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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Popular Teen TV Show To Claim Morning-After Pill Can Cause A Miscarriage

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Author Topic: Popular Teen TV Show To Claim Morning-After Pill Can Cause A Miscarriage
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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quote:

Tonight, the CW network will air an episode of Veronica Mars that is based on misleading right-wing claims about contraception. The show is about a young woman named Veronica Mars, who is both a college student and a part-time private investigator. This week, Veronica is hired by Bonnie, “a promiscuous classmate, to find out who secretly slipped her the morning after pill, causing her to have a miscarriage“:

The basis for tonight’s Veronica Mars episode is more than just an innocent factual error. It dangerously confuses the facts on women’s health and furthers incorrect right-wing claims.

The morning-after pill — also known as Plan B — is not an abortion drug. It is a form of emergency contraception that when “taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the two-pill series can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89 percent.” It cannot cause a miscarriage. Plan B works only when taken before a woman becomes pregnant.

While Plan B is now available over the counter to women ages 18 and older, it comes after three years of political stonewalling by the Bush administration. In 2003, a panel of independent advisers told the FDA that it “overwhelmingly backed nonprescription sales [of Plan B] for all ages.” But the Bush administration interfered and blocked Plan B sales in a pander to the right wing, which argues that the drug increases promiscuity.

Veronica Mars is extremely popular among young women, the very women who need accurate health information. E-mail Paul Hewitt, CW’s Director of Publicity, and tell him that CW needs to correct its information on emergency contraception.

UPDATE: In tonight’s episode, Bonnie makes clear that a friend slipped her RU-486, the abortion pill. But as of the show’s airing, CW’s website still lists the morning after pill as the cause of the character’s miscarriage.

I'd suggest writing a letter to ask for the website correction, as well as to discourage the producers from doing something like this again. The email for Mr. Hewitt is: paul.hewitt@cwtv.com

If you need an idea about what to write, here is the letter I sent:

quote:
Dear Mr. Hewitt,
It's been brought to my attention that an episode of Veronica Mars was to be aired which put forth patently false information about emergency contraception, and that the episode was changed, but your website, and the episode title, still contains this false information.

This is a critical issue. I counsel young women on sexuality, birth control and related issues as my job, all day, nearly every day. Many who ask about emergency contraception and in need of it are often reluctant to use it expressly because most of the information they see on EC/the MAP is patently false, based on political or religious agendas, rather than factual medical information.

The MAP cannot terminate an existing pregnancy, just as a week's worth of oral contraceptives cannot, because they act in the exact same method: they can only prevent pregnancy, via impeding fertilization or implantation. Once a pregnancy has already occurred, the MAP cannot perform that function: this is why it cannot be effective more than 120 hours after a risk.

I do not believe it is the job of television or entertainment to provide sound education, mainly because it often fails in doing so profoundly. However, I do believe it is the responsibility of those who create television to do their level best to be sure they are not enabling myth which can endanger or jeapordize the health or well-being of its viewers. This strikes me as a very real matter when it comes to a show which is known to have an audience of younger women, which is bringing up an issue like Plan B/EC.

I ask that you please correct the misinformation you included on your show, for the sake of your viewers who deserve support in making sound reproductive choices, and accurate information about those options. You may want to consider, in doing so, linking that correction to a widely-used source of sound information on the mode of actions of EC, and if so, I'd suggest the Princeton site: http://www.not-2-late.com

Thank you,
HEATHER CORINNA
Editor & Founder, Scarleteen.com
Author, S.E.X.: Spelling Out All You Need to Know About Your Sexuality



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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
wobblyheadedjane
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Heather, thanks for bringing that up here. I know myself, and a number of other posters here (if you see the TV addiction thread) are huge Veronica Mars fans - I've slowly been disillusioned with the way the show has been handling women's issues but this was a straw that is seriously making me rethink watching this show further. They haven't dealt with Veronica's season 1 rape in ANY way that was sensitive or indicated any sort of progress in her thought processes about it; season 3's first mystery arc was a horridly handled campus rape mystery that was for most of the season pinned on the 'insane feminist' group (who incidently FAKED a rape to further their cause which just... argh.)

I really find it hard to watch a show that I really used to enjoy pander to such terrible misinformation regarding women's rights in sexuality. Thanks for the link on how to contact people to express our displeasure.

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-Lauren-
Activist
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I'll be sending an email, as well.

I've never watched the show, as it's REALLY hard for me to get into the ones marketed towards young women, as the WB, now CW, makes a fortune off of. This serves to just be a reminder to me what sort of effect these shows can have.

[ 02-07-2007, 06:45 PM: Message edited by: Miss Lauren ]

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wobblyheadedjane
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The worst part is Lauren, is that the first season was very innovative and interesting - a Buffy the Vampire Slayer meet film noir detective films. Joss Whedon has been very outspoken in his support of the series and in fact, guesst starred on one episode. I think now that CW network fiends have the show by the bootstraps now regarding ratings, and that's led to a serious decline in the quality of the show overall, but the sloppiness has been VERY evident in women's issues, which should just not happen in a show that centers around a young woman coping with these kinds of issues in personal ways.

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Unlucky at cards; lucky at love.

Posts: 1679 | From: London, ON | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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