In response

ProWomanProLife received an email from Marie Stopes International Australia, an abortion provider, recently. They were concerned from across the oceans about a post where I wondered whether they might be affiliated with a particular polling company, Crosby/Textor.

I wondered this because Crosby/Textor released a poll saying that (to paraphrase) Australians favour abortion at any stage of pregnancy on the same day as Marie Stopes International Australia launched a public relations campaign.

You can read my original post in full, here.

Here’s their letter in full now:

Dear Sir/Madam,

A blog post written by Jennifer Derwey (The debate down under, 6 July 2010) has been brought to our attention.

The writer implies that Marie Stopes International hired Crosby/Textor to conduct research recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The writer states:

“So who hired Crosby/Textor and employed their ‘results driven approach’? I’m not pointing fingers, but I will say that it comes as a striking coincidence that Marie Stopes International Australia, the countries leading abortion provider, launched it’s new awareness campaign promoting their services and focusing on contraception the day this article was published (after a six month lull in their Australian news department).”

Marie Stopes International has never hired Crosby/Textor for any services, nor is it involved in any way with the conduct and publication of this research. A review of the Medical Journal of Australia article and author listing can also confirm this.

Marie Stopes International also undertakes regular media activity, issuing media releases on a monthly basis where appropriate and assisting media with requests. It is therefore also inaccurate to state that there has been a “six month lull” in our Australian news department.

We request that you advise the author of the above and amend these incorrect statements as a matter of urgency.

Regards,

Marie Deveson Crabbe, CEO

Marie Stopes International – Australia

That’s entrepreneur Marie Deveson Crabbe, Chief Executive Officer, because selling family planning is big business. Coincidentally, this email was received on September 13, two days before I suddenly lost all access to the MSIA site for seven days (at least from all of my home computers).

In my post, I asked a question about whether Marie Stopes International Australia had anything to do with Crosby/Textor’s poll. And it is indeed a coincidence that the publication and the awareness campaign cropped up on the same day.

But their letter got me wondering a little more. And looks like Marie Stopes International Australia’s awareness campaign sponsor, the drug company MSD, might work with people who work with Crosby/Textor.

The Marie Stopes awareness campaign on contraception is largely a survey, and MSD, a pharmaceutical company, is a sponsor. MSD is also a founding member of Research Australia, an organization that uses Crosby/Textor for its public opinion polls. You can see the mentions of MSD in the newsroom:

…a new awareness campaign and website has been developed. The campaign, sponsored by Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), encourages young women to ask questions about all contraceptive options available to them.

(Just by the by, I’m sure MSD does encourage women to consider all contraceptive options, especially the contraceptive ring. MSD is a subsidiary of Merck & Co. and they merged in 2009 with Schering-Plough, the makers of NuvaRing.)

This is the same news room where I originally saw with a gap between July 5, 2010 (the awareness campaign post) and the previous post that was six months earlier at the time of the original post. The “News Room” is indeed now littered with posts, several of these sporting tags from MSD at the bottom. I am indeed sorry I missed those. I could have learned about the sexual interests of Australian youth in the Sex Files, to name but one fascinating example.

MSD supports a handful of industry associations, which includes Research Australia. MSD is:

a foundation member of Research Australia, a national alliance of organisations and supporters with a common goal of making health and medical research a higher national priority)

Research Australia uses Crosby/Textor to publish opinion polls like this one (Check page two, upper left hand corner for Merck Sharp & Dohme’s logo).

Now all these connections are very likely insignificant and drawing the connection points may not mean much.

So I’ll conclude by saying whatever Marie Stopes International is doing, and with who, they are doing it well. They boast of having increased abortions in their clinics (globally) from 470,000 in 2008 to 557,000 in 2009, with new clinics in China. (Remember all the lost girls who are so quickly aborted there. Take a look at how much the Chinese government loves them!)

It’s busy, busy, busy in the abortion business–but not too busy to contact a small blog in distant Canada. Guess part of their effort must go toward public awareness management.

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