Tackle abortion misinformation

This week, Qld MP Freya Ostapovitch told parliament that having an abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.[1]

It's misinformation that has been debunked by the World Health Organisation, American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute in the United States – who “concluded that having an abortion or miscarriage does not increase a woman’s subsequent risk of developing breast cancer.”[2] But it's currently making headlines across the country, as if fact.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy can be a complex and difficult one – and it shouldn't be informed by this kind of misinformation. 

Can you join the call for Ms Ostapovitch to retract her comment, and correct the record on this matter?

Find out more

Ms Ostapovitch’s comments were made during a speech to parliament about breast cancer prevention and awareness – a focus we commend. But her comments about the link between abortion and breast cancer are incorrect.

Since her comments, experts have said:

"In the 1980s and early 1990s, some studies suggested there was a link between abortion and breast cancer. Since the mid-1990s, these studies have been refuted due to their unreliable and inaccurate data reporting. Several large, well-designed and reputable studies have provided evidence that abortion does not increase the risk of breast cancer…There is no evidence, nationally or internationally, that supports an association between abortion and breast cancer." - National Breast Cancer Foundation (via Mamamia)

“This idea that there could be a link between abortions and increased cancer risk has been around for decades, I believe since the late 50s. It’s been studied really extensively, agencies around the world have had very detailed looks at available data and none have found any evidence to suggest there’s a link." - Dr Alex Swarbrick, Garvan Institute (via Mamamia)

You can also find out more about the debunking via Children By Choice.


[1] ‘Abortion raises breast cancer risk: Qld MP’, The Australian, 4 June 2014 

[2] ‘Abortion, Miscarriage, and Breast Cancer Risk’, National Cancer Institute; ‘Is Abortion linked to Breast Cancer?’, American Cancer Society; ‘Fact sheet 240’, World Health Organization, June 2000 (hosted on Australian Women’s Health Network).


To Freya Ostapovitch MP,

We urge you to retract your statement regarding the link between abortion and breast cancer, and correct the record on this important issue.


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Nadia , 4007  /  signed 2014-06-12 12:49:33 +1000
Virginia , 2022  /  signed 2014-06-11 15:25:30 +1000
"It’s very distressing that such a dreadful connection be made. It’s not accurate and it will cause even more distress to women making health and life choices. Please reconsider your positions Freya. Thank you for your time."
, 4879  /  signed 2014-06-10 17:03:27 +1000
"An MP speaking on issue’s such as abortion should get their facts straight before talking about it in a public forum. As a public figure it is irresponsible to spread rumors that could influence the community."
Alexandra , 3000  /  signed 2014-06-07 16:51:05 +1000
"There simply is no link between abortion and breast cancer. This misinformation has been actively pushed by groups opposed to abortion to sow confusion and fear. If you oppose abortion that is your personal view, but there is no need to distort the facts and restrict women’s access to the health care they want and need. "
Sophie , Canberra  /  signed 2014-06-07 14:57:25 +1000
Rita , 3035  /  signed 2014-06-06 11:48:13 +1000
"Misinformation about heath, particularly women’s health, contributes to a cultured that women deserve less rights and respect.

We deserve rights and accurate information from our ministers.

You are not a doctor – why are you making sure awful claims?"
Jo , 3188  /  signed 2014-06-06 06:24:50 +1000
"Women have the right to accurate scientific information for personal decisions. Members of Parliament are obligated to base policy on facts not their personal opinions."
Kate , 2040  /  signed 2014-06-05 14:24:39 +1000
Jane , 2064  /  signed 2014-06-05 14:23:52 +1000
"Regardless of your personal views on a woman’s right to access legal, safe abortion, mis-information – whether deliberate or accidental – should never be used to manipulate the debate. Now that you know your information was incorrect, the only honourable thing to do is retract it and apologise. "
Renee , 3057  /  signed 2014-06-05 14:07:44 +1000
"I commend your focus on raising breast cancer awareness, and urge you to correct the record on this matter to make sure people are able to make informed decisions about their lives and bodies."