
Also I'm wondering myself about the naming convention for pro-life. I threw in variations because of style and my personal feeling different terms can and should be used since there are pro-lifers (just opposed to abortion), and anti-choicers (who actively seek remove a womens right to choose). So I'm actually trying to be precise in my terms (currently my use of different terms isn't consistent in that regard), although I gotta admit putting "pro-life" in quotes is kind of asking for controversy. --RoyBoy 05:22, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I agree with what most of your edits were attempting to accomplish. But for example removing the quote (the out of context opinion) on Rats makes the other opinion that is left unbalanced... although, it guess it is balancing Drs. Brind and Russo's... fine you win that one. Removing Media Bias... what were you thinking? I'm going to fight you on that one in Discussion.
As to "tightening" up the Conclusion, come on! BTW, I changed "was" to "is" not because of my final paragraph, but because of the recent shift in opinion you were so kind to leave in the conclusion. Anyway... I agree with the change to present tense. --RoyBoy 00:43, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Do you know me? Public sentiment isn't an issue. The appropriate weight to give to the sides of a debate is determined primarily by commonsense. Let me know what you think of my changes. --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 00:55, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

No, don't know you... just glad to see the inevitable occur... gives my brain something to do. You seem to be an intelligent guy, so I'll let you sort out why I would be aggravated at the mention of 'commonsense'... especially when Media Bias has been stripped clean from the article. Commonsense doesn't exist in debated subjects with inconclusive evidence, Pinker's The Blank Slate makes that abundantly clear with scientists siding with the philosophically popular nurture instead of the increasingly scientifically backed nature. In the end both wrong and both right. OTOH I'm willing to concede it was commonsense to give nurture the upper hand while scientists said it had the upper hand. In that regard I'm ambivalent to commonsense being commonfolly. :'D --RoyBoy 01:25, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Is this a "hot debated" subject? I'm not interested in debating it, I don't know anybody who is. I would like to make sure this turns out to reflect the current state of human knowledge. As it happens I have a copy of Pinker's The Blank Slate on my bookshelf. We're not restricted to convention here, so don't worry about being forced into a straitjacket. But remember that the purpose here is accurately to reflect the state of the debate, not to try to second-guess the state of reality. --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 01:33, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I took 'hot debated' out you'll notice :)... reflect the current state of human knowledge, which is what? That the Beral, no sorry "Lancet collaborative", study is great because it happens to be most recent "no ABC link" study out there. The flaws of meta-analysis should be clear to you, and since you are human... I assume, as previously conceeded I don't know you... that means it's part of human knowledge that meta-analysis ain't new, its subjective review of existing human knowledge. I certainly appreciate you kept the Brind link, but to remove the guts of his critique while a critque is left of his meta-analysis (which did make it to the Media), is uh... disappointing.
A copy of The Blank Slate... darnit, now I guess I have to like you! Hehehe... anyway, accurately reflect the state of the debate, no wait, the hypothesis... that sounds reassuring. Now this is important, which debate are we trying to reflect? The public (media) debate or the scientific debate? As to second guessing reality... hey man, that's fun... might not be encyclopedic, but I think the evidence does speak for itself. You keep this up I'll have to include a Melbye pre-term pregnancy study chart. --RoyBoy 02:20, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Brind

Sometimes it happens that a maverick champions a particular idea. Sometimes he's right, sometimes wrong. An article about an issue shouldn't give him the special rights to the issue that he might want. There are points in which statements are characterised as refutations of Brind's position (if he was the only person who held them, they wouldn't be worth of refutation) and others where critiques of a given study are represented as Doctor Brind's. Is he the only person with opinions on these studies? If not, why are his opinions considered so important? --[[User:Tony Sidaway|Tony Sidaway|Talk]] 01:03, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

For the most part there is another Dr. Chinchilli, who I assume is anti-choice, and is also attached to the letters. The reason it is important is two fold. For many of the references it is correspondence in peer reviewed journals, so I think that makes it as least presentable. :'p As to why his opinions are important at all... well without them there would be very little public criticism of studies (and their presentation) and in essence there wouldn't be a public debate (there still would have been a scientific one... I hope). As I (attempted) to show in the Dr. Brind section, people attempt to marginalize him even further than he actually is. Without that context (and no I do not think it belongs in a Dr. Brind article, it belongs here since it is misrepresenting his postion on the ABC link)... anyway without the context people would write him off immediately as an anti-abortion nutter. Well sorry, he might be an anti-abortion nutter... but to marginalize and misrepresent his informed opinions is not right, it isn't true... and it sure as heck ain't NPOV! It's all too easy to cast doubt on someone by pointing out they're pro-life, there needs to be some balancing for that by noting pro-choicers aren't exactly angels... nor are they more informed than Dr. Brind on the ABC issue. --RoyBoy 01:42, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I'm moving my relevant comments here for the moment. Although they fit in different spots i wanted them to be visible not just part of the back...

Context of the Devra Davis quote

I agree the quote is innapropriate. If you want to put in an explanation of when and how she said it it could be appropriate. Otherwise you are going to need to find another quote (there are lots of differences between pro choice feminists in the first place or just plain feminist without the quoting of people getting messed up. Perhaps a quote by a feminist on the topic in discussion or vaguely related to it would be more appropriate--[[User:


This is one example of non-equal weighting being part of the NPOV article and the reason i was concerned with it. If 75% of the world thinks one way 25% the other way and we don't know for sure which is which there should be clear evidence of the 75% going into the talk then a discussion of why others think differently--Marcie 22:07, 12 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Convention on Wiki is to use Pro Life Pro Choice. If the situation is so far out of the normal its done special (look at the other section of the Abortion in the United States of someone who was killing doctors.--Marcie 10:20, 13 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Scientific Study Headings

Someone changed the headings so that Interviews, Meta Analysis and Cohorts no longer fall under Scientific Studies. Why was that done, and does it make any sense? Because now looking at the article... it's difficult to tell where discussion of scientific studies stops, just makes it harder IMO to easily see the scientific study sections. --RoyBoy 07:54, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

NCI link added back in

You have more than enough links elsewhere in your page that taking out the NCI link shows bias. If there were no other links i might feel differently. As it is i have put it back to try and lessen the bias that is on this page.--Marcie 11:19, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Okay, but as I noted in my edit it is a redundant link. Probably one of several, but it was an obvious one because of the NCI workshop section. --RoyBoy 20:51, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Effect of length of pregnancy on ABC theory

Roy i noticed something i'd missed (or maybe it was added in, this is certainly a busy page). The article (or one of the studies) noted that there was much less problem if there was going to be an abortion if the abortion occured within the first 8 weeks or pregnancy. I'm going to see if i can track down the stats on 8 weeks (i already have some stats on 16 weeks). Maybe you can track it down to (i think we use different sources which is fine...finding someone to say 8 weeks in particular may or may not be hard).

I think that this is important enough that it should be moved onto the main abortion page. Whether you are pro choice or pro life IF the ABC theory is correct it would be a good argument for good early access to abortion, because it would reduce breast cancer [i guess that only applies if you will allow abortion, but for a lot of people it is not black and white and i think its an interesting thing to add.] Why didn't i just add it myself. Well certain pages i do more writing, others i do more talking...research and some writing. As for the main abortion page i thought i'd ask you to see how you could word it...maybe we'll end up arguing over it or maybe you'll refuse (in which case i will get involved) but since this is your baby in many ways i thought i'd see if you wanted to do it first--Marcie 18:32, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You mean mention a study in the introduction along with the Lancet study? Although I totally agree women should be given some sort of advise and reassurance there is "something" they can do IF there is an ABC link, which I had in the conclusion previously. However, Tony removed it (I don't know specifically why) and as the article currently (with the Lancet study in the intro) it would be difficult to put it in right after a study says there is no link.
If we were to put the warning back in I think it should go back into the conclusion, not in the intro (that I still have to tweek) which would make it contradictory and confusing. And with it back in the conclusion it would help alleviate any anxiety a women reading this article would have. Additionally the only study really worth mentioning in this regard is the Melbye study with its large dataset. However Daling 1994 also showed a 1.4 risk (1-8 weeks) vs 1.9 (9-12 weeks); then again a Rookus study showed the opposite. Although I don't know why that occurred in Rookus; generally speaking for studies earlier is indeed better. So in the end if we put it back; it should be in the conclusion not the introduction.
PS: The source I cited for that warning was the pro-choice Religious Tolerance website. --RoyBoy 16:56, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Don't have time to answer the whole thing at the moment. I thought you might find it interesting (amusing?) that i came across the religious tolerance page before i noticed you using it...i think it WAS in relation to this article but it was a fair way back. Serendipity? Right at the moment i'm heavily involved in another page which is going through a full NPOV POV conflict, and it is taking up just about all the research time i have...some of the issues are related and if i have a chance i'll try to find the data. But so far what i'm seeing is abortions by the 16 week period not the 8 week. I think that is because it is mid second trimester.
If you are interested you might want to look at that discussion as its abortion related as well. The article is Abortion in Canada. At the moment all of the old archives (which detail how the decisions for the page were made) have been archived because the thing was getting huge (personally i wouldn't have archived quite as much...but its not that big a deal since they are findable...in a way it makes very clear there was previous talk). As far as i can tell all of the people in the discussion are pro choice but the problems surround what and how much information is necessary as well as if more case law needs to be added.
also the whole discussion at the moment is only being done by 3 folks (and i'm the only one that worked on the original page out of that....but that's related to me originally asking about how it is decided a NPOV is taken off...it had been changed to something about the article not being POV but the wording being a problem....with no suggestions and it had been there for a couple of months i think....
seems to me it would be good to have more than 3 folks there, agree, disagree with them if a huge part of the page is going to be reviewed for NPOV. Also it appears to me that some of the issues should be on the medicare page...but i'm perfectly able to argue that one myself ;-)
i just finished reading all of the majority opinion of a Supreme Court Ruling....actually fairly understandable, somewhat interesting and most importantly it shows preceding cases and precedent cases that might be useful and answers some of the questions we are looking into. But it is VERY dry!--Marcie 18:03, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Since I'm Canadian I'll definitely take a look, but I won't intervene unless I can help in some way. What I would say is anything to do with Medicare and Canadian Abortion should probably be in Canadian Abortion under a Medicare section. As to Religious Tolerance... yeah quite the coincidence, but then again it is the best website I've come across on the ABC issue. One of my goals for the Wiki article is that its better than Religious Tolerance on the scientific side of the debate.
Also I came across a lot of dry stuff in the ABC research I did. But if you reduce it to a paragraph it can be insightful and worth it. Assuming of course it had a meaningful impact on the subject in question. --RoyBoy 00:36, 19 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Re Brind: "very" little support

Saying he has "very little support" isn't accurate given Drs. Russo & Russo, Dr. Daling and the RCOG... all mainstream scientists (and organizations) support directly or indirectly Dr. Brind's theory and findings. Furthermore, Melbye acknowledge some of their research is in agreement with the Russo and Russo hypothesis. Hence Dr. Brind's interpretation of mainstream science is not baseless. And Tony if you do read this, please reiterate/clarify what is disputed for NPOV. I think that having the article renamed "hypothesis" allows for Brind to put forward his ideas, criticisms without a NPOV flag being pulled at a moments notice.

(PS: I know I'm unlikely to win this, and even if I did with you given your unconventional reading ;' P, someone else would just come along and find something else "wrong" with the article... but at least I want to go through the motions. Because the NPOV notice seems to put a lot of good work and research in doubt unnecessarily. Thanks.) - RoyBoy [] 07:01, 2 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Removed text

I've removed the following text: "Furthermore how Dr. Brind is mischaracterized by pro-choice advocates [1] and publications [2] illustrates the lack of scientific rigor on both sides of the public ABC debate." This has been done because a) it's someone's POV (hardly neutral) and b) it is unsubstantiated exactly how Dr. Brind is mischaracterized and how this illustrates the lack of scientific rigour on both sides of the debate! - Ta bu shi da yu 06:25, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Copyedit needed

There are many areas of this article that are unclear because of poor grammar and writing style (no offense to the original author). I can see that the original author has made a valiant attempt at being neutral, however this has made the article worse. As such I've added the Template:cleanup-copyedit tag to it. - Ta bu shi da yu 06:29, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I think I'd be hard pressed to find a greater compliment! Since my grammar is indeed lackluster on anything over a paragraph long no offense taken. - RoyBoy 800 07:50, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I did a massive copy edit. This article still needs a lot of work though. It has some POV problems, but more importantly it goes into too much detail. I don't think it's necessary to list every study and its criticisms. A couple paragraphs on each side of the debate would be sufficient. At any rate, I think I've fixed enough of the grammatical errors to remove the copy edit tag. Anyone concur? DaveTheRed 07:33, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You did a great job, and I concur. If you need to discuss any of my reverts, POV issues, and such I'm more than willing. As to the level of detail; I selected every study if it met a series of criteria... it was referred to by both sides of the debate, illustrated a necessary point of understanding, and ultimately is deemed important in the debate. My goal was to create an article where the current state of the discussion on the best research could be referenced. I would advise against removing studies; I agree the article could use some shortening (for Melbye and Daling especially)... but at the same time I did my best to keep a complex (and very wordy) subject to the essentials to begin with. - RoyBoy 800 07:50, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I must commend you for being thorough in your research. I don't think we should eliminate the studies completely, but I think we could get away with briefly summarizing their impact on the debate. Covering the current state of discussion on the debate is all well and good, but I think that the level of detail here is too large. Unfortunately, I'm not really familiar with the ABC debate, so I would not be a good person to do this. DaveTheRed 20:07, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Much thanks, well I reduced the article by 2k mainly by paraphrasing Melbye study debate, Daling repetition, nip and tucks here and there. Do you want more? If so what should be my goal? - RoyBoy 800 03:29, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Much better. I'm much happier with the article as it is (which isn't to say it can't be improved, of course). DaveTheRed 03:44, 16 Mar 2005 (UTC)

May edits

Hi, I took a stab at it, too. The article isn't about Brind, so I moved mention of him down; seems to me the science should speak for itself and the issue of Brind's demonization/allegations/whatever should be dealt with in a story/page about him. I also removed some of the statistical analysis paragraphs and replaced them with wikilinks to those topics. Kaisershatner 18:26, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
I added back some of the Brind info to the lead, after reviewing this page in greater detail. The ABC article isn't about him, but I see that his studies and his personal politics are at issue in a parallel sense. Kaisershatner 18:31, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
As are the scientific allegations which impact key points in the debate. On balance your edits are good; however your editing of spontaneous abortion is atrocious. It was made incomprehensible; and cuts out a key dinstinction between cause and characterized, and "some" abortions associated with low hormone levels is simply incorrect. I was quite happy with your edits until I spotted that; which makes me wary of keeping any of your contributions. I'll try to examine them on a case by case basis. I had the article ordered logically; with counfounders coming prior to the science that would be affected by said factors. - RoyBoy 800 18:39, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Cool, but don't revert the WHOLE thing- just fix the para that isn't readable (I agree btw could be better). Kaisershatner 18:53, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
I apologize, but let me clarify something here... it is You that needs a wait a second, not me. You have made dramatic, in cases illogical changes to the article without discussion. Then you do mention you are partially reverting some of your own changes (poorly I might add, added bio info of Brind to the lead isn't advisable). It's simply a mess; I will revert and you should take it slower this time around. Additionally I'm removing that goddam clean-up tag until you can explain it. - RoyBoy 800 19:01, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Also the main reason I'm moving Brind to his own article is because of the length of the ABC article. However I had the Brind section in there for easy reading and to understand a key person mention throughout the rest of the ABC article. - RoyBoy 800 19:04, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Roy, I didn't mean to cause offense. I don't think you need to toss around "goddam (sic) cleanup tag," and in any case, I think it can be removed now. I put it up because most of the scientific writing in the article used totally nonstandard language and there was enormous digression into Brind and the personal attacks, as well as the explanatory paragraphs about statistical analysis. Can you tell me what your objection is to the miscarriage section? And what about my changes is illogical? Kaisershatner 19:10, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
You tell me if inserting "milieu", removing the statistics (replacing it with the incorrect "some miscarriages") increases accuracy and readability? You list Brind's politics in the lead; but have disconnected it from his credentials and pro-choice bias that causes the reader to reconsider unfair preconceptions. I find it humourous you maintain scientific improvements are needed then remove scientific information.
I'd hardly call the first two lines in Brind section a HUGE digression. The rest of the section dealt DIRECTLY with important ABC evidence, and how it relates to Brind who indeed is the leading advocate for the ABC hypothesis.
It's illogical to move Evidence for confounding factors into the hinterlands when it plainly belongs where it was to begin with. (don't bother fixing it) Your edits maximize making Brind bad, minimizing pro-choice mistakes (re: spontaneous abortion), and to top it all off; and they are aesthetically worse. I will calm down, and then I will revert you (re-adding good additions such as recall bias in confounding factors, which I neglected to put because Recall Bias has its OWN SECTION, nevertheless it was a good call on your part). Also I'll reconsider if I should have created a Joel Brind article to begin with given only two lines belong in there while the rest belongs here. Seperating it makes the article LESS readable; even though it technically removes a minor bio side-track; but since its a RELEVANT bio, is it REALLY a problem? No. Also, discussion of Brind has no place in Meta-analysis.
I await your response prior to me reverting you; which is common courtesy to the person who has put in the most effort into an article. Translation, you offended Me when you reverted; as to the clean-up... that was just sloppy (no discussion) and unnessesary (when you did discuss, turned out it was over something I find misguided (re: digression); and something that remains to be explained (re: non-standard language)). Indeed, perhaps the language does need cleaning up... but, lol, I gotta tell ya "milieu" isn't a step in that direction. - RoyBoy 800 20:02, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Roy, thanks for your patience. I will attempt to answer your detailed points. Please Wikipedia: Assume good faith. My changes are honestly not intended to further one side but to present the facts. Also, I can understand that you're passionate about this article, having done most of the work in writing it.
Alrighty... thx.
About miscarriage, I'm not wedded to the phrase "hormonal milieu." The point I was trying to communicate, which I thought was the same point the section covered, is that miscarriages may not be comparable to abortions because some of the time, miscarriages occur in the setting of abnormal hormone concentrations (ie low progesterone) and so the fact that there is no clear association between spontaneous abortion and breast cancer cannot necessarily be extrapolated to imply that there is no assn. between elective abortion and breast cancer. Incidentally, that is a point that is supportive of the ABC hypothesis, so I'm not sure why you assume I disagree with that hypothesis. If you don't think "hormonal milieu" is a step forward, I would be happy for you to change it. Miscarriages, by the way, do not ALWAYS occur in the setting of abnormal hormones, as they may be caused by medical complications as in lupus for example, clotting disorders, etc. That's why I changed the language. And finally, I don't think I removed any of the evidence, I cited all of the studies you had in there but changed them to footnotes. At least I think I did.
Looking at my version of miscarriages, why would you get the impression that was the articles treatment. Part of the reason its important to quotes statistics in the article. 89% is not alwasy, and its far clearer than "some". Further my version contains the word "predominantly"... well its not as clear as I would have liked (hence the stat backup)... but if you didn't think it was clear enough shove another "usually" in there; don't rearrange the section and make it clash with the rest of the article that makes a consistent showing of percentages. (again, it wasn't that broken to begin with, tweak... don't rearrange)
About Brind, I thought the case of the ABC hypothesis is stronger when separated from the personality of Brind. Whether or not I even know who he is, the scientific evidence can be considered objectively. I realize he's a part of this story, as are efforts to portray him negatively, so I agree that he should be mentioned in the intro (as it stands now) but shouldn't the hypothesis, research, etc. stand on its own?
It should; but it doesn't. And to not openly acknowledge the politics is to invite ppl from both sides to call the article biased. Despite my best efforts the article is still biased. I had a pro-life anon change the lead; and guess what... he was right, having "concluded" and not mentioning criticism of the only named study in the lead is biased; so I changed it.
My last edit moved confounding factors out of "the hinterlands" and up into the second section, since I agree with you that it logically goes higher up. I thought: (1) present the hypothesis (2) mention the controversy and the politics behind the science, (3) explain that there is a lot of research, (4) present the confounding factors that make the research harder to design and interpret, (5) list the prominent studies and their pros/cons. Where appropriate, include Brind's view.
That's all well and good, and you did (1) well. The hinterlands was talking about the new "Evidence for confounding factors" section; ripped out of confounding factors. Ugly as hell, and doesn't read as easily.
Actually I retract that... (1) isn't even good, it provides the impression having an abortion gives you breast cancer. I know it says "association", but that's not precise... I added "higher risk".
Re: Brind, as noted my initial thought was "this is an article about the hypothesis, not about the demonization of Brind," but also as stated I agree with you that the politics of this cannot necessarily be 100% separated from the science, so that's why I essentially reverted myself.
And putting it where it didn't belong; the lead and in meta-analysis. Making a respectable comprimise, which acknowledged Brind's prominance in the issue, a mess.
Hope that helps, and again, sorry if I offended. Please assume good faith.
Kaisershatner 00:51, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
I'll try; but when you removed a very clear, important... ironically key scientific distinction between "caused" and "characterized" in miscarriages; you either had an agenda or didn't know what you were doing! Then you revert. As you may tell, I'm still a little disjointed over this. I'm reverting, I'm tired, and I'm going to sleep on it. - RoyBoy 800 05:57, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
Roy, I still think the right thing to do is to make changes to the parts you disagree with rather than reverting all of my changes. But I don't care that much, I don't really have an agenda either way, I was just interested in the subject and trying to copyedit it into some form of clarity. Maybe you've been reading it too long to see that the writing is incoherent in more than one place (I'll provide an example here), but good luck either way.

Pro-choice advocates have routinely stated that spontaneous abortions (miscarriage) consistently show no ABC correlation. [1] (http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/abclink.html) How about presenting the medline evidence for the lack of association between miscarriage and breast cancer - the way you have it makes it look like an opinion, rather than an opinion supported by more than a little medical research.

They argue that this is compelling evidence of no ABC link because miscarriages usually are not caused by low hormone levels. Huh? How does this follow? At best, this sentence is a poor explanation of their position.

It doesn't follow, but that (has been) one of their arguments. Miscarriages no ABC link, not CAUSED by low hormones; hence the hormonal argument for ABC link is rubbish. From my feminist reference:
"Brind claims the "raging-hormones-cut-short" problem does not affect miscarriage, since most miscarriages are caused by a lack of pregnancy hormones. Not so—the majority of miscarriages are actually caused by genetic defects in the egg/embryo, and other causes; only an estimated 10% or so of miscarriages are caused by hormonal deficiencies. This means there is probably no significant difference between the effects of miscarriage and abortion—so if miscarriage does not lead to an increased risk of breast cancer, then of course neither would abortion."

Opponents claim that while this is true it is also disingenuous, since miscarriages are characterized by low hormone levels. The difference being that low hormones levels predominantly do not initiate the abortion; they are lower as a result of a miscarriage in progress. [2] The last part isn't even a sentence. The first part goes right into a counterargument without even making it clear what the argument is about.

Just my two cents. If you would like some constructive criticism I'd be happy to continue to try to edit the article with you. So far, it doesn't seem to me like you'll permit too much changing of your work, even the parts that are fairly poorly written. Kaisershatner 13:16, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm down with that; part of it is protectionism on my part... but also I've debated and reached consensus on this article a few times; and it has been changed and looked at by 1/2 dozen writers. So I thought its pretty good as a result... and I think that's still the case (no clean up necessasary). Although I disagree that I make it sound like an opinion, since in the next sentence it says "true"; I'm in agreement a reference and a reworking will help (even essential to get this key point across); and was actually thinking of how to rework it as I fell asleep. (for example "Opponents claim" is Tony's not mine, the sentence fragment is probably mine). - RoyBoy 800 15:56, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Spontaneous editing

Here is the section, lets rework it; i've done a little already.

Pro-choice advocates have routinely stated that spontaneous abortions (miscarriage) consistently show no ABC correlation. [3] They argue that this is compelling evidence of no ABC link because miscarriages should increase breast cancer risk since they are not caused by low hormone levels, while this is true it neglects the fact that miscarriages are characterized by low hormone levels. The difference being that low hormones levels predominantly do not initiate the abortion; they are lower as a result of a miscarriage in progress. [4]

One of the first studies on hormone levels and spontaneous abortion by Kunz & Keller (1976) [5] showed that when progesterone is abnormally low a miscarriage occurs 89% percent of the time. This is also reflected in studies published by Hertz et al. (1979) [6] and in more detail by Stewart et al. (1993) [7] conducted at a fertility clinic, which focuses the ABC debate on induced abortion.

Great, I'd be happy to try to contribute.

The proposed mechanism of the ABC Hypothesis rests on the hormonal effects of a terminated early pregnancy on breast tissue development. Investigators have sought to establish whether such an effect exists in women who have had spontaneous abortions (ie miscarriages) as opposed to elective abortions. Several research studies have showed no link between miscarriage and breast cancer risk: Brewster et al. in 2005 found no elevated risk in a series of over 20,000 patients [8], Robertson et al. in 2001 observed no increased risk of breast cancer after spontaneous abortion (although there was a statistically insignificant increased risk after elective abortion under certain conditions)[9], and Paoletti and Clavel-Chappelon in 2003 observed no increased risk associated with a low number of miscarriages[10], but noted a "suggestion of increased risk" after 3 or more pregnancy losses, (an odds ratio of 1.2 and a confidence interval of 0.92 to 1.56).

Pro-choice advocates have argued that this evidence shows early pregnancy loss, including abortion, is not a risk factor for breast cancer, but there is debate over whether it is appropriate to extrapolate conclusions about elective abortion from evidence about miscarriage, given the association of most miscarriages with hormonal abnormalities that might result in a different effect on breast tissue, and the fact that most abortions are performed on healthy pregnancies. One of the first studies on hormone levels and spontaneous abortion by Kunz & Keller (1976) [11] showed that when progesterone is abnormally low a miscarriage occurs 89% percent of the time. This is also reflected in studies published by Hertz et al. (1979) [12] and in more detail by Stewart et al. (1993) [13]. If the hormonal impact of miscarriage is different from the hormonal impact of a terminated healthy pregnancy, then the risk of breast cancer in each situation would not necessarily be comparable, and a conclusion about abortion risk based on conclusions from miscarriage risk would be unwarranted.

Let me know what you think. Kaisershatner 17:50, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

It's certainly an improvement in many ways; but reduces the sections impact IMO. For example, its great you got detailed research on miscarriage and breast cancer; but its a well established fact there is little connection. We can concede that point in a short sentence or three (making sure to include the exceptions you ably site). What I think the section should focus on, and state unequivocally, is that miscarriages in fact (not "If") are mostly "characterized" by low hormones; and are different than induced abortions; despite pro-choice claims to the contrary focusing on "cause". - RoyBoy 800 18:36, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
But I do like your version better; so I'll try and insert the important aspects (language) I'd like to see; and to make it shorter to increase impact; be more encyclopedic and definitive (this aspect is not a debate, miscarriages typically have lower hormones, your softer language is nice... and I'll try to incorporate that tone; but its simply misleading to call miscarriage hormones levels equivalent to normal pregnancies; or imply it by focusing on "cause"). - RoyBoy 800 22:33, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

RoyBoy's Version (shortened it, put back links... maybe change unwarranted to misleading):

Studies of spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) have consistently shown no increase in breast cancer risk. [14] However, there is a "suggestion of increased risk" in a Paoletti study (2003) of 1.2 (0.92 to 1.56) after 3 or more pregnancy losses. [15] A distinction should also be made for miscarriages that occur in the second trimester as their hormonal characteristics are different from first trimester miscarriages.

The level of hormones during early pregnancy is key since the ABC hypothesis rests on the hormonal effects on breast tissue development. Pro-choice advocates have argued since miscarriages show little effect on breast cancer risk, and only ~10% of miscarriages are caused by low hormones, this is strong evidence against the ABC hypothesis. [16] While it is true most miscarriages are not caused by hormones; it is also true miscarriages are characterized by low hormone levels. [17] One of the first studies on hormone levels and spontaneous abortion by Kunz & Keller (1976) [18] showed that when progesterone is abnormally low a miscarriage occurs 89% percent of the time. This is also reflected in studies published by Hertz et al. (1979) [19] and in more detail by Stewart et al. (1993). [20]

Given the association of most miscarriages with low hormone levels it is not analogous to an induced abortion of a healthy pregnancy, and a conclusion about ABC risk based on miscarriage is unwarranted.

Roy, first of all, thanks for finding a way for us to work together on this, it's much nicer than the revert wars and acrimony that are typical of most controversial subjects around here. Second, I think your changes are overall very good. See what you think of mine; one of the major points of language we're debating is how definitively to conclude that miscarriage and abortion are not comparable. I favor softer terms, as below - the italics are for convenience, not intended for the final text. Also, I'd rather not attribute all of the arguments to "advocates" of one side or the other - some of the people doing this research are just scientists looking for answers and phenomena, and might not be making advocacy arguments, just reporting their findings. See below:

Studies of spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) have generally shown no increase in breast cancer risk, [21] although a study by Paolilli et al. concluded there is a "suggestion of increased risk" 1.2 (0.92 to 1.56) after 3 or more pregnancy losses. [22] Some argue that this apparent lack of effect of miscarriages on breast cancer risk, is evidence against the ABC hypothesis, and some pro-choice advocates have claimed it is proof that neither early pregnancy loss nor abortion are risk factors for breast cancer. [23]

One of the problems with comparing miscarriage to abortion is the issue of hormone levels in early pregnancy, a key point because the ABC hypothesis rests on hormonal influence over breast tissue development. Given the association of most miscarriages with abnormally low hormone levels it is not analogous to an induced abortion of a healthy pregnancy, and a definitive conclusion about ABC risk based on miscarriage data alone is probably unsupported. While it is true most miscarriages are not caused by low hormones, most miscarriages are characterized by low hormone levels. [24] One of the first studies on hormone levels and spontaneous abortion by Kunz & Keller (1976) [25] showed that when progesterone is abnormally low a miscarriage occurs 89% percent of the time. This is also reflected in studies published by Hertz et al. (1979) [26] and in more detail by Stewart et al. (1993). [27]

A distinction should also be made for second trimester miscarriages as their hormonal characteristics are different from first trimester miscarriages.

Kaisershatner 14:21, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Your changes are marvelous! I've put in the link, removed the italics and would be delighted to have you do the honors of putting it into the article; since this was your initiative. :'D - RoyBoy 800 01:03, 21 May 2005 (UTC)
Although I would add; its softer than necessary; I decided to change "may not be analogous" to "not analogous" because I added "healthy pregnancy". While its true 89% leaves 11% in the normal hormone levels range; even then... a miscarriage is defacto not a healthy pregnancy. Also in the next line I'd like to either remove "definitive" or "probably" from the sentence. It's just very weasily... because it allows someone to say, oh so having a conclusion (so long as its not definitive) based on miscarriage might be okay. Hopefully that's coo with u? - RoyBoy 800 05:13, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Roy, thanks for the compliment. Believe it or not, it's the science I'm interested in, I'm really not pushing one way or the other politically, just curious about the facts. I see where you feel it is not strong enough, but my view is that unless there is explicit scientific evidence that says conclusions from miscarriage are definitively inappropriate, then we should say a definitive conclusion is probably unsupported. Otherwise, we're just writing your (or our) view that the conclusion is unwarranted, rather than letting the reader look at the facts and come to their own opinion. To you, the 11% or whatever isn't important, to others it might be. Let them decide, it's not our role to make that statement for them. Let's just give them the facts. At your invitation I will put in the text as it stands and maybe we can resolve what I think is a basically minor disagreement about the final words- hope that's ok. Kaisershatner 14:56, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. - RoyBoy 800 17:45, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Media-bias section forward

IMHO (of course), the entire article beginning at and following the "media bias" section needs editing. The issue involved here is whether or not there is a scientific link between abortion and breast cancer,

That is not the only issue; it is the primary issue and as such the science comes first in the article. But there is also politics, law and a "debate" (actually its mostly people talking past each other). The article needs to describe all of that in summary form.

and while I understand the importance of the various efforts that have been made in the media to prove the existence of such a link, I don't belivee these sections of the article do so.

That doesn't make any sense. Granted some conservative elements of the media have pointed to a link; but far and wide the link (if present) is ignored or minimized.
I will agree that my response is hard to understand, so let me try again. I don't think that these sections give a clear taste of the battle that's been waged in the media regarding the propriety of the abortion-breast cancer link. I don't have any specific suggestions for improving them (besides what I've already stated) but they just don't "feel" right to me.
That's coo, sometimes I have to write by feeling as well; and I agree with your concern in this regard. Do you think we should mention the left/right media split on this issue? Try and figure out the historical context of how this was treated?

First, the discusson of What Liberal Media doesn't seem relevant, because it doesn't touch on or in any way show how reporting on abortion (or the Shaw study) relates to the scientific discussion of a link between abortion and breast cancer.

Nor does it need to; it does point out in a very clear way the media generally is pro-choice; hence a bias against an ABC link is a distinct possibility (something I could insert in the section to make the reason for the section clear). That is very relevant to the public discourse of the ABC link. I've thought about moving that section to abortion, but for a number of reasons (such as edit wars on that article) I've held off moving it there. You may force me to move it after all, but I would rather tweak it and keep it here for the time being. :"D
But here's my issue -- I agree that it would be appropriate for the abortion article. But abortion is a moral issue as to which there is no "right" answer -- depending on your moral views, you either support a right to abortion or not, but there is no generally neutral way of determining which position is "right." For the question of whether abortion raises the risk of breast cancer, there can be such an answer (even if it's not totally clear right now). Now, it may be that journalists who favor abortion rights would also be skeptical (or at least more so than is appropriate based on the evidence) of claims that having an abortion is a risk factor for breast cancer. But without more, it doesn't necessarily follow that their pro-choice leanings are affecting their coverage of this distinct issue.
If it didn't, I'd eat my hat; and that's prior to me doing the research; evidence to that effect is already in the article, but its subtle. It's clear when evidence showing no link appears it is broadcast to the four corners of the earth (specifically regarding the "Lancet study", or the "Denmark study"); otherwise positive findings are not covered; or when they are caveats and criticisms are included. Which is fine; but its a double standard. However, its mostly the lack of coverage that stands out to me.
I can't speak to the extent to which studies back in the 90's were publicized or not, because I wasn't paying any attention to it back then. But I'll just make a few random points. Studies regarding an abortion-breast cancer link may not necessarily stand out as a massive public health issue. What studies get publicity in the newspapers? I don't know, I've never really looked at it. But I'm sure it has at least something to do with political activists, so if pro-lifers start talking about it and publicizing it, it'll get in the papers. Likewise, if pro-choice groups trumpet the opposite conclusion, well then it will start getting some attention. (Paritcularly when the two sides disagree...) So without a more systematic look at what reports got what publicity and when, and what factors influenced that publicity, I don't know that there's any proof that the conclusion is warranted.
Pro-choice groups get listened to far more easily; for good reasons like they are protecting rights of women and they usually are "right"; and for poor reasons like a disproportionate amount of the media is pro-choice. If you can't concede that, I'm not sure if there is much to discuss. My media bias section was designed specifically to avoid this outdated discussion; granted you need to infer a bias for abortion is a bias against the ABC link; but that's not a huge leap given the coverage of the ABC issue; coverage you can research.
Secondly, with respect to the differing treatment of studies that reach different results, I again can't speak to what was reported more than a few years ago, but I think it is significant for our purposes that the NCI workshop the overwhelming consensus of the scientists studying the issue was that there is no apparent linky between abortion and breast cancer. I think we need to be careful not to confuse journalistic objectivity with the idea that you need to give both sides of the story an equal opportunity to plead their case. In light of the NCI conclusion, if someone alleges they have a study showing that abortion causes breast cancer, or if a state is looking to pass a law requiring doctors to allege the existence of such a link, then a report on the study must be qualified by a statement such as "the finding contradicts the overwhleming consensus of scientists who, in an NCI report, found that there is no direct link between abortion and breast cancer." Assuming that studies finding a link are "outliers," I think reporters, to remain objective, must provide the appropriate caveats and criticisms.
The "Lancet study" was in March 2004; look it up. (BTW, its very name is biased, "Lancet" is meant to infer authority, I call it the Beral study... in an attempt to remind everyone this was done by fallible people, just like every other study) And I've seen a complete lack of objectivity on this issue, time and again; so I won't even address that point. (But the concept -objective does not mean equal- is something that comes up frequently on Wikipedia, well at least for the articles I frequent, such as creation and intelligent design.) Basing an opinion on the much vaunted NCI workshop is sloppy and lazy thinking, and is precisely the double standard journalism I speak of.
Frankly you need a healthier skepticism of government institutions; that can and have bent backwards for money (re: drug approval process) and politics (re: second hand smoking). The NCI's findings verifiably did not match findings which were available to them (re: premature birth); a smoking gun... of course not, but it should force a reevaluation since prelimenary findings on premature birth and breast cancer confirm the ABC hypothesis. I'd submit (without evidence, proof is a bad word BTW on controversial subjects) the NCI workshop knew this and consciously ignored it; labeling it a research "gap" in the report.
I've got more to respond generally, but it's late, and just on this one point (and maybe one other...): I do try to be skeptical in general. But I'm not sure what money or politics would be involved in covering up a link here. Remember that the Bush administration has no love for abortion -- witness the fight over OTC status for Plan B. Nor does it give any particular credence to scientific research generally. For this administration to sanction this report leads me to believe that it's on the up-and-up. And, really, not every journalist; check that, no journalist is going to have the time or the knowledge to review the studies to reach his or her own conclusion on the issue. Reliance on a reasonably transparent process like the NCI workshop is necessary.
I don't necessarily think they are covering it up... so much as selectively choosing the evidence as to not frighten/restrict women's choices, and moreover in this instance, slap the Bush administration; who for political reasons won't raise a stink over it. I don't see the administration having a choice in sanctioning the report; they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar (changing the NCI website info, which prompted this hostile workshop in the first place), and they acquiesed in the face of a strong response (the workshop). As to transparency in the process; I don't see where you are coming from on that. It's more transparent than Bush sneaking around, yeah, but my only picture of what actually went on in there came from Brind. I mean can you find out what studies they used to reach their conclusion on the ABC issue?
Plus, regarding Dr. Brind, I admit to a bias against persons who make research findings and then form organizations with the sole purpose of popularizing those findings. (It particularly happens in autism too, a field in which I'm personally interested.) Minor point, but one I we might want to mention somewhere (I'll add it to the article about him).
Understandable, just be aware he isn't the only person with an agenda.
One more random thing -- the claim is made by Scott Somerville that Family Health, International is a "research arm of the abortion industry." The link you give is broken. In addition, I perused their website and did a Google search, and there's no evidence that they do significant work in abortion or that they get funding from abortion providers. (Plus, I don't know what it means that they're the "research arm." They seem to be involved in public health matters, and it doesn't appear that they do any research into anything regarding abortion. Now, to the extent that Planned Parenthood is part of the "abortion industry," and both PP and FHI provide a wide assortment of family planning services (FHI does so in a very different manner of course), it could be that's the link, but that seems extremely tenuous.
Thanks for catching that; you can always find dead links with the Internet time machine. [28] As to their connection, I looked when I initially wrote it; came up empty as well... so I inserted "allegedly". It does seem tenuous; you can e-mail the author of the article in an attempt to gain satisfaction; but the thrust of that meme is to clarify dirty pool can go both ways. If necessary we can certainly change it to say they are a pro-choice organization; the problem with that though is I cannot find anything which states that outright.

The "anti-abortion bias" section doesn't seem to accomplish much either, though I'm not sure how my uneasiness relates; maybe it's that I think this would be better fit in a dicsussion of the abortion debate in general, not in this article. It just seems too cursory, with a lot of "many say" and "these advocates" and not a whole lot of substance.

Your uneasiness, I think, comes indeed from all the weasily language... however that is necessary to maintain an accurate and NPOV on the issue, and it does accomplish one thing; it reminds everyone there are those who seek to use the ABC issue to push their agenda.
Well, unless someone has any better ideas, I'll drop this, because I sure don't. I'll give it some thought though.

Finally, I think that the final paragraph of the "State Laws" sectino should be truncated. It's the paragraph that says:

While one reason these state laws were written is to circumvent federal abortion laws, another reason is to protect hospitals against lawsuits. With malpractice lawsuits continuing to be a problem in the United States, to the point it was discussed in the Presidential debates, there is a legal need to ensure full disclosure is made regardless of the ABC debate.

The "protect hospitals against lawsuits" business is hogwash. Show me a (reputable) source that says this. The cited article (from Mtoher Jones) doesn't. It's clearly not true. I can go into detail if you want, but it's pretty obvious on the face that this is not true. Normally I would just go ahead and delete it, but because there is an NPOV dispute, and because others of you I'm sure have invested lots of time in this, I thought I'd float my concerns here first. Geoff.green 14:20, 31 July 2005 (UTC)

I appreciate the care you took with your objections... however, I fail to see how disclosing possible risks of a medical proceedure is not a legal responsibility of the doctor. This is common knowledge; rather than hogwash.
"There are two dominant approaches to defining the standard of disclosure of information by which the physician's duty to their patients is measured.23 A slim majority of states follow the "professional standard," requiring a physician to disclose information that other physicians possessed of the same skills and practicing in the same or a similar community would disclose in the same situation.24 A large minority of courts apply the "materiality" or "prudent patient" approach, allowing the jury to decide whether risk or other information would have been considered significant by the reasonable patient in making a decision, therefore requiring disclosure.25" [29]
I agree that it is a legal responsibility of a doctor to get "informed consent" from a patient before beginning any regimine of medical treatment. This is a clear-cut matter of common-law (or state statute, if it's been codified) Therefore, standing alone, if there is a risk to a procedure, and a doctor doesn't disclose it, that can be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit. Any doctor or other medical professional who doesn't want to be sued (or wants to increase their chances that they'll win such a lawsuit) is therefore going to make sure they tell patients about all risks before beginning a procedure, and make sure they document this giving of consent. So if abortion causes breast cancer, you don't need a statute requiring disclosure of that fact to protect doctors against lawsuits; doctors just need to make those disclosures themselves, and make sure the patient understands them. A statute requiring such a disclosure accomplishes little. Now, if the statute included a provision saying something like "by making these disclosures, the medical professional shall not be held liable for malpractice if breast cancer occurs," then that would be something. And please correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my impression that none of these statutes have such liability limiting language. Moreover, how consistent are the state's various disclosures with the NCI's conclusion? Do they require that patients be told there is no evidence of a link, or do they say otherwise? (The cited article says the state statues are mixed, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. Maybe later.)
I claim "hogwash" because the disclosure requirements merely require dislcosures, they don't absolve doctors of any legal liability otherwise. Moreover, you'll be hard-pressed to find any state-mandated disclosure requirements related to any other procedure, be it open-heart surgery, ACL repair, or what-have-you. Because of this, I don't see how it can be claimed that their intention is to protect hospitals or doctors from malpractice claims. If you have an article arguing otherwise, please show me, because I'm deeply skeptical.
Maybe I made a bobo by calling it a "malpractice" lawsuit? Simply from my reading of things such as the North Dakota case; I had the impression that providing ABC information they are absolved of any potential liability in that regard. I too am not sure what the statues say regarding liability; but I thought making the information available automatically does that, hence there isn't a need for it to be included in the statute. It just makes sense to me that if you inform someone about a potential side-effect, they cannot come back and complain/sue if that side-effect surfaces. And as there are different criteria for informed consent; I thought I made my case as abortion providers want to cover themselves just in case a jury finds it reasonable "informed consent" was not provided. I didn't mean to imply the statutes included liability clauses, but rather that informing people about the ABC potential, informed consent is provided... just in case.
You say that providing ABC information they are absolved of any potential liability in that regard. That is correct (well, generally speaking). But that is true regardless of whether there's a statute. So my point is that the statutes mandating that abortion providers provided ABC information don't do anything to stop malpractice, because doctors (if they're worried about it) will provide that information anyway. The problem comes if the statutes require that abortion providers provide "information" that is not quite true, and that's the concern I'm trying to address. Another way to look at it is that it's clear that many state legislatures want to raise the bar for filing malpractice claims. However, it's also clear that many of them are trying to restrict abortion as much as possible, in whatever way they can. Given these two goals, I find it hard to imagine that they have singled out abortion providers as a group (and not, say, general surgeons) which they want to provide with special relief from malpractice claims.
That makes sense; dunno why you had to tell me twice... I guess its been one of those days. I'll change it to what I'm actually trying to say. As to information not being true, we would have to see that before we say it; although it will likely happen. I'll mention the danger of that happening. Better? Although you'll likely want to shrink it more... I really do what to keep the point within the broader context of exactly what you said; states raising the bar on malpractice. Of course the exception of abortion statutes is, I think, clearly explained first.
I looked at your changes, and I still don't think it would have any impact on malpractice. Plus, generally speaking it is very very very hard to find a specific cause for a disease like breast cancer; mesothelioma (sp?) caused by asbestos is the exception, because mesothelioma is very rare in the absence of asbestos exposure, but breast cancer is not uncommon even in women who didn't have abortions. Given that, I think the danger of being sued and winning for malpractice requires a woman who has an abortion and who later develops breast cancer, and doctors who can show more of a hypothetical link between the two. Seems like a hard roe to hoe for me.
True... hmmmm, I'll minimize it to practically a hypothetical; I do want to mention it since it has already come up in at least one case, but that case primarily was about the young age at the time of the abortion. Of course the pro-lifers say otherwise... however technically I guess it does count as the first lawsuit involving the ABC issue. Do you think I should add the link to the article; or maybe wait for a case that is more notable and focused on this issue?
Keep in mind they don't need to establish a causal relationship, but rather that this was information she should have been made aware of. That isn't nearly as difficult with the right lawyer, jurisdiction and jury/judge. - RoyBoy 800 02:25, 2 August 2005 (UTC)
I can add the link to the article if you feel it necessary. - RoyBoy 800 16:05, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. Geoff.green 17:03, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Your welcome, actually you can add where you want, because I'm starting to get confused. Maybe a quick shower would clear things up. - RoyBoy 800 18:42, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
Yea, no kidding, I'm beat. I've forgotten half of what I've said already. Maybe I'll make some of the less loaded controversial I suggested, and we can go from there. Geoff.green 21:00, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
One step at a time. :"D - RoyBoy 800 01:45, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
To sleep, perchance to dream... Geoff.green 02:25, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
Oh yeah, and I meant to mention the anti-abortion section I wrote was pretty harsh against anti-abortionists. I did it on purpose to see if anyone was reading the article that far down. :') Eventually it was changed by Ruakh. I kept my hands essentially off it since then; so maybe it should be tweaked a bit. - RoyBoy 800 02:25, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

I'm having trouble following the conversation because of the nestedness, so I'll start over, and it's late, but just a couple of points. First, the changes you made to the state laws section contains a sentance fragment (you may still be making changes, so disregard this if you are). Second, regarding lawsuits, for a malpractice case, you do need to show a causal relationship. If you're suing because abortion caused your breast cancer, you need to have breast cancer, and you need to show that it was caused by the abortion. It's a tough standard. Now, you could make a false advertising claim, or some related claim, but I really fall back to the position that it's not intended to protect abortion providers from legal claims, and likely the only real people who are going to prosecute such claims (unless they do get breast cancer, of course) are anti-abortion activists. And as far as informed consent is concerned, the mere existence of the statute is not going to protect them except to the extent that it requires the abortion providers to provide accurate information that they would not have provided anyway, and I really don't see any doctor putting herself in jeopardy by knowingly withholding medically accurate information regarding potentially adverse effects. (Also, minor point, but "Kjolsrud concedes she had not read the brochures before filing her action"? Seriously? Hadn't even read the brochures that she claimed were false advertising? Wow.) (Second minor point -- unless I'm missing something, Kansas requires dissemination of certain information, but there's no explicit statutory mention of breast cancer. But again, their statute web site isn't the best designed, so I could definitely be missing the relevant statute.) Oh, and regarding the NCI workshop, I couldn't find any studies relied upon looking at the NCI web site, but nothing jumps out at me about the participants and, again, Brind doesn't inspire confidence. G'night! Geoff.green 03:15, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

That's coo, I do the nesties when there are a lot of points on the table. Yeah, I pick out the really juicy bits of stuff don't I? (re: Kjolsrud) :"D But my reading of that is a lawyer essentially filed in her name; and they did know the score. As to Brind, he doesn't need to inspire anything; even without his account of the NCI workshop it should be clear to a discerning person the workshop was hostile to the ABC link from the beginning, given its purpose. And as I've noted, the NCI does not inspire confidence; since publicity does not equal transparency. Sentence fragment... tried to fix it.
As to the lawsuit discussion; the difficulty of case will not deter someone from trying. There is a grey zone of what and when people know about the ABC issue; and I've removed malpractice and broadened the issue to "lawsuits" so that one does not require an instance of breast cancer from which to launch legal action. Incuring potential injury is enough to do something through other instances you have listed. - RoyBoy 800 04:31, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Elevated risk?

The article could be clearer about the term "elevated risk". When they claim "abortion increases breast cancer risk", do they mean that the risk is increased compared to carrying the pregnancy to term, or compared to not getting pregnant at all? It's well known that pregnancies reduce breast cancer risk, so I wouldn't be surprised if getting pregnant and having an abortion decreases a woman's breast cancer risk compared to not getting pregnant, and increases her breast cancer risk compared to carrying the pregnancy to term.

Also, carrying a pregnancy to term involves of course the general risk of giving birth (which is considerably larger than that of a surgical abortion); the article should quantify this risk and compare it to the claimed risk of breast cancer.

Thirdly, the rat study's results are unclear. The rats with abortion had more "benign lesions"? We don't care about benign lesions. What about cancerous lesions? AxelBoldt 01:02, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

The claims along with the research are geared towards whether there is a higher risk relative to women of the same/similar parity (child-bearing). That group of women is usually used as the control group; although at times this is not the case for various reasons; many of which seem to involve cutting corners to reduce study costs.
The article should certainly mention the risks associated with pregnancy and direct the reader to the appropriate article. I think that would go well in the anti-abortion section; as it already mentions increasing abortion risks; and they are certainly notorious for downplaying said risks. I'll insert something temporary... and I'm toying with switching anti-abortion to pro-life, but I'm afraid in so doing I unfairly characterize pro-life. Anti-abortion, as I see it, is the extreme segment of the pro-life movement that is most involved in the ABC issue.
The rats also had [marginally] more carcinomas/tumors. I think I choose that specific sentence in order to not overstate the findings/frighten anyone. But in so doing I concede I weakened the results of the study. I'll tweak it. - RoyBoy 800 08:35, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I should also add as Confounding factors expands upon, there are many other factors other than parity that studies ideally need to a account for to get any sort of reliable result. I'll try to make it more explicit what its describing. - RoyBoy 800 02:58, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

'Unproven' Hypothesis?

I'm removing the 'unproven' statement. Scientific hypotheses are by definition unproven. They rely on statistical samples that can only show in all likelihood there is a connection between two phemonena. See [30]. For that matter, I think that the term 'controversial' only belongs in the article if there is controversy between scientists studying the problem, rather than the general public or some isolated group. In this sense, global warming is controversial while the theory of gravity is not, even though there is a Flat Earth Society who (tounge in cheek) contest it. Antonrojo 13:10, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

If unproven is part of the definition, what's the problem of using it? I understand what hypothesis means. The problem is that that the article as a whole presents it as if its actually taken seriously. It is not taken seriously by the medical community as is shown by absolutely no modern medical manuals or textbooks making any suggestion that there is the tiniest link between abortion and breast cancer. You can see this within your browser by simply going to any organization page that focuses on breast cancer as opposed to abortion. They simply consider it a non-factor, apparently taking the ignore and avoid approach to the unproven. In brief, the article falls under undue weight. It looks more like a POV fork made simply as a way to uncritically republish little known research, using Wiki as a way to substantiate it.--Pro-Lick 04:08, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
I won't make any claims to being an epidemiologist or of knowing much about the research on the subject. However, I wouldn't equate the absence of the claimed link from textbooks with rejection of the hypothesis. Like many fields there are emerging areas and ideas that the communitity is debating. Also, doctors get a lot of their knowledge about emerging science from working as residents and reading journals as part of their continuing education. That said, I don't disagree that it is a political football...my point is that strong statements about a consensus in the medical community should be avoided since scientists are generally very conservative in accepting or rejecting claims about the world. Whether the issue is discussed and how it is framed in medical conferences might be one way to measure consensus (e.g. are they talking about 'More Evidence for ABC', 'ABC, how science can go wrong' or not discussing it at all?).
I think a good way to highlight the political dimensions of the controversy is to put the issue in political and social context. The following article seems to do a good job though I don't have time to read through it [31] Antonrojo 04:32, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the article/paper. I haven't had time to read it completely either, but I sampled enough sections to think it's worth linking to. Other than the conclusion being vague and useless for the most part, the details and sources provide a lot of useful research for this and the other abortion articles.--Pro-Lick 04:42, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
My bad, I initially gave Pro-Lick the credit for that link; excellent find Antonrojo. - RoyBoy 800 15:07, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. Hopefully someone will find time to pull the main points out of it and add them to give some context and history for ABC. Antonrojo 15:32, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Quite right; it would be particularly useful for a new History section covering the very early research (eg. Pike, Science News and Brind) and early pro-life assumptions (higher incidence already mentioned in confounding factors, it will take some finesse... may have to bite the bullet and repeat it); but for the most part the pertinent research is listed already. I'll take the credit for that. :"D
When I find the time I'll start a draft I hope to collaborate with you on. Keep in mind the ABC article is already pretty big; so it has to be pretty summarized. Seems doable though; initial research indicated a possible link; pro-life assumed a link based on higher incidence, they were wrong; and the contradictory/contentious research continued in the background. Setting up the issue as part of the culture war. (which I just added ABC to that category) - RoyBoy 800 07:16, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
On the other hand, perhaps it would be better to just include this stuff in the current structure; eg Pike as another study... and pro-life/culture war meme in Confonding factors... hmmmmm... although confounding factors is referring to epidemiological factors, not political ones. :"D Ah well, it'll work out somehow. - RoyBoy 800 07:27, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Lost Reference

There seems to be a reference lost. The endnote attached to "statistically significant" in the first paragraph doesn't point anywhere and there isn't a reference section. Antonrojo 13:38, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Broken redirect or something like that. Statistical significance is the article now.--Pro-Lick 04:38, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
Fixed reference. - RoyBoy 800 15:10, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Brind Study Weakness Claim

I added a request for sources to the claim of methodological weaknesses with Brind's meta-analysis. The way I see it either the authors of the study knew about the weaknesses (in which case 'acknowledged weaknesses' seems best) or someone with some scientific knowledge made the accusation. Adjectives are sneaky that way. Technically it is correct to call you (the reader) an 'alleged killer' if some conspiracy theorist thinks you're responsible for a murder...but I don't think you'd be happy about it. The solution is to uncover the source of the claim by adding a subject to the sentence (making you 'alleged to be a killer by the crazy guy who yells at people on the street and wears his underwear outside his pants') and appropriate references. Antonrojo 14:02, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Removed tag. The current setup is correct since the Planned Parenthood study lists several of these reasons. These same reasons apply for the Beral study. If studies are not reliable enough to prove a hypothesis, they are not reliable enough to disprove it either. Antonrojo 14:24, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
To be more specific, reliablity errors can lead to both false positives and false negatives so meta-analyses of truly unreliable studies that find either a relationship OR no relationship are both flawed. Antonrojo 14:34, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Use of term "Medically Disregarded"

In my opinion, this statement is misleading. A guideline I follow with these sorts of adjectives is Wetman's comments on 'regarded by many'. Statements like 'many experts claim' which don't mention who the experts are and/or a source provide a false sense of consensus and authority...and in this case seem to me to contradict other places in the article where anything but a scientific consensus is presented on the topic. Antonrojo 03:56, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

My POV is that it would be the most accurate statement in the article. Just look at the Breast cancer page. Or try finding breast cancer doctors that actually regard it.--Pro-Lick 04:12, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Why don't you mention it in breast cancer? That way the oversight will be fixed; rather than allowing you to make a weak point. - RoyBoy 800 15:23, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
The American Cancer Society published a report called Can Having an Abortion Cause or Contribute to Breast Cancer?. It concluded:
Still, the public is not well-served by false alarms, even when both the exposure and the disease are of great importance and interest to us all. At the present time, the scientific evidence does not support a causal association between induced abortion and breast cancer.--Pro-Lick 15:56, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. We have a great deal in common, the problem is you cannot see the forrest for the trees. In this case; I specifically noted ABC was an unestablished factor. Your cites and sources are spot on excellent; but they in no way make reliable sources which indicate a link disappear. Right? - RoyBoy 800 18:14, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
Follow-up will be here: Talk:Breast_cancer#Reliable sources--Pro-Lick 18:39, 28 March 2006 (UTC)

Is it Pseudoscience, Quackery or Neither?

I'm not aware of Brind or anybody else offering to "cure" it directly for money, so I'm willing to withhold calling it quackery. There is the the indirect money taking from speaking at various pro-life events from people that are very eager to believe it that does push the line, but I'll let that go if it is market as pseudoscience. Hypothesis suggests untested and unknown, and as cited elsewhere, it has clearly been tested and the results came back negative. Yet it continues to be promoted as if it were an actual abortion effect. Even this article in its present state (the reason it's been marked as NPOV) attempts to do more to promote it than simply describe it. So pseudoscience seems fair and balanced, possibly even kind and generous.--Pro-Lick 16:50, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

I'd agree with you if very real scientific studies and scientists (some specialists in the field) didn't suggest a link, but some do; and if the biological mechanism proposed was disproved/debunked, but it is not. Since quackery is a ludricrous POV notion; I do not see how pseudoscience is in any way "generous" or even a compromise. (nice presentation though) To be sure pro-life advocates overstate the issue and label it the ABC link; but their actions do not make the ABC hypothesis pseudoscience. You can clarify how you feel the article is promotional; but I see the article as an excellent overview of the notable research on the subject. - RoyBoy 800 18:12, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Quackery requires qucks. Apparently, nobody is all that interested in curing this imaginary disease. Rather, its supposed existence is a propaganda tool. As a scientific hypothesis, however, it has failed confirmation. Therefore, it lives on only as pseudoscience, like ID. Alienus 21:49, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Don't get ahead of yourself there; since breast cancer isn't imaginary. Let's take it a step further; hormones being involved with breast cancer and pregnancy isn't imaginary either. No one of significance in the epidemiology or endocrinology has come out to say the Russo & Russo hypothesis promoted by Brind (not created by him Pro-Lick) is wrong or misleading. The fact is guys; it is a plausible biological mechanism; hence not pseudoscience. Period. If you find a study questioning Russo & Russo; I'm seriously all ears.
Science is about taking in more than what we want to see (and more than a Google search easily brings up) to arrive at an answer. It has failed to be confirmed in some studies you (and others) selectively choose to pay attention to; that does not make it pseudoscience. That makes you scientific neophytes. Comparing it to ID merely confirms your bias regarding this subject. ID has zero scientific literature to back it up... ABC has a touch more than zero. If you can't be bothered to maintain a scientific point of view; don't be bothered to edit scientific articles. That goes for you too Pro-Lick. This isn't a debate about ABC actually being pseudoscience; on that count you are hopelessly outmatched by the science and even the scientists who reject the ABC hypothesis. Because they don't turn around and call it pseudoscience; pro-choice political axe grinders do though; I consider it almost as bad as pro-lifers promoting the "ABC link". Then again, I know I have an uncommon love and respect for science; and a lack of breasts.
I know more about ID and ABC than both of you. I'm disappointed in both of you; and I'm unsure how long my patience will last. - RoyBoy 800 01:49, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Oh and don't get me wrong, I know you guys are editing in good faith and actually think you're right. But you're not right, so I'm just getting fed up. - RoyBoy 800 02:08, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

ID is designed to be systematically immune to research, which is why there is none out there. In contrast, ABC is plausible and easy to test, yet these experiments have come up dry. Despite this lack of evidential support, "pro-life" advocates speak as if ABC is proven to be true, which is pure pseudoscience, and use it to scare young women into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term. Put aside your disdain for Google for just a minute and read what these people are saying. Alienus 02:53, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

That didn't stop ID from trying everyway possible to published scientific literature and promote that it had; and the ABC hypothesis is entirely testable and has had mixed results in peer reviewed scientific studies; acknowledge you made a mistake and move on. And its a mistake I won't let you live down for quite some time. I concur that is pseudoscience; but I strongly feel that is insufficient reason to add the category. It gives the impression ABC is pseudoscience, but that is simply not the case. There is no way in hell the Howe study is pseudoscience; also no way that the positive results within the Melbye are pseudoscience either. Furthermore, the Planned Parenthood website calling the Lindefors-Harris cohort study one of the strongest with only 65 breast cancer cases; by-passing the Howe cohort with over 1,400 case and then 1,400 controls; that is blatant "pseudoscience". There is "pseudoscience" on both sides of the equation; your rationale simply doesn't hold in my opinion. And to label it pseudoscience is inaccurate (hence the brackets); as they are both POV's on the available research. You need a better reason than that to label it pseudoscience. - RoyBoy 800 17:35, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
RoyBoy, I honestly do think you did a nice job researching the topic and a lot of what you provided can still be used in a revamped article, even if the article was POV'd in the opposite direction. I also think you got too deep into it and lost perspective at some point. Along the lines of the primacy effect, you seem overly focused on the initial research, which has since not been confirmed, and every reputable cancer organization finds it, at most, as historical background on breast cancer. Again, I'd like to keep the article because there is useful and interesting information in it. I'd just like it put into an NPOV context. To some extent, it's just a regoranization and weight issue. I think if you let us restructure it and you focus on something like a research timeline, the article would become both more robust and a lot clearer.--Pro-Lick 05:45, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Don't know if we're voting on this or what. I'm against the Quackery tag, at least based on semantics. Generally the term refers to fradulant doctors who misrepresent themselves [32]. I also weakly disagree with the Pseudoscience tag--I'm going to look into what the medical community thinks about this topic and others listed as Pseudoscience before I'm sure on this though. Antonrojo 16:05, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

If you stick to scientific organizations, I'm confident you won't find it. And no vote, your diligent research and balanced comments is all that is necessary to keep Pro-Lick from assuming consensus. - RoyBoy 800 17:35, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, but I hasten to add "not been confirmed" in studies they deem valid isn't pseudoscience; at best that is the opinion of their experts... at worst they got an intern to summarize pro-choice opinion and the NCI workshop; other experts disagree. I almost entirely doubt you have the capacity to make a more robust article; but I'm quite confident you can make it express the unscientific pro-choice POV much clearer. The reason I added almost is because the fact no breast cancer organization recognizes the ABC link should be added to the conclusion. I'm capable of recognizing weaknesses in the article; that doesn't mean it needs a "revamp". - RoyBoy 800 17:35, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
On the issue or confirmation for both of you, Howe, Daling and Melbye have confirmed it to varying degrees. Specifically in a letter to Melbye by Drs. Senghas and Dolan:
To the editor: We do not understand why Melbye et al. did no include in the Results section of their abstract the most interesting and important result: in women who had induced abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, the relative risk of breast cancer was 1.89 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.11 to 3.22).
The authors do report this result in Table 1 and in one line in the Results section of the text, and they discuss it in one paragraph in the Discussion section. In that section they say, "The fact that such an increase did not affect the overall result clearly indicates that it is based on small numbers and therefor requires cautious interpretation." Although it is true that the number of women who had abortions after 18 weeks of gestation is smaller that the numbers in most of the other gestational-age categories, 14,000 patient-years is hardly a small number, even if only 14 breast cancers were found, and the 95 percent confidence intervals speak for themselves.
Shouldn't it be emphasized that women who have an abortion after the 18th week of gestation probably have an increased risk of breast cancer? These data may alos explain the different result in previous reports, especially those that do not give detailed information on the week of gestation at the time of abortion.
Here is the last paragraph of a Melbye letter, that refers to this letter:
Senghas and Dolan argue that we should have emphasized the result for women with induced abortions after 18 weeks of gestation. Although we found this result interesting and in line with the hypothesis of Russo and Russo, the small number of cases of cancer in women in this category of gestational age prompted us not to overstate the finding.
My point with all this is; to say Russo and Russo remains unconfirmed isn't a terribly informed nor NPOV perspective. You're more than allowed to say others say that (a pseudo-science mention has from a pro-choice lawyer has been in the article for quite some time, I think that's sufficient for pseudoscience, I guess I should link it); but for both of you to chirp in and declare it is unconfirmed and pseudoscience as facts is misleading and that will be reflected it the direction you take the article. Both of you simply don't seem to be prepared to engage in serious editing of the article, and no for the record I'm not stuck in the historical past; but I recognize old science is still good science if it isn't disproved or usurped. That of course doesn't mean you can't improve it, and tweak the tone to better clarify the majority view (my perspective has always been to present the complete scientific discussion of the issue and allow those reading it to decide for themselves); but your comments and edits to date, on balance, haven't reassured me in the least.
Be that as it may I certainly won't stop you from editing the article; but let me be clear here; I don't care how much effort and research you put into it, I've put in more; and I won't see it made into a Planned Parenthood "pseudoscientific" (POV) free for all. The first indication of which, is labeling the entire ABC issue pseudoscience because of what pro-choice and pro-life POV warriors say and do. On controversial issues there is always extremists; they need not take control of this article. I won't let them; whatever their political persuasion... and their actions need not be overemphasized in this article by adding the pseudoscience Cat. Believe me, you two are more than capable of added undue weight to the article as well. - RoyBoy 800 17:35, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

For convenience of reference: In the Medically Disregarded section directly above this, I link to the American Cancer Society's review of abortion as a risk. They categorize it as a "false alarm". Previously, I reviewed two current medical books on gynecology and obstetrics and MedicineNet's list of risk factors. To summarize, none of them mention abortion as a breast cancer risk.--Pro-Lick 18:32, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

I would drop the whole "pseudoscience" thing if the article was written to clearly reflect that current research shows no causal link. The National Cancer Institute workshop on breast cancer in 2003 found that "Induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk" to be "well established" [33]. At the moment this article reads as if the jury is still out and there is some doubt - which there is not.
RoyBoy if scientific completeness is so important to you perhaps you can tell me why this discredited breast cancer risk factor is isolated as a named syndrome? If ABC is not a political football why is there no "Drank, smoked and ate too much red meat syndrome" for cancers of all sorts? Those are known risk factors and yet have no special independent status. This article needs rebalancing and then the "pseudoscience" label will be unnecessary. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 18:39, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Because the complete scientific pictures doesn't come up with the answer: "discredited"; you do. Please differentiate between the two. I'm not disputing ABC is a political football. That doesn't change the mixed nature of the evidence. And the conclusion plainly states there is no established causal link. The NCI conference wasn't transparent; if you could tell me what research they accepted and rejected and why; I'd be willing to listen to you then. You talk about the workshop as though it was the final word; if ABC is indeed a political football, do you think the NCI was playing politics with this issue? Especially given the context it was convened under. Am I to infer from all this you used the NCI workshop as a basis for the pseudoscience cat? Because that is a poor reason.
As I've already mentioned to others; if the workshop lists preterm delivery as an epidemiological "gap" – even though there was a study showing a correlation [34] – I can't help but wonder if they missed/overlooked any other evidence not to their liking. You know, kind of like what you're doing, right now. - RoyBoy 800 02:38, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, Sophia, you reminded me of something. "Well established" is an example of the lack of balance and preference to presenting a doubtful view. For NCI, "well established" is the highest confidence rank it gives to evidence. And it's not giving it to ABC's evidence, very much the opposite.--Pro-Lick 19:31, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
"Well established" sounds awfully strong to me; your wording seems gratuitous, ugly and bad prose. - RoyBoy 800 02:38, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Without the quotes, it would be. As it was, it sounded more like you a qualification of weakness. You may be write about my rewrite, but it does more accurately reflect the context. Feel free to improve the prose quality. Also, I'm OK with removing the pseudoscience tag for now (unless, of course, someone provides some reputable sources that view it as such).--Pro-Lick 03:23, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
LOL, my bad, it was the quotes that was eating at you. The only reason I put it in quotes; was to clarify those are their direct words; I didn't mean to qualify it otherwise. Since the subject is so controversial I took pains to quote directly as much as possible. (some of which have been removed by other editors) But I now understand your position entirely; as I do (especially in talk) use quotations to poke fun at terms I find questionable. And I have until recently used it to question "collaborative reanalysis"; now instead I just provide Brind's rationale.
Good call Pro-Lick... have to work something out, probably a combination of the two as I think well established sounds badass; and because most media reports refer to it. - RoyBoy 800 05:57, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Within any science dicipline there will be studies that vary possibly due to small sample size (as in the ref you give) or other reporting issues. Workshops and conferences will be called or overview papers written to balance these differences. The NCI workshop referred to was looking at all breast cancer risk factors and addressed induced and spontaneous abortions as separate potential risk factors (the term ABC was not used as far as I know) - both of which were discounted. The paper published in The Lancet in 2004 also found no link and said that studies based on retrospective reporting of abortion "yielded misleading results" (aavilible on The Lancet website but free registration required). RoyBoy may wonder if they overlooked something but that cannot be reflected in the article as it is OR. How more definitive do you want - major studies in the US and UK agree there is no risk - the UK study goes so far as to explain the problems with papers that have shown a link. I cannot understand why this is in dispute. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 08:18, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
You cannot understand because you haven't done a thorough enough job with your research. The UK study hypothesizes on the problems of other papers (it doesn't for the most part demonstrate them), why do you take their opinions as fact? Like any meta-analysis it is subject to selection bias... as Brind expands upon. I am uninterested in your preliminary one sided research on this subject; and your overemphasis on recent research. You also ignore the major study in the US study which indicates a link. - RoyBoy 800 17:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

The way I see it, for something to qualify as psuedoscience, it has to (1) claim to be scientific and (2) not be scientific. An example is ID, which fits both requirements perfectly. ABC was put forth as a scientific hypothesis, which is a claim to being scientific. However, even though it has been tested, the hypothesized effect was not detected. In other words, the hypothesis made a false prediction, which rules it out. Nonetheless, people are still acting as if ABC has some scientific merit [35], when it clearly does not. This is the essence of pseudoscience. Moreover, it's not like we're noticing this and doing OR of some sort. Rather, people have already called it pseudoscientific [36]. I really don't understand what Roy wants as proof. Worse, inclusion into a category doesn't even require factuality; it suffices that the category is appropriate for helping people find the article. For these reasons, I'm restoring the category unless Roy or someone else can explain why we should exclude it. Alienus 08:25, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

(edit conflict)Find the article, is that a joke? Wrong. You presume the ABC hypothesis made a prediction on the strength of any correlation. It has not. It posits that pregnancies that end early could present a higher breast cancer risk. That has been demonstrated several times over. For the most part it appears it isn't a significant increase; but there is every indication for late-term abortions and preterm delivery there is some risk.
Pro-life groups indicating otherwise is pseudoscience... hmmmmm... it is... (thinking hard)... they are lying; as is calling ABC hypothesis pseudoscience. That's my current position; but I congradulate you... despite the "find the article" tangent that was a great presentation. Way better than Sophia. I do have a question; why did you provide that Religious Tolerance link? Why not just refer to this article, which already contains that notable person's characterization? - RoyBoy 800 17:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
There's some suspicion about late-term abortions/early deliveries, but even that's not supported by statistically significant results.
I concede that, but it removes pseudoscience from this article; and keeps scientists from proclaiming it pseudoscience. If you knew what you were talking about, you would understand that.
Moreover, the only evidence, weak as it is, for a breast cancer link comes from case control studies, which are known to be subject to recall bias,
In your previous point you talk about "statistical significance"; then presume here recall bias is a statistically significant factor in those studies. It isn't; nor has it ever been demonstrated to be. And FYI: you don't mean case-control studies, you mean interview based studies.
whereas the more robust historical cohort studies have never shown even a hint. The best of the bunch involved 1.5M women yet offers no support. Unless ABC predicts a correlation strength of ZERO, it is disproven.
Incorrect, it showed more than a hint in its results (by results I mean more than their overall statistically adjusted results); read their abstract for pete's sake. [37] The way they statistically adjusted their results wasn't with a standard case-control methodology; but rather just using what they considered appropriate adjustment for confounding factors. They had not basis to know how much to adjust out; as they reference no studies examining the many confounding factors; and certainly no studies clarifying (for the sake of accuracy) the confounding factors as they relate to Danish demographics (as they change from population to population, based on health care, lifestyle, culture etc.); so the only alternative that appears available... is to adjust out increases in breast cancer they think were the result of confounding factors. If you do that; there is no way to guarantee you aren't also adjusting out ABC with the rest of the factors. With it removed from the overall results, you would only see positive results when you compare groups relative to each other. Which is exactly what Melbye contains.
I'm going to be blunt: pro-life groups are lying by pretending that mixed results from the worst studies are evidence of causation. This practice has been described by reliable sources as pseudoscience, so we should likewise categorize it as that.
You ignore Howe and characterize interview based studies as the "worst" without a proven statistically significant flaw. Your cart is before the horse; and always has been.
Roy, you don't have half a leg to stand on here. Let it go. Alienus 18:20, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, you don't. I suggest you do just that. I did nested for flow and spaced point by point. Apologies for spacing your comments. PS: Don't emphasize 1.5 million women; that number has no scientific significance. Just as 49,000 in the Lindefors-Harris cohort has zero scientific significance. If Howe wanted to, they could estimate the population pool their over 1,400 breast cancer cases came from. It would be approximate to the Melbye population pool; as New York state has a high population density. - RoyBoy 800 18:45, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Roy, why the edit wars? I've explained in some detail why it's considered psuedoscience. You've reverted without responding. That's not right. Alienus 17:22, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Because Sophia hasn't done her homework; and because pseudoscience isn't right and has yet to be successfully asserted. I refuse to be characterized as being on the offensive here; you need to convince me (and perhaps a few others) pseudoscience needs to be added... I don't need to convince you it needs to be removed. - RoyBoy 800 17:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't need to convince you; you need to convince us. Good luck. Alienus 18:20, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
If you had done a better job of research, I wouldn't need to. - RoyBoy 800 18:45, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Moved from above where it was placed by accident

No current research supports the link. No health agencies acknowledge ABC as a risk other than pro life groups. How can consulting The Lancet and the NCI be considered not doing my homework? For you to suggest that Wikipedia give credibilty to this syndrome is completely missing the point of an encyclopedia. It's not a soap box for people who are not taken seriously in the medical world - it is supposed to give the predominant view of respectable sources on a subject. If they are wrong that is their problem - wikipedia is not here to right those wrongs.
If we rewrite the intro to reflect it's complete non status as a medical syndrome then category pseudoscience will not be needed. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 19:19, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Why do you keep saying "The Lancet", is that in order to make a meta-analysis it chose to published sound more authoritative. Because it doesn't work that way. Call it the Beral study, "The Lancet" is a journal, not a study. It is little things like that, which confirm to me you don't have an accurate sense of weight of the evidence.
I stipulate you didn't do your homework because that isn't a complete picture of the subject. Not even close. Wikipedia isn't giving credibility to ABC, the research is; or at the very least its verifying it isn't pseudoscience. If ABC was indeed has "complete non status as a medical syndrome" then I would have no trouble adding that AND putting pseudoscience. The thing is; that isn't the case and so neither is appropriate.
You are absolutely right and astute to point out it is not Wikipedia's place to disagree, criticize or assert your sources got it wrong; that is why other sources are here to balance the case and to do that. The other sources is what your homework is about; science is about more than what you (or even they) deem as "current research". Thanks to Pro-Lick, the dominant view is being given better weight; particularly in the key intro/conclusion sections.
The most important thing is, even your sources do not deem the ABC issue to be pseudoscience. Rather that the evidence they conclude to be the best (current research) is against it; that is true; but that does not equate to "pseudoscience" by any means. You are assert it does, you are demonstrably wrong. If they believed and/or proved the ABC issue as pseudoscience (ie. disproved it and/or found absolutely no evidence of it), they wouldn't be too shy to say so. Indeed some experts would feel morally compelled to say so in the press; they do not.
Dr. Daling felt morally compelled to point out her research had no demonstrated recall bias; and that she personally felt people on both sides of the political spectrum were "messing with the scientific data to further their own agenda." I have absolutely no reason to doubt her, and everything I've seen from thusfar (from both sides) has confirmed her concerns. - RoyBoy 800 19:54, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

End of moved text

I agree with Alienus's reasoning, but it is difficult to find a known expert being quoted calling ABC pseudoscience. The reference Alienus provides has a pro-choice lawyer calling it pseudoscience, and I wouldn't call that objective any more than I'd call Brind's opinion objective. Consider this quote from the National Associaton of Science Writers SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY AWARDS: KUDOS TO THE FINEST quoting an article titled Blinded By Science: How ‘Balanced’ Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality, Columbia Journalism Review: "The trouble is, the leading proponent of the idea that abortions cause breast cancer, Dr. Joel Brind of Baruch College at the City University of New York, underwent a pro-life religious conversion that left him feeling “compelled to use science for its noblest, lifesaving purpose,” as he put it in Physician, a magazine published by a conservative religious group called Focus on the Family." On top of that, Brind wasn't simply the minority opinion, he was the only one of “more than a hundred of the world’s experts” that were at the NCI workshop to disagree with the findings.--Pro-Lick 19:09, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Pro-Lick, it surprises me to say this, but you are being more reasonable than Alienus. Indeed a lawyer is paid to be a "zealous advocate" for their position; and has no bearing on the scientific discussion. The reason you are finding it difficult to find an expert to say that; is because they don't say it; because they know better than that. Alienus and Sophia do not. As to your reference, a good find, but I would tweak that to say... only one at the workshop to formally disagree with the findings. Never mistake silence for unanimity like that writer did Pro-Lick; especially when many of the scientists (experts) there were getting grants from the NCI. Brind isn't the only one with a demonstrated conflict of interest in this world. - RoyBoy 800 19:18, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
(Edit conflict) Do you know what The Lancet is? I think not by your disregard for it's premier position in the reporting of influential peer reviewed medical papers in the UK and worldwide. We are talking past each other as I assumed by your patronising of me you were genuinely knowledgeable about the medial research world - my mistake. I would compare it to publishing in Nature but I suspect you have no idea of the true significance of that either. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 20:21, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I'll ignore this; as I in large part provoked it. To answer your rhetorical question... I'm aware of both and have read from both. I am also aware they're prestige does not make them infallible nor authoritative. Have you heard of the International Journal of Epidemiology? I will mitigate my patronizing; but you should in turn minimize "these are authoritative", and do further research on this subject. Looking only and/or predominantly at current research is simply insufficient for a comprehensive perspective and hence article. - RoyBoy 800 20:33, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Infallible no (nothing is) - authorative yes. I have heard of the International Journal of Epidemiology - can you give me the link to their latest publications on this syndrome to save me doing the google work? Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 21:28, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Absolutely, I am here to help; and prod. :"D [38] As far as I know all the relevant (by that I mean notable) links are in the ABC article already; when you have time please give it a good once over. Preferably prior to adding cateogeries. Thank you. PS: This study (Howe, 1989) may not be their latest research on the subject, but it was what I was referring to above. - RoyBoy 800 01:46, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and I should clarify what I mean by authoritative. While I acknowledge they are influencial and authoritative journals; I cannot concede in any way they are authoritative on the ABC issue. There are limits on how far their authority counts. A recent workshop (NCI), meta-analysis (Beral) and cohort (Melbye) study doesn't put the matter to rest; regardless of where the workshop was held, and the studies published. Especially if Melbye shows mixed results for later abortions. Melbye can easily be considered the most reliable, despite Beral having "83,000" breast cancer cases, as it is well known meta-analysis can be subject to selection bias, hence why they labelled it a "collaborative reanalysis" instead. - RoyBoy 800 01:56, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Sophia collaboration

I have read the article and I guess the question I was really asking was - why do you give such credence to 10 year old localised research over the latest reviews of the subject. Based on everything you have show this article should follow this format: ABC - latest broad studies show no overall risk. Few small/localised older studies do but these are not considered significant. ABC is primarily a political tool in the pro-life "woman centred" approach developed after they discovered the public didn't like them attacking abortion clinics. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 07:08, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

A mostly valid question and perspective; I hope to provide mostly satisfactory answers.

  • Credence: I wouldn't consider I'm giving "such credence" to Howe, rather I'm acknowledging it exists, it is large (very large is more accurate) study, and it shows positive results.
  • 10 year old: Epidemiology unlike, say, genetics; is a mature discipline. While indeed all of science is constantly evolving; ten years is a drop in the bucket for epidemiology compared to other fields of science. In short, this is in no way an antiquated study.
  • Localized: The majority of ABC studies are localized; Denmark was a "national" study, but it's a very small country. These studies are localized as a matter of course in order to ensure controls etc. are appropriate and confounding factors can be better accounted for. I understand you may have a concern about one population reacting different than another; but that's par for the course in epidemiology; and another reason why studies are localized. (and why Beral "The Lancet" meta-analysis study, are problematic)
  • small/not significant: The article largely follows that format in the lead; which sets up the overview of the subject; and it points out the political dynamics. However, you are wrong in a number of ways. Howe and a few other studies which show positive result are not small (especially Howe, which has the largest number of case patients); and are not considered insignificant. That is false, wrong, and pro-choice POV; you may say that because of the NCI decision... but even they do not say that. What they did do is selectively choose the evidence they considered; and made a conclusion based on that. I'll respect that and acknowledge it as notable; but in no way authoritative and balanced. Government scientific organizations have earned my deep skepticism; by saying everything from second hand smoke is fine... to eventually jumping the shark and saying it causes lung cancer. [39] Anyway only one example; all I'm saying is large organizations aren't immune to political tides. When the tides change it results in rushed scientific reviews; that are anything but scientific.
  • ABC political tool: That is true; and you and I can work on a sentence augment that reflects it in the lead. I considered the propoganda mention sufficient; but you're right, we should work in "women centered" in the lead to be certain if women read this article they can see pro-life proclaimations for what they usually are, pseudoscience.
  • primarily: That is a tricky subject; while undoubtedly the ABC issue is indeed primarily driven by pro-life advocates in the public sphere, I've always wanted the article to focus on the science sphere. Not only because I think that's what's important... but because NPOV is geared towards a scientific POV.

The political dynamics should certainly be spelled out; but I don't want that to override the fact whether there is an ABC association or not is a scientific matter. Not a matter to be decided by the Bush administration in changing the NCI website; nor decided by a politically charged NCI workshop convened in a reaction to those changes. Nor by pro-lifers, nor by pro-choicers; be it because of positive or negative examples (ie: ABC is invalid because pro-lifers use it as a political/fear tool). Science moves slower, more deliberately, than politics. I'd like this article to do likewise. Otherwise we have people confusing NCI conclusions; and pro-life actions; as demonstrating that ABC itself is somehow pseudoscience.

I'd like to work on tweaking the lead with you, to incorporate pro-life strategy being implemented in the public sphere in the lead, in the section below. All the best; and I appreciate your questions and proposals. They do serve to better balance the article. - RoyBoy 800 01:35, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

I think we are trying to achieve the same goals really. I hate the abuse of science for political ends but I too am skeptical of Government agencies for those very reasons (remember the UK had the terrible BSE situation that the government initially played down as well as Aspestosis in the 50's and 60's) however UK University research teams and The Lancet are not known for their love of the Government and are usually fairly resistant to political pressure. The fact that abortion has been isolated as a potential risk factor for breast cancer, given lots of media and pro-life coverage and is subject to disproportionate scrutiny shows how political the motivations are. There are much higher known risk factors that are virtually ignored because there is no political advantage to be had by championing them. Therefore, as you said, it's vitally important to keep the scientific perspective to achieve NPOV. To this end I woul propose the following changes:
  • Intro - it's over stating the case that the first scientific results the reader gets are the positive ones - this should be at the end of the intro for true balance.
  • Rats - does this section really add anything? It's old research and very inconclusive. I understand it kicks everything off for the article but this is an encyclopedia and there is almost too much data for a lay person to take in. Interested readers should be given links (as they are here) to follow up but this article is very long for a potential minor breast cancer link.
  • Beral study - in the UK The Lancet is the medical journal so UK readers would expect this study to be in the intro. Especially as it's new and very broad.
  • Study problems (interview, meta-analysis, cohorts) - I think it's worth pointing out to the reader at the beginning what these are and potential problems so they can evaluate what follows. Special care of course will be needed here to maintain NPOV.
  • NCI workshop - should be further up as this is new and something people will recognise and understand.
  • Pro-life - as agreed above - some recognition that the prominence of this issue came with change of strategy of pro-life groups
  • Conclusion - it should be made clear that even when conflicting studies show a link the risk factor is much much smaller than known every day factors such as diet and genetics etc.
Your thoughts? Have real life things to do now but will check later and read through it all again. Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 10:02, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

Sophia, this seems like a reasonable direction to go. Alienus 15:14, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree, however I too have real life cropping up these days. I read your proposal quickly and its pretty good; having said that I've organized the article in specific ways not only in an attempt for appropriate weight; rats are lest important and hence first, then gets stronger as we move down. It is also approximately chronological; and I wouldn't want to mess with that unnessisarily. But specifically in regards to rats; they provide context that outside of human studies; it is easier to express the mechanism that could be responsible for the ABC link. It more than kicks it off; it provides scientists the ability to spell out the mechanism without engaging in this culture war. I could see it being reduced as the results aren't terribly pertinent, OTOH I left them there so people wouldn't get the wrong impression and think the rat studies showed significant results.
As to the NCI workshop... hmmmmmmm... I have to think about that hard. I've put them below the science specifically because I want to emphasize the science; not government bickering and conclusions. It is indeed prominent (as such its in the lead), but to put it above the science deeply troubles me... and provides it an authority and legitimacy that I in no way can think, outstrippes nor out-weighs the primary scientific research on this subject; with which it used to reach its decision. No, that can't happen; think about it... yes the experts were called in, but it lasted 3 days and was politically charged. It is mentioned in the lead; but I feel it should stay below the evidence it based its conclusions on. We have a table of contents; and it isn't buried as a minor sub-section.
Conclusion: I apologize for not doing a detailed point by point, tired I am, busy tomorrow. But the conclusion suggestion is spot on the money!!! I have a vague sense I had mentioned that in the conclusion long ago (with a religioustolerance link to back it up); but it was lost or something. No I remember now, someone objected to Wikipedia giving medical advice; or something like that. I'll reinsert the original thing I had right now (if I can find it in my tired state), and see if we can Wikify it or something. Good call Sophia. I've resectioned your suggestions; as the header is not longer descriptive of our dialogue. Toodles. - RoyBoy 800 04:32, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
This version contains the thingy that was removed in the conclusion. I won't reinsert that, but I'll put something in there that is easily backed up by the breast cancer article itself. - RoyBoy 800 04:46, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Sophia suggestion for compromise

(edit conflict) I should add I do see an excellent opportunity for compromise with your non-status suggestion. Currently the lead says:

  • Many in the medical community are skeptical of the ABC hypothesis;

How could this be changed, given improved weight in your view to remove pseudoscience. Be aware saying is has no standing the medical community is simply wrong. [40] I know those medical associations are pro-life; but that undercuts your assertion; as I could just as easily mention associations which reject the link are predominantly pro-choice.

Both points are irrelevant; it is their positions which are relevant. I think I struck the appropriate balance with "skeptical". Perhaps that could be improve by you, maybe "highly skeptical" is better... or how about "reject" the hypothesis. "Reject" is strong language and, as such, we would need really solid cite(s) to back it up, but it has the potential to be entirely accurate and verifiable.

I genuinely hope we can work together on this. - RoyBoy 800 20:19, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I think we're at the point where we're going to have to agree to disagree. Alienus 02:21, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict) But I wouldn't allow "reject" unless we could be sure its accurate; because, now that I think about it, most associations would likely adopt the NCI/Beral (The Lancet) findings. If that is the case, then reject wouldn't work as its POV, but perhaps something with more finesse... like, ummmmmmm... "Most medical associations professionals agree with the findings of recent research that concludes no ABC association." That seems reasonable and quite verifiable... with the existing link no less. How bout that Alienus? - RoyBoy 800 02:31, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Tweaked association to professional; I'll take the liberty of adding it to the lead for now as its an improvement over what is there. - RoyBoy 800 03:23, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Tweaked back to community. - RoyBoy 800 03:38, 8 April 2006 (UTC) LOL, other way around; changed community to professionals in Abortion. It's shorter, and at the same time more specific than "community"... or at least I think so. :-D RoyBoy 800 03:41, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Columbia Journalism Review article

Hey Pro-Lick; could you please post an external link to that here; and any other references you come across that you use for article tweaks. Not only so that I can go over them; but in this case; I'd probably replace the existing link with the new one. But of course, only if it checks out. - RoyBoy 800 03:42, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

PDF that includes other National Association of Scinece Writers winners and nominees--Pro-Lick 04:36, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Sorry Pro-Lick; I'm not seeing what you mean. And I have come across this before in debating this issue with people. Did you mean this passage?
"Virtually no mainstream scientist believes that the so-called ABC link actually exists — only anti-abortion activists do."
If so that doesn't cut it as this source doesn't call ABC pseudoscience, though it comes pretty close; and the passage above almost contradicts itself and is wrong to boot. "Virtually no" says to me there could be a few, and there are; which makes "only anti-abortion" factually incorrectly.
Ironically the fact you and others here have called it pseudoscience, is sufficient for me to keep your edit for now, as I don't consider all of you pro-choice advocates. The problem with that is... I could be wrong; as most of you seem to take the position on the ABC issue that pro-choice advocates take. For the most part people who come out and say ABC is propoganda, and write about it etc. are defacto advocates since they are writing about abortion to begin with. I can accept others (some) call it pseudoscience; but I'd argue they do so because of those advocates.
So, I'm not terribly confident you can seperate "propoganda" from pro-choice advocates. Maybe it will be easier to do so when we tweak it to focus on the "women centered" strategy of anti-abortionists; which is more important and central to the ABC political dynamics than a few mentions of propoganda. I hope we can fit both in the lead though. - RoyBoy 800 18:44, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I will say this much for your version, its shorter; so that's definitely a plus for you; and another reason why I'm not reverting. - RoyBoy 800 18:51, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Article title: "SCIENTIFIC FRINGE TAKES ADVANTAGE OF ‘BALANCED’ REPORTING". Besides this being done initially by a Houston reporter, it was then covered by the Columbia Journalism Review, and then again within the awards by by NASW. They repeat:
The trouble is, the leading proponent of the idea that abortions cause breast cancer, Dr. Joel Brind of Baruch College at the City University of New York, underwent a pro-life religious conversion that left him feeling “compelled to use science for its noblest, lifesaving purpose,” as he put it in Physician, a magazine

published by a conservative religious group called Focus on the Family.

So, you have pro-life bias, if not propaganda, first reported, then confirmed, then awarded.-Pro-Lick 20:05, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Quite, but Brind's pro-life bias isn't in question; nor does it lead the journalists to declare ABC propaganda. The article(s), very appropriately, leaves it to the reader to decide that. I ain't changing it back any time soon, but thanks for your clarification. - RoyBoy 800 20:14, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I think you'd enjoy this comic.
It gave me a giggle. Here's a brainteaser as a thanks. There was/is actually a way to arguably reduce the deficit, make tax breaks permanent and have the war. I'll let you ponder that one; here's a hint, its something of course a government would never do, but they should have long ago and Frontline covered it. Bonus points for creative answers (I've come up with two so far); but it doesn't involve laying off Homeland Security. :"D - RoyBoy 800 06:23, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Sex slaves. Actually, I think the neocons are still trying to work up enough hatred to get all Islamic women to become the next major export and wonder around the world naked and provide for the desires of the moral majority, have the babies, then be forced back to work in sweatshops and raise the child who is forced to attend a christian church and pledge allegiance to the cross.--Copyright 2006, all rights reserved, Dick Cheney's Shill at Halliburton--aka--Pro-Lick 07:32, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
LOL, I didn't see that coming; but I should have. I was going for getting corporations to pay the taxes they owe. Some estimates put it at $500 billion a year they don't pony up. Frontline episode Tax me if you can. - RoyBoy 800 04:25, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

NCI Conspiracy Theory

I keep reading RoyBoy make indirect accusations that the National Cancer Institute has somehow conspired against ABC, especially in regard to the 2003 expert workshop, so I thought I'd address it directly and openly so RoyBoy can express Brind's feelings:

1994 - "For Brind, Rosenberg's efforts to defuse the issue gave credence to his repeated accusations that the National Cancer Institute was determined to cover up or discredit research pointing to an abortion-breast cancer link."[41]

That came from a historical study that RoyBoy has openly appreciated and linked to within the article. As will the rest except where noted otherwise.

1994 - "For example, Christ's Bride Ministries rented space in rapid-transit stations in the eastern US to advertise that “Women who choose abortion suffer more and deadlier breast cancer!” (wording which Brind helped choose), and the federal order to remove the posters in Philadelphia fuelled charges of a cover-up by Washington."
1998 - "After Melbye's study was published, [NCI's Web site] fact sheet asserted that “there is no convincing evidence of a direct relationship between breast cancer and either induced or spontaneous abortion”.85, The NCI came under sustained attack from Brind and his supporters, including those in Washington and, at a hearing into ‘The State of Cancer Research’ in July 1998, Congressman Tom Coburn (a leading advocate of abstinence-only sex education) accused the NCI of concealing forty-one years of research demonstrating the existence of an abortion-breast cancer link."
1999 - 2002 - "Political pressure led the agency to modify its web page the following year to say that the evidence was “inconsistent”, but, under the administration of George W Bush, demands mounted in Congress for a further investigation, leading to another revision which suggested a much stronger association between abortion and cancer."
"Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., the Bush-appointed director of the NCI, downplayed the revisions, saying they represented nothing more than the pursuit of a thorough scientific review because “the data are conflicting.” Yet the NCI acknowledge that a factor in its decision was a letter from anti-abortion members of Congress, such as Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the House Pro-life Caucus, urging Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson to remove the fact sheet for review."article cited by study called "Weird Science"
2003 - "Amidst a growing uproar, the NCI withdrew the fact sheet and scheduled a conference for February 2003, in order to revisit the issue. Pro-choice advocates attacked the agency for allowing abortion politics to drive the cancer research agenda, but when the majority of the assembled scientists, among them Daling, Rosenberg, Russo, and Melbye, reached an apparent consensus that “induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer risk”, Brind and his supporters accused the NCI of a politically-motivated whitewash."

Conclusion: No conspiracy. If there was a conspiracy, it was the anti-abortion organizations and, later, the Bush/republican dominated government that were pressuring NCI and holding their purse strings, providing NCI and scientists involved with it incentive to, at the very least, say ABC was possible. Despite all that, they concluded, with the sole exception of Brind, that there is no ABC link, not even lowering the evidence rating, but giving it the highest possible rating.--Pro-Lick 02:25, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Clearly, the NCI has been infiltrated by the Knights Templar, who wish to increase the number of abortions as part of their fiendish scheme to destroy Western Civilization and pave the way for an open worship of the Devil. Alienus 02:33, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

-;) That's the artistic way of expressing the conclusion. To be fair and balanced, NCI is certainly capable of being twisted by the government, but outside of Clinton's far less than politically forceful 8 years, anti-abortion presidents have been in rule since 1981, so it's hard to view it as a pro-abortion leaning organization.--Pro-Lick 05:19, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Rosenburg was mostly right, but got a key point wrong. As Rosenburg (I can only assume is not incompetent) should know the answer to the following: “convincing biologic mechanism” to explain why induced abortion posed a danger while spontaneous abortion did not. To state that was disingenuous and wrong; and certainly got Brind riled up.
I have not implied the NCI was pro-abortion. If you wish to mischaracterize my positions; it will only serve to distance yourself from good faith editors. And Alienus, I'm not laughing; though perhaps I should given the black and white lenses you two seem to have on. Clearly Brind is the only person capable of political and idealogical bias; had you guys informed of this fact I could and rewritten the entire article to reflect that. No... wait a second, you two provide ample examples that pro-choice people can be ideological as well. Thanks to you both; but of course I already discovered that in spades during my research of this issue. To repeat the pertinent point, Rosenburg got it wrong; or we could just focus on how idiotic and biased pro-choice authors think Brind is.
Regardless of how poorly PATRICIA JASEN, PhD thinks Brind took it; he had cause to be upset; then again she doesn't seemed to be concerned with that. It is sections like that which make me reconsider moving it to the Pro-Choice section of External links. I won't any time soon as it is an excellent link; oh and to avoid confusion Pro-Lick; that doesn't mean everything in it is right... or perhaps I should say complete. As she got the particulars correct, just didn't bother to answer Rosenburg's question; and hence provide sufficient context for Brind's response. (this is regardless if his response was appropriate or not)
Lastly to label it a conspiracy theory is to imply a conspiracy; while I don't rule that out to some extent for the organizers, my main assertion and implication is that the NCI workshop was politically charged. For that, I somehow doubt there is a need for Knights to be involved. FYI: If the workshop did mess up (which I've demonstrated it did for preterm birth); this wouldn't be the first nor last time a government organization made an inaccurate judgement/review of scientific research. This abdication to authority is irrational, unnecessary and wrong as their review process was not transparent. - RoyBoy 800 06:09, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
RoyBoy, forget Alienus, forget Rosenberg. This is about whether there was an NCI conspiracy (or whatever you'd prefer to label it) that would cause the findings of the 2003 expert workshop to be suspect. You start out claiming that you never thought nor claimed there was pro-abortion bias. If that's truly the case, I'd be happy to leave it at that. You end, however, by suggesting, yet again, there was a 2003 conspiracy, or if you like, politically motivated bias (over all of the 100+ experts except Brind). This would again be fine because, as shown above, it clearly was politically charged from the anti-abortion side. Then you try to take a swipe at the source that you had praised (but apparently didn’t bother to actually read) and that is written by a PhD in a University history department and is published on PubMed Central (nih.gov) even as anti-abortion politicians dominate every part of U.S. politics. You expect us to take your OR over a clearly more credible source? This is why I stated before I think you’ve lost yourself in this article. Whether intentional or not, you’re still essentially serving as Brind’s PR person. Again, forget Rosenberg. That's purely historical context that shows the one thing that you clearly agree with – it upset Brind.--Pro-Lick 07:17, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps I deserve that to some extent. Purely historical context, LOL; Rosenburg got it wrong and you try to bring it up as a point against Brind. Indeed forget the crap you just brought up and how you routinely get context wrong, be it "historical" or "current". What I'm most aggrevated about is you don't appreciate some relatively simple truisms involved here. This is about including other valid perspectives.
If you cannot understand how experts, who get money from the NCI, would have a potential conflict of interest when called in for a workshop; I'm unsure if you have the capacity to appreciate other points of view after you've made up your mind. You don't have believe everything Brind says [42], but you have to concede that it could be true to some extent. Those experts don't need to be in a conspiracy to know where the workshop is headed; and that it would be more trouble than its worth voice an opinion if they disagreed with the strength of the workshops findings. (I've witnessed, through Frontline, an expert keep his mouth shut when he disagree with the findings on a conference regarding a drugs safety. Because he was outmatched and outgunned by corporate scientists; and not given suffient time to make a presentation.) Stop mistaking their silence to be unanimity. Because everything that I can confirm, through other online sources agree with Brind. Brind is biased, yes; you cannot turn around and then say, but the NCI workshop couldn't possibly be biased.
Your comments regarding anti-abortion politics dominating the political sphere of late are correct; but totally ignores the fact scientists; and scientific organizations tend to be pro-choice. These places don't have the turn-over congress/senate does; you're entire political argument is naive and based on a misunderstanding of the relationship and power politicians have over the culture of scientific organizations; even federal ones. (you should have internalized the notion mentioned above, science moves more slowly and deliberately than politics) You have to understand there is a possibility of political bias on behalf of those who disagreed with Bush and then took it upon themselves to organize a workshop, and then select experts.
The NCI workshop is a credible source; it is in the lead, mentioned prominently and given its own section right after the scientific studies. But it being a credible source doesn't mean its authoritative, accurate or right. Those things cannot even assessed if the workshop isn't transparent. Lastly, this isn't about one perspective being the Truth; it is about allowing those perspectives. As Brind was at the workshop, and did file a dissenting opinion, he is source for what happened at the workshop. His credibility is a matter of POV. Simply put Pro-Lick; you haven't done the research I have; and I've come to understand that despite Brind's bias he is more often right than he is wrong, although pro-choice sources say otherwise. Does that mean Brind is right about ABC and the NCI – heck no – he likely overstates the case for both, but Brind cannot be ignored or ridiculed.
As to weight; yes that is something we will continue to work together... you've improved the article and I hope you continue to do so. But don't mistake for a second you have much to learn here; I have learned all I need from you regarding this article. That the weight is wrong. That occurred not because I "lost perspective", but because I'm not perfect and I didn't have someone to work with to challenge me to do better and fill in gaps I forgot. (ie: Sophia's suggestion ABC is at best minor compared to other risk factors, that was a significant oversight, but I didn't do that consciously, I simply forgot!!!)
Even though I'm not perfect; I am the most knowledgable person here on this issue, and I don't have a political axe to grind. (I have a scientific scalpel!") Your attempts to discredit Brind are something I'd expect to see in a partisan blog; not on Wikipedia. By all means if you come across something you want clarification on, ask. But don't come here and imply you've suddenly discredited Brind or ABC because of the lastest hit you've acquired from Google; or the latest textbook you've came across; or your latest political "insight" that vindicates the NCI and contradicts Brind's perspective. It's usually not that simple. (and don't bother telling me about how the Bush administration has been manipulating science; and installing industry insiders in key positions to change government research on everything from mercury release from power plants, to global warming, I'm aware of it and find it laughable out obvious they are about doing it... what results from those actions, the scientists complain and a story is aired on PBS and we hear about it; even better scientists keep track of it and do a study themselves, which they did a little while ago... good for them!) - RoyBoy 800 19:59, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
When I read your posts RoyBoy I get the feeling you are trying to right some great wrong to some academics. We have to be so careful to give the majority view whether we agree with it or not as to do otherwise is to give undue weight. Despite all the major current authorities/workshops agreeing there is no a link, the first scientific data readers of this article get is the positive correlations. All we can report here is what other researchers say about the political problems with the NCI and I do not agree that to have individual scientific results before the workshop/overview papers is a good idea. This is an encyclopedia not an academic paper so overviews of the whole subject are the most important with the bun fights between research groups being described as secondary. Otherwise what you construct is your own overview paper which is nothing other than OR. I appreciate your knowledge on the subject but I would ask if you have ever been part of an active research group publishing peer reviewed papers as you do not really seem to have got the idea of how this world works. The overviews papers/workshops are vitally important - why do you think Brind was so keen to make a mark at the NCI workshop? These will be used as refernce works and disagreeing research groups will have to explain why they diverge from the "norm". They will not be seen to have the edge because they do not bow to political pressure or skew their data. Also giving the research in chronological order is not how things are usually done. Current research will talk about the previous work relied upon but at the moment the science section reads as a history of ABC rather than giving the low down on where it now stands.
I do wish to work with you on this one and I'll admit you are better read on the subject than me but the way the article is currently written, although it gives all the mainstream views it does it in such a way as to imply they should not be taken as authoritative. The flow of the article I'm afraid betrays your POV which is understandable but is not how it should be written to conform to wikipedia standards.
In the UK a 14 year old died from measles due to the low uptake of the MMR jab after Andrew Wakefield published a proposed link between the jab and autism that has since been totally discredited. This shows how important it is not to play up "rogue" data (I mean that in the divergence from norm sense). Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 20:43, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
You're mostly right; I'm too tired and aggrevated to write a detailed response worthy of your post... but on the main point about current research coming first I agree (it was mostly a style choice; my thinking was the further you go, and the closer you are to the conclusion the more weight the reader would give it... and the chronology just made sense to me, essay form and all that jazz). I'm opposed to putting the NCI first because I don't see it as primary research... and I might yet debate you on this; but you're right in that it is the majority view. (not the basis of a 99% view proposed by Pro-Lick, *sigh*) I will invert the structure and put NCI at the top and we can move from there. (man I can't help but prod just a little :"D, what was the timeframe of measles and its discreditation, as I'm trying to compare it to ABC) Anyway, your calm rationale is beautiful; and a wonderful example for us all of what should embody a Wikipedian. - RoyBoy 800 03:01, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
As the anti-abortion bias plays a greater role in the ABC issue than the science, I put it below NCI workshop and above the scientific studies. Still working on it, gimme a few minutes. - RoyBoy 800 03:29, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Done, that was a quick and dirty rearrange; any problems are my fault... but I'm too hungry to notice right now. - RoyBoy 800 03:36, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
It takes two to tango RoyBoy! You set the debate firmly in assessing the scientific evidence and explain all your edits in that light. This makes it easy to clearly put what I feel is needed to achieve balance and it's great to work with such an open minded collaborative editor. You are passionate and knowledgeable about your subject and I respect that but it's rare for someone to then be open to outside opinions - you would make a great researcher! The flow of the article seems a lot better and we can work on tweaking it. I've slightly reordered the intro to reflect the weight of evidence - I hope it reads the way I intend it to.
The boy died of measles last week but the uptake of MMR in some areas is as low as 67% so is below the threshold to give herd immunity which is important as not all immunisations give full protection. He's slightly younger than my oldest child and I know pressure was put on me by friends to reconsider signing her up for the teenage MMR booster to catch the ones who didn't gain full immunity the first time (even though there is no link to late development of autism or any other problems). Uptake is particularly low amongst some middle class well read people who are into alternative medicines and not scientifically knowledgeable to realise it's one thing to put lavender oil on minor burns (works really well by the way) but quite another to mess with a killer disease. We as a society have got so used to not having these diseases around that we have forgotten how bad they can be but my mother-in-law is deaf in one ear from measles and my aunt has a twisted spine from polio. I've never forgotten my grandmother telling me of the horrors of nursing my aunt through whooping cough either. Andrew Wakefields research was so well publicised and played on peoples fears of autism even though his sample was 12 children! Although it has been retracted and discredited there is still a lingering doubt in many peoples minds due to a misunderstanding of science and a holistic "back to nature" view driven by the environmental/organic movements. By the way I'm an environmentalist who eats organic food but I also acknowledge that mother nature used to wipe out most children before their 5th birthday so I'm quite happy to artificially help my children's immune systems! Anyway this is off topic and I should go over to those debates but I know how passionate it can get as you are effectively criticising someones parenting and that gets nasty!
It's a pleasure to work with you RoyBoy! Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 08:58, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
Same here; indeed small samples was one of the curiousities I encountered in my ABC research. It made me really ponder the amount of money and resources that are available for these important endeavors. And on that note I'd like respond to your thought on me trying to "right some great wrong to some academics." While I have significant sympathy for all academics in this debate, Brind, Daling; but also Melbye and Lindefors-Harris; I'm trying to right a wrong to science. How "great" a wrong it is depends, I think, on each individual womens perspective when they read the actual primary scientific research and discussion on this issue.
By fate or coincidence I had noticed a book by Pinker that I mention long ago here, called The Blank Slate, which examined how with a little research to back them up well intentioned scientists began to increasingly believe that "nurture" was dominant over "nature". It became so pervasive researchers and studies saying otherwise met with resistance and significant criticism; not on their scientific merit; but rather because during that time period equal rights of women and race were issues of the day... and that translated to scientists wanting their research to match their philosophical wish that everyone was born equal. It was a nice sentiment, but ended up heaping unnecessary guilt on parents and caregivers; when their dependants didn't turn out "quite right". Moreover it wasn't scientific, but political/philosophical in nature. There was no need for a conspiracy; it was simply a bias (or "group think") as a result of sociological circumstances. I see that happening again, and its annoying. :"|
It's also annoying how pro-choice advocates and lawyers haven't seen or tried to use the ABC issue to its advantage! - RoyBoy 800 18:21, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
It's always a danger. One of the things I learned at Uni was if you are getting the results you exspect be extra careful as you may have skewed the experiment from the start. It's something all honest researchers need to bear in mind and one of the reasons the peer review system is so crucial to the scientific process. However even that can go wrong in the really esoteric theoretical physics world as the peers don't understand the research! Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 22:42, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

ABC lead

Tweaked the lead for better narrative flow; move Pro-Lick's excellent "not verified" sentence to the end of a merged definition paragraph. For some reason I really want to keep the lead to 3 paragraphs; call it personal style if you will. Moved Brind up in the third paragraph to bridge the NCI meme now ahead of it; and transition smoothly to interview studies. Got rid of propoganda in the lead as it seems to be overreaching, and upon reading the link, doesn't really fit even that advocates more reasonable position about the pro-life strategy. And that happens to fit in with the "women centered" tweak we wanted in the lead anyway. - RoyBoy 800 17:09, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Tweaked it back to Pro-Lick's version, with a little rewrite of the 2nd pagagraph it's now acceptable to me... but I would still prefer 3 paragraphs for some reason. - RoyBoy 800 19:05, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Neutrality

The way the article now reads I'm happy for the neutrality flag to go. I feel RoyBoy's latest edits have properly balanced the data - showing the majority view whilst acknowledging and explaining the contradicting data. Any thought anyone? Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 22:28, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, we can remove it now. Alienus 22:31, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Thanks to RoyBoy for all his hard work and for removing the tag. I think this article reads very well now and from my research is as comprehensive and balanced as I think we could hope for. Has anyone thought of putting it up for FA status? Do we need to peer review first. Does anyone else think it's a candidate? Gilraen of Dorthonion AKA SophiaTalkTCF 10:33, 16 April 2006 (UTC)
I have my doubts about FA, as anyone that would initially look at it; and perhaps a few that did more comprehensive research, would object to the amount of space given to Brind. (its a concern I've heard from User:Tony Sidaway, who's opinion I've come to respect... although that doesn't mean I agree with him :") A peer review or two would be certainly advisable. I'll be away from my home computer for the next few days; and busy with real life so my participation will be minimal for the next little while. - RoyBoy 800 02:08, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Luckily my friend has a spare system for me to use. If I do a quick accessment; there are a few instances of Original Research in the article by me. Although I'm not concerned about it persay... I'm concerned there is no source which says important things that I think the evidence fully supports, and are very important to have in the article. Here's two I'm focused on:
  • It is unclear how this is a contradiction, since Dr. Brind is against the use of just statistical adjustment, and in favor of case-control cohort matching to account for birth-cohort differences. (should be able to find some pro-life link that points this out)
  • The scientific consensus is that the evidence is inconclusive. (links say this, but most would be outdated... so finding a current neutral link that says that after the NCI workshop would be very hard)
There are likely a few others... though not many as I really did try to ensure I had two sources for every concept/statement. - RoyBoy 800 22:51, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Some suggestions

I just skimmed the talk and wanted to offer a couple of suggestions. There was discussion a long while back about all of the details of individual scientific studies. I thought both participants (DaveTheRed and RoyBoy) made some good points and suggest a middle course: put the entire section at the bottom as an appendix and reference it as necessary in the rest of the article, for example "(as described in the appendix)" or by linking. This isn't quite ideal by the GTL, but seems an appropriate way of handling all the great research here.

Interesting suggestion, but to what end? By this I mean, what is the point of moving the research; is it a concern of length, or an attempt to provide a smoother narrative? Currently I can't see a way other than how it's presented, as each study listed is notable for various reasons, and placing them as they are provides immediate context as to their notability and reliability.
Smoother narrative. To me, it's just too much detail when the end point is that there is dispute about whether there's scientific consensus against an ABC link or no consensus. Perhaps I can work on a few-paragraph-long section to move into the current spot in the narrative and then we can discuss it in talk before messing with the article itself. How's that sound?Kchase02 T
You have a point there, but I've favored forcing the details till now in order to get people to see how complicated the science really is on the matter. Until recently I had the studies even above Pro-life and NCI workshop sections as I consider the scientific details paramount to forming an informed opinion on the matter. Perhaps I should entertain a summarized rendition of it... although I would start being concerned about overall article length. (something I usually don't care about, ppl should have proper browsers these days! :"D) By appendix do you mean making putting the scientific studies into a sub-article? Then my concern becomes being able to render the complexity and balance the views in a smooth narrative; not an easy task. It was hard going but workable to balance each study individually. - 05:56, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Also, this page indicates (in the section: "One abortion-breast cancer (ABC) link is known to exist") that there is a small statistical relationship between abortion and breast cancer, but that the actual cause is more complex. It asserts that not having abortions or children early in life (or at all) causes the same breast cancer risk as for women who have abortions. I'm not explaining it well, but read the blurb. My concern (since I haven't read the literature) is that I don't know if it's well supported in the studies in this article or is just original research. It makes intuitive sense to me, but that's a poor rationale for inserting it into the article.

An excellent observation, this is covered in Confounding_factors_and_hormones, specifically on the point of parity (2nd paragraph). Simply put, scientists account for women with and without children in their studies by case-control matching. Although as you can see in some studies, they don't always do a good job of it. It could certainly be added having no children increases your risk (as observed in nuns), but that would not impact the results of ABC studies that are properly conducted and account for parity as a confounding factor.
I regret to say I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out. Yeah, at the least it might help to explain things in plain English with an example like that. I mostly edit law, and I find I descend into legalese a lot there. That may have happened here. Or I may be dense to the science.Kchase02 T
Will do, naw its the paragraph that's dense with terminology. - 05:56, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Finally, Feminists for Life is the response to Roy's 18-month old question. You may have seen it in the news months ago in association with Chief Justice Roberts' wife.--Kchase02 T 22:04, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

You'll forgive me if I can't remember the question. :"D What is this in regard to? Thanks in advance. - RoyBoy 800 23:42, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
It was kind of absurd of me to answer it, but it's above: "BTW, is there such a thing as a feminists against abortion? I put in "pro-choice" prior to feminist, but that seems redundant." --Kchase02 T 00:02, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Ahhh, good good. Yeah I had come across that a while back, then again recently on the History of abortion page as it has evolved. - RoyBoy 800 05:56, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

OK, I've finally done a rough draft of my proposed change. I moved all the scientific studies b/t the conclusion and the references and inserted a paragraph where they were. The diff is [43]. As to the summary, I was having issues with making it an informative summary w/o at the same time running afoul of WP:NOR. I see what RoyBoy means about the actual scientific consensus being more contentious than many organizations have indicated, though I don't know how to handle this situation. Actually summarizing the studies myself is OR, but citing the existing summaries seems inaccurate. It's a pickle.--Kchase02 T 23:26, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, I can try to improve on things... as I understand you're trying to improve the flow and help people get a classic Wiki-summary of things. But it might be summarizing too much that is causing an issue. - RoyBoy 800 03:09, 18 June 2006 (UTC)
Sure. Do it in my sandbox if you want. I don't care. In any event, you obviously know the studies better than anyone, so you'd probably be more competent to fairly expand on them. Sorry I wasn't of much help executing my suggestion.--Kchase02 T 03:23, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

A small but relevant link.

I do remember reading somewhere that an actual cancer institute, not an independant researcher, ruled that a small, but insignificant link does exist. They said it increases over time and never actually peaks over five percent. Perhaps I am merely imagining it but I will attempt to find it again. If anyone else knows of such a citation, please help me out. --Talv 14:55, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

I would be quite interested to read that. It sounds accurate insofar as early abortions go, but later abortions (with no intervening pregnancies) do appear to illicit higher increases over time. As a 5% increase would be shrugged off, epidemiologically speaking. - RoyBoy 800 15:16, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

A small quibble with the conclusion

This is my first time to look over this article, and I am deeply impressed. Good research, good NPOV overall. Wow.

Just one problem with the conclusion. Regarding the ABC link, the second sentence reads that "The scientific consensus is that the evidence is inconclusive." The external link is to Jasen's 2005 article in the journal Medical History. The last paragraph before this article's conclusion reads, in part:

In the early years of the twenty-first century, however, the weight of medical evidence, some of which has emerged from countries where abortion is extremely common, continues to shift away from an association between abortion and breast cancer. . . . Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and its counterpart in the United Kingdom have responded to the ongoing campaign to link abortion and breast cancer by declaring publicly that, although the search for better methodological approaches to the question continues, there is no evidence at present to justify further anxiety over the issue. Even though proponents of the abortion-breast cancer link have lost credibility in the international research community, their campaign continues to gain willing converts,

and so on. I would say that the second sentence of the conclusion either needs a rewrite or a different link. The link currently there does NOT support the assertion that "the scientific consensus is that the evidence is inconclusive." Dicksonlaprade 16:29, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

You're right, I read the conclusion before adding the link; hadn't read that. Removed link. - RoyBoy 800 23:33, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Since the rest of the article, including the rest of the conclusion, does not jibe with the assertion that "the scientific consensus is that the evidence is inconclusive," I suggest rewriting this phrase to better reflect the actual scientific consensus--which is, as per the Melbye and the Lancet studies (among others), that the ABC link is a figment of response bias. Unless there if further discussion, I can change this myself on or about Thursday, Aug. 24. Dicksonlaprade 20:51, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't think that's the actual consensus, but it certainly does accurately reflect the opinions of the studies you cite. I'll add it. - RoyBoy 800 07:18, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Well-written and exhaustive

This is a well-written and exhaustive article. There are probably a few minor changes of wording and emphasis I'd suggest - see what you think. If I make changes, I'll small incremental changes with appropriate edit summaries. Again, the article is overall well-constructed and takes pains to be reasonable - as others have noted, not the same as giving both sides equal time or validity, because the weight of evidence suggests one side is factually correct. MastCell 22:22, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, but I would tweak that sentiment to read; the interpretation of the evidence suggests one side is correct. I say this to emphasize the impact a researcher has on their data, which is usually underestimated. - RoyBoy 800 01:55, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree 100%. My own feeling is that people like Brind are quick to accuse others of cover-ups, biased science, etc etc, but tend to have a huge blind spot when it comes to their own preconceptions. I agree with your basic point that in cases like this, where the question is tough to study, there is conflicting evidence of varying qualities, and the statistical issues are complex, it's easy to "spin" things. MastCell 05:43, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Removed factually incorrect information

I've removed the following few sentences:

It has been reported the workshop largely used Dr. Melbye's Denmark (1997) study to reach their conclusions despite contradictory results within it, which during the workshop Dr. Melbye stated he had "reanalyzed" the data and the 89% increased risk is "no longer present in his research."<ref>[http://catholiccitizens.org/platform/platformview.asp?c=4654 catholiccitizens.org] – Abortion and Breast Cancer: The Scientific Debate That Never Happened</ref> Some organizations have changed their position to be in line with the NCI workshop findings.

This is a misleading passage. The 89% increased risk refers to a relative risk of 1.89 seen in women who had abortions after 18 weeks' gestation. Melbye wrote in his 1997 paper that the fact that "such an increase did not affect the overall result clearly indicates that it is based on small numbers and therefore requires cautious interpretation". It's entirely reasonable that such a tenuous finding would disappear as more data is accumulated; the above passage imputes a sinister motive, and the supporting reference is a strident press release from a pro-life advocacy group, not a news report or journal.

Finally, the last sentence again imputes a sinister conspiracy and is so vague as to be totally meaningless... how about naming some of these organizations that have been swayed by the dastardly NCI, or citing a source?

The above issues (eg the 1.89 relative risk with late abortions) are an appropriate topic for inclusion, but it needs to be done better than this. MastCell 22:55, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

You're right, I'm just unsure we should then assume they cautiously interpreted the new data, which was not made available to the workshop.
New "late breaking" data showing no ABC link were presented by Drs. Bernstein, Melbye and Newcomb, with no opportunity for actually scrutinizing such data. In fact, on the record during the Q&A following Dr. Bernstein's lecture, Dr. Brind asked if the data would be made available during the workshop. Dr. Bernstein replied that she would not make it available until its publication. New data should have been made available to workshop participants before the workshop began. [44]
As to "did not affect the overall result" is a meaningless and disingenuous point by Melbye if their overall result is statistically adjusted incorrectly, mitigating the effect it would have. It is a valid concern to think Melbye's "new data" is simply another statistical massage. Two potential wrongs do not make a right. Now this is not to defend the "sinister conspiracy" tone (a potential third wrong, maybe) of the passage you removed, but to pretend everything is fine and Melbye is free and clear because of the point above is missing the larger context of that "overall result" and how the "new data" was presented (or rather not presented) to the workshop. In the end I think I can agree it can be done better.
As to organizations being swayed, I've simply noticed from PlannedParenthood to U.K. gyno's refering to the NCI workshop as a authoritative overview of the available evidence. It's undoubtedly been a key event in the dialogue of the ABC issue. Smaller organizations will also look to the NCI for guidance on this issue. (as shown in the North Dakota lawsuit) - RoyBoy 800 02:14, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I will say that when I first read this article, I thought there were lots of things that could be worked on. But the more I read through it, the less I had to contribute. Meaning that a lot of the issues really have been carefully thought through and presented appropriately already. On specific points: The NCI issue is almost secondary; the Beral meta-analysis is actually by far the strongest piece of evidence in the lot, and actually shows a mild protective effect of abortion (but let's not open that can of worms). I agree that Melbye weaseled a little at the end of his paper. I don't know about this "new data has come to light" thing... the only mention I've seen is in that pro-life propaganda. Maybe there was something underhanded going on and there's a conspiracy of silence; stranger things have happened. But again, unless/until a stronger, more convincing piece of evidence is produced, Beral's meta-analysis would have to be considered the most authoritative answer to this question from a scientific standpoint. MastCell 05:43, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Certainly the conventional wisdom on the ABC issue, but I'm firmly skeptical of that meta-analysis. Not simply because of Brind's criticism of it; also because they specifically avoided calling it a meta-analysis in order to avoid reminding lay people of the weaknesses inherant in meta-analysis. As far as I'm concerned, the best science is Howe (1989), Melbye (1997) Denmark study and Melbye's premature birth study. If an amendment of Howe's data, say up to 2009 significantly tweaks the results found in 1989, I'm more than willing to put Melbye (1997) in first place for integrity of initial publication data. But Howe's data was decent, more importantly the interpretation of their results was conservative. (unlike Melbye and Beral) - RoyBoy 800 22:06, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
I went through Brind's criticism of Beral, and I was surprised they did not cite the 1998 retraction of Lindefors-Harris response bias findings. This in of itself, makes Beral suspect. - RoyBoy 800 22:48, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
Meta-analyses are only as good as the papers contained in them, but a good meta-analysis assesses the validity of each of the papers, as Beral's did. In fact, according to the principles of evidence-based medicine, a well-conducted meta-analysis is the strongest level of evidence upon which to base a conclusion. Beral's meta-analysis was methodologically sound. Dr Brind's criticism has to be taken with a grain of salt; he's misleading to imply a sinister bias because "only 5 authors are responsible for the article's conclusions". Lots of people undoubtedly contributed to the analysis, but typically only the senior authors are responsible for the wording of the interpretive conclusions. That doesn't mean it's not a "collaborative" project. The Lindfors-Harris retraction does not alter Beral's conclusion. Again, Brind is claiming there's a smoking gun where none exists. MastCell 23:07, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
There's no such thing as a perfect study. It will always be possible to find holes to poke in any study. If the goal is to find reasons to "suspect" any conclusion that the link doesn't exist, as Brind's goal is, then he will always find ammo. If the goal is to figure out the best way to advise people on an important health issue by integrating the available evidence, then I think the answer right now has to be clear. And I think you've done a good job of phrasing this in the article's conclusion. MastCell 23:07, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
This time I have to question the sinister angle. What Brind is pointing out is clear, they are responsible for it; their study does not represent the totality of research and researchers on the ABC issue. The label of "collaborative analysis" implies it did/does. Indeed Brind finds ammo; the problem is he finds quite a bit. Finding a smoking gun is an oxymoron when it comes to epidemiology, but not mentioning a retraction, in a key study, on the key objection (response bias) to a body of work indicating a correlation... has to be taken as more than a pinch of salt! It's either incompetence or dishonest; it should be obvious it's the latter since they "collaborated" with Lindefors-Harris et al... either way it's poor research.
As to the answer, no it does not have to be clear. That is a position of pro-choice health professionals; and I don't agree with the bioethical logic "don't worry the patient over something (likely to be) minor." I preferred the previous version of the scientific consensus being unconclusive. I dislike the current conclusion as I feel it repeats in NPOV terms the popularized view; I prefer a hint of doubt the evidence illicits. This subject is important, in a good faith attempt to be clear, we risk commiting the same sin as those health professionals, making women complacent. - RoyBoy 800 06:31, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

OK, a few things. First of all, "collaborative re-analysis" doesn't mean that the study monolithically represents The Voice Of Science. It just means, realistically, that the main authors collaborated with other specialists in the field. There's no implication beyond that.

More importantly, this issue of the "retraction" of the Lindefors-Harris data needs to be aired out. I've looked through the citations in question. A retraction of a scientific article is a very serious step taken by a journal when it is clear that the authors' paper was scientifically unsound or fraudulent. To have a paper retracted is a catastrophic and often career-ending occurrence. Retracted articles are removed from the PubMed database; obviously, the Lindefors-Harris study has not been. The way this Wikipedia article is written, it states explicitly that the Lindefors-Harris article was retracted. It was not. To state that it was is a serious factual error.

Here is what happened. In 1998, some of the co-authors of the Lindefors-Harris paper wrote an objectively phrased letter to the editor to address questions that Brind had raised about their study. Brind, in his lengthy and antagonistic response, lawyered their response into an "oblique admission" that their data could have been interpreted differently. I cannot stress enough that Brind's claim that the Lindefors-Harris data could be interpreted differently does not constitute a retraction. It constitutes another episode in Brind's several-decade-long quest to poke holes in these studies and then leverage these holes into enough doubt to cloud the issue. That doesn't mean Brind is wrong, or Lindefors-Harris is right. But it is vitally important to get these issues accurately represented. MastCell 08:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I can see how "findings" could be interpreted to mean retraction of their study, but I can assure you that was not the intent of the phrase. Your version is also entirely unacceptable. This isn't just a matter of interpretation, not including overreporting changes their result from 50% to 16%. That changes their initial conclusion significantly; also Brind wasn't the only one to point out overreporting is an illogical result to include regarding abortion. And in this instance Lindefors-Harris is simply wrong, regardless if whether Brind is antagonistic or not. - RoyBoy 800 14:38, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Let me step back for a minute. You do an excellent job of citing the peer-reviewed data on both sides of the issue. I respect your opinion about which studies are more valid than others, because you've clearly read exhaustively and thoughtfully on this topic. But I think this article's overall weakness is that it weights the scientific data according to your personal conclusions about its validity. Your conclusions are obviously founded on exhaustive review and deserve respect; nonetheless, within the context of Wikipedia, the data should be weighted according to the validity attached to it by the scientific community. This article gives the objections of Dr Brind equal (or greater) time and weight than the otherwise unanimous conclusions of a non-partisan NCI expert panel, because you believe Brind's objections are correct. They may be; certainly they deserve mention. I understand you think the Lindefors-Harris study is "wrong". It may be. But again, I think your obvious passion and dedication to this subject lead you to assign your interpretations of the data (however valid) an inordinate weight, which is appropriate for a blog, paper, etc but not for Wikipedia. MastCell 18:42, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I appreciate your well considered observations; and I thank you for seeing the care and effort I have put into this. As such I must stress, the NCI panel was (likely) partisan; more importantly they did not disagree (I'm not even sure if they looked at it) with Daling's/Brind's assessment of overreporting as being inappropriate to include in the conclusion, and finally Lindefors-Harris do acknowledge in the letter some may not have been legally recorded, this is hardly news, yet it took them around 7 years to acknowledge it. - RoyBoy 800 22:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
I assume you requested the peer-review to find ways to improve this article. I'll repeat what I said in my first comment - this article is an exhaustively researched and impressive accomplishment for which you deserve credit. If I were to make one suggestion, it's that POV is unintentionally creeping into the article. I know you agree with Brind's criticisms, and again, they need to be included. But this article gives Brind the last word on every negative study, making it sound like he has successfully debunked them. In fact, he was unable to persuade even a single other member of the NCI panel to sign onto his dissent. MastCell 18:42, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
In my defence I gave Rookus the last word on response bias, and I give Melbye (1997) the last word on missing earlier pregnancies and why positive results were left out of the abstract. :"p Certainly Brind does get the last word a bunch of times, but as I've stated previously on this issue... if there is a meaningful response by anyone, it would and should be included after Brind. So keep an eye out! - RoyBoy 800 22:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Undoubtedly some members of the NCI panel are pro-choice, others are pro-life, and others are conflicted. They are all (including Dr Brind) scientists who are dedicated to fighting breast cancer. They are all dependent on the NCI, funded by the pro-life Bush Administration. They were led by Andrew von Eschenbach, later Bush's choice to head the FDA. This is not part of the "abortion lobby". Scientists can disagree over data. Studies have flaws. This is not de facto evidence of bad faith, although Brind interprets it as such. I guess in the end, I think this is an interesting and important debate, but one that should not be fought on the pages of Wikipedia. This is a good article which could be improved by removing the POV which gives Brind's objections equal weight to a much more profound body of opinion which concludes there is no ABC link. MastCell 18:42, 20 August 2006 (UTC)
Scientists can disagree, but given the context of the workshop (a response to Bush changes), while the NCI isn't an abortion lobby... that doesn't mean it was stone cold objective on the function of the workshop. It should also be mentioned changes of Presidency and their appointees have a spectrum of influence on organizations; significant shifts and changes in policy get a response... like the workshop and news coverage. Brind is not given equal weight. If that were the case the conclusion and intro paragraphs would be significantly different. I can try to shorten his points, as to not give a mistaken impression; but I don't consider it a significant issue as Brind's points are typically presented as Brind making them alone. So I think this provides appropriate context for his criticisms... though thinking about it for few minutes, I can mitigate the problem switching things around a bit for Beral. Tell me what you think. - RoyBoy 800 22:32, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Report bias

  • However, some political foes of abortion refuse to concede that scientists have established "plausible evidence of report bias."

Certainly better than the previous version, however, this sentence infers there is plausible evidence of report bias. Where is it, the fact is it doesn't exist... keep in mind within the context of the sentence in the Malec article, she is referring to plausible evidence for those interview based studies. This is an important point, and will have implications for the conclusion and/or the introduction on how response bias is framed as validated (true) or hypothesized (likely) objection.

People who diligently go through the research end up at this point. ABC is likely a response bias correlation and move on with their lives. However, they allow their own wishful thinking fill in the evidence of establishing statistically significant response bias. - RoyBoy 800 20:54, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

Changed it to better reflect what is being said in the article. - RoyBoy 800 21:06, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I don't like the use of the word "unanimous". Just because no one else filed a dissenting opinion; does not make the conclusion unanimous. - RoyBoy 800 01:41, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Actually, if no one else filed a dissenting opinion, and the panel participants signed off on the conclusions (which they did), then it is, in fact, unanimous. If you don't care for the wording and would like to change it, that's totally fine. Still, at the risk of beating a dead horse, the paragraph attached undue weight to the opinion of 1 out of >100 people on the panel. MastCell 02:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
You're probably right, it (was?) undue weight, which you have helped balance... but I would hassen to add we did not get the opinions of those 100+ people. We indeed get the sign off, of 100+ people called in by pro-choice organizers and partially beholden to the NCI. - RoyBoy 800 02:45, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Tweaked conclusion to read "alleged" bias, as none of the interview based studies in question have been shown to have statistically significant response bias. - RoyBoy 800 04:53, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Accuracy in Media

I'm aware of their nature, but other advocacy groups are noted in the article such as Planned Parenthood and I don't see a need to overemphasize their reliability (or lack thereof) in quoting scientific literature. Don't get me wrong I like your edit, but I would add Accuracy in Media seems to be a reliable source on that matter. After all, why would a New York study be published by a British journal? - RoyBoy 800 02:39, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

These aren't quite equivalent situations... everyone knows that Planned Parenthood is pro-choice; I don't think AIM's bias is as widely known (I wasn't aware of it until I did some reading just now). I have absolutely no problem if you'd like to explicitly state that Planned Parenthood supports access to abortion; that may be preferable to avoid any confusion about their agenda. In general, as this is a scientific debate, we need to be EXTREMELY careful about using citations from partisan political groups with no scientific standing. One could include CatholicCitizens, AIM, and Planned Parenthood in this category. Finally, American studies are published in British journals all the time (Lancet, Brit J Hemat, etc), and European studies are published in American Journals (almost any issue of NEJM). This should not be taken as de facto evidence of a conspiracy. MastCell 02:51, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
You got me there. I hadn't realized AIM wasn't widely known, but I guess I thought it was fine since I had wikilinked them in the article to cover that contigency. - RoyBoy 800 02:56, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Not to beat a dead horse...

... but the Accuracy in Media article is repeatedly cited in the context of a reliable source. In fact, AIM is a partisan advocacy group with no scientific standing. In an article about a scientific debate, if we start quoting AIM (or CatholicCitizens), then as per WP:RS, it needs to be made clear that a) these are not scientific groups, b) these are advocacy articles and not peer-reviewed science, and c) these organizations have a pronounced political preconception with which they approach this issue. If the article is going to repeatedly imply bias on the part of the NCI, Melbye, Lindefors-Harris, Beral etc, then we need to be honest and clear about organizations that are biased beyond any shadow of a doubt. Until I just changed it, AIM's assertions were presented essentially as fact, and no indication of their partisan or ideological bias existed. MastCell 02:42, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Sure. - RoyBoy 800 02:50, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I understand you took out the Russo and Russo mention as OR or commentary by me, but in actual fact that was a quote from the letter. I am reinsert with quotes and the ref. (as someone previous took the quotes off for an unspecified reason) It's an important quote as it shows Russo and Russo are the key to the initial plausible hypothesis. - RoyBoy 800 02:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

No problem... In quotes and attributed it's fine. MastCell 02:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the contradiction point in Melbye should be tweaked. You're edit is decent... but on the flip side Melbye et al. believe (assert) there is a contradiction. And it would seem looking at the specifics they are mischaracterizing (oversimplifying) Brind's argument. - RoyBoy 800 03:31, 28 August 2006 (UTC)