Yesterday, I posted a diary about the Guardian‘s report that the US Dept of Health and Human Services was applying pressure to the World Health Organization to prevent it from moving two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, on to an “essential drugs list” that would constitute advice to governments about which drugs their country’s doctors should have on hand at all times. These two drugs, used in combination,induce abortion, much more safely than surgical abortion.
From the Guardian article.
While the availability of pills might make abortion easier and could increase the number choosing it, the experts want them listed to reduce the deaths and damage caused by surgery. Every year, 19 million women have unsafe abortions – 18.5 million of those take place in developing countries. An estimated 68,000 women die as a result of botched or unhygienic surgery, while many others suffer long-term damage, including sterility.
The WHO’s own department of reproductive health proposed the addition of the abortion pills to the list.
In a review of the drugs for the committee, a Brazilian professor of pharmacology, Lenita Wannmacher, wrote: “There is great concern about the effectiveness and safety of surgical methods that may be less effective and may increase the risk of infection, uterine perforation, cervical laceration, incomplete evacuation, haemorrhage, miscarriage, future sterility and even death.”
The risk of death from abortion in developing countries is 100 times higher than in countries such as the UK, where mifepristone has been licensed since 1991. The pills were licensed in the US in 2000.
If 68,000 women a year die because of unsafe abortions, that means 186 women will die today. If 500,000 women die in childbirth, that means 1370 of them will die today. While our government blocks access to reproductive knowledge, women die.
You’re damn right I’m angry. But my anger is not enough. This morning, I did some more research. First, I went to the WHO web site and confirmed that this year’s list has not been posted.
Then I looked up contact information for all involved.
I thought I’d start with the villains. Health and Human Services is run by Michael Leavitt. I had a wander around the HHS web site. DO YOU KNOW THAT ON THE HEALTH INFORMATION REFERRAL SHEETS, THERE IS NOT ONE WORD ABOUT ABORTION?????
So, American women going to find information cannot even access abortion information on an official government web site devoted to health? WTF?
If you’d like to drop a little letter or phone call, here’s the contact information:
Mailing Address and Telephone Number
Secretary Mike Leavitt
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775
Next, I went looking to see who in the Senate might be able to talk to the women-killers in HHS. Here’s the list of Senators who sit on the
COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED NINTH CONGRESS
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
* Senator Judd Gregg (NH)
* Senator Edward Kennedy (MA), Ranking Member
* Senator Bill Frist (TN)
* Senator Christopher Dodd (CT)
* Senator Lamar Alexander (TN)
* Senator Tom Harkin (IA)
* Senator Richard Burr (NC)
* Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD)
* Senator Johnny Isakson (GA)
* Senator James Jeffords (I) (VT)
* Senator Mike DeWine (OH)
* Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM)
* Senator John Ensign (NV)
* Senator Patty Murray (WA)
* Senator Orrin Hatch (UT)
* Senator Jack Reed (RI)
* Senator Jeff Sessions (AL)
* Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY)
* Senator Pat Roberts (KS)
Here is the information for how to contact the Director-General’s office of WHO:
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Telephone: +41 22 791 3215
Telephone: +41 22 791 3228
Telephone: +41 22 791 4367
So, what can you do? Please choose one of the senators from the list, ask them why we’re going to allow 168 women to die today. Write to Secretary Leavitt, ask him if “right-to-life” only applies to zygotes. Write to the directorship of WHO; ask them to ignore the United States and get the list out.
Please. I thank you.