The Morning After Pill Only Effective On Some

Shocking news has arrived that the morning after pill otherwise known as Plan B or Emergency Contraception (EC) is not effective on many women. The reasoning for this is weight. According to studies done by a European company called Norlevo, that produces EC, the pill is not effective on women over 176 pounds and is less effective on women over 165 pounds.

The reason this is so shocking is that many women are over those two weights. This is due to the hormone levonorgestrel, which will loose it’s effectiveness. Levonorgestrel is used in all EC in Canada and used in almost all EC around the world. Mother Jones who broke the news of this story first, found this information on the weight of women in America:

Data for the years 2007 to 2010 show the average weight of American women 20 years and older is 166.2 pounds—greater than the weight at which emergency contraceptive pills that use levonorgestrel begin to lose their effectiveness. The average weight of non-Hispanic black women aged 20 to 39 is 186 pounds, well above the weight at which these pills are completely ineffective. A CDC survey published in February found that 5.8 million American women used emergency contraceptive pills from 2006 to 2010.

This means that the average woman in the United States is unlikely to be able to use EC effectively. Access to EC and other reproductive technologies that work is vitally important for women. Women need the ability to prevent pregnancy as part of their reproductive rights.

According to one source the average weight of the Canadian woman is 153 pounds but according to Macleans magazine the average is 155 pounds, just on the border of being able to use effective EC. But with average Canadians of all weights having sex at least once a week there are bound to be some mistakes.

With 65% of 18-19 year olds and 29% of 15-17 year olds being sexually active and about 35% of Canadians aged 15-24 not using condoms and having unprotected sex, there is most defiantly a need for effective EC. If you do not use protection you can get pregnant, but when something goes wrong with protection EC has always been a way for Canadian women to prevent pregnancy. Although I have been unable to find statistics on how often EC is used in Canada it is still used, and it shouldn’t matter if one or a thousand women use it every year it should always be effective.

Many women who use EC are scared, they are using EC because they had unprotected sex, which rarely happens on purpose. These women are trying to take control of their bodies and prevent an unwanted pregnancy. If the pill they take doesn’t tell them it wont work they will not be able to prevent pregnancy in other ways and may end up with an unwanted pregnancy and/or an unwanted abortion.

If EC is not going to be effective on all women it needs to be labeled so women will be better able to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy. Norlevo sells EC in many European and Asian countries and has no set timeline on when they will change the labelling of their product to display this new information or even if they will display it in non European companies at all. American companies, such as the producer of Pan B One Step (sold in Canada and the US), have not commented on whether they will be changing their labelling or if they will be doing any tests on their own products to asses effectiveness based on weight.

One thing that women who are over 165 pounds can do to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is use an IUD as a form of emergency contraception. There are both hormonal and non hormonal IUDs available. The problem with IUD is it is not as easily accessible as EC and is invasive. A doctor must insert the IUD into your body. IUD’s can also be costly, especially in the US, but IUD can be left in after being used as a form of emergency contraception. IUD is also a form of birth control, and can stay affective at preventing pregnancy for 3-10 years depending on the form used.


Wendy Davis -Live From Texas

Today Texas State Senator Wendy Davis is currently on a filibuster to try and stop a bill that would be detrimental to women’s health and women’s rights in Texas. I am currently listening to Davis on the live feed talk about her own pregnancy and abortion. It is heart breaking listening to her talk about this experience and how it will be even harder for women to make these decisions if this bill was passed. She is an amazing person for fighting against this bill and telling her own personal stories. I really hope she makes it the whole 13 hours.
I hope you can make some time to watch Davis. She is articulate even after 10 hours. She has become my hero, she stands for all women not just women in Texas. When reproductive rights of any woman are being limited we all suffer. Presidents can be set, other states follow Texas, then other countries with similar legal systems (ie Canada, England..) then it continues to move. When one persons rights are limited so are others. It is always important to fight for our rights no matter what. Wendy Davis is an amazing woman.

23 Women Die from Birth Control

At least twenty three Canadian women are suspected to have died from two of the most popular birth control pills in Canada: Yaz and Yasmin. Both Yaz and Yasmin are made by a company named Bayer. The two brands of birth control are linked to blood clots which can cause death. Women as young as 14 have died from blood clots while on Yaz or Yasmin. Health Canada is researching the birth control pill. Most of the deaths happened very early after taking the pills, one women died a month after starting Yasmin birth control.

Doctors say that there have been over 600 Canadian cases of side affects caused by Yaz and Yasmin. In the United States there have been many class action lawsuits against Bayer due to the side affects of the birth control pills. In Canada a judge has granted a class action lawsuit against the company. Bayer plans on appealing the granting of a class action lawsuit. Bayer says that it stands by its product.

Bayer needs to own up to what they have done. They need to compensate the families and stop making their birth control pills. If I owned a birth control company that caused 23 Canadian women to die and 600 to have adverse side affects I would stop selling my product. Why are they continuing to sell their product after it has hurt and killed women? Do they enjoy harming women? It does not make sense to me in any way. Even if they fix their product so that their are no longer side affects I would never buy their product. Sorry Bayer but it will never work between us.

What ever medicine you take, birth control or otherwise, should be safe and affective. Also be very careful to research side effects and always discus them with your doctor. You can never be too careful when it comes to the medicine you put in your body. If you are on medicine and feel any side effects always contact your doctor. Don’t be afraid to contact them it is their job to keep you healthy and safe.

For more information on the deaths caused by Yaz and Yasmine watch this CBC video posted June 11, 2013:

Ireland Keeps Abortion Restrictions In New Bill

Ireland keeps restrictions that make abortion only legal when it is an emergency abortion but makes changes in order to “clarify” when an emergency abortion may be performed. The new protection of life during pregnancy bill does not necessarily change the law it really only makes it more specific. The law is meant to clearly say when an emergency abortion may be performed. An abortion may be performed legally in Ireland when the:

a)that procedure is carried out by a registered medical practitioner at an appropriate location, and

(b) two medical practitioners, have, in accordance with this head, jointly certified in good faith that –

(i) there is a real and substantial risk of loss of the pregnant woman’s life other than by way of self-destruction, and

(ii) in their reasonable opinion this risk can be averted only by that medical procedure.

Now I have not read the bill in its entirety but I do not like what I have read. As you can see above you must have two medical practitioners in order to receive an emergency abortion. This causes inaccessibility even in cases when a women’s life is in danger. Not only would it be difficult to find two doctors willing to perform an abortion there are also restrictions on what kind of doctor you can have. One of the doctors must be an obstetrician/gynaecologist who is registered  with the Specialist Division. Also the doctors cannot be the women’s own general practitioner because they must be consulted by the other two doctors. This is could cause a women to be unable to find doctors willing to give her an abortion and therefore cause her to die.

Even after the death of Savita Halappanavar the laws have not changed to help women. For those of you who did not hear about Halappanavar here is her story in little detail. She was a 31 year old dentist in Galway Ireland who went to a University hospital complaining of pain. She was having a miscarriage but the doctors could not help her because the fetus still had a heartbeat. They told her and her husband that they were a Catholic country and therefore could not abort her dying fetus. Halappanavar and her husband are not Irish or Catholic, yet they had to follow the Catholic laws against abortion. Halappanavar and her fetus died as a result of the lack of treatment at a hospital.

There has been much public outcry and protest after Halappanavar’s death yet this new bill does not address this. The new bill, as far as I have read, does not allow for the termination of pregnancy in Halappanava’s case. I am avidly pro-choice as you know from reading this blog and therefore believe that there should be no restrictions at all when it comes to abortion, birth control and reproductive right. I understand that Ireland is a Catholic country and therefore religion is influential in cases like this, but when it comes to cases like Halappanava religion needs to realise that the women’s life is important. Halappanava could have lived. If she was in England, Canada, Switzerland, even in most US States she would have survived.

Bills should not be changed to clarify existing restrictions they should be changed to remove restrictions and help women. Women have a right to life, and a right to their own physical and emotional safety that is being ignored in this bill.

Peterborough Pro-Life

Over 25 years of anti choice anger and I have never heard of them. I live in Peterborough Canada and attend Trent University there but some how have never heard of the Peterborough Pro-Life organization (PPL).  According to this article they protest every single Saturday outside the Peterborough Hospital. This blew my mind. I had no idea they existed. As a feminist and a supporter of choice and all reproductive rights I am amazed I have never heard of them. Thanks to a lovely friend of mine, I now know about them.

Although I have never heard of them they seem to have some friends in high places. Local conservative MP Dean Del Mastro assisted the PPL in getting information about the number of abortions performed. The hospital did not want to give them this information.

They want to put religion in politics in a time period where we thankfully have a secular state. One of the women involved, Mrs. van der Vegt., said this about being pro-life: “It’s spiritual warfare,”. She also said that she is protesting because it is God’s will. I disagree with her. The God I believe in respects women’s rights and knows that religion has no place in legislation.

If any of you wonderful people who read this blog live in the area I am thinking about maybe shaking up their Saturday routine by having a little counter protest. It will be a good warm up for the big protest in Ottawa on May 9th, the anniversary of R v Morgentaler.

I understand that people are pro life and that this is a valid opinion to have. Feminism is not about the choices you make it is about having a choice. My only problem is people who are pro life is that they want to take away other peoples rights when pro choice only wants to give everyone options.

Here is information on PPL if you’re interested:

Ali van der Vegt Phone: (705) 745-3820 E-mail:

Join the Peterborough Pro-Life Silent Prayer Vigil every Saturday, 10AM to 11AM. Peterborough Regional Health Centre 1 Hospital Dr, Peterborough, ON

Please do not email or call Mrs. van der Vegt if you plan on sending rude, offensive, threatening messages to her. I give you this information because it was on the article linked, not so you can do any harm. Everyone deserves to have an opinion and you should not be mean to them because of it.

Canadian Birth Control Recall

Canadian company Apotex is recalling Alysena-28 birth control pills. These pills are being recalled because they include 14 days of placebos instead of just one week. This causes the risk of pregnancy to increase.
Remember to always tell your pharmacist and/or doctor if see any changes in your birth control. These pills normally include one row of white placebo pills and three rows of pink active pills. The recalled pills have two rows of white pills.
It’s always important to pay attention to your birth control and be sure to report any differences you see. There’s a history of women being ignored or seen as irrational for reporting anything in the medical community but you should never worry about that. If you think something is wrong always report it it could help you and others.


RU486: The Controversal Abortion Drug

RU486 also known as Mifepristone is a drug used as a medical termination of intrauterine pregnancies up to 49-63 days gestation, used as a way to cause dilatation of the cervix for pregnancy termination, used in combination with gemeprost for termination of pregnancies between 13-24 weeks, and to induce labour during fetal death in utero.

You may be thinking that those reasons do not sound controversal at all. They seem like exactly what you would expect and abortion drug to do. It may have side effects (both minor and severe) that could cause the drug to have legitimate reasons to be controversal, but that is not why it is. The reason it is controversal is because it does what an abortion drug is supposed to do and it may be subsidised by the government.

Abortion is always a touchy subject and controversal but this drug is taking the heat manly because it may be subsidised by the government in Australia. The drug currently costs $300-400 and if it is listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme then the drug would cost Australian card holders around $13 and non card holders around $35. This would make a difference in the accessibility and affordability of the drug to women in Australia. I say this in almost every post, but accessibility and affordability are key to safety and reproductive rights. If this gets passed by the Australian Federal Government it will be a step forward in reproductive rights. Although steps have already been made the drug was initially banned in 1996 and then legalised in 2006.

The drug is currently legal but not subsidised in the USA, 28 countries in Europe including France and England, New Zealand, Israel, it is only approved in two African countries (Tunisia, and South Africa), Mexico, China and many other countries. The drug is still illegal in Canada although there are other forms of medical abortion in Canada.