Double Dose: Edwards Proposes Moratorium on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising; Griswold v. Connecticut Attorney Dies; Cosmetics and Consequences; and the Cost of Having a Baby

By Christine Cupaiuolo — October 29, 2007

Preventing Salesmanship from Trumping Facts: “Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said Sunday that prescription drug companies should wait two years to begin advertising their new products to consumers,” reports the AP.

“I think two years makes sense. I think it gives enough time for a drug not just to have been tested in clinical trials but to be out among the public, to see what kind of adverse reactions there have been,” he told reporters afterward.

Edwards’ plan also includes increased penalties for companies that violate truth-in-advertising laws and would require companies to disclose more information about a drug’s side effects and effectiveness compared to placebos and less expensive alternative drugs.

How Much Does it Cost to Have a Baby?: According to the latest numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which falls under the Department of Health and Human Services, the cost of having a baby, from the first prenatal visit to delivery, averaged roughly $7,600 for an uncomplicated birth. (This calculation did not include the Bugaboo Cameleon stroller.)

All joking aside, as this article at AlterNet points out, “Despite the relative health of women in the United States, many women are not getting the uncomplicated births they might expect.”

Manda Aufochs Gillespie and Mariya Strauss take a close look at “Listening to Mothers,” the landmark report by Childbirth Connection that looks at women’s attitudes, beliefs, preferences and knowledge from the time before the pregnancy through the postpartum period.

The majority of women ended up attached to IVs, catheters and fetal monitors. They had their membranes artificially ruptured and were given epidurals. Most of these women had little understanding of the side effects of these interventions, including cesarean and medical inductions. The report also shows that though women understood that they had the right to refuse medical interventions, few did, and many received interventions, such as episiotomies, without their consent.

Just as troubling is what is not being done. A “very tiny minority” of women received all of the care practices that promote natural birth.

Griswold v. Connecticut Attorney Dies: “Catherine Roraback, a lawyer who pressed the Connecticut case that eventually led the United States Supreme Court to rule that laws banning the use of contraceptives were unconstitutional, a precursor to its Roe v. Wade decision on abortions, died on Wednesday in Salisbury, Conn. She was 87,” reports The New York Times.

Also see this remembrance of Roraback by columnist Bill Curry, a former counselor to President Clinton.

What’s Your Comfort Level?: Right-wing favorite Sen. Sam Brownback, who dropped out of the presidential race this month due to low polling and poor fundraising, declared that he is “much more comfortable” with Rudy Giuliani’s position on abortion after the two met face-to-face last week. Which makes many of us much less comfortable.

“Justices are key,” said Brownback. “He’s stated publicly many times about his support for strict constructionists like, I believe he said Roberts. John Roberts is a personal friend.”

Cosmetics and Consequences: Heather Gehlert of AlterNet interviews Stacy Malkin, author of “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry,” about the toxic chemicals in everyday beauty products.

When Sex and National Politics Collide … Well, you know it can’t be good for women or women’s health. Gloria Feldt writes about the appointment of Susan Orr — the birth control opponent in charge of administering Title X, the family planning program for low-income women.

With Facts on Our Side: Following the release of the study conducted by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute that found the number of abortions is relatively unaffected by whether abortion legal, and that access to contraceptives is the best way to reduce abortion rates, Katha Pollitt interviewed antichoice leaders about the findings. The responses, while not completely surprising, are noteworthy for their stubborn refusal to work with facts instead of theology.

Plus: Ann Friedman interviews Pollitt for The Guardian about responses to Pollitt’s new book of personal essays, “Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories.”

Girls Just Want to Have Fun: Sorry, couldn’t resist. The Feminist Press of the City University of New York sure knows how to throw a party … The 37th Anniversary Gala, honoring Cyndi Lauper and Eve Ensler, will take place Nov. 5 at Tavern on the Green. The event features a number of outstanding award recipients.

One response to “Double Dose: Edwards Proposes Moratorium on Direct-to-Consumer Advertising; Griswold v. Connecticut Attorney Dies; Cosmetics and Consequences; and the Cost of Having a Baby”

  1. Regarding “With Facts on Our Side”: I was shocked to learn that even Democrats for Life of America refuses to actively support government-funded contraception.
    (How this particular government is still able to “shock” me, I’ll never know).

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