The article below is from the June 2004 edition of Vine and Branches, the monthly e-newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries.
THE BREAST CANCER/ABORTION CONNECTION -- A Personal Story
By Jeanette Joyce
I am blessed each day by my retreat experience with Rachel’s Vineyard. It was through the retreat that I was finally given permission to speak about my abortion. After 27 years, the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat allowed me to open up to my husband and two teenage girls about my past. It was a time of pain but I have seen the growth it has allowed each of us. Through Jesus Christ, our trials lead to personal growth. And as my pastor advised... Christ is only
able to work in the light. It is Satan who works in the darkness. The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat revealed the healing light of Christ.
If any of you have heard of the new video, The Connection Between Abortion and Breast Cancer, I am one of the women who speaks in that video. I am a mammography technician and medical educator by profession. Five years ago, I found
my own breast cancer on my films. At such a difficult time, I was forced to do some self-examination. My experience on a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat allowed me the freedom to go public and speak about this important issue to other women, so I share my story about abortion and breast cancer:
At the age of 18, I became pregnant. Since my boyfriend was against marriage and children at that time, it seemed that my only choice was an abortion. Abortion had just become legalized and the area phone book only listed a few
locations. At the time, I was away at school and did not want to involve my family in the matter. I decided to put the incident behind me and swore to myself that I would never think about it again because even then I found it morally
unacceptable but did find myself feeding into the whole "women's rights over her own body" rhetoric and decided there was no other option.
For years I pushed the thoughts away by turning to drugs, alcohol and other risky behaviors. I married a wonderful man who was aware of my past yet had none of the details. I was educated in Radiology and turned all my attention to learning mammography about 12 years ago. I began a continuing education business with the intent of educating other mammography techs. As I started my research into breast disease, I came upon the work of Dr. Joel Brind and Dr.
Angela Lanfranchi who supported the theory that abortion was linked with the incidence of breast cancer. I feared learning too much about this because I realized that if it was a legitimate risk factor, I was at an increased risk.
Six years ago, at the age of 42, I discovered my own breast cancer on my routine screening mammogram. I had no family history of the disease and had no clinical abnormalities such as a palpable lump. I felt of mixture of shock, disbelief, and anger. The surgeon left me no choice for treatment and recommended a modified radical mastectomy due to the extent of the disease. My mammogram from 18 months prior was normal -- I realized I must face the fact of the abortion and investigate the doctors' findings more thoroughly on the ABC link.
This proved to be a difficult time emotionally. After treatment for the breast cancer, my spirit was uneasy and longed for healing. A good friend from church, unaware of my abortion, introduced me to Rachel's Vineyard. She invited
me to help with the retreats and requested that I first attend one in order to learn more about them. Little did she realize that I would be attending as a participant and not just an observer.
The retreat gave me the first opportunity to openly talk about my abortion after 27 years. All the things I had been able to suppress were allowed to surface in an environment of safety and genuine concern. With every woman on the retreat, I was able to connect with the common threads, which we all had in common. We laughed, cried, wept, and even sobbed at times. We put our arms around one another. We developed an intense relationship with those who were only strangers to us the day the retreat began. We supported one another and
realized we were not suffering alone. We understood that we made poor choices and finally accepted the responsibility. Instead of years of beating ourselves up privately, we exposed the truth and dealt with our disappointments and
Feeling empowered after the retreat, I dived head first into the literature on the abortion/breast cancer theory. I emailed Dr. Brind asking for more information. I offered him my help in pursuing his calling to expose the truth about the harm abortion causes to women. I introduced myself to Karen Malec, president of the Coalition on Abortion and Breast Cancer. I was offered a board position and accepted. My medical background complimented the other board members. Next I accepted a board position on the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute. It was shortly following this that a phone call came my way with information on a plan to produce a video about the ABC link. For some time, I was so strengthened and confident that the Lord had a plan to use me but I couldn't understand how He would achieve His goal. With prayerful thought, I offered myself to God so His will could be fulfilled.
I flew from Chicago to Newark for the filming. Two other post-abortive women who were also diagnosed with breast cancer also participated in the filming. We were so blessed! Every piece of the puzzle fell perfectly into position. Our God is so faithful. There were no rehearsals. The video camera was turned on and the Holy Spirit gave us the words to complete such a gigantic task.
Our gracious Lord is able to turn even the garbage in our lives into good for the glory of His name. When we stand behind the Lord and submit to His will, miracles begin to happen. I thank God for Rachel Vineyard's Retreats and I
pray that God will extend this ministry to all corners of the globe. I thank the Lord for Theresa Burke and her answer to His calling. I thank all the volunteers who step forward to offer care to the retreat participants. And I thank God for allowing me expose the truth and shine like a light into this dark world of ours. These days, I am breast-free and loving it. My focus these days are on the finish line and the opportunities that the Lord will provide to me.
Jeanette Joyce can be reached at Jrjoyce1000@aol.com
The Abortion Breast Cancer Link video runs 26 minutes and is now available from the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute website here or by calling the toll-free phone number: 1-866-622-6237 (1-86-NO CANCER.
This video is an excellent source of information! It is professionally done and easy to understand. It includes the medical explanations by experts Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, M.D., FACS, a breast surgeon, and Dr. Joel Brind, Ph.D., a
professor of human biology and endocrinology. The video is hosted by Brita Stream, Miss Oregon 2002. We highly recommend this video to everyone concerned about women’s health.