Erin Brockovich has launched a grassroots campaign against a popular and permanent form of birth control procedure that hundreds of women say is causing severe adverse reactions, which has now become a growing cause over concern.
The famed consumer advocate, who in 1993 led a multimillion-dollar groundwater contamination case against Pacific Gas and Electric Co., has launched a campaign to have the Essure procedure taken off the market of birth control options.
Brockovich told ABCNews.com that she first heard of the product about a year ago, and after hearing an increasing number of horror stories launched the campaign and online petition for women to share their stories about Essure, inform each other and initiate change.
“There’s something wrong with the device, in my opinion,” Brockovich said. “It’s a form of permanent birth control, and women’s organs are being perforated … It’s ridiculous that at any level we try to defend this. If 30 women did suffer harm for unknown reason, we’d investigate. We have thousands injured. I don’t think it’s safe.”
Brockovich said she has no financial stake in the outcome of this campaign.
Essure is a non-surgical transcervical sterilization procedure that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002, and is meant as a cheaper, easier and safer alternative to tubal ligation.
During the outpatient procedure, bendable coils are placed into the fallopian tubes, passed from the vagina through the cervix and uterus. Scar tissue then forms around the coils and blocks the tubes from insemination, according to marketing literature provided by the manufacturer.
Brockovich is calling for Essure to be taken off of the market by Bayer, who owns Essure, and is seeking a complete investigation into injury claims.
“[Bayer] should care about the health and welfare of all people,” she said. “Especially women and children in this country. If this many are reporting injuries, take it off the market. It’s not working. These women were misled. They feel they were scammed.”
Brockovich also points to the fight against so-called contentious preemption laws, which exempt product manufacturers from tort claims for products that the FDA has approved. When the FDA approved Essure in 2002, it gave the device preemption status.
More than 700,000 women have undergone the procedure, according to Conceptus, which originally designed and manufactured Essure.