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Archive for December 1st, 2005

In the Winter 2005 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons comes a controversial article: Induced Abortion as an Independent Risk Factor for Breast Cancer: A Critical Review of Recent Studies Based on Prospective Data (pdf).

Here’s the abstract.

Although many case-control studies, based mostly on retrospective collection of data, have shown a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk after induced abortion, especially before the first full-term pregnancy (FTP), this risk is denied by the National Cancer Institute and many researchers. The conclusions of ten recent studies based on prospective data collection are cited to buttress this position. These studies are examined in detail, with a focus on methodologic aspects. Collectively, these studies are found to embody many serious weaknesses and flaws, including cohort effects, substantial misclassification errors due to missing information in databases, inadequate follow-up times, inadequately controlled effects of confounding variables, and frank violations of the scientific method. These recent studies therefore do not invalidate the large body of previously published studies that established induced abortion as a risk factor for breast cancer.

Breast cancer incidence is increasing, as predicted from earlier studies. Disclosure of the probable contribution of induced abortion to the increase in risk should be part of the informed consent process for abortion.

According to a WND article discussing this study:

The basic biology underlying the ABC link boils down to the fact that breast cancer is linked to reproductive hormones, particularly estrogen. At conception, a woman’s estrogen levels increase hundreds of times above normal 2,000 percent by the end of the first trimester. That hormone surge leads to the growth of “undifferentiated” cells in the breast as the body prepares to produce milk for the coming baby.

Undifferentiated cells are vulnerable to the effects of carcinogens, which can give rise to cancerous tumors later in life. In the final weeks of a full-term pregnancy, those cells are “terminally differentiated” through a still largely unknown process and are ready to produce milk. Differentiated cells are not as vulnerable to carcinogens.

However, should a pregnancy be terminated prior to cell differentiation, the woman is left with abnormally high numbers of undifferentiated cells, therefore increasing her risk of developing breast cancer.

Spontaneous abortions, or miscarriages, are not generally associated with increased risk, since they generally occur due to insufficient estrogen hormones to begin with.

Although this basic biological explanation remains undisputed, establishment cancer organizations and the medical community at large continue to deny or downplay the ABC link, using studies such as those criticized by Brind.

Abortion provider Planned Parenthood claims on its website that there is no ABC link, stating, “Attempts to prove [the cell differentiation] theory have failed.”

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Fatherhood is True Manhood

I’m going to say it bluntly and without equivocation: If one wants to become a real man, one will only do so through being married for life to one woman and by fathering with her a plurality of children.

Let us leave aside the little niceties of the only real exception which is our culture’s first defense against this axiom, namely that of the infertile couple. Let us also lay aside as a first defense the twaddle that the childless couple exists as a special class of missionary service to Christ. I am being blunt here. I am not attempting to massage feelings, for this is necessary surgery in our death-loving culture, and, well, feelings be damned.

All the objective elements one can bring to bear on the matter (natural, religious, cultural, historical, and so forth) lead to one and only one inescapable conclusion: humans are so ordered in their existence that marriage, procreation and childrearing are the norms to which all humanity must be ordered. No exceptions. All–all–humanity, married or not, procreative or not, must be ordered toward the establishment of the primacy of the marital, procreative, multi-generational household over all other sociocultural and national-political structures and institutions, for on this household all–all–these other extraneous institutions depend.

I offer no other proof for the previous two paragraphs than the obvious and empirical facts of history and biology, with the correlative emphases of nearly all major world religions. If one cannot see the truths of the previous two paragraphs in these lights, then one is morally and spiritually blind.

But it is a testament to the pervasity and perversity of moral and spiritual blindness in our culture that my statements will be experienced as a most brutal slap in the face. Not just among the secularist and secularized among those reading these words, but even more certainly, and sadly, among those who claim the name of Christ.

Think about it. When reading the “offensive” words, what was your first, primary and most immediate reaction? May I suggest it was to offer exceptions? Even the most generous among my readers, those who accept the fundamental truths expressed above, will likely have said, “Amenbut . . .” and gone on to think of infertile couples, couples who chose to not procreate for “missional” purposes, and so forth. That is to say, we think of the exceptions as part of the norm. But they are not. They are, in fact, exceptions. They are not normal. This is why the infertile couple experiences such pain at their plight. They intuit, indeed know, that infertility is abnormal. That is why the “missionally childless” couple starts first with texts like 1 Corinthians 7 and not with Genesis 1, or, more tellingly, with Luke 1.

And so, when I say that apart from marriage to one woman for life and the fathering of children a man cannot become a man in the fullest sense, I mean it. A voluntarily childless husband is a contradiction. For the telos, the end or purpose of a single man is marriage, and the telos, the end of being a husband is fatherhood. To stop the process of becoming a man at marriage leaves the male incomplete, not fully formed. There is more yet to become. The pronouncement of the good of creation did not stop with the creation of animalkind and humankind. The “very good” of humanity was not merely marriage. Rather, there was more contained in that “very good”; namely, fruitfulness and multiplication.

We need not be distracted by the rather senseless debate on whether the Lord’s “Be fruitful and multiply” is a blessing or a command. Such false dichotomies, thankfully, are put to rest in the reality God himself shapes and forms. If it is a command, it is simultaneously a blessing. If it is a blessing, then there is an obligation to be shaped by it, for no one can safely resist that which God himself wants to give. If we are commanded to honor our father and mother, then we are also blessed in the doing of it. And it is no small detail to note that the first command with a blessing is also the one so intimately and inextricably linked with the blessing-command to be fruitful and multiply.

But the greatest proof that only in fatherhood is a male made complete is that we do not have merely a God in heaven. We have a Father. God is not analogous to us fathers, we are analagous to him. The reality of God’s fatherhood is not dimly reflected in us human fathers, but rather the dim reality of us human fathers shines fully in the face of Him whom the Spirit gives it us to call “Father.” If fatherhood were not essential, indeed, absolutely essential, to true manhood, then we could dispense with calling God “Father.” Or, rather, that is backward. If Jesus had not come to reveal God to us, and to reveal him as Father, then fatherhood would be not only absolutely nonessential to manhood, it would be meaningless. For man was created in the image of God. And Jesus, in perfecting and fully realizing that image of God in man, is united as Second Person of the Trinity with Him Who is the Father of all. Jesus’ humanity, in union with his divinity, itself also is one with the Father, and in that union, realizes fatherhood for us men in a way that transcends us. We will never be united to God in nature as Christ is, but we will be united to his Fatherhood in Christ, and for us men, our own fatherhood will thus be purified and perfected.

So fatherhood is not just essential to manhood, it is essential to all of mankind. All humankind, even and especially mothers, find their fulfillment and completion in the Fatherhood of God. For the image of God in whom humankind was fashioned, is fundamentally that of Father. The loss of fatherhood anywhere degenerates and diminshes all human beings, mothers especially, everywhere. The loss of God as Father is heresy, from which flows surrogates of salvation that are sterile and ultimately damning. And the loss of human fatherhood eliminates that metaphorical and metaphysical connection to the only God who can save.

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