• cpolis

    From the point of view of someone who works in contraceptive research, I can understand (some of) these frustrations (others I disagree with completely), and am glad to see a piece raising attention to some of these issues. At the same time, I am frustrated when people loosely throw around the term “medical industry” and cast harsh accusations towards the people involved in that “industry” – which I see happening an awful lot.

    In this article, for example, it is posited that it is due to “social assumptions and stereotypes” that obese women and others are excluded from medical research. While we should continually use a critical lens to examine which key populations are underrepresented in studies, we might want to simultaneously recognize the context in which some contraceptive research occurs: not always with a boatload of research dollars, which translates to smaller study budgets, potentially less ability to recruit diverse populations, smaller sample sizes, and less ability to obtain a final dataset that includes a sufficient number of individuals of every conceivable permutation (race, age, weight, socioeconomic status, health status, etc.), translating to a limited ability to definitively know a given product works for each kind of person. To the best of my understanding (though it’s still not entirely clear) the recent finding on obesity seems to have emerged as a result of a meta-analysis of data that pooled together existing smaller datasets, allowing a larger number of “types” of individuals to be assessed.

    I also appreciate the point made by Amber below, which points out the extremity of equating a medical provider needing to remove an IUD with women being stripped of their reproductive agency. I think it’s fair to say that that’s a bit over the top. But the nugget of truth that you raise is that more long-term, women-controlled contraceptive devices ARE needed. Consider that the folks working to bring those devices to you might benefit from your constructive criticism, particularly if backed up by elbow grease to help improve the situation.

    For example, I’m sure you know that participation in research is voluntary, and that a (historically justified!) distrust of the medical community is more prevalent in certain communities. So, rather than assuming that folks in the “medical industry” whom you are accusing of “negligent disregard” (!) are systematically excluding certain people because they are bigoted, evil scientists, perhaps you can work with them to improve engagement with and outreach to underserved, understudied populations to help them understand why their participation in research is important to science and the world. Or, you could use your excellent writing and advocacy skills to help the “medical industry” to spread the word (which, trust me, they are trying VERY HARD to do) that IUDs are more effective as EC than EC pills. Or, you could help advocate for increased funding for contraceptive research, so trials are better situated to collect robust information.

    In my opinion, those kinds of activities would better serve (y)our purposes than unfairly dehumanizing the many good people who work tirelessly to provide information about and access to products that all women of all shapes, colors, sizes, geographic locations, socioeconomic classes etc. can use to control the course of their (reproductive) lives.

    • Arekushieru

      Perhaps they should be doing the outreach themselves? Perhaps THAT was the point? Why should those who are historically justified (as YOU, yourself, put it, I should remind) in distrusting the medical community be the ones to affect change? Is the medical community too lazy to do so? Just because they are trying very hard doesn’t mean they are trying the right way, after all. And many of these minorities and even their own clientele are less financially comfortable than they are.

      And the medical community, once it HAS affected change, would probably be considered more inclusive if they actually targeted their advertising AT minority populations, rather than just doing the same thing over and over, again, then blaming lack of funding or apathy in those selfsame minority populations for the disparity. It’s the same problem many women encountered. They need safe spaces, but they should NOT be the ones required to create them. Kthx.

      Finally, just because the medical community does not ‘intend’ to be exclusive, it doesn’t mean that their lack of effort to BE inclusive are not contributing to and affected by the politics of exclusivity. It’s much the same with racism, after all.

  • Guest

    Actually, both you and the author are incorrect. The IUD does NOT require a medical provider for removal. They tell you it does, and there may be some safety issues if you do it yourself, though I can’t see what those could possibly be, but it it is not only possible but incredibly simple to remove by yourself and I know many women who have done so after having problems with it.

    Personally, I think the implication women are too stupid to pull on a cord is the most limiting and ridiculous bit of the whole “must be removed by a doctor” nonsense.

  • Bonzai

    Both you and the author are incorrect. The IUD does NOT require a medical provider for removal. They tell you it does, and there may be some safety issues if you do it yourself, though I can’t see what those could possibly be, but it it is not only possible but incredibly simple to remove by yourself and I know many women who have
    done so after having problems with it. I know a few others who have had it simply fall out on its own, too.

    Personally, I think the implication women are too stupid to pull on a cord is the most
    limiting and ridiculous bit of the whole “must be removed by a doctor”
    nonsense.

    • Arekushieru

      Um, if it needs to be inserted, medically, it also needs to be removed, medically. I’ve heard of women who caused injury to themselves by doing that. Either because their uterus was too small, the cord disappeared, or because of other issues. So, why are you ignoring those women, again?

      There IS a reason that people are told not to pull out items lodged in their skin, because it might injure them more than the insertion did, y’know?

    • Sarah B

      the COPPER IUD is inserted at the base of your fallopian tubes… I don’t know anybody who is able to reach up, past their cervix, through the uterus,and into the base of the fallopian tubes in order to remove the copper coils.

  • superlizzard

    there are soo many problems with this, i don’t even know where to start, but he one thing i have to bitch about is the continuing use of bmi for anything all it is is a height/weight ratio even if they narrowed the issue down to “excess body fat” bmi would still be useless, because it has nothing to do with determining body fat percentages im over 176 lbs, my bmi is 30.6, and i am not obese would ec work for me? i have no idea the problem is, nobody does they are just assuming that ‘x>176lbs’ equals “obese”, and it doesn’t i’m overweight, yes, but not by that much i have a very stocky build, a lot of muscle, and am extremely busty the medical field’s continued reliance on bmi ratios to determine obesity is disturbing to me, as it demonstrates a bias against anyone that doesn’t fit the cookie cutter mold of what they’ve decided to call “normal”, and biases in the medical field can easily become deadly fortunately for me, it has yet to be an issue i use long term contraceptives, and medical providers generally have told me not to worry about my weight; that ten or fifteen extra pounds is no big deal but there are women who don’t have the same good fortune, and they will most likely suffer a great deal over this nonsensical attitude about weight >:(

  • sometimesdee

    If the medical provider refuses to remove the IUD, it does indeed strip the woman of her reproductive agency.

    • Abbé Faria

      And do you have you any evidence that has ever happened? (Edited for spelling)

    • Mindy McIndy

      I had a nurse practitioner try to refuse to remove my IUD when it was causing me terrible pain and bleeding. I told her that if she didn’t take it out, I would rip it out myself. Then she tried to scare me away from getting back on Depo Provera, saying that I would bleed for months on it and have even worse problems. (I did not.) So finally, after over an hour of crying and pleading ,she took it out. Oh, and I was also lied to about it when they put it in, being told that the same drug in Depo is what is in the Mirena IUD. I found out it was a lie the hard way.

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