Friday, June 18, 2010

FDA Says EllaOne is Safe, Effective, Met With Anti-Choice Backlash

Recently, breaking news concerning a new kind of emergency contraceptive has begun circulating through the mainstream (and not-so mainstream) news, feminist websites, and the blogosphere, There seems to be a flurry of information, support from feminists and reproductive health care providers, and, to be expected, outrage from the religious right and anti-choice constituencies.
First, let me start with the facts. EllaOne, which would be administered as 30 mg ulipristal acetate works in many of the same ways that Plan B already does, but ellaOne increases the window for effectiveness to 120 hours, rather than the 72-hour window Plan B provides. Today, the FDA declared the drug SAFE and EFFECTIVE. Sounds great, right? As a young woman with a limited income, I can see the immediate benefits of offering a drug that works for a full two days longer. Plan B is expensive, and it is a lot to ask a young woman (I say young woman only because men are barred from buying Plan B) to come up with the cost of the drug (approximately $70) on short notice. To be afforded two extra days could mean the difference between having to face an unwanted pregnancy or not. As an advocate for comprehensive sex education and easy and affordable access to contraception, I am overjoyed that the FDA has stood up to anti-choice rhetoric declared the drug safe. Unfortunately, we have quite a battle ahead of us. The Anti-Choice delegation has swarmed the media with their anti-woman propaganda, and unfortunately the media has eaten it up.
In its article, ( the Washington Post quotes Concerned Women for America’s Wendy Wright as saying, "With ulipristal, women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion drug, unaware of its medical risks, under the guise that it's a morning-after pill.” Instead of refuting this woman’s claim with the truth about the drug, or by explaining to the general public that Concerned Women for America is a Right-Wing fringe group which is actively engaged in horrific anti-choice work, including calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the author continues his story by quoting another anti-choice organization: "The difference between preventing life and destroying life is hugely significant to many women," said Jeanne Monahan, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity. "Women deserve to know that difference."
For the record, the Family Research Council's "research" argues, among other things that homosexuality is a choice (, that there is "research" to support "post-abortion syndrome" ( and that abstinance-only education has LOWERED teen birth rates (
In the above quotes, both Wright and Monahan give one of the most commonly used arguments against providing women with the tools they need and deserve to control their reproduction, and by extension, their sexuality. They express concern over women’s “choices” and knowledge, as if women need to be protected from making the “wrong” decision for themselves. By arguing against the use of the drug, organizations like CWA and the Family Research Council prop themselves up as protectors of women, while they are really just patronizing and infantilizing women as being incapable of making choices about their bodies and their lives.
At the end of the article (approximately ¾ of the way down) the author begins to include views from the majority, pro-choice crowd by quoting Amy Allina, program director at the National Women's Health Network. She then explains clearly that this drug is a contraceptive, and that those who argue against the use of Plan B or drugs like it are usually also against any form of birth control.
I am not sure if I am more incensed that people are still arguing against women being able to control their fertility, or the fact that the media keeps representing this view as legitimate and news-worthy. ran a similar story earlier in the week with another quote from Concerned Women for America and a myriad of anti-choice groups. Before we can move forward and have an honest discussion about reproductive rights and what new drugs and technology can do to improve the lives of women, we first need to demand that our news sources stop engaging radical fringe groups and presenting their views as valid in order to provide “balanced” coverage. We do not call up al-Qaeda, neo-Nazi, or white supremacist groups to get their side of the story before publishing, and it should be no different for misogynist or anti-woman groups.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Happened to Conventional Wisdom??

There are billsbeing introduced in state legislatures around the country that demean women who are faced with one of the toughest decisions-- whether to have an abortion due to circumstances that they have no control of. When browsing through the news and noticing the neo-conservative perspective and political opinion about abortion and reproductive rights I started to ponder upon the direction of what is considered conventional wisdom in our country. States such as Alabama are proposing rules that would impose their overly self-righteous religious law upon individuals who are already dealing with the burden of what they should do with an unwanted pregnancy. They want to force them to have a pre-ultrasound that might lead to second thoughts and guilt so they have to further think whether the decision they have to make is moral.

The question is how does this affect voters and citizens of our state of Connecticut? The fact is that with the growing influence of this group of individuals who are vocally opposed to reproductive rights in the state of Connecticut you have to wonder if conventional wisdom about issues of choice are starting to slip through the cracks of people's consciousness. We do not know how this can ultimatley affect how our elected officials are voted into office, but it can be detrimental if the ones who are not protecting choice are elected. As they love to preach of "don't tread on me", well start living that way and stop treading on your fellow citizen.