News roundup for February 2002

SPUC challenge morning-after pill…

BBC Report
Article on the morning after pill
Guardian report

The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, an anti-abortion group launched a legal protest against the morning after pill, arguing that the pill actually causes an abortion and therefore should not be sold over the counter to women. The argument hinges on the moment at which it is decreed that a woman becomes pregnant. The morning after pill prevents a fertilised egg implanting in the womb, so SPUC argue that a woman is pregnant since the egg is fertilised. Others argue that a woman becomes pregnant when the egg is implanted. It was reported in the news that the ruling could affect not just emergency contraception but the pill as well, forcing the government to bring in emergency legislation to ensure that the contraceptive pill doesn’t become illegal overnight. But I don’t think things will get that far – SPUC have no chance of banning the pill. Perhaps they should rename themselves ‘Society for the Protection of Fertilised Eggs’ anyway; seems more accurate in this case.

…as adverts go out promoting Levonelle…

BBC Report

Levonelle, the brand name of the morning after pill, was advertised this month in women’s magazines, pharmacies, GP surgeries and women’s toilets. On a black background, the ad says: “MISSED PILL. OOOOOPS. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION!!! QUICK. PHARMACY. BUY LEVONELLE…” Didn’t know Bridget Jones had gone into copywriting! v. good.

…and contraceptive pill may be sold over counter too.

Oral contraceptives are one of the drugs which the Medicines Control Agency are considering making more freely available. If these proposals go ahead, women would still go to the doctor for an initial consultation, but then could pick up the pills from any chemist and obtain them on the NHS. Yay!

Female friendly hotels: fruit teas and eye make-up remover

This is one of those things where I can’t decide whether it’s a good thing, or just incredibly offensive and stereotypical. Radisson hotel company is planning to introduce a “female-friendly” hotel in Leeds. Targeted at women, the hotels feature free eye make-up remover, fruit teas, tight security, healthy food, and (I almost spluttered my coffee over the computer when I read this) “an ironing board and iron in every room.” Ya gotta make the women feel at home haven’t you! Oh I know, I know, it’s instead of a trouser press. But is this just completely stereotypical or is it a good thing? Help!

Beauty Myth hits hardest on rich women?

BBC Report

A study based on Canadian women has apparently shown that women who live in wealthy neighbourhoods are more likely to have a poor body image. The author of the report said “This could be because women have greater access to reminders of the need to be thin, such as glossy magazines, weight loss centres and fitness studios, as well as clothes shops catering to a young and slim body shape.”

Will your employer compare male/female salaries?

BBC Report

Amicus, the UK’s second largest union, has written to 6,000 companies and employers asking them to carry out pay audits comparing male and female salaries. Apparently, most haven’t responded, and the names of those which don’t will be revealed, named and shamed on March 6. Check out if your employer is on there and them ask them why they refuse to participate…

Ireland to vote on abortion

Yahoo news report

In March, Ireland will have the chance to vote for whether the allow abortions in cases where women’s lives are endangered. The last referendum on this was in 1986, when voters strongly decided against ever legalizing it. Each year, an estimated 6,000 Irish women travel to England for abortions.