Women who have been injured by the birth control device, Essure, are planning a hunger strike to call attention to their meeting with the FDA on September 24, a meeting that they fear will be overshadowed by the Pope’s U.S. visit.
CNA.com is reporting on the strike which will be held by the women of “Essure Problems” a Facebook group of nearly 20,000 women who have experienced negative side effects from the intrauterine device (IUD) and want it off the market. The group managed to secure a meeting with the FDA to hear their complaints but have since learned that the Pope will be addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress on the same day, and will likely draw media attention away from their cause.
The Essure women believe this was deliberate on the FDA’s part.
“I was born and raised Catholic, and to use the Pope against us? That’s not ok,” said Angela Desa-Lynch, an administrator for the Facebook group, to CNA.
The FDA denies any concerted effort to divert attention from the women’s message about the dangers of Essure.
“The meeting was not timed in any way with the Pope’s address to Congress,” Deborah Kotz, a press officer for the FDA, told CNA in an e-mail interview.
“As an FYI, FDA announced the meeting date for Essure on June 24, and the Vatican announced the Pope’s itinerary for his U.S. visit on Tuesday, June 30.”
However, as CNA reports, the Pope’s September 24 address to Congress was made public as early as Feb. 5 of this year.
The FDA has already made it quite clear to Desa-Lynch and other members of the group that they have no intention of pulling the device from the market in spite of the fact that it has been linked to five deaths. In addition, the implantable coil has also caused perforated organs, coil migration, fetal disfigurement and death, nickel poisoning, chronic pain, and depression.
For this reason, the women of Essure Problems are not giving up the spotlight for such an important cause without a fight. They are planning to stage a hunger strike outside the FDA after their September 24 meeting.
“Hunger strikes have a 100 percent success rate,” Desa-Lynch told CNA. “It’s our only chance.”
The tactic worked for women’s suffrage in the early 20th century, and for Guantanamo Bay detainees in the 2000s. Desa-Lynch is hoping it it will work just as well for them.
“I’ve never been more ready and willing to go to jail or die for that matter. It’s sad that women’s health and safety is still not equal in 2015,” Desa-Lynch said. “Besides,” she added, “a hunger strike will show the FDA on the outside what their lack of action is already doing to our health on the inside.”
According to CNA, Erin Brokovich, a legal clerk and single mother made famous in a 2000 film about her life, is supporting, although not participating in, the hunger strike, and has a website dedicated to filing complaints against Essure.
“(This) isn’t just about Essure anymore. This is about anyone that’s fallen a victim or been hurt by a faulty FDA process, bad laws and lack of oversight,” Desa-Lynch said. “The FDA has too much blood on its hands to continue to be ignored.”
“I will stay there, I don’t care if I’m the last one there,” she added. “I’m not leaving until they listen to us.”
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