April 13, 2005


Just the Facts, Ma'am: Feminists Want to Ban Implants, Despite Evidence that They're Safe (Sally Satel, M.D., April 13, 2005, National Review)

Ever since women have been enlarging their breasts with implants, feminists have been upset. So predictably, today when an FDA advisory panel begins hearings to consider approval of silicone gel-filled breast implants, feminist health activists will urge them to reject the devices, claiming they are unsafe.

But the data emphatically do not justify their concerns. Study after study confirms silicone implants do not cause disease. Unfortunately women can't depend on groups like the National Organization for Women to give them the facts.

It is now 13 years since FDA Commissioner David Kessler imposed a voluntary moratorium on silicone implants, motivated by case reports that they caused connective tissue diseases (e.g., lupus, scleroderma). Within a few months, the ban was partly lifted for mastectomy patients--though the women had to agree to be tracked by the FDA in case there were complications.

Throughout the '90s, litigation against the silicon-implant industry flourished in the absence of any scientific proof that women were made ill. Dow Corning Corp., once the biggest implant makers, filed for bankruptcy in 1995 to pay a $3.2 billion to settle about 440,000 women's claims. Considering earlier successful lawsuits, the company chose to settle and thus limit its liability, lest it go out of business altogether. To date at least 20 studies show no evidence that implants--intact or broken--cause connective-tissue diseases. Many of these studies included women followed for an average of ten years after their implants, and some for up to three decades. No rigorously designed study showed any evidence of disease.

It's the myriad issues like this that make it so much fun to hear the Left complain about the Administration politicizing Science.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2005 3:54 PM

Not all implants are "for fun," as it were. When the original voluntary moratorium went into effect, it was opposed by breast cancer survivors, who need such things for reconstructive surgery. The MSM didn't report on that, as it got in the way of the Approved Narrative (valiant government regulators vs. greedy cancer-causing corporations).

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 13, 2005 4:03 PM

An associate of mine is an expert on this subject. Buried in the truckloads of Dow Chapter 11 paperwork is a most peculiar fact. Despite the evidence, the company settled 440,000+ claims from people who (may or may not have had) silicone implants. How many among them were from MEN who had silicone testicular implants? Zero.

Posted by: John Resnick at April 13, 2005 4:41 PM

Can't have people exercising freedom of choice, now, can we?

Posted by: bart at April 13, 2005 6:16 PM

You are right, sir. Such a ban would not stand. In sooth, it would droop like an ice cream cone on a hot day; wilt like a daisy in a dust bowl; slump like Michael Moore after consuming his fifth super-size Big Mac in one sitting; shrink like Johnny Depp's pupils after a long night at the Viper Room -- I can see the headline now: "Penis Implant Ban Goes Flat in House."

This was the sort of thing you were trolling for, yes? As an added bonus, you'll soon be #1 in Google searches for "Johnny Depp's Penis". You're welcome.

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 13, 2005 7:23 PM

Stories like that make me hope stories like the one last month about the Japanese breast-enlarging gum really do pan out. It will be fun to see feminists acting like elementary school teachers and demanding women caught chewing spit out their gum immediately.

Posted by: John at April 13, 2005 8:47 PM

So the pro-choice crowd thinks a woman's body is her own only below the chest?

Posted by: ras at April 13, 2005 8:50 PM

I suspect the difference is that silicone testicular implants are most likely sold silicon and therefore less likely to rupture.

Posted by: David Reeves at April 14, 2005 4:49 PM

ras is on to the contradiction. The "pro-choice" faction thinks that women have absolute autonomy over their bodies and that autonomy trumps all other considerations. Put on their FDA hats and the same people think that the autonomy is meaningless.

just shows that feminism consitst of 2 theories. 1. Women are identical to men. 2. women are very different than men. Which one they choose is solely a matter of convience.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at April 14, 2005 10:40 PM