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Posts Tagged ‘Prevention’

Abortion Pill

Almost 80 percent of all abortions take place in Third World, poverty stricken nations.  But as we know, those abortions, because of a lack of training and bad facilities, can be very dangerous.  According to the World Health Organization up to 70,000 women die each year from complications from these abortions.

Think about that – 70,000 women each year.

Think about that again.

But now there is some hope on the horizon.  There is now a pill called misoprostol that is cheap and safe that can be used to induce abortions or, as it is being called, “medical abortions.”  This pill was originally developed to prevent stomach ulcers.  But now, thousands and thousands of women are learning that it can be used to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

It is not a perfect solution.  It is about 80-85 percent effective.  But the pill is readily available across the world.  Indeed, the use of this pill overseas is exploding.  According to Marie Stopes International, nearly 70 percent of all abortions in Scotland are performed using misoprostol.  It is predicted that the use of this pill will spread rapidly.  Indeed, some women’s health groups are calling this a “revolution” in women’s health.

Let’s hope so….

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Grant

President Obama recently announced the start of a new $110 million campaign that will fund programs that teach teenagers about the risks of specific sexual activity and the benefits of contraception.  Just last month, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $75 million to 75 groups to try to reproduce some of the 28 programs deemed to have been “proven effective through rigorous evaluation.”   Then, DHHS awarded $35 million to 40 groups to test “innovative strategies” that appeared promising.

At the same time, however, in a political balancing act, the Administration also awarded twelve grants for about $9.3 million for abstinence-only programs!  What the heck?   For example, the Live the Life Ministries of

Health

Tallahassee received $891,533 for its abstinence program!   In Kansas, the “Women’s Clinic” received over $1 million and it is a crisis pregnancy center which tries to lure women in seeking abortions in the hopes of talking them out of their decision.

Of course, organizations that support abstinence only programs are disappointed that they did not receive more money.   Too bad, I say.

As for President Obama tossing some money to these groups, I say – again – “what the heck?”

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Abortion Supreme Court

Abortion Supreme Court

Do you believe that a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy?

Well, if you do then you need to find some time in the next week or so to take some simple, political action.

The question of whether or not abortion should be legal rests in the hands of the nine judges who sit on the United States Supreme Court.  As most of you know, it was the Supreme Court that made abortion legal in this country in the first place when they decided the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.  On a 7-2 vote, the court held that the constitutional right to privacy extended to the right to have an abortion.   Parenthetically, with that decision the pro-life movement was born.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has obviously changed as justices have retired or died.  And over those years, the Court has never had an occasion to specifically decide whether or not abortion should remain legal.   For the most part, the cases dealt with peripheral issues, like whether or not states could enact parental consent laws or 24 hour waiting periods.  Still, in some of those cases, a justice might add, almost as an aside, whether or not they supported the original Roe v. Wade decision.  Thus, we now know that at this moment in time, the Supreme Court favors legal abortion by a 6-3 vote (although some pro-choice advocates express concern about the Court’s swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy).

But now Justice John Paul Stevens, a clear pro-choice vote, is retiring and President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stevens.  It is generally assumed that Ms. Kagan is pro-choice, although some Presidents have been surprised in the past.  Still, the consensus is we need her on the court to retain the 6-3 vote.

The next step is for the U.S. Senate to confirm the nomination but the Republican Party, led by numerous pro-life activists, will pull out all the stops to hamper or even prevent her from being confirmed.  Should her nomination be stalled, President Obama may be forced to find a more moderate justice, perhaps one that has no record on abortion, and that could be disastrous.

So, it’s time for you to take action.

Write to your two Senators and ask them to support Elena Kagan.  If you do not know who your Senators are, go to the U.S. Senate website for that information.  Sit down and compose a very simple message urging your Senators to confirm President Obama’s nominee.  If your Senator happens to be pro-choice, urge him or her to support Kagan to help preserve the right to choose.  If your Senator is pro-life, don’t mention the abortion issue.

The worst thing pro-choice people can do is to get complacent.  Democracy is a participatory sport, it takes energy and we owe it to future generations to do what we can to preserve this precious constitutional right.

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Major breakthroughs in healthcare are few. It is rare that the paradigm shifts in such a manner that our whole way of thinking about how we should address a topic radically changes. It appears this will begin to happen much more frequently as scientific breakthroughs occur at an expanding and much more rapid pace.

The HPV Vaccine may be seen as a wonderous breakthrough in science as soon as a generation has past and recieved it purported benefits.

One such example of this phenomenon is the recent approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of a vaccine for the Human Papilloma Virus. Strong evidence suggests that this intervention may grow into something just short of a panacea for cervical cancer (we know the drug manufacturers hope so!). At the same time, medical history will likely look back at this occasion as the time that vaccines were introduced to protect us from things that we never even dreamed were possible.

In the beginning of my medical career, the thought of a vaccine for a cancer seemed preposterous. Now it is reality. Only time will tell. This concept of the self correcting nature and the non dogmatic objective review of pier reviewed literature will be reviewed in an upcoming article on Science – How and why it works. However, for now we are relegated to make informed desicions as best as we can on the evidence that we have. That body of work is very strong and becoming more reliable everyday.

For over four decades the scientific community and the clinical community of basic science community and the clinical community of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and ancillary health care professionals learned that women who had certain subtypes of HPV, were at much higher risk for bad changes in the cervical cells, and those bad changes occasionally led to the horrendous disease, cervical cancer.

In the beginning of the 1960’s we watched about 1/45 women over a lifetime DIE from this heinous illness. The introduction of aggressive cytology through pap smears with the microscope (colposcopically directed) biopsies of those sick cells led to an enormous decrease (almost 1/3, absolutely extraordinary) in the incidence of the precursor disease and the full blown out illness of cervical cancer.

HPV sadly became one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases. Before the onslaught of AIDS the barrier free sexuality of the 60s and 70s facilitated the transmition of hordes of STD’s which still continues today, in not quite the same tsunami of spread.

If you desire more detailed information on these items, please say so in your comments. This will help guide the tone and theme of the site. It belongs to all of us, to make us all healthier. We benefit from that glorious communion. We will learn together how detailed, how medical, how general, we want these items to be and we will try and reach common denominator that suits the majority. We will not be perfect (who is?) but we will strive to the best education and information possible.

Very soon depending on who you are, you must engage your health care provider with the discussion: it is appropriate for me? my daughter? my significant other, to receive the HPV vaccine. This will be a difficult question. Wow, extremely difficult. Just imagine! Some of our daughters will be 11. The thought of vaccinating an 11 year old against a sexually transmitted disease is intuitively abhorrent, however, the reality is, a generation from not we may come close to eradicating one of the primary gynecologic cancers in women – using a vaccine. A cancer that strikes and kills women in their prime, as opposed to the other illesses whcih tend to have a higher prevalance as the individual gets older. This is not to be taken as it is a better cancer, but I suspect we are saddenned greatly when more of a potential life is snuffed, a mother taken from her daughter when she needs her most. The potential to rid ourselves of this monstrosity, now that is astonishing, I recommend you do your reading and education, as this is a big one.

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