Wednesday, 28 September 2016

"A Bad Precedent"? You Betcha!

Some follow-up to my post yesterday about the bungling around the approval of Mifegymiso (abortion pill) for inclusion in taxpayer-funded provincial healthcare plans.

The Globe and Mail is still on the story.

It seems that when Mifegymiso's manufacturer, Celopharma, began the long and winding (and politically stymied? remember, there were CONservatives in charge then) process, there were no costs associated with the Common Drug Review.
[Paula Tenenbaum, president of Celopharma] said that when the company began the Health Canada application process in late 2011, the Common Drug Review – which is a separate process, not run by Health Canada – was offered at no cost to pharmaceutical companies. “As a result, we did not budget for the $72,000,” she said. The company asked for a fee reduction or a two-year payment plan, but that proposal was rebuffed.

The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), which oversees the Common Drug Review, confirmed the fees only came into effect in September of 2014. (Ms. Tenenbaum said the full process would actually cost between $100,000 and $150,000; CADTH disagreed and reiterated the $72,000 figure.)

Brent Fraser, the vice-president of pharmaceutical reviews for CADTH, said on Tuesday that giving Celopharma a break on the fees could set a bad precedent.
Here's the short version of drug approval works in Canada.

First, a new drug has to go through Health Canada's Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB), where it is assessed for safety, quality, and effectiveness.

How long does this take? Well, it's hard to say from the website's blah-blah.
HPFB has set internationally competitive performance targets for its conduct of reviews. The length of time for review depends on the product being submitted and the size and quality of the submission, and is influenced by HPFB's workload and human resources.
This part of the ordeal was finally completed and the good news reported in July 2015.

Then Health Canada issues a monograph detailing who may prescribe it, with what training, and other restrictions. That link is from April this year, when abortion providers were getting worried about the folderol being proposed.

But getting provincial healthcare plans to pay for it is a whole other regulatory nightmare.

And of course, Quebec is slightly different.

Here's how it works in Quebec.

Authorization from Health Canada is the first step common to both Quebec and the rest of Canada.

In the rest of Canada, new non-cancer drugs go to Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) for what is called a Common Drug Review (CDR). Cancer drugs go to the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review.
In Quebec, both cancer and non-cancer drugs go to the Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS).

Expert committees evaluate the new drugs.

If the drug’s therapeutic value has been established, INESSS then evaluates the drug based on four criteria: reasonableness of price charged; cost-effectiveness ratio; impact on the health of the population; effect on the basic prescription drug insurance plan.

Then provincial health departments decide whether to include it. In Quebec, the article notes, sometimes politicians have over-ridden recommendations to include very expensive drugs.

So. Celopharma entered the labyrinth in 2011 and budgeted based on the rules at the time. Health Canada took its sweet time to approve a drug that has been in use in France for 30 years and in the US for over 15 years.

Meanwhile, the independent agency, CADTH, that must review it before provincial healthcare plans will pay for it, slaps on some whopping big fees.

And CADTH can't give the company a break because it would "set a bad precedent."

The rules were changed in the middle of the game -- a game that Celopharma had zero control over -- and there's no relief offered?

This seems unfair to say the least.

There's got to be a way around this. In Australia, a Real Feminist PM, Julia Gillard simply ordered that the drug be listed on its taxpayer funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

I realize that things are done differently here, but surely our globally touted FeministPM™, with his gender-balanced cabinet and other meaningless fripperies of respect for women and their rights, could bloody well do something.

Unless of course this whole schmozzle has been engineered as a sleight-of-hand slap in the face to Canadian women, while keeping the Blue Liberals onside.

Whaaaat? I hear you say. Liberals saying one thing and doing another?????????

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Abortion Access? Another slap in the face for Canadians

Gee. You'd almost think that the gynoticians politicians don't want women to access the abortion pill, widely touted to improve access for people living in the wide swaths of remote, rural, and medically underserved Canada.

The Globe and Mail reported yesterday.
When the gold standard in medical abortion drugs finally becomes available in Canada later this year, the $300 cost of the pills will not be covered by most provincial drug plans, The Globe and Mail has learned.

The company that makes Mifegymiso has bowed out of an essential step on the path to public reimbursements for new drugs over the $72,000 price tag for a standard review of the medication’s cost effectiveness.

Provincial governments everywhere but Quebec say the company’s decision is preventing them from adding the two-drug abortion regimen to their list of publicly funded drugs, meaning women will have to reach into their own wallets or rely on private insurance to pay for Mifegymiso.
This "essential step" is called the Common Drug Review.

Today the Globe published an editorial.
Already the victims of Health Canada’s glacial bureaucracy, and of its paternalistic view of their ability to safely administer prescription drugs to themselves, Canadian women waiting to be able to use the most commonly prescribed medical abortion treatment in the world woke up to a fresh slap in the face on Monday.
The editorial recalls the ridiculously long and tortured approval process in Canada and points out that RU486, or mifepristone, has been available since 1987 in France, since 2000 in the US.

The writers also note that abortion is a common medical procedure, with surgical abortion being delivered at no cost as part of taxpayer-funded Medicare.

This latest bad news – that women will have to pay for a medical treatment to which they have a right – is the last straw. Ottawa should find a way to waive the cost of the Common Drug Review and make Mifegymiso available for free as quickly as possible.

Want to see how a Feminist PM™ handled this situation?

Like this.

Julia Gillard's last act as prime minister included signing off on cabinet approval for slashing the cost of abortion pill RU486 to as little as $12.

Listing the abortion drug on the taxpayer-funded Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will see the price of a medical abortion in Australia drop from up to $800 to just $12 for concession card holders from August 1.

Women not eligible for concessions will pay around $70 under the PBS.

This is what a Feminist PM™ looks like.


This is what a Fake Feminist PM™ looks like.



UPDATE: Rules changed on fees for Common Drug Review during the process.

Friday, 23 September 2016

On "Conscientious Objection," But Mostly on Pseudonymity

I was going to blog about a new commentary about "conscientious objection" in medicine. (Link to the full, very readable paper.)
Authorities should bar doctors from refusing to provide such services as abortion and assisted death on moral grounds, and screen out potential medical students who might impose their values on patients, leading Canadian and British bioethicists argue in a provocative new commentary.
I remembered that lawsuit launched back in 2015 by the whackadoodle group calling themselves the Christian Medical and Dental Society against the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario over a new requirement that doctors refer patients for services their precious consciences and medieval paternalism wouldn't let them even contemplate.

I remembered that Joyce Arthur of Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada had neatly and completely eviscerated their whiney self-justifications in a piece titled "Christian doctors angry they can no longer abandon their patients."

Then I remembered that I had said everything I have to say about the issue here.
I think any doctor refusing to participate in modern, non-judgemental medicine should have his or her license yanked or else shunted into a specialty or practice where they have nothing to do with lady parts.

Dermatology or podiatry would be good.
In that post, I reported on my attempt on Twitter to get the Christian doctors and dentists (WTF are dentists doing in there? "Sorry, madam, but my conscience demands that you must continue to carry that rotten molar until its natural demise"?) to make public a list of their members so that sane people could stay the hell away from them.

Well. As I reported the next day, a shitstorm ensued.

I was accused of trying to "out" the good doctors (and dentists, don't forget the dentists). Um, yeah, I was, in the interests of informing potential patients.

And I was accused of hypocrisy (spelled correctly for a change) in asking for their names from behind a PSEUDONYM!

The gang over at ProWoman/ProForcedPregnancy got particularly pissy about it, two commenters going so far as to imply that my intent was to "target" the doctors (and dentists, don't forget the dentists) for some kind of hostile action.

That second blogpost I wrote is called "FFS: Near Defamation (Is That a Thing?)." (I concluded that it probably wasn't.)

A condescending commenter at PWPFP said:
Hello Fern Hill,
I’m a lawyer, and I agree with you, this does not appear to be a case of defamation.
However, if you chose to pursue any type of litigation, you would of course have to do it in your personal capacity, using your legal name. Your association with your pseudonym “Fern Hill” and your association with your blog DammitJanet, would become permanent public record.
Kind regards,
Faye Sonier
(Please note, of course, that the comments above are not provided as legal advice.)
Ooooh. Who's threatening whom there? My legal name and my blog would become associated in the "permanent public record"!!!!

This wasn't and still isn't new. The fetus freaks are obsessed with my practice of pseudonymity. I've been chided in comments here at DJ! I've been repeatedly called "anonymous" by various anti-choicers, including those at LieShite and WeNeedALawLikeAHoleInTheHead. Over at the Amateur Statistician's I am "Fake Person" with my own label. SUZY ALLCAPSLOCK, whose hilarious blog is now sadly private (come back, SUZY, we miss you!), also had a kick at the pseudonymous fern hill can. Mrozek at PWPFP has invited me TWICE to meet for coffee. (I declined politely, of course.)

They are really really peeved that they don't know my real name.

I can't help but wonder: Why? What would they do with that information? Inform my employer? (Ha. As a member of the precariat, I have clients, not an employer. Would they try to track them all down?) Inform the world of my address and phone number, you know, in case someone wanted to send me a personal message or a nice gift?

Or maybe they have in mind merely a friendly, in-person and upfront "discussion."


Their obsession used to bother me. A little. It doesn't anymore.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Waaaaah! Grifters Whine about "Prolife" Cheapskates

This is amusing. Fetus-freak grifters complain about anti-choice cheapskates. (Bold mine, italics in original.)

The number of Americans who self-identify as pro-life is very high, and most of them are philanthropic. In fact, about sixty million adults who give to some sort of cause also share a pro-life worldview. However, only about one in six of those generous adults engage financially in efforts to end abortion. And among those who do support the cause monetarily, the estimated contribution per adult is less than one hundred dollars per year.
More whinging:
These ardent supporters of preborn children and their families are apparently not interested in financially supporting efforts to end abortion.
They did a survey to find out why.

The most popular personal reason why a self-identifying abortion opponent does not donate to a pro-life organization is they are not entirely certain their pro-life worldview is correct.
Hee. "Not entirely certain."

More reasons (bold mine, typo in original).

Organization-related reasons for not donating included the perception of pro-life organizations as too extreme, rabid, of [sic] fanatical. Others viewed pro-life organizations as too old-school or out-of-touch, and respondents also reported not finding an organization with which they fully identified, lacking confidence in organization leaders, and lacking passion for the organizations themselves.

But the best reason is actually rather comforting (italic in original).

Curiously, a strong majority of pro-life believers who eschew financial support of pro-life organizations consider children the most important cause to support financially.

Curiously? "Extreme, rabid, fanatical" grifters whose purpose is to shame women who have sex are surprised that saner "pro-life" people prefer to donate their dough to ACTUAL children in need.

"Out of touch"? You betcha.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Small Mercy: There Could Be More Fake Clinics in Canada

According to Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), there are about 180 fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres, in Canada.

DJ! is committed to exposing them as liars, manipulators, and cheats.

They exist solely to dissuade Canadians from excercising their constitutional right to bodily autonomy. They are discriminatory and seek to limit and stigmatize our legal right to abortion.

We will do everything we can to deny them public money and to force them to adhere to regulations on truth and confidentiality.

A sample of recent posts:

Yet again, we have proof that they lie about their services and about the risks of abortion.

We found evidence that they breach "client" confidentiality.

We've uncovered the fact that they apply for and receive public money from provincial gaming foundations in at least three provinces: Alberta, BC, and previously did in Ontario as well (snerk).

Most recently, we've been delving into government grants and found that several fake clinics get federal funding to train apprentice liars under the Canada Summer Jobs program.

Well, I suppose we should be grateful that we have only 180 of these outfits in Canada. There are more than 4,000 of them in the US. And yesterday, it was reported that in Texas a fake clinic will be getting state funds intended for women's health programs!!!!
The anti-abortion nonprofit set to receive a $1.6 million grant through the state’s new women’s health program plans to dole out funds to an anti-abortion pregnancy counseling center that currently offers no medical services.

As Canada is about one-tenth the size of the US, using the usual math, we should have one-tenth the number of fake clinics, or about 400 of them.

I was curious about the ratio of fake clinics to population and so had another look at ARCC's PDF of its recent study of their websites.

By province, here's where they are:
Alberta 20
British Columbia 27
Manitoba 6
New Brunswick 10
Newfoundland 1
Nova Scotia 4
Ontario 85
Quebec 17
Saskatchewan 6

What jumps out is that little New Brunswick, with a 2011 census population of just over 750,000 people, has TEN.

Guess what? If all of Canada had that ratio of lying liars to population, we'd have 446 fake clinics.

So, while there have been recent victories in New Brunswick, there's obviusly a lot more to do there.

And, as we work to make sure that Canada NEVER goes down the path of significant public funding for fake clinics, we can be quietly, Canadianly glad that we don't have nearly the number of nutters the US does.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Fetal Gore Impact Study FAIL

Back here I promised to have at the "study" commissioned by the Fetal Gore Gang that tries to deliver on its long-standing claims that shoving gory images in people's faces does anything but make them recoil and occasionally toss chocolate milk.


Here is the announcement of the study's birth.

The study titled A Statistical Analysis on the Effectiveness of Abortion Victim Photography in Pro-life Activism was commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR). The CCBR developed a survey — administered by the independent company Blue Direct — which targeted the population of geographic areas in which CCBR campaigns had been run using abortion victim photography. With a sample size of more than 1,700 respondents, the survey results are sufficient to gauge public opinion within a five-point margin, the study claims.

Link to PDF for them's as like to look for themselves.

The PhD in need of a few bucks author of the report is Jacqueline Harvey. Among her credentials: U.S. Policy Analyst for Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International, team member at Charlotte Lozier Institute (anti-choice wannabe answer to prestigious Guttmacher Institute), and featured for-hire false witness.

'Nuff said there.

The independent company mentioned in the LieShite quote is Blue Direct.

It's based in Alberta and it pitches itself thus:
As a results oriented company, we’ll work with you while continuously testing and tweaking what we’re doing to ensure you get the best results.
I read the "study" (twenty minutes I'll never get back). My eyes were already crossed by the biased language and idiosyncratic categories when I got to page 20 and saw this table.



First, just try to make any sense of that. "Cultural impact" is a thing? Not in any sociology textbook I can find. Also "cultural impact" heading has some numbers, but the footer has some other numbers.

"Pro-life percentage points gained"? Is that like IQ points lost trying to make sense of this scientifically and statistically illiterate word salad?

And the "points gained" is 1.20% and the MOE of the study is acknowledged at 5%?

Moronic.

The take-away: This is why Real Science™ requires peer review.

The conclusion: Come back, Fetal Gore Gang, when you can get this kind of crap published in a real scientific journal.

Fake Clinics Use Federal Money to Fund Summer Jobs for Apprentice Liars

A few days ago, we reported on fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres, getting government funding.

We wondered what programs these lying liars could possibly qualify for.

So we went looking.

It's tremendously tedious but possible.

One has to search by department or agency.

We went to Service Canada looking for organizations that have received funding and found this or the downloadable/searchable PDF.

Golly gee, in 2015 the Canada Summer Jobs program gave our money to four fake clinics in Alberta.

Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre: $12,782 (2 jobs)

• Lethbridge Pregnancy Care Centre: $5,817 (1 job)

• Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre Society: $6,038 (1 job)

• Cochrane Pregnancy Care Centre: $3,766 (1 job).

Congratulations, Canadian taxpayers. You/we funded five students just in Alberta just in one year to learn to lie to and manipulate pregnant people at religious fake clinics.

We looked further. The Calgary fake clinic has been receiving federal money to fund summer jobs every year since at least 2010, starting then at $11,000, going up to the present $12,782 (inflation?).

But we're just getting started.

We have identified 22 other fake clinics taking federal money to create summer jobs, some, like the Calgary gang, for several years.

We'll be delving into those in future posts, as time allows. (We do have to make a living. No taxpaying chumps are funding this research.)

Friday, 9 September 2016

Shock and Gore: The Plan to Shove Yucky Images in ALL Our Faces

Chances are, if you've seen a disgustingly gory anti-choice ad, truck, postcard, billboard, or display, the Fetal Gore Gang is behind it.

DJ! has covered their various stunts, most recently, their efforts to force city buses to carry their deliberately deceptive ads.

The gang runs the ongoing Genocide Awareness Project, an incredibly offensive campaign -- often foisted on university campuses -- that draws direct comparisons between abortion and the Holocaust and lynchings and slavery of Black people in the US.

They were behind the gory postcards shoved into people's mailboxes during the last election.

In 2012, they announced with great fanfare that they were co-opting the Canadian pro-choice icon,The Abortion Caravan, though their rendition consisted of not quite a caravan but a single vehicle, dubbed by sane people the FetusMobile.

Tragically, the FetusMobile somehow got lost on its way to its grand finale at Ottawa's Canada Day celebration. It just never appeared and no explanation was offered.

And don't forget the "Reproductive Choice Campaign" that contributes to global warming by driving big-ass gore-covered trucks aimlessly around, usually in Calgary, where they're based.

So, we wondered, is there a plan behind all the gore glorification? Is there something more going on than that 10-year-old boy who ripped his bandaid off to show squealing girls his giant owie?

Apparently. At their site, there's a 26-page PDF from 2011 detailing the plan to "End the Killing". (Har.)

(PDFs are a pain to cut and paste from, so please excuse screen shots.)

Under "Methods" (which is a bit of a misnomer; it should be titled "Justifications"), the document states that two "fundamental truths" underlie their activities.

1. Canadians don't know what abortion is. We believe it is something like a Brazilian wax, but paid for by Medicare.

2. Canadians won't "understand" what the gang wants them to understand unless it's shoved in their faces.

To fix this, under "Goals" (p. 3), they plan to shove yucky faked-up photos in all our faces. On a schedule.



Under "Bypassing the Gatekeepers" (p. 4), they acknowledge that sane Canadians, the vast majority of whom are perfectly content with the lack of abortion laws, really really don't want such shit shoved in our faces. Of course, they call this sensible reaction to egregious gore "censorship."




In the "Conventional Advertising" section (p. 17), they claim censorship again in what is really just advertisers and media companies preferring NOT to disgust and alienate their readers/viewers.



Note also that they intend to use "vague messaging."

Throughout, the document is positively gleeful about how "controversial," "shocking," and "graphic" they intend the campaign to be.

And in that, at least, they've been successful. There have been lots of media stories about peoples' reactions to these bullying tactics.

Too bad other antichoice organizations are not so keen on shocking, graphic controversy.



Imagine that. Even more mainstream fetus freaks recognize that scaring children and disgusting normal people is not the way to win hearts and minds.

Regular people are fighting back with a petition calling on the Government of Canada to create limitations on what gore can be shoved into our unwitting faces.

The Fetal Gore Gang continues to insist -- on no evidence whatsoever -- that such bullying "works."

To answer their critics who've been saying "Oh yeah? Prove it" for years, they've recently commissioned a "study" which I intend to have at later. I'll put a link up here when it's done. It's done.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Public Money for Fake Clinics (An ongoing series)

Here at DJ! one of our aims is to defund and disrupt the operations of fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres (CPCs).

Their outrageous lies, manipulation, sneakiness, and slut-shaming are well documented. They've been around a long time in North America and are somewhat cannier here than they used to be thanks to relentless investigations.

But they're relatively new in Ireland, where just a few days ago, a counsellor at a CPC in Dublin was caught on tape telling an undercover reporter that abortion causes breast cancer. (It does not, in case that needs saying again.)

Of course in a "free" country, people can believe whatever they want and proselytize however they want.

What we object to is their unregulated and blithe lying while receiving public funding.

Today in our desultory ongoing series on public money for lying liars, we begin our reports on investigations into Ontario fake clinics.

Using the Canadian Revenue Agency's handy public listing of CPCs that have charitable status (65 of them! more than abortion facilities in Canada), we've been focussing on fake clinics that report government funding.

Many report smallish grants from regional or municipal governments. I don't much care about those. If the good people of Whereverville know about and are cool with their hard-earned tax dollars supporting these liars, fine by me. (As long as it's not MY region or municipality.)

What concerns me is federal and provincial money going to these outfits.

And one really stands out in that regard: the Haldimand Pregnancy Care Centre.

For the past five years, HPCC has reported federal funding every year.

2015: $7298
2014: $3762
2013: $3953
2012: $4069
2011: $3983

There are no further details on which federal programs this gang could possibly qualify for.

Let's take a closer look at 2015.

Its total revenue was $376,345, which is pretty rich for these operations.




Oddly, all of its expenses ($350,592) were listed as "other," with nothing for "charitable program" or fundraising.



It reported $215,803 spent on compensation and $66,889 on occupancy cost.



It boasts two locations. One in Dunnville (population as of 2011: 5,789), the other in Caledonia (2011 population: 9,999). For comparison purposes, Hinton, AB, with a population of 9,640, has a fake clinic with 2015 revenue of just under $120K.

Haldimand Pregnancy Care seems to suck up a lot of peculiarly accounted-for money.

And oh yeah, it is Christian. Its mission is “Building Families Through The Love Of Christ”.

As blogging is often a collaborative effort, we invite any interested and/or knowledgeable readers to help us identify what federal programs these liars are getting dough from. And what kind of political clout they might have.