Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 5 No. 2 | Summer 1983 (Seattle) /// Issue 4 of 24 /// Master# 4 of 24

The group is “ anti-physician” and “ essentially against any kind of contraceptive.” Sybil Shainwald is a New York attorney. She is also chairwoman of the National Women’s Health Network. Sybil laughed when to ld what Davis said. No Network attorney she knows of has written Davis any letters, vituperous or otherwise. And, the Network is not opposed to contraception. "We believe women should be aware of the risks of the kind of birth control they plan to use. W ith the pill we at least know the parameters of risk. W ith Depo we don’t. If you get a blood c lo t while you’re on the pill, you stop taking it. Depo stays in your system for a very long time .” Asked about Davis’ original proposal that the FDA give limited approval for Depo, Shainwald cringed. “ I t ’s abused now. If its approved what w ill happen? Why is it being used in a children’s hospital? Depo may be convenient, but it is not convenient if somebody gets breast cancer of suffers a serious side effect. We’re talking about giving a powerful hormone to healthy, young women. If Depo got lim ited approval only the most vulnerable women would get it. I t ’s r id icu lous.” In his 1978 testimony before a Congressional Select Committee on Population studying Depo, William N. Hubbard, president of Upjohn, stated: “ In the last analysis no accumulation of animal experience can substitute for direct observation in humans . . . The only clin ica l evidence yet to be accumulated is that which can only come w ith a large number of patients receiving the drug fo r general use over a very extended geriod of time.” If Depo is approved it is estimated in Upjohn’s own market studies that between 1.5 and 4 m illion women would sw itch from the ir present birth control method to “ the shot.” Assuming the shot costs the same in most c ities as it does in Seattle, $30 every three months a potential $180 m illion or more may be spent on Depo every year. “We believe women should be aware of the risks of the kind of birth control they plan to use. With the pill we at least know the parameters of risk. With Depo we don’t. The f irs t court date was set in Nardi’s lawsuit. Nardi’s attorney brought in some high-powered Seattle attorneys who had experience in such cases. One o f the partners handled Nardi’s case un til he died. She was passed to a jun io r associate. He le f t town and another attorney was handed the case. Judges in Clallam County, ■.-here Port Angeles is the county seat, d isqua lified themselves from hearing the case. They played g o lf with the doctors. The tr ia l was moved. The f irs t date was postponed. Then, in 1980, Nardi go t a ca ll from the Seattle law firm. Could she come into Seattle? They wanted to talk to her. Nardi sat across from the attorney handling her case and listened. The doctor's insurance company had found an expert witness, a foreign doctor who worked fo r Planned Parenthood and was in the U.S. to tes tify to the FDA in favor o f Depo. He was coming to Seattle and would appear at Nardi’s tria l to say there was noth ing wrong with Depo. You’re a nobody from Port Angeles, Nardi fe lt they were te lling her. You don ’t Mary Deaton is a freelance writer in Seattle active in the reproductive rights movement for 10 years. Salise Hughes is a Seattle artist whose work can currently be seen at Stone Press Gallery. Research assistance on this article was provided by Cathy Miller and Shelley Crites of Women For Reproductive Freedom, a Seattle organization. have a chance. You’re going to lose. We suggest you se ttle ou t o f court. Nardi was shaken. She wanted the whole world to know what happened to her. She wanted to get on the stand and te ll other women no t to use this aw ful drug. I t was so dangerous, she cou ldn ’t see how any doc to r w ith a conscience could prescribe it. But she also d idn ’t know how she was going to pay her medical b ills o f over $3,000. Nardi fe lt she had no choice. Nardi Townsend’s case was settled out o f court fo r $7,000. Her attorney took ha lf and ha lf paid her medical bills. Nardi go t nothing. She had fought so hard, so long. She s t i l l wanted to fight, bu t she d idn ’t know how. I t was several months later when she saw the notice in Mother Earth News: I f you ’ve ever used Depo, ca ll th is number. Nardi called. I t was the National Women’s Health Network. Her name was added to 500 others on a registry o f Depo victims. On January 10, 1983 while the Board o f Inquiry opened its Depo hearings, the Network announced i t was suing the Upjohn company fo r Nardi and a ll the others who have suffered from Depo Provera. 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