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For your own safety

Here's a pretty old legacy post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 20 years ago, in 2004, on the World Wide Web.

Let’s take an informal review of some case studies in the political economy of medicine and public health.


Aspirin caused about 500 cases of Reye’s Syndrome in 1980, resulting in over 100 children’s deaths within one year.

Women and men use it to relieve headaches and minor pain.

In the 1980s, physicians launched a public education campaign to inform parents that they should never give aspirin to children. Competing drugs such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen were recommended for children’s use and over-the-counter pain-killers made specifically for children were brought onto the market. Because of widespread, responsible adult use, aspirin is still sold over the counter today.


in the first year after its introduction, Viagra caused heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease, and severe hypertension, resulting in 564 deaths worldwide within one year.

Men use it to help them get it up.

A collective shrug of the shoulders. Because of widespread, responsible adult use, Viagra is still prescribed without restriction by ordinary physicians, with a standard side effects warning.

Pregnancy and childbirth

a rewarding and widespread but dangerous process with health risks involving hemorrhage, sepsis, pregnancy-induced hypertension including preeclampsia and eclampsia, obstructed labor caused by cephalopelvic disproportion, iron-deficiency anemia, and gestational diabetes, among others, resulting in an estimated 500,000 women’s deaths, and 416 deaths in the U.S. alone, in 2001.

After men get it up and make a minor contribution, women use it to make babies.

It’s the will of Jesus.

Mifepristone (also known as RU-486)

Use of Mifepristone has resulted in somewhere between 1 and 3 deaths in the four years since approval.

Women use it for early term abortions, as an alternative to invasive surgical procedures, when they aren’t interested in making babies.

In spite of widespread, responsible adult use, distribution of Mifepristone is already heavily restricted; it is not available by prescription and stringent requirements are set on doctors who wish to make it available to their patients. The FDA imposed its most stringent level of safety labeling on it in light of the possibly related deaths; prominent Republican legislators are using the moment to push for special legislation to ban it.


Clearly the political agencies responsible for controlling what drugs you can or cannot take are motivated by the purest concern for your own safety, and not by political pressure. This has nothing to do with abortion politics and it has nothing to do with sexuality or gender. Move along citizen, there’s nothing to see here.

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Anticopyright. This was written in 2004 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.