My wife, Sally’s sister, Judith Kahrl, the founder of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights(GRR!!) had her July 29, 2018 letter published in the Portland Press Herald which reported that over 200 million women worldwide lack access to contraception.
These sisters’ father, Clarence Gamble, founded Pathfinder International in 1956, which ever since has been most effective in its efforts to reach women with contraceptives.
Sadly, in our own country, we should be ashamed to have to report that half US births are unintended! We clearly have much to do at home!
As Chairman and President of Ipas at its founding in 1971, I often find people unaware that worldwide, according to the Guttmacher Institute’s 9/27/17 news release, there are 56 million abortions every year. Of that number, 45 percent or 25 million are UNSAFE!!
On another aspect of the contraceptive scene, a longtime colleague, Dr. David Malcolm Potts, whose distinguished family planning career began when he was appointed the first Medical Director for the International Family Planning Federation in London, has raised $4 million to acquire rights to an established birth control pill by his nonprofit organization (NGO) Pelagius. This nonprofit seeks further funding to allow it to obtain FDA approval to market the pill WITHOUT prescription! After endless low dose usage for decades by women everywhere one would think that FDA approval should be automatic, but as we know politics and regulation are NOT automatic and always expensive.
What a boon it would be having the Pelagius birth control pill on the US market! NOT requiring a prescription, it would as part of a nonprofit doubtless be much cheaper than those pills now on prescription! If you are not a revanchist, think about an all too common situation. That of sexually active 14 year old young girls in Alabama who won’t afford $50 every month for a cycle of pills. Pelagius needs millions more contributions to get its FDA case together and is working hard to find other brave donors. What are you waiting for?!!!
In what is perhaps the greatest breakthrough since the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the birth control Pill in 1960, several years ago Dr. Potts, now a retired UC Berkeley professor and his wife Martha Campbell got 12 African countries to begin using the misoprostol (now off patent and very inexpensive) and now misoprostol and mifepristone in 2 packs are being sold all over the world — the greatest FP breakthrough since the Pill in 1960!
Misoprostol is now listed on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) as an essential drug! No wonder as it can stop postpartum bleeding and still assist people with ulcers, the purpose for which it got FDA approval originally. Miso as it is called, is now off patent and very cheap.
While the Potts’ initiative was key in Africa, the push on miso began well before my OP ED of January 11, 2011 entitled “Abortion Battle End Looms” which appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. You can read my piece here.
However, one gripping history of efforts to spread the use of chemical abortion using misoprostol and mifepristone is about the efforts of one brave woman which Emily Bazelon chronicled in her 8/24/14 NY Times Magazine article entitled “The Dawn of the Post Clinic abortion. It begins “Rebecca Gomperts is a Dutch doctor who pushes the limits of abortion law. In this excerpt from Diana Whitten’s documentary ‘Vessel,’ Gomperts creates a mobile clinic aboard a ship.” You can read this stirring saga here.
Finally, it is with deep regret that those of us who have worked for decades for a woman’s right to a safe abortion must acknowledge the sad continuing attacks on women by those in America who fail to respect the basic tenants of our US Constitution with respect to their right to make a private decision about whether or not to bear a child.