Friday, February 27, 2015

Planned Parenthood and Cecile Richards come full circle on OTC birth control

During the last election, Planned Parenthood and a number of their favored candidates attempted to scare voters by acting like certain prolife candidates were opposed to birth control.  Some of those prolife candidates (most notably current U.S. Senators Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis) responded to these claims by announcing that they were in favor of birth control pills being available over-the-counter (OTC).  It's tough to claim someone wants to ban birth control when they want to allow it to be should sold OTC. 

In an attempt to not get outflanked, Planned Parenthood re-attacked these candidates by claiming making birth controls pills available OTC was designed to raise the price of the pills now that Obamacare required employers to fund contraceptive coverage.  According to Politico, they spent $500,000 in North Carolina and $400,000 in Colorado on television ads. They also spent money on radio ads as well.  

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards also penned an editorial claiming the Republican candidates' plan of making birth controls available OTC would “push women back to the 1950s.”

Richards made this absurd claim after previously claiming the FDA ruling which made emergency contraception (EC) available OTC was “wonderful news” since "women all over the country will soon be able to walk into a pharmacy and pick up emergency contraception off the shelves, as soon as they need it -- no barriers, no shame." 

Be sure to note the complete lack of need that EC be paid for by insurance back in the dark ages of 2013. 

Both the Planned Parenthood ads and the Richards' piece seem to assume a number of factors:

1.) that birth control pills couldn't be available both OTC and by prescription

2.)  that women would be apparently unable to choose for themselves between whether they want to pay for birth control OTC if it wasn't covered vs. having to go to annual appointment and get a prescription

3.) that the required inclusion of birth control coverage doesn't raise the price of insurance plans

4.) that all the Republicans they attacked were opposed to insurance reimbursing women for birth control if it was purchased OTC.
Now Planned Parenthood has come full circle according to this article in the Huffington Post.  They now are completely in favor of making birth control available OTC as long as it is covered by insurance (even though Richards doesn't even mention that in her statement).

The idea of making birth control available over the counter has been around for a long time and is supported by reproductive health organizations like Planned Parenthood......

Planned Parenthood Action Fund president Cecile Richards said she would applaud making the pill available over the counter.

"We strongly support making birth control available over the counter, as part of our nearly 100-year history of expanding access to birth control," Richards said. "Every woman in America should have access to the birth control method that's best for her, without barriers based on cost, availability, stigma, or any other hurdle."

It's clear that the hundreds of thousands of dollars Planned Parenthood spent attacking prolife candidates over their position in favor of making birth control available OTC was a cynical ploy done solely to help elect pro-choice politicians.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New York Times article on John Willke’s death intentionally misleads readers

The New York Times article by Kenneth Rose on the death of John Willke, one of the founders of the prolife movement in America, beings with this paragraph:

Dr. John C. Willke, an obstetrician who helped establish the modern anti-abortion movement — and whose idea that rape victims could resist conception was widely challenged — died on Friday at his home in Cincinnati. He was 89.

The claim that Willke believed "rape victims could resist conception" is a focal point of the article.  Later Rosen writes:

In 1971, the couple wrote “Handbook on Abortion,” which sold an estimated 1.5 million copies and became a touchstone for the anti-abortion movement. The book asserted that pregnancies from rape could be avoided “for all practical purposes.” They later expanded on that notion after a report in The New England Journal of Medicine suggested that rape victims typically experience a level of shock that prevents their bodies from functioning normally.

Your average reader would seemingly come away from that paragraph believing John Willke believed that the bodies of women could "for all practical purposes" prevent pregnancy after rape because of shock. But what's the context of the “for all practical purposes” remark?  

Rosen appears to have gotten that information (also note the repeated use of the term “touchstone”) from an AP article from 2012.  That article notes: 

The book became an instant touchstone for the anti-abortion movement, selling 1.5 million copies at the height of the sexual revolution.

The authors asserted that a douche, vaginal scraping and medications administered quickly after a rape "invariably" prevents pregnancy. "If the rape victim would report her assault properly, there would be, for all practical purposes, no pregnancies from rape," the couple wrote.    

It's clear that the “for all practical purposes” remark has absolutely nothing to do with the woman’s body preventing pregnancy because of shock but rather methods taken by physicians or the woman to prevent fertilization. 

Rosen knows this yet intentionally leads readers to believe otherwise.  When I tweeted to him asking why there is no context to these remarks, I did not receive a reply. 

While the New York Times may not agree with Dr. Willke's work in the prolife movement, they should have the decency to not intentionally misrepresent him in an article about his life and death.