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Bioethics, Conservative, Education, Health Care Policy, Junk Science, Law, LifeEthics, Media Abuse, Medicine, Philosophy, Politics, Pro-life, Public Policy

Statistics and “Peer Review”

Typical of the reportingMedline jpeg on the connection between abortion and breast cancer, a blogger at “RhealityCheck,” only reports half a sentence – the half that she likes.

I don’t know how long my comments will stay up, so here’s my part:

The author only quoted half a sentence. The article clearly states, “Induced abortion had no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer, but we found a statistically significant increase in risk among women with a history of second-trimester abortion.”


That 89% increased risk is significant to that “small number” of women who developed cancer. The 23% increased risk after ab at 15-18 weeks might seem significant for some.

The authors admit that they probably missed thousands of abortions because the registry wasn’t computerized before 1973, but they started counting cancer cases in 1968. That fact skews any “overall” conclusions.

And here’s the link to the article in question. Please note that even this research must adjust for the age at first pregnancy and for number of pregnancies.

My testimony begins at 1 hour, 12 minutes in on the video of the hearing. I actually focused on the protective effect of pregnancy, especially early pregnancy, according to the National Cancer Institute. This information is only given to women and girls who are already pregnant, after all.

Interestingly, we learned how little the Committee members understood about scientific research and resources. Follow the hours of testimony on HB 2945 and HB 2365 and Rep.Jessica Farrar’s obsession and apparent slow realization about the meaning and significance of “peer review” and “PubMed” and “Medline.“At one point, 1:26, Ms. Farrar, who admits that she “barely got through biology,” asks whether the research was “peer reviewed” by “the Medline or PubMed.”

As the day went on, it seems that Farrar was educated that peer review is conducted by the Journals themselves, and that PubMed and Medline are merely indexes of scientifc literature.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)



  1. Pingback: I’m quoted on Abortion and Breast Cancer Risk | WingRight - April 14, 2013

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