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Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
A major component of a much bally-hooed USA research trial in which healthy women were given hormonal treatment that was supposed to protect them from a range of diseases came to an abrupt halt in early July when data showed the medication to be harmful, not helpful.
In fact, the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) touted (on the basis of wishes more than science) as a "magic bullet" to prevent heart disease for millions of women actually seems to have caused it in previously healthy volunteers participating in the USA-based Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).
A counter-productive treatment
And adding to the "wounds" from this ricocheting bullet is evidence that HRT also appears to increase the risk of invasive breast cancer, stroke and blood clots in women taking it, pretty high prices for the possible relief of their menopausal symptoms, especially when there are other options for women.
Moreover, even some possible decreases in hip fractures and colorectal cancer among study participants hardly justifies the risks of HRT, since diet and exercise are low-tech very safe alternatives for protecting against these events.
A necessary intiative
Women’s groups can claim great credit for having gotten the WHI research going. And for a reminder, the WHI is a 15-year study of over 150,000 healthy postmenopausal women in the USA. It comprises several related studies all of which are testing ways — using drugs for the most part — to prevent heart disease, colorectal and breast cancer, and osteoporosis.
Women’s health advocates, concerned by the increasing medicalization of women’s lives and by physicians’ tendency to push pills for prevention of everything from hot flashes to memory lapses, without any evidence that these drugs were safe, pressured the US government to fund the WHI. They believed that federally-funded research would be the only way to get some information not tainted by pharmaceutical company interests.
Without the intervention of the US Women’s Health Network and others at the time, millions more would be getting prescriptions for HRT merely because of what has been called a triumph of marketing over science, since drug companies have been spending billions in ads to doctors, and to the general public (in the USA), lauding the wondrous effects of HRT.
Is good health curable ?
Now we know that HRT was, as many argued all along, no panacea. Not even a limited help. But beyond the direct and clear health message in the WHI study results — do not use estrogen/progestin to prevent chronic disease — we need to listen to what may be more basic lessons in this newest chapter in the biomedical colonization of women’s lives. Pills for healthy people can be dangerous !
And the advertisements and other marketing activities of pharmaceutical companies are serious, potentially lethal, risks to well-being.
The stock market is worried
Not surprisingly, the stock market responded to the study results even faster than did physicians. Within hours of the halting of the study, the shares of Wyeth, the company that makes the drug used in the study, a drug that generated over $2 billion in sales in 2001, fell 19%.
But similarly not surprising, the drug company execs and public relations people went right into rescue mode, arguing that other drugs would fill the corporate profit gaps. It was, after all, the combination of estrogen and progestin that rang alarm bells ; still under study was estrogen alone ! And probably other formulations, something that will give us protection from the gamut of ailments to which we are prey.
The siren song of industry
But before we run to the pharmacy, and certainly before we succumb to the siren song of industry and once again contribute to the escalation of drug costs, we need to take some time to consider the other messages implicit in the halting of this study. And the most important of these is that pill-popping makes millions for the drug companies but is dangerous medicine for the rest of us.
Women and their physicians are being terribly misled by marketing and advertising that sets us up as "at risk" and in need of intervention.
The medical community is further misled because of the control of pharmaceutical companies over the content of research, of medical journals, of continuing education programs, of professional conferences.
Their advertising and their marketing is to sell drugs, NOT to provide education. And if this was not the case, would they have spent over $16 billion (US) last year to influence us all to use their products ?
Time to turn from the lure of a drug fix
It is time to turn from the lure of a drug fix and from the lore of pills for prevention. We need to insist that NO drug be used with a healthy person until its safety and efficacy have been rigorously established by well-designed clinical trials. We need to insist that the precautionary principle be firmly enforced in our health and our environmental policies.
And we need to ensure that pharmaceutical companies to not set the health agenda but that community-based resources are made available to allow women — and men and children — to eat well, work in safe conditions, engage in exercise and other physical activities and experience enriching social lives. Doses of these are well-established ways to promote health and prevent disease !
Sisyphe, October 2003
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Abby Lippman, geneticist , McGill University in Montreal
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