Nuvaring and Nuvaring lawsuit


Please see our “About,” “Why Radfem?” and “The Gears” pages for additional information about this project.

Common themes represented here:

Harm reduction/refusal to name the agent.  Personal injury lawsuits and recovering money for damages incurred due to defective consumer products and dangerous drugs are harm reduction only.  Lawsuits after the fact — assuming you receive any payout at all — might help you pay off your medical expenses or pay your rent if you are so disabled you can’t work; but lawsuits will not heal permanent injury or psychological trauma (or death) and will never give you back what you had before, which is your health, your time, and your life.

Marketing for Nuvaring in particular exploits the fact that the Pill is a pain in the ass and difficult for many women to use correctly because you have to take it every day.  Nuvaring is the “once a month” solution to the problem of repetitiveness, but repetitiveness is ultimately not the problem with any birth control regimen; the problem is dangerous male-centric sexuality that places girls and women in harm’s way.  The PIV-centric narrative normalizes reproductive harm and forces us to choose between the “lesser of two evils” (between the dangers of birth control versus the dangers of unwanted pregnancy) but never, ever clearly, directly identifies PIV as an “evil” or a source of harm, even though it clearly is.  No birth control product is 100% effective, and they all have side effects, so the contraceptive/PIV-related cost-benefit analysis is never a matter of avoiding reproductive harm — it’s a matter of mitigating it.

PIV-centric narrative — Normalize reproductive stress and pain.  Note the tone and content of the Nuvaring commercials, particularly with regard to disclosing the risks.  Not only are the nature of the risks minimized even though they are very serious (and include death!) but they are also made to seem very remote, and unlikely to happen to you as an individual consumer.  Also, a baseline level of reproductive stress and pain is assumed — women are not assumed to start from a baseline of zero reproductive stress and pain, which is only possible if you completely avoid PIV.

Frequently, risks associated with dangerous contraceptives are minimized — and normalized — by comparing those risks to the very considerable risks of pregnancy and childbirth (!) as if pregnancy and childbirth are completely unavoidable without the use of dangerous contraceptives.  And the incidence and prevalence of Nuvaring-related medical events are downplayed using “percentages” but when extrapolated by the millions of women who are using Nuvaring and any or all of these dangerous birth control methods, the fact that a large number of women and women as a sexual class will be harmed, even severely harmed, is known.  For example,

In a review article on contraceptive vaginal rings, published in Contraception in 2010, the authors describe two cases of deep vein thrombosis occurred in an open label study conducted in 72 women.  Several other studies have reported venous thrombotic embolisms.  In three other studies, totalling 1132 women studied, three incidents of deep vein thrombosis were reported.  In 2009, a Cochrane review  established a risk for deep vein thrombosis to be 149 in 100,000 (0.15%) for NuvaRing.  Though the risk seems low, when extrapolated to the estimated 1.5 million users of the NuvaRing, this is of great concern.

Support patriarchal institutions (medicine/religion/law).  Don’t stop having PIV and avoid reproductive harm altogether — NO!  Haves the PIV, utilize dangerous birth control products, and takes your chances — and spend a lot of time and money in doctors’ offices and filling prescriptions when you are as young and healthy as you are ever going to be.  Then, when a certain percentage of you are inevitably harmed by dangerous contraceptive drugs and medical devices, seek legal counsel and help the lawyers get giant fees so they can make their student loan payments and send their kids to patriarchal educational institutions — including law and medical school — on your dime, while you suffer permanent damage that no amount of money will ever heal.  Sound good?

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