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Global Monitor


Contraceptive Watch: Johnson & Johnson Has Paid $68 Million to Date to Women Harmed by the Ortho Evra Patch

Bloomberg News reported on October 10 that Johnson & Johnson has spent at least $68.7 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits filed by women who suffered blood clots, heart attacks or strokes after using the company’s Ortho Evra birth-control patch. The company, which is the world’s largest maker of health-care products, used confidential settlements to avoid the glare of publicity that a trial would have brought.

Like other hormonal contraceptives, the patch caused deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots in the legs, and pulmonary embolisms, or blood clots in the lungs, and heart attacks and strokes. Twenty women have died as a result of using the patch.

As the complaints mount into the thousands, Johnson & Johnson continues to sell the Ortho Evra patch. The only action taken by the New Brunswick, New Jersey based company, has been to repeatedly strengthen the warning label in 2005, 2006 and 2008. And, of course, to pay off those who have been harmed by the drug.

The company’s current label warns that Ortho Evra exposes women to 60 percent more estrogen than the typical birth-control pill and that higher estrogen increases side effects. According to the revised label, studies show Ortho Evra can double the risk of serious blood clots compared with the pill.

Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, a Washington-based advocacy organization, petitioned the FDA in May of this year to ban the patch. PRI has joined this petition, which calls for the patch to be taken off the market within six months.

Planned Parenthood of America, on the other hand, continues to argue that the patch is safe and effective, and to offer it at more than 880 abortion clinics across the country.

Anyone who believes they have been harmed by this drug should contact Janet Abaray, an attorney in Toledo, Ohio. Abaray is leading litigation before U.S. District judge David Katz in Toledo, where 1,330 patch cases were consolidated.

See the Source: David Voreacos, “J&J Paid $68 Million to Settle Birth-Control Cases,” Bloomberg.com, 10 October 2008, http://www.bloomberg.com/app/news?pid=20601109&sid=amZT0X84_8zU&refer=exclusive

Pro-Life Opportunity at the U.N.

Pro-lifers around the world are being asked to make a difference at the United Nations.

The U.N. will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10. The international Planned Parenthood Foundation and U.K. based Marie Stopes international — both international abortion providers — are waging campaigns to influence the U.N. General Assembly.

Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM, wants the pro-life side of the debate to have a role. “[The cultural left] will be presenting petitions to the General Assembly on that day calling for a right to abortion … So we have launched a petition urging governments to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion.”

The Universal Declaration already speaks of a “right to life,” but U.N. committees, says C-FAM, interpret that language as a right to abortion.

Because of the pro-abortion leaning of U.N. bodies and non-government agencies that influence the organization, Ruse says it is import to send a strong pro-life message — and he urges people to do so through a petition on the C-FAM website.

“We expect to get 30 [thousand], 50 [thousand], 100,000 names that we will present to the General Assembly December 10 and completely blow the other side out of the water,” he says hopefully. At the very least, he adds, the petition must match what pro-abortion advocates will present to the United Nations that day.

See the Source: Charles Butts, “A U.N. opportunity for pro-lifers,” OneNewsNow, 8 October 2008, http://www.onenewsnow.com/Culture/Default.aspx?id=279038

New Blood Test May Increase Sex Selective Abortions

A new blood test could reveal the sex of the unborn child as early as seven weeks, igniting fears of designer babies and increased numbers of sex selective abortions, The test, which is under investigation at Stanford University, can also be used to identify conditions such as Down’s Syndrome and cystic fibrosis, The United States, which already has more abortions than any other developed nation, may see further increases in the abortion rate if this test is approved and widely marketed, Currently available tests used for sex determination are only effective 12 weeks into a pregnancy. “The pending arrival of this new test on the market makes it imperative to ban sex selective abortions now, before they become even more common,” says Steven Mosher. “The quest for a ‘perfect’ child will only lead to greater and greater numbers of children being sacrificed over time.”

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