Wednesday 1 May 2013

Way of the Future: Medical Abortion, Private, Safe, Cheap

This TIME writer has the right idea (my bold).
As both pro-choice and pro-life forces attempt to put Kermit Gosnell to use to argue the moral rectitude of their position, and the jury in his trial continues to deliberate, there is a danger that we will lose sight of what Kermit Gosnell really is — an anachronism.
. . .
Gosnell was a stop of last resort for woman late in their pregnancies. They sought an abortion past the point of fetal viability — a choice illegal in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. For these women, Gosnell and his ilk are their only option.

But regardless of the outcome of Gosnell’s trial, the need for late trimester abortion is going to disappear. Even surgical abortion will be a thing of the past, as the abortion clinic slowly gives way to pharmaceutical abortion.
I'm not so sanguine that the need for surgical abortion will disappear altogether, but he certainly has an excellent point.

Medical abortion, as we've noted here before, is safe, effective, and much cheaper than surgical abortion. It offers women who want to get the deed over with a quick and private solution.

Which is why the fetus fetishists hate hate hate medical abortion.

What? Give women control over their own reproductive lives?

What? Allow any doctor to prescribe and oversee the process, not just at clinics targetted for harassment?

What? Provide a cheaper alternative to a procedure intended to financially punish wayward women?

Just today, another idiotic law was passed in the Excited States.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, signed on Wednesday a pro-life bill into law that targets abortion drugs by tightening the regulations governing their distribution, and requiring clinics with such practices to meet the same standards as facilities that perform surgeries.
Because that makes so much sense.

While TIME marches backwards in the US, as we reported earlier, Australia is moving ahead to make medical abortion more available and cheaper.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, made up of medical experts and health economists, recommended listing mifepristone and misoprostol - the two drugs known together as RU486 - for termination of a pregnancy of up to 49 days' gestation.
The committee found the effectiveness of the drugs was similar to that of surgical termination, but was less costly.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek welcomed the committee's recommendation, noting the drug was on the World Health Organisation's list of essential medicines and had been used successfully by tens of millions of women around the world.

She said the committee's recommendation was only a ''first step'' in listing the drug, but added she expected it to be listed ''sooner rather than later''.

''I would expect this process to take a few weeks. I would expect that a decision would be made before the election,'' she said.

Ms Plibersek said her department would need to ensure there was a steady and good quality supply of the drug and reach agreement on price before the government decided whether to list it.

If it was listed on the PBS [Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee], women would pay $36.10 for each of the two pills, while those with concessions would pay only $5.90 per pill. Currently, the drugs cost between $250 and $350, while surgical abortion generally costs between $300 and $500.
Women 'with concessions' -- presumably on some sort of benefits -- would pay about $12.

Which does make total sense, given that Australia also has universal healthcare.

It is in the state's interest to keep costs down, as well as to accommodate the wishes of its people.

So, why the hell is RU486 not approved yet in Canada?
The most common form of medical abortion is called RU-486 (or Mifepristone). . . .To date, RU-486 has not been approved for use in Canada.
. . .
The only form of medical abortion that is available in Canada is a conjunction of methotrexate and misoprostol. Methotrexate is usually given by injection. Misoprostol tablets are placed in the vagina five to seven days after the methotrexate injection is given. It causes the muscles of the uterus to contract, pushing out the contents. In most cases the uterus will be emptied within 24 hours but in about 35 percent of cases, it can take several days or weeks. Pain medication can be used to ease the pain of the cramps, which occur when the pregnancy tissue comes out of the uterus.
RU486 is a better alternative.

So? Canada? Why the hell not approve it?

More evidence of that hidden agenda Harper doesn't have?


Alison said...

Bumper sticker :

R U able to buy RU486 in Canada? - Why not, Canada?

Sixth Estate said...

"Why the hell not approve it?"

Are you looking for SPECIFIC Bible versus, or just a general explanation?

I can provide both.

Of course, this was probably a rhetorical question. :-)

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Meanwhile, under our Democratic Savior, Saint Obama...

Anonymous said...

There's NO reason why RU486 isn't yet in Canada. None. Whatsoever. I suspect most women don't know this either: most probably expect the drug to be available in this country. It's not. And that's unacceptable.

Women need to raise awareness about this, start lobbying. Start writing letters to their MPs, demanding that their health be taken seriously.

JeninCanada said...

It's worth it to note that medical abortion isn't even an option in a lot of places, nevermind having the best of that option. Ugh. For me it was surgery or an 8 hour bus trip to where I could obtain the medicine then hang around down in Toronto for however long it took (which obviously wasn't an option in the middle of a semester of school and a small kid at home).

Scotian said...

A hidden agenda?!? Say it ain't so Janet, after all we've been told about how that is nothing but lies from Harper haters (despite all the actual evidence to the contrary of course, but that's that nasty reality thing getting in the way) how could you ever suggest such a thing! Why would any government that claims to be financially responsible would prevent the use of a significantly cheaper approach to a legal medical procedure, not to mention that it appears this procedure is less invasive, less damaging/harmful to the patient, it goes beyond reason and good/common sense. Oh wait, could it be ideological in nature? That instead of doing the right thing as stewards of our economic health for our fully State run medical system, instead of being responsible stewards of the health of our citizenry that this PM and government places its ideological beliefs ahead of all that? This in the nation whose motto ends with "good government"? How could you ever think such a thing?!?

Obviously the preceding was meant in a very sardonic manner, because as we all know this is the most ideological, anti-Canadian government in our history. This is a government that refuses to accept the validity of Canadian citizenship of any that does not support them across the board. This is a government that does not see opponents who disagree but are still honourable and respectable citizens but traitorous enemies to be condemned and destroyed without pity, compassion, or mercy. So it seems obvious to me that this drug has not been brought in despite its obvious advantages both medically and financially because we have a government that places its own narrow hyper-partisan ideology ahead of anything remotely resembling responsible (let alone actual good) government. But you know, as we were all confidently told by Layton and the Dippers that there was no difference between Harper and his CPC and the Liberals, well somehow I rather doubt this would be quite the same problem if Harper had never been allowed to come to power, there might have been some possible resistance from within some in the Lib caucus but I strongly suspect based on its prior actions that it would have ended up happening in the end, and if nothing else even when there was disagreement/dissent on such things with the Libs they actually debated it openly instead of what we have been experiencing under the Stalin fan Harper.

Sorry fern hill, I am just so tired of watching this idiocy happen despite all the warning there was of it before Harper ever set foot in the PMO, and I find it hard to listen to those voices that now suddenly seem to recognize just how bad things truly are with Harper beyond any prior government. Not that I am meaning you and yours here though, it is just a more general fatigue. I've never liked the idea of any political party so shaped/driven by an ideology being in charge, which was why I was a swing voter, and also why more recently I've found myself drawn to the Liberals, not because they are exactly what I want/agree with but because of all the parties left out there they do tend to be the most flexible (or as some call it wishy-washy or others call immoral/corrupt because they have no principles in their view). Me, I prefer something that tends towards sensible financial responsibility combined with strong social justice/equality values that recognizes that no extreme is healthy regardless of what it is for, that while absolutes may be nice ideals to strive for that the reality will always be that one cannot get there, all that one can do is try to get as close as reasonably possible for us flawed and fallible human beings.

To be concluded...

Scotian said...


I never expect any government to be corruption free for example (because it is an inevitable byproduct of the concentration of power, human nature is what it is, so instead of demanding the impossible I prefer to demand the doable that keeps it in check instead of being always disappointed when my impossibility never happens, especially when it is my preferred side caught failing that impossible standard), but if it was kept reasonable and limited and provided responsible/good government overall I was able to accept it, even when it was from a party/leader I personally didn't choose/agree with. With Harper and his ilk though something very different and much uglier entered the scene, and the inability of so many to see just how bad he truly was for Canada, for anything remotely resembling what I believe to be broadly accepted Canadian values regardless of political spectrum sitting by the majority of Canadians until this late date (and still some Dippers think the Libs and the Harper CPC are essentially the same, that is as disconnected from reality as anything I see from Harper and company) has let me far more discouraged than I have ever been before.

This latest example of how Harper governs only for his own and not for the citizenry only further underscores why *ANY* party more concerned with ideology (whatever its form) should be kept out of the PMO of this country IMHO, because it will unfortunately see those that are not fellow travellers not as honourable opponents and citizens who simply disagree but those enemies/traitors that must be destroyed because they betray those ideological beliefs. It is almost a certainty that ideology is why this drug is not being used in Canada, not good science, medicine, or financial grounds. This underscores why for me the only good governments are those that have general principles and guidelines/goals they aim for but retain the pragmatic flexibility needed to deal with matters and realities that do not fit a simple/clean framework such as those created by ideologies, whatever they are and how “good” their advocates claim (and in many cases truly believe) them to be. I see abortion as something that is a medical procedure, just as the Supreme Court of Canada did, as I believe I have explained in other posts at your site. When ideology conflicts with basic realities there will always be problems, and when true believers place their ideology ahead of reality in terms of importance and validity it is to the detriment of all in any open/democratic society IMHO.

Sorry about the overly long comment, hope you do not mind, I'm trying not to get into writing multiple comment lengths but sometimes I just can't help it, in this case your post and its topic triggered it. All I can plead is that it was your writing that triggered this original piece of writing and I hope you can forgive me for it.

Scotian said...

ern hill:

Thanks for that, I always feel a little self conscious about my rather dense style of writing/commenting, I know in the modern Twitter age it is not a preferred style/format for many. Not that I will let that stop me of course, but it does feel nice to know that it is being appreciated by some.

I agree with you about the hyper partisans being a major fault point, but for me I have to weight it more against the NDP for two reasons. First off that they abandoned defending their fundamental principles at the time that defence was most needed to save them and the programs that they created in this country (Wheat Board for example) for seats, expediency over principles exactly what they have condemned others, especially Libs for doing while claiming to be different/better than that. Indeed the amount of sanctimony on that point over the years has not been minor, which makes this choice particularly odious for me, but it is not the major reason for me, no that is the second one.

Second, and far more important in this matter, they were the party that had the most credibility and therefore power after Chretien left the PMO where calling out Harper was concerned, especially after how the Libs were weakened by the Sponsorship scandal and the Gomery Inquiry. Martin was only holding on because of the very real uncertainty about Harper thanks to his not hiding his true nature and goals until after the 2004 election. Then he pulled a massive etch-a-sketch as Romney's guy put it, and it was only the Libs that were really calling it out, and given their massively damaged credibility their voice alone was nowhere near enough, especially when added to their obvious self interest. The NDP were in the unique position in their history of having their credibility being the difference between the most right wing extremist government in this nation's history and the defeat of said party and especially its leader Stephen Harper before it and he were able to firmly establish themselves. Remember, before Harper won his first election in 2006 his leadership was hanging by a thread, if he had lost it is a virtual certainty not only would he have left the CPC leadership but his faction would also have been discredited and the more sane and Canadian rooted progressive conservative wing would have reemerged in the CPC.

All of this was obvious at the time fern hill, and I cannot accept the idea that I am so smart and well informed that I could see all this well in advance down here in Halifax with just my TV and computer (and brain of course) while political strategists, experts, and leaders within the various parties, especially the NDP did/could not. No, Layton and his made a conscious choice to choose their lust for power (no matter how noble their aims for that power may have been) at the worst possible time, believed that a Harper government was a better choice for them than the Libs at all in either majority or minority, and we have seen just how wrong he and his were. I said at the end of the last election when Harper got his majority and Layton got his LOO win that his political epitaph should be that he won the battle to lose the war, and this was why.

To be concluded...

Scotian said...


I've never been a party partisan, or a leader partisan. I really have been a independent swing voter that voted across the spectrum as the circumstances of each election dictated. That did not mean though I was an uninformed one, I always paid a lot of attention to politics and all the major players on the federal scene, and I tried so hard as I am sure you remember to get people to recognize just how horrific a Harper government even in minority, let alone majority would be for all, and for it I got branded a Liberal partisan shill, a hysterical fear monger, and so on, despite my laying out not just my beliefs/views but the underlying reasoning as to why I held them. I expected the crap I got from the CPC supporters, but it was the way the Dipper side acted that really upset me, I never had a problem with them wanting to try to replace the Libs, just not at that moment, not when the Harper alternative was so clearly bad not just for the Libs, the NDP, but for Canadians and our fundamental society beyond just traditional politics.

So that is why I lay the bulk of the fault on the NDP, because they had the power to prevent this and instead chose the path they did. Anyone that paid even the slightest attention to politics should have been able to see that Lib Tory (and I have never called the CPC Tories, nor will I, I know the difference and I will not dishonour Tories and their real legacy in this nation) same old story while bearing some real truth under the Lib/PCPC reality had little to no validity where the Lib/CPC reality was concerned. Even so, I could have excused the 2006 election going the way it did with Lib fatigue and the unknown of how Harper truly would be with power, but the next two election campaigns it was demonstrably clear that there was a profound difference between the Libs and CPC, even from a traditional NDP perspective. Harper should never have been allowed to sit in the PMO, let alone as a majority PM, not because he is from the right side of the spectrum, not because he led a conservative political party, but because in terms of the Canadian political culture he was a radical and worse a true firebombing extremist that clearly believed in paranoid political conspiracies out to get him and his and clearly did not see any other Canadians other than his own as worthy of any consideration. Not to mention his naked contempt for our political processes and traditions established since Confederation.

Anyway, I could keep going but I think I have made my reasoning clear as to where I place the responsibility for the current reality. The main reason I don't fault the Libs too much is because they lacked the power to do anything about it by themselves, and they did try to express just how far outside the norm Harper was for all the good it did them. They were too weak to make the difference by themselves, yet they tried. That gets them something for me, while the NDP who clearly could and should have made the difference decided for their own partisan reasons that Harper as PM was a better choice for them in that in the long run it would be their path to power/government. I will find it bitterly ironic and fitting if in the next election instead they are reduced by a resurgent Trudeau led Lib party, because of his charisma being so much like Layton's, and because in the end the NDP is trying to re-place the Libs by being the Libs, and I suspect when confronted with the choice, especially after where one untested party led the government (CPC) the voting public may chose to return to the party that has governed most of the time and for the most part reasonably well as far as that voting public is concerned.

Well, I have to go, I have to help out family for a couple of days, I will check back in a few days to see what if any response you have to this. Thanks again fern hill, take care and be well.

Námo Mandos said...

I don't really buy Scotian's analysis of the situation especially wrt the NDP. If you're not playing to destroy, you're not playing. Harper was something that had been building for some time historically in Canada. Y'all weren't going to avoid it, it was going to happen sooner or later. Acting as though the far right can be made never, ever to win is not a good strategy.

fern hill said...

I was checking posts from two years ago. Scotian and I agreed back then too. For the NDP and Layton, winning was more important than taking down what EVERYONE KNEW TO BE AN ANTI-DEMOCRATIC CANADA-HATING THUG.

And he was dead right. I don't recognize Canada anymore.

Scotian said...


If you do not buy it, then please show where it is as you put it unsellable. Understand something Mandos, I have never been a partisan of *ANY* party or leader in my life, which includes over a quarter century of voting. I have always gotten involved in election campaigns from the process side, usually working election day for the candidate I chose by getting people to the polls who could not get there themselves, and when the polls closed by being a scrutinizer at a poll site. I mention this to point out that I have always been more than just a voter, but also that I have also always aided a campaign by working on the process side, not the partisan side, I've always let that up to others. I've done it for PCPC, Liberal, and NDP candidates in my past. I really am a non-partisan swing voter in the traditional Canadian sense.

Now, feel free to research my blog from its beginnings, you will see it was always aimed at stopping Harper the best way I saw how, it was *NEVER* used to pitch one party or leader as better than the rest, well other than Harper that is. I've always said in the past that the Libs were the only choice to stop Harper not because I was a Lib, but because my read of Canadian electoral politics is that there is a bulk/plurality of centrist swing voters like myself many to most of whom that are not comfortable with the NDP and swing back and forth from Lib and PCPC (which is why Harper had to kill the PCPC and even after the hostile takeover mask his true nature after the 2004 loss under that sole CPC banner), and that they were the crucial voting block to stopping Harper. The NDP only did as well as it did in the last election based on two factors, Layton's personality (and I'm sorry to say playing on his health, albeit not openly/directly) and his willingness to IMHO pander to Quebec nationalists to taker seats in Quebec, something I watched Mulroney do for equal gains that in the end turned out to be extraordinarily bad for Canadian federal politics. The NDP did not do much better than its norm aside from Quebec, yet because it looked like it might there was a massive shift of those as Dippers called the blue Libs (in reality those unaligned swing voters I keep talking about) to the CPC, which I think actually underscores my years long point about that middle swing voter and the voting patterns they follow.

So, please, rebut my reasoning and explain why my analysis is unsellable, because I have spent years repeating the same basic facts over and over ad nauseum, and the actual reality of Canadian voting patterns has backed me up all along, including in the last election. I've heard many progressives talk about how they must capture the progressive vote, the problem I've always had with that reasoning is that the progressive voting block is *NOT* as large as that swing centrist block (a point I kept making all along), which does for many within it include those with progressive tendencies on many issues but is not and can not be fairly described as a true progressive voter a la Dippers and those to their left. When it comes to politics Mandos I've always tried to work from reality/facts first, not what I wanted to believe was true but what the actual facts and record showed to be true, and it was always based on *THAT* basis that I've consistently pointed out the only way to stop Harper all along despite all that refuse to "buy" my analysis like yourself.

To be continued…

Scotian said...


BTW, the "far right" as you call it is a much smaller faction of the right in this country and it would have been kept out of power if Harper had lost to Martin once more in 2006, this is a fair reading of how shaky his position was by that point, indeed one of the reasons he felt he needed to cheat a la in and out was because of that desperation. So I think you are wrong about the far right's inevitable rise to power...the right’s rise yes, but the right is in this nation as deep a spectrum as the left, something I find neither side really seems to see in the other that I guess from my swing/mushy middle position is fairly obvious to me. There was a reason why the far right kept losing everyone outside their core in the Alberta/Western region until Harper mainstreamed himself, his image and his so called political philosophy/agenda, which shows the flaw in your argument I submit in this regard.

So please Mandos, take my reasoning down with evidence that contradicts it, one of the upsides of my tendency towards long detailed comments and posts is that I've always laid my reasoning and the facts that I used to support it out there for all to see. Just because the conclusion is one you find unpalatable does not invalidate it, it was Layton that decided Harper was a better choice for Canada than Martin and the Libs and he clearly thought so because of the electoral increases he saw he could get, it is after all the only rational/logical basis for him to choose the extremist radical Harper over even a tired and corrupt Lib government, especially when he could use that weakness of the Libs to get more for his side on the policy front than he ever could and did from the CPC when they held minority power.

Layton choose to benefit his party's narrow partisan interests in increasing seats over protecting the nation from what every progressive value voter should see as the greatest threat to their values in our government to ever come first near to and now actually hold the power in this land. For a leader and party that constantly got holier than thou about how it was a different kind of party where principles mattered first (and the real ugly reality about this was that prior to Layton's leadership this actually was true, which is why he was able to get away with eating his cake and having it on this point, especially since the senior members of the party decided to let him do so instead of speaking out, interesting how many party elders faded from the scene once Layton rose to power, unlike what had happened in prior leadership changeovers within the NDP) this hypocrisy has a stench fouler than all but the worst that comes off the Harper regime itself in recent Canadian political history.

One of the advantages of being a political animal without partisan loyalty is that I pay attention to the goings on in all the major parties, and I have no personal axe to grind causing me blind spots. The closest I have *EVER* come to being a partisan was in my opposition to the rise of Stephen Harper, because I knew he was something so fundamentally different than anything we had ever seen before someone that not only was massively dangerous on an ideological front (which was bad enough) but was what in my books far worse massively dangerous of a basic process side to our fundamental governing and political processes, and that he felt he was above all laws and precedents, something he has since proven time and again in the PMO since his first minority government. That he more than anyone else could and worse would (because of his own naked hatred/contempt for the progressive Canada that evolved over the many decades prior to his taking power) literally tear this nation apart structurally.

To be concluded…

Scotian said...


So please, explain why I am wrong, because I personally don't think I am, I think the record has shown I've always been correct in this respect, and that only those that refuse to accept the ugly realities involved when it comes from their preferences seem to have a problem seeing it. fern hill gets it, as do many others, not because they are partisans of other parties but because it is the sad and ugly truth, Saint Jack sold everyone out in his lust for power, regardless of whatever noble aims he might have held for using it once he got there (ends justifying the means and all that, the very definition of expediency before principles), and worse the NDP core faithful went along with it, indeed many cheered it on, allowing their animosity towards the Lib party (regardless of whether it was reasonable in its basis or not) to outweigh seeing the obvious about where the greater, nay greatest threat ever to basic progressive principles, policies, and programs truly lay, Stephen Harper.

Why am I wrong? Why is fern hill wrong? Show your work, don't just claim we are, demonstrate it, refute the facts and historical record laid out, show alternate explanations for the actions taken. I've judged based on the actions taken over the words said, because especially in politics actions speak not only louder but clearer than words. Layton’s legacy and epitaph is as far as I am concerned “he won the battle to lose the war”. It sums it up in a nutshell, and the collateral damage he was willing to inflict on us all will be years to decades in finding out and hopefully survivable (I don’t say fixable, because a lot of it won’t be unfortunately).

You have never actually refuted my core arguments, reasoning, or conclusions in a substantive manner Mandos, not two years ago in the thread fern hill references and the one that preceded it, not have you here today. At the core I think is the inability of so many to truly see the voting demographic as it actually is, mostly non-aligned voters that swing, of all groups they are the largest and I would argue the plurality, not committed CPCers, Libs, NDPers, and it was always with them that Harper’s rise or failure truly resided, and the actions I have pointed out all along were what was the most likely to actually motivate them to stop Harper regardless of the wishes of the corporate media and other elites who clearly wanted a Harper victory.

I’ve never taken any pleasure or satisfaction in being proven correct about all of this over the past 7 years now, and the record does support what I’ve said all along ,not just about Harper but also the decisions and costs of them by Layton, the core NDP faithful in fundamentally changing their party’s nature from principles first to expediency/power first, and that the key voting demographic aren’t any party’s loyalists/partisans but centrist swing voters and why they will vote they way they do in a given environment, and why the Lib Tory same old story approach of the NDP since the creation of the CPC was so dangerous as well as totally false/bogus, as opposed to when the PCPC was concerned where there really was some truth to that statement. It was the NDP that held the power to stop Harper before he could become PM, let alone majority PM, and they chose not to, it is as simple and ugly a fact as that, which is also why they own the greater degree of culpability/responsibility for it, not because they aren’t Libs, not because they are somehow a more moral party, no, because they were the only ones who could and according to their principles that they had practiced since their foundations should have done but under Layton chose otherwise instead, and worse a choice of expediency instead. Truth/reality is what it is, and this is what it is, to the detriment of us all.

Námo Mandos said...

Your argument, as I am currently understanding it from the above posts, is self-refuting. At the outset, you posit the existence of a swing vote that moves between the center (or center-right) party and the extreme right as represented by the Reformatories. In fact it does so in response to an electoral threat from the left, ie, it prefers Harper's transformation of Canadian society to even the slightest possibility of left-wing influence over government.

All further discussion, evidence, etc. is immediately rendered fully irrelevant. Canada cannot afford what has been wrought, but that doesn't matter---endure it, it will, and all we're discussing now is the timing. The swing vote you mention manifests itself as an endemic drift to the right as ruling structures realize that there is no left-wing threat---the swing vote will take care of it for them. In the electoral sphere, the options for the left are reduced to two: hide in a corner for fear of electing a Harper while a Paul Martin erodes previous left-wing policy priorities on a slower schedule, or participate in the destruction of the center, at the risk that the far right (which Harper is) would take power.

As Harper was making inroads against the Liberals anyway, Layton's choice wasn't a hard one to make, nor did he make the wrong one.

The truth is that the "swing vote" is full of irresponsible people who apparently only learn by experience. If they decide after 2-3 more years that they like what they see about Harper, you would then know where you stand.

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