Pros and Cons of Abortion, Obesity as a Disease, and Prescription Drug Ads Debated at ProCon.org

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Source: Wake Forest University, “Student Health Service,” www.shs.wfu.edu (accessed June 11, 2014)

ProCon.org, America’s largest provider of free pro and con research on controversial issues, has updated and expanded its information on the controversial health topics of abortion, obesity, and prescription drug advertising to consumers.

These three health topics explore the core questions: “Should abortion be legal?,” “Is obesity a disease?,” and “Should prescription drugs be advertised directly to consumers?

Should abortion be legal?

ProCon.org researchers have presented an extensive background, 30 pro and con arguments (citing 150+ sources), and 31 quotes from authoritative sources including the United Church of Christ (pro), the Republican Party (con), the Democratic Party (pro), and the National Association of Evangelicals (con). The project also features views on abortion from the 10 largest Christian denominations and five largest non-Christian religious groups.

Did You Know?

  • From Roe v. Wade in 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million legal abortions were performed in the United States – an average of about 1.4 million abortions per year. At 2008 abortion rates, three in ten US women will have an abortion before age 45.
  • Although the Catholic and Lutheran churches oppose abortion, more of their members believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases versus illegal in all or most cases (51% vs. 45%, Lutheran; 48% vs. 45%, Catholic).
  • A woman’s risk of dying from having an abortion is 0.6 in 100,000, while the risk of dying from giving birth is around 14 times higher (8.8 in 100,000). The mortality rate of a colonoscopy is more than 40 times greater than that of an abortion.
  • 8.5% of abortions reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 were undergone by women who had three or more previous abortions.
  • More US state abortion restrictions were enacted between 2011 and 2013 (205 in total) than were adopted during the whole previous decade (189).

Is obesity a disease?

Like all ProCon.org websites, this one includes a background and “did you know?” facts. The obesity website also features 11 pro and con arguments (citing 90+ sources), and 22 quotes from sources including the American Medical Association (pro), David Katz, Editor-in-Chief of Childhood Obesity (con), World Health Organization (pro), and Dr. Andrew Weil (con). The project also includes a visualization of CDC-recommended portion sizes, a global comparison of obesity levels, and a listing of 15 noteworthy anti-obesity drugs.

Did You Know?

  • In 2013 the United States was the second most obese industrialized nation with 31.8% of Americans falling into the obese category. Mexico was first at 32.8%.
  • In Nov. 2013, the US Surgeon General reported an estimated 300,000 deaths per year may be attributed to obesity. Obesity was the third leading cause of death in 2009, after high blood pressure and smoking.
  • Men burned 142 fewer calories daily and weighed 32.8 pounds more in 2003-2006 than in 1960-1962, while women burned 124 fewer calories daily and weighed 25.13 pounds more in 2003-2006 than in 1960-1962.
  • Obesity and obesity-related health conditions cost an estimated 10% of annual medical spending in the United States, totaling $147 billion in 2008.
  • In 1994 all US states had obesity rates at 19% or lower. By 2010, no state reported an obesity rate under 19%. By 2013, 11 states had obesity rates over 30%.

Should prescription drugs be advertised directly to consumers?

ProCon.org presents 15 pro and con arguments and 27 quotes from experts including the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (pro), the American College of Physicians (con), the American Advertising Federation (pro), and the World Health Organization (con). The prescription drug ads website also contains a gallery of drug ads from the 1800s to the present, a description of 35 prescription drugs pulled from the market, and a chart showing the number of articles written about prescription drug advertising to consumers from 1983 (one) to 2005 (45) to 2013 (24).

Did You Know?

  • Bayer Pharmaceuticals sold heroin as an over-the-counter remedy for coughs in the early 1900s.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration did not begin to regulate prescription drug advertisements until Oct. 10, 1962 with the passage of the Kefauver Harris Amendments.
  • Every $1.00 spent advertising prescription drugs is estimated to increase their retail sales by $4.20.
  • The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries where direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs is legal.
  • As of May 2011, the average number of prescriptions for new drugs with DTC advertising is nine times greater than prescriptions for new drugs without DTC ads.

ProCon.org President and Managing Editor, Kamy Akhavan, commented: “For educators, students, journalists, and the rest of us who want to better understand important social issues without all the bias, inaccuracy, and spin that is too often part of the media, ProCon.org provides free nonpartisan research on 50 controversial issues to help us all make more informed decisions.”