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I came across this article about six weeks ago, when the early-draft Supreme Court ruling on abortion was leaked. Because of other news, and since the Court hadn’t officially made its decision, I held off writing about. But Rachel Maddow did a story on it the other day, and had the Dutch woman behind it all on as a guest, and since the Supreme Court has now overturned Roe v. Wade, I scrounged through my notes to bring it back up. You likely know about it at this point, but it’s still worth addressing.
It's an organization called Aid Access, based in Austria that was started by Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician who in 2020 Time magazine listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. At that time, it was largely because of her fight for abortion rights and her Women on Waves “abortion boat” that would anchor off coasts in international waters, providing abortions to women who couldn’t obtain them.
What Aid Access does (and has since 2018) is provide abortion pills over the Internet. As the Agence France-Presse article notes, the organization “has been working with physicians to fill requests in the 20 US states where abortion pills can be legally prescribed by telemedicine.
“For requests from the other states, Gompert's group has exploited a legal loophole to send the pills from abroad.”
Even before the Court ruling, demand had been high in the United States. Indeed, in just over a years, Aid Access got over 45,000 requests from the U.S. alone.
There are other places one can order abortion pills over the Internet, but they are purely commercial. Aid Access provides medical care and also works with people depending on what they can afford to pay.
It’s clearly not anything close to a substantial solution. As Gomperts notes, "The biggest problem is that the women that are not literate, that cannot read and write, that have no access to internet -- the most impoverished group -- they will not be able to find these solutions," But it’s a fascinating start.
It’s an interesting article, and if you want to know more, here’s the full story.
Tweet of the Day
The New York Times reports on a small study where all rectal cancer patients given a certain pill were cancer-free. Though the sample size was tiny (just 18 patients), the study was significant enough to be presented in the New England Journal of Medicine (one of my dad’s two favorite publications he read.)
In the Times article, they said that despite the small sample “the results were unbelievable”.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” said Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Alan P. Venook, who studies colorectal cancer at the UC, San Francisco, worked on the study. He said he was certain it was the first time ever this had happened, that total remission in every patient is "unheard-of." One woman has been cancer free for two years.
The report says the treatment unmasks cancer cells, allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them.
The larger point is that it shows what researchers are dealing with and what they’ve discovered today. So, clearly it’s something that they are working for building towards other cancers.
Side Note: I know this is *NOT* because of Joe Biden -- but it's worth noting that he has made curing cancer his major issue since he was VP...and has been ridiculed for it by conservatives. But science & research -- and support -- is A Good Thing.
Here's the full article.
Getting a Boost
There's a very good and comprehensive article in today’s Washington Post on whether to boost again now or later. You can read it here.
But if you don't want to read the whole thing or can't access the paper, I mainly note this for one particular passage which I found the most interesting. And comforting –
“The decision about when, whether and who to boost has also been complicated by imperfect data. A widely quoted CDC study showed that protection against severe illness from three shots waned over four months, from 91 percent to 78 percent.
“What was lost in the messaging was that those who had been vaccinated for more than four months in that study were primarily people with poorly functioning immune systems, who typically respond less well to vaccination. When the data was instead limited to people with functioning immune systems, there was little evidence that protection against hospitalization was waning among people 65 and older, according to data presented by Ruth Link-Gelles, part of the CDC’s Epidemiology Task Force at a federal advisory committee meeting this month.”
The House of Stewart
The show writes that “We don’t want to send the message that criticizing us on Twitter is a ticket to the podcast...but that’s what climate reporter Kendra Pierre-Louis did, and now here she is. Kendra had some issues with our climate episode on Apple TV+, so Jon invited her on for a conversation. And just like our planet, things heated up—insofar as you can call a thoughtful exchange of ideas ‘heated up.’ Jon is also joined by writers Rob Christensen and Tocarra Mallard to talk about Twitter trolls, beard maintenance, and the importance of a steady government job.”
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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