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Sept 26th World Contraception Day

25 Sep, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

Your Future.

Your Choice.

Your Contraception.

 

WCD 2012 focuses on empowering young people to think ahead and build contraception into their plans, in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection (STI).

  • World Contraception Day (WCD) takes place on September 26 every year. This annual worldwide campaign centres around a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted
  • Every year, countries and regions around the world organize events to mark World Contraception Day and to demonstrate their commitment to raising awareness of contraception and improving education regarding reproductive and sexual health.
  •  Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of all contraceptive methods to enable young people around the world to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health
  • One of the most effective ways for young people to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or STI is to think ahead and consider the best contraceptive option for them – before having sex
  •  An important part of planning for the future is knowing where to access accurate and unbiased information about contraception.

The WCD website, www.Your-Life.com, contains up to date information on contraception to help young people and educational material with some useful quizzes under the ‘Media Center’ tab.

WCD is supported by a coalition of 11 international NGOs, scientific and medical societies with an interest in sexual health and is sponsored by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals. The NGOs and societies involved in WCD are:

  • Asian Pacific Council on Contraception (APCOC)
  • Centro Latinamericano Salud y Mujer (CELSAM)
  • European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC)
  • German Foundation for World Population (DSW)
  • International Federation of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (FIGIJ)
  • International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
  • Marie Stopes International (MSI)
  • Population Services International
  • The Population Council
  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Women Deliver

The website/blog Impatient Optimists, which is supported  by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, documents some of the difficulties people and countries around the world face trying to implement these aims.

http://www.londonfamilyplanningsummit.co.uk/ On 11 July 2012 the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with UNFPA and other partners hosted a groundbreaking summit that will mobilize global policy, financing, commodity, and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020.

http://populationmatters.org/2012/ceo-blog/world-contraception-day-26-september-2012/ details the The Population Matters Annual General Meeting and Conference 2012 which will be held on Saturday 13th October 2012 in central London. The meeting is open to members, their guests and other interested parties on request. Advance registration is required.

40 years of innovation in sexual and reproductive health

30 Aug, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

WHO – 40 years of innovation in sexual and reproductive health

A comment piece in The Lancet by past and present directors of WHO’s Human Reproduction Programme (HRP) discusses the achievements of the Programme since it was established in 1972.

Online First – Evaluation of a community pharmacy delivered oral contraception service

“Anything for the weekend … and beyond, madam?” Community pharmacies increase oral contraceptive uptake

Parsons et al.’s evaluation of a community pharmacy delivered oral contraceptive (OC) service is of particular interest, as it demonstrates the value of providing OCs via this service outlet, especially for women who would not otherwise access long-term contraception. Between 2009 and 2011, seven specially trained pharmacists at five pharmacies in South-East London provided OCs under a Patient Group Direction (PGD) during 741 client consultations. The evaluation showed that trained pharmacists were clinically competent to provide OCs according to a PGD, and that the service was successful in attracting the population identified as most in need. Nearly half of all consultations occurred following emergency hormonal contraception supply, and nearly half of clients receiving an initial supply of OCs were first-time Pill users. Based on satisfaction questionnaires from a small sub-group, most clients valued this service, were happy about privacy, and would recommend it. Although the primary aim was to reduce teenage pregnancy , and nearly a quarter of clients were aged <20 years, the study shows that women aged 20+ years also require this service and should not be overlooked when formulating policies for service provision.
summary by Walli Bounds, Associate editor

Infertility: Survey shows nearly half of all GPs lack knowledge

Results of a comprehensive patient survey by the National Infertility Awareness Campaign (NIAC) shows that GPs need to be better informed about infertility treatment, including IVF, and the options available when the commissioning of IVF switches to local commissioning groups next year. The NIAC survey found that nearly 50% of GPs lacked the necessary knowledge of infertility and the treatment options available to provide an effective service. This could explain why some patients with fertility issues perceived their GPs as unsympathetic.

Calling All Baby Boomers: Get Your Hepatitis C Test

A report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that all Americans born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). An estimated 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States are infected with this liver-damaging—and sometimes lethal—virus, and many do not know they carry it. CDC calculates that roughly 75% of those infected are baby boomers: 3.25% of people born in that “birth cohort” test positive for HCV, which is five times higher than the rate in adults born before 1945 or after 1965. CDC has determined that universal testing of baby boomers is the most cost-effective strategy for detecting undiagnosed HCV infections.  As reported in Science

New lab for HIV research

The Indian Government has opened the new $12 million HIV Vaccine Translational Research Laboratory in New Delhi. The new Laboratory will aim to recruit around 30 scientists with the goal of creating a new vaccine against HIV, and will work in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative.  As reported in Science

Online First – August

24 Aug, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

The following papers have been published this month at http://jfprhc.bmj.com/content/early/recent

More than poverty: disruptive events among women having abortions in the USA (Jones)

We are all aware that poverty is associated with abortion but how many of us knew that bad (or disruptive) life events also play a major role? The research by Jones et al. demonstrates that more than half of the women seeking abortion had experienced a disruptive life event in the preceding 12 months. Women are making decisions about their abortion whilst in the midst of complex life events. The authors’ suggestions for changes in policy may not be directly relevant in the UK; however, the study findings are of wider significance. from Gillian RobinsonAssociate Editor

Psycho-social factors affect semen quality (Cao)

Semen quality appears to be declining and this cross-sectional study in China casts light upon some factors that may be associated with that decline. The research team analysed the semen of 1346 healthy 20-40-year-old Chinese men, capturing their psychological, social and behaviour profiles via questionnaire. It appears that stress, social class and underwear made from man-made fibres all play a significant part in declining semen quality. from Scott WilkesAssociate Editor

Young people and chlamydia – peer led strategies to increase the uptake of screening (Horner)

The major burden of Chlamydia trachomatis infection is borne in individuals under 25 years of age. Complications of untreated infection are manifold and encompass pelvic inflammatory disease, sub-fertility, epididymo-orchitis, urethritis, arthritis, conjunctivitis and proctitis. Despite high hopes, uptake of the English National Chlamydia Screening Programme has been lower than expected. As a result, the expected decline in chlamydia prevalence has not been observed. Paddy Horner’s group have investigated the use of a peer-led approach to increase screening and examine the feasibility and acceptability of this strategy in young people. Interestingly, although this is a relatively small proof of principle study, women peer-led screening was more successful than male in recruiting peers to participate in the programme. from Rachael JonesAssociate Editor

Inequity in family planning provision in urban Nigeria: a providers’ perspective (Herbert)

In Nigeria contraceptive use is low: used by only 10% of married women and with 20% of women estimated to have an unmet need. Provision needs to improve, and understanding the roles and perspective of the mixed economy of contraceptive providers is a key step in designing better services. A qualitative study from the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative explores the experiences and challenges faced by a range of providers in two urban Nigerian areas. Using structured in-depth interviews and checklists, researchers identified need for further training and support for all providers to empower them to provide a wider range of contraception. Few providers engaged in meaningful promotional activities for their products or services. Vulnerable groups, likely to have high needs for contraceptive advice and provision, were routinely excluded from family planning services: adolescents, married women and those seeking post-abortion care. Understanding the underlying reasons for this inequitable provision, and developing appropriate marketing strategies and materials will indeed be key to developing more sensitive service provision. from Imogen Stephens,  Associate Editor

New female condom, the ‘Woman’s Condom’ – will the Chinese go for it? (Coffey)

The need for products that simultaneously protect against unwanted pregnancy and STIs, including HIV, has prompted interest in the development of Multipurpose Prevention Technologies (MPTs), including new variants of the female condom. In this issue, Coffey and colleagues describe their survey of initial reactions to the ‘Woman’s Condom’ (which obtained marketing approval in China in 2010) by potential user groups in Shanghai. Their study demonstrates the importance of assessing the potential acceptability of new products in a range of populations, with differing expectations, needs and culture-specific influences. Their findings are of particular value to programme/service providers, in order to identify most likely adopters of this new type of female condom. from Walli BoundsAssociate Editor

Fertility Issues

6 Aug, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

IVF twins: buy one get one free? (Mittal)  (published online 18 July)

The aim of IVF treatment should be to achieve a full-term singleton birth. This article explores the tensions that exist between IVF provision and the elective single embryo transfer (eSET) policy. The authors present a balanced contemporary review describing why twin pregnancies are undesirable yet may be a risk couples are willing to take. They go on to discuss the issues faced when considering strategies to reduce twin pregnancies and the tensions that exist with the eSET policy. Blanket eSET implementation appears not be a simple answer to avoid twin pregnancies. from Scott Wilkes, Associate Editor

1 in 7 couples in the UK have infertility problems

Most people growing up assume that, if and when they want children, they will be able to have them. They don’t expect to have problems with fertility, and assume that, if they do the wonders of modern fertility treatments, such as IVF and ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) will be able to solve them. However, in contrast to this, background figures point to 1 in 7 couples in the UK having fertility problems. This is according to new research published by the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford and available from healthtalkonline. The research team was founded by Ann McPherson (who sadly died in May 2011) and headed by Sue Ziebland and Louise Locock.

ESHRE 2012 Reports highlight fertility issues

UK still trails behind Europe in number of IVF cycles – yet it all started here.

As the number of babies worldwide born thanks to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – breaks the 5 million barrier for the first time, figures show that the UK is still lagging behind many of its European neighbours in numbers of treatment cycles per year.  A report presented at ESHRE 2012 shows that the UK carries out 879 cycles/million inhabitants per year, which is significantly lower than many other countries including Denmark (2,726 cycles/million), Belgium (2,562 cycles/million) and Slovenia (1,840 cycles/million).

The pioneering treatment, which hit the headlines worldwide back in 1978 with the birth of Louise Brown in Oldham, has dramatically reduced the devastating burden of infertility, benefitting millions of couples both in the UK and worldwide.

However, for thousands of couples here, the dream of having a child of their own remains elusive: many are denied IVF because their Primary Care Trust or Health Board is reluctant to fund sufficient treatment. Around three quarters of all PCTs in England still don’t offer the 3 full cycles of IVF as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

Leading national infertility charity supports new research on Single Embryo Transplant (SET)

Leading patient charity, Infertility Network UK (IN UK), has backed new research presented at the annual meeting of ESHRE, which shows that a policy of single embryo transfer reduces the risk of perinatal death in infants born after IVF and ICSI.

The report is based on analysis of more than 50,000 births recorded in the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Technology Database from 2004-2008, where the introduction of  SET seems to have reduced overall perinatal mortality for IVF and ICSI babies.

Said Clare Lewis-Jones, Chief Executive of IN UK and Chair of Fertility Europe: “We welcome a move towards SET, and this report gives the medical profession more evidence to encourage patients to accept SET, which reduces the risks of multiple births to both mother and babies and gives the best possible outcome – one healthy baby.

“However, it must go hand in hand with full implementation of the NICE clinical guidelines which recommend up to three full cycles of treatment, including any frozen embryo transfers (FET). Other European countries which routinely offer five and six cycles of treatment have successfully implemented SET, and it is high time that patients in the UK are offered access to the level of treatment recommended by NICE nearly eight years ago!

“Many PCTs here still fall short of the recommendations and it is totally unacceptable and unethical for some PCTs to offer only one cycle of treatment and not to include FET for patients.”

APPG Inquiry reveals shocking findings ahead of World Summit

11 Jul, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

Yesterday saw the release of the report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on SRH in the UK following an investigation into restrictions to access of contraceptive services in the UK. Their report: ‘ Healthy Women Healthy Lives’ shows evidence of women being actively restricted from services and methods, with the over 25s bearing the brunt.

The Inquiry also expressed grave concerns about the fragmentation of NHS contraceptive services which, they concluded, are lacking in the effective strategic forward planning needed for when local authorities take ownership in 2013. “Many of the restrictions we found during the Inquiry shocked us,” said Baroness Gould of Potternewton, Chair of the APPG.

Evidence was submitted from service users, sexual health clinicians, sexual health charities, a GP and the Shadow Public Health Minister. Following its Inquiry, the APPG has asked the Government to consider its report and publish a response.

In gathering evidence, the Inquiry uncovered restrictions imposed by primary care trusts on contraceptive services. These include:

  • Stopping the over 25s from using community contraception clinics.
  • Making referrals for long-acting reversible methods of contraception (LARCs) ‘GP only’ (so women cannot self-refer as is currently common practice).
  • Running contraceptive services on a residents-only basis.
  • Only allowing the over 25s to get oral contraception (i.e. the pill) from a GP (not a clinic).

Several areas such as Harringey, Walthamstow, Bristol and Derbyshire were singled out in the report for placing restrictions on services.

Full report at fpa.org

The report’s findings should be particularly embarrassing for the UK in light of efforts to address the appalling situation worldwide for women as

Today sees the 2012 Global summit on Family Planning

organised by the UK Govenment Dept for International Development with the Gates Foundation the aim of this groundbreaking effort is to make affordable, lifesaving contraceptives, information, services, and supplies available to an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.

The summit’s vision is to ensure women in developing countries can have the same freedom to access family planning services – without coercion, discrimination and violence – as women in the developed world.

Governments, civil society and communities will be called on to tackle the many barriers which prevent women and girls using family planning, such as a lack of contraceptives, lack of money and lack of support from their husbands.  More

 

NHS flouts national guidance on contraception as cuts bite:

25 Apr, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

new audit reveals shocking truth as 3.2m women face restrictions in access to contraceptives or services

A new audit of the commissioning of contraceptive and abortion services in England has revealed a stark picture of inequality in women’s healthcare, with a third of women of reproductive age unable to choose from the full range of contraceptives or services in their local area.

The audit was carried out by the Advisory Group on Contraception – a coalition of leading experts and advocacy groups interested in sexual and reproductive health – through Freedom of Information requests made to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). The report of the audit findings, Sex, lives, and commissioning: An audit of the commissioning of contraceptive and abortion services in England demonstrates that:

As many as 3.2 million women of reproductive age (15-44) are living in areas where fully comprehensive contraceptive services, through community and/or primary care services, are not provided

  • Those PCTs restricting access to contraceptives or contraceptive services had a higher abortion rate than the national average
  • Over a quarter (28%) of PCTs responding to the audit did not have a strategy in place or under development to address unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion or repeat abortion

The audit also uncovered evidence of PCTs introducing access restrictions based on cost rather than choice or quality:

  • NHS North Lancashire confirmed one method of contraception was not prescribed “due to lack of funding/training for staff”
  • NHS Brighton and Hove confirmed that its “GP-led health centre will only prescribe Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) methods to residents of Brighton and Hove.  Non-residents attending with a filled prescription for LARC will be provided with a fitting”
  • NHS Haringey Teaching said that from the 1 October 2011 “women aged over 25 do not receive contraception pills from the local CaSH [Contraception and Sexual Health] Service; they receive this service from their GP”
  • NHS Barnet stated that “In 2010 the PCT introduced a restriction on over 25’s accessing integrated services for generic contraceptive advice… Only patients within this age group who have complex needs can be seen by an integrated service”

Dr Connie Smith, Consultant in Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, said:

“Contraception is a very personal issue.  What is right for one woman may not be right for another.  That is why the national NICE guidelines on contraception are built around the importance of choice. 

 “PCTs that are restricting choice are getting worse outcomes.  As a result of flouting national guidance, women are paying a big personal cost and the NHS is bearing a huge financial cost.  Unintended pregnancy costs the NHS more than £755 million every year.  For every £1 spent on contraception the NHS saves £12.50, so restricting access and choice is a complete false economy, harming women and the NHS.  Those PCTs with restrictions in place need to have an urgent rethink.”

Dr Anne Connolly, a GP with a special interest in sexual health, added:

“As a GP I know how important it is to get contraception right.  We must take a personal approach to meeting women’s needs and operating a blanket ban on some services or contraceptives goes completely against this. 

 “It is very concerning that so many PCTs have no strategy in place to address unintended pregnancy and that some are introducing restrictions on contraceptives or services.  The Department of Health should urgently publish a sexual health strategy showing how the needs of women of all ages can be met, alongside clear standards about the quality of service women have a right to expect.”

The AGC has made a series of recommendations for how sexual health and contraceptive services could be more effectively planned, commissioned and delivered.  These include:

  • The Department of Health should publish its planned sexual health policy document without further delay and ensure that it sets out clearly the expectation for commissioners to commission comprehensive, open access services that reflect a life-course approach for people of all ages
  • NICE should prioritise the development of the quality standard on contraceptive services
  • Contraceptive services must be commissioned based on the principles of the NHS Constitution. Commissioners should remove any policies or contracts in place which limit an individual’s access to contraceptive services based on reasons of age or place of residence
  • Commissioners should ensure that up-to-date strategies are in place to reduce unintended pregnancy, and the need for abortion and repeat abortions, and these strategies should focus on addressing the needs of women of all ages

All Party Parliamentary Group launches enquiry into restrictions in access to contraceptive services.

20 Apr, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK (APPGSRH) has launched an inquiry and call for evidence into restrictions in access to contraceptive services.

Examples have already been seen of commissioners cutting prescribing budgets for contraceptive methods to meet targets for savings, with consequences for choice and public health outcomes. In addition the Public Health Minister, Anne Milton MP, in a response to a parliamentary question tabled on contraceptive services, has recently confirmed that the Department of Health has received “representations from clinicians and voluntary sector organisations on the current commissioning of contraception by primary care trusts (PCTs) and access to certain types of contraception by certain age groups”.

On Monday 6 February, the APPGSRH held a meeting to discuss possible restrictions in access to sexual health services to residents-only and to people under 25 years old.  During the meeting members of the Advisory Group on Contraception (AGC) presented the initial findings from a Freedom of Information audit which had found variations in access to contraceptive services and methods.

The APPGSRH expressed concerns at the findings from the audit, in particular:

  • Evidence of commissioners restricting access to contraceptive services on the basis of age or place of residence
  • The impact that the drive for efficiency savings is having on women’s choice of the full range of contraceptive methods
  • Some methods of contraception only being made available with a GP referral
  • The impact of changes to the commissioning structures on the continuity and quality of contraceptive care

The APPGSRH is launching this inquiry in the belief that its work can contribute to the debate about how high quality contraceptive services can be delivered in the context of the healthcare reforms; and how access to the full range of contraceptive services and methods can be improved for women of all ages.

The inquiry will bring together further evidence and understanding to the current provision of contraceptive services across the country. It will also look at uncovering examples of good practice in relation to the availability of contraceptive services which can be shared amongst new and emerging commissioners of services.  We are therefore encouraging stakeholders – including commissioners, healthcare professionals and service user representatives – to submit written evidence which will help feed into the inquiry’s discussions.

Call for written evidence

The deadline for written evidence is 5pm on Friday 18 May and submissions should be sent to appg@fpa.org.uk. Submissions should be no more than 2,500 words. For more information click here.


 

The UK Sexual Health Awards 2012 winners announced

16 Mar, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

The celebration, hosted by Nitin Ganatra (Eastenders), to mark the hard work and dedication of people involved in sexual health across the UK took place at Troxy, London. Celebrities, including Janet Ellis, Zoe Margolis, Sharon Marshall, Johnny Partridge and our own Susan Quilliam and Alison Hadley were in attendance to show support and present awards to:

Sexual health professional of the year: Kay Elmy, Peterborough Contraceptive and Sexual Health Service.
JLS young person of the year: Azizi Kosoko, Terrence Higgins Trust.
Rosemary Goodchild Award for excellence in sexual health journalism: Sophie Goodchild for her article ‘Free love: what happened to AIDS?’  Men’s Health magazine.
Adult sexual health service/project of the year: ‘Morning-after-pill in the post’ campaign, bpas.
Young people’s sexual health service/project of the year: Sheffield Open Doors, Sheffield Contraception and Sexual Health Service, School Nursing Service and the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service.
Pamela Sheridan Award for Innovation in SRE: Shropshire Respect Yourself Relationship and Sex Education Programme.
Lifetime Achievement in sexual health award presented to Professor Michael Adler CBE.

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Research highlights risks with current tests for Chlamydia trachomatis

“Researchers, from the University of Southampton and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, have discovered that Chlamydia is much more diverse than was previously thought. Using whole genome sequencing, the researchers show that the exchange of DNA between different strains of Chlamydia to form new strains is much more common than expected.”  Current clinical tests only give a positive or negative result and can not identify different strains.  In clinical practice those found to be chlamydia positive after treatment were assumed to have been re-infected but this may not be the case.  Up until now antibiotic resistance has not been seen in humans only in the laboratory but current tests would be unable to demonstrate this if it did occur.

New BASSH Patient Information Leaflets

The BASSH Clinical Effectiveness Group (CEG) has produced new patient leaflets on Safer Sex, Epididymo-orchitis and Gonorrhoea. These are available from their website along with details about up-coming events as well as news and other guidelines.

GMC seeks views on proposed changes to the way doctors are assessed for GP or specialist registration through the ‘equivalence’ or CESR/CEGPR route to registration

Information and access to consultations are via the GMC e-consultation website.

 

Celebrating International Women’s Day

9 Mar, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

“This International Women’s Day, the world’s women have much to celebrate: maternal mortality rates are declining after years of stagnation; the importance of maternal health is receiving unprecedented attention; and one solution in our efforts to save women’s lives during childbirth, misoprostol, is gaining significant traction globally. But we have further to go for the world’s women.”  IWD website has links to a number of events happening around the globe and asks supporters to publish and share their initiatives

fpa and Brook join forces with Durex

Two of the country’s leading sexual health charities and the biggest condom brand in the UK have announced a major collaboration with a three year programme to deliver a number of sexual health initiatives; information events, public awareness campaigns and learning materials.

Media Reaction to Abortion – gender selection and legal issues

in the ongoing debate around gender-selection abortion an Open letter of support for doctors who provide abortion services was published by Reproductive Health Matters, the international journal for sexual and reproductive health and rights, signed by members of Voice for Choice, leaders in womens’ health and abortion care. The letter clarifies many of the misinterpretations of legal issues that have been voiced in much of the ‘popular’ press.

Sexual Health Trainersnew PGA Med Ed (SRH)

The FSRH website has details of the planned changes to ‘training the trainers’.  The current letter of competence (Loc MEd) will be replaced by the new Post Graduate Award in Medical Education (Sexual and Reproductive Health).  In collaboration with Keele University the course is aimed at doctors working in CASH, GP’s, those in GUM and nurses who wish to gain a recognised teachers qualification in sexual health. This PGA will, for doctors, be accepted as appropriate for Primary Trainers for DFSRH purposes.

The GMC Education Update (Feb 2012) includes notification of a consultation on the recognition and approval of trainers.

New Clinical Guidance – Management of Vaginal Discharge in Non-Genitourinary Medicine Settings

The FSRH Clinical Effectiveness Unit (CEU) have published their latest clinical guidance document which updates previous guidance from 2006. Changes include: new tests for gonorrhoea and chlamydia; changes to treatments available for vulvovaginal candidiasis (VVC) & bacterial vaginosis (BV); and new advice on combined hormonal contraception (CHC) and antibiotics.

BPAS website hacked

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service website has been the subject of attempted hacking.  A 27 yr old man has been arrested on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act.  In a statement issued today BPAS say that:

“Around 26,000 attempts to break into our website were made over a six hour period, but the hacker was unable to access any medical or personal information relating to women who had received treatment at bpas.”

America and abortion

17 Feb, 12 | by shellraine, e-Media Editor

America finds itself in the throes of abortion furore again – in real life and virtually.

In a case that could potentially have long term consequences (whatever the result) in the same way as the Roe v Wade landmark legal decision did in 1973 Jennie McCormack’s fight is set to make its way up through the US justice system. As a financially struggling, single mother of three she found herself in an impossible situation when she became pregnant last year.  What marks her case out particularly, among the many other tragic tales, is that she lives in Idaho and the only solution she could find to her dilemma was to try and terminate the pregnancy herself when she heard about mifepristone being available via the internet.  Many women find themselves in similar difficult situations, particularly in conservative, ‘bible-belt’ states in America, of trying to acquire a legal abortion with the many hoops required to achieve this and the costs involved. The added problem in Idaho is that it has a law which bans women from carrying out their own abortion, though this has never been enforced before. Though the case was dropped for lack of evidence she could still be prosecuted and her lawyer has taken the decision to try and prevent this by bringing a suit on her behalf claiming the law is unconstitutional. As well as hoping to protect Jennie, herself, from prosecution they hope to set a precedent so that other women in Idaho and other conservative states will be free to access treatment via the internet and not have to suffer the additional anguish inflicted on them by the current situation in the US. Not that this will stop the persecution she is experiencing at the hands of her neighbours in small town Pocatello where she has been ostracised and subjected to all kinds of abuse so that she has become virtually a prisoner in her own home.

In an strange twist of art imitating life it seems that she may have found an unexpected ally in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and for the uninitiated – mostly those who don’t have children – this is an award-winning, cult US TV series/feature film/computer game/comic strip phenomenen). She too finds herself pregnant and needing to access an abortion. As the Guardian newspaper highlighted last week: The new issue of the weekly Buffy comics sees Buffy taking some time off from staking vampires through the heart to deal with what publisher Dark Horse called “a rather personal problem”. The creator, Joss Whedon is quoted as saying he doesn’t usually get soapboxy but feels strongly the need to support the debate which is eroding a woman’s right to choose. This will bring home the dilemmas many women face in real life to a whole new audience and may facilitate some interesting parent/child TV dinner conversations.

Latest from JFPRHC

Latest from JFPRHC