Sore Spots & G-Spots
Catholic bishops are threatening to close more than 600 church-run hospitals if the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) is reintroduced and passed. If enacted, FOCA would prohibit any Federal, State, or local governmental entity from denying or interfering with a woman's right to decide what is best for her. Catholic hospitals make up about 13 percent of the country’s hospitals, employ 600,000 people, and serve 1 out of 6 Americans annually. Although it is highly unlikely that any Catholic hospitals will actually close, it’s clear that the bishops of the Catholic Health Association, who oversee these hospitals, have no intention of complying with FOCA.
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (March 6, 2009)
In March the Georgia Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee bestowed personhood on embryos. Senate Bill 169, which passed the committee on a 7 to 6 vote, is called the “Ethical Treatment of Human Embryos Act”. It states that, “A living in vitro human embryo is a biological being who is not the property of any person or entity.” Proponents of the bill acknowledge that its real intent is to outlaw abortion but, if the bill is passed into law, it would have implications for many other areas as well, including stem cell research, fertility clinics, and the biomedical industry in Georgia.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (March 10, 2009)
Brazil’s Catholic Church recently excommunicated a 9-year-old girl and her family because she had an abortion to terminate a pregnancy caused when the girl was raped by her stepfather. The doctors who performed the procedure were also excommunicated. According to Archbishop Sobrinho, God’s law dictates that abortion is a sin much more serious than killing an adult, and transgressors are no longer welcome in the Roman Catholic Church. Clearly the life and well-being of this little girl didn’t rank high amongst the Church’s priorities.
Source: Associated Press (March 5, 2009)
President Obama has made it clear that science and the scientific process will guide his Administration’s decisions! Public health polices will, once again, be based on science rather than politics and ideology. In March, Obama announced that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will be responsible for guaranteeing scientific integrity throughout the executive branch. Already, Obama has lifted both the ban on Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups providing abortion services or counseling abroad. We are thrilled to finally have science back in the driver’s seat!
Source: Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies (March 9, 2009)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring Bayer to correct deceptive advertising practices for Yaz, the best-selling oral contraception pill in the U.S. Bayer is no stranger to reprimands for its advertising practices. In this latest incident, the FDA charged the company with overstating the drug’s ability to improve women’s moods and clear acne, while downplaying potential health risks. Under a settlement with the FDA and 27 states, Bayer agreed to spend at least $20 million on the corrective campaign and, for the next six years, will submit all Yaz ads for Federal screening before they are released.
Source: New York Times (February 11, 2009)
Two strong public health physicians are up for top spots at FDA. Dr. Margaret Hamburg, selected to lead the agency, is the former New York City Health Commissioner who took strong action to reduce the risks of HIV and TB while she was the city's top doctor in the 1990s. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, tapped to be Deputy Commissioner, petitioned the FDA to ban marketing of over-the-counter cough and cold drugs to young children; companies now warn against the use of these drugs in infants and toddlers.
Source: Associated Press (March 11, 2009)