Passed Unanimously at the National NOW Conference, Los Angeles, July 1999

WHEREAS, in 1996, the National Organization for Women (NOW) passed a resolution that stated, "Therefore Be It Resolved, that NOW work to educate women and men about the details of the breast implant issue and the product," and,

"Be It Further Resolved, that NOW support individuals affected by the breast implant issue by supporting legislative intervention and avenues of relief"; and

WHEREAS, in 1997, NOW passed a resolution that stated, "Therefore Be It Resolved, that NOW supports legislation funding research on possible side effects of implantation with silicone shell breast implants; and

WHEREAS, in December of 1991, the House of Representatives of the 102nd Congress issued a committee report, "The FDA's Regulation of Silicone Breast Implants", which found that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not fulfilled its responsibility of protecting and adequately informing consumers regarding these products and that this responsibility remains unfulfilled to this day; and

WHEREAS, the current published failure rates of these devices are much higher than estimated in 1993, when FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler stated that a failure rate of even 5% was "not a safety standard that the FDA can accept" in an article of the Journal of the American Medical Association, and that a recently published study by scientists at the University of Florida, Gainesville, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, examining 8,000 explant cases, found that rupture rates occur at 30% over 5 years and up to 70% over 17 years; and

WHEREAS, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), noting the deficiencies of current research findings, recently recommended that all breast implant patients be extensively surveilled, that all prospective breast implant patients be provided with enough information to make an informed decision, and that more definitive research be conducted; and

WHEREAS, much of the data concerning breast implants is seriously flawed, and since new and important findings possibly indicating serious health consequences for breast implant wearers are about to be released, and additional clinical studies are being planned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and

WHEREAS, silicone activists have worked with U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer, Mary Landrieu, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, as well as U.S. Rep. Gene Green and other members of Congress in order to have legislation introduced known as "The Silicone Breast Implant Research and Information Act(s)"; these bills ask NIH to conduct independent and unbiased research, and "require more accurate and timely dissemination of information to women who consider silicone breast implants," and conduct other activities;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW calls upon Congress to pass such legislation, to make funding by NIH and other government agencies a priority, to disclose the findings of such studies to the public promptly, and to strengthen such legislation in light of the IOM recommendations and other considerations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW encourages all chapters to make available comprehensive, unbiased information regarding the effects of breast implants; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW support in spirit the efforts of activists to encourage the creation of a carefully monitored system of tracking all implant patients on a long-term basis with reports of rupture, illness or disease being presented in a timely fashion to the FDA.

Submitted by Issues Hearing: Disability Rights

Passed by unanimous vote 7/4/1999