Calling all medicinal chemists, time to contact Virtually Speaking

I was mulching my flower beds, listening to the latest Virtually Speaking with Dean Baker and Jay Ackroyd when I heard the same moronic bullshit about how drugs are REALLY all discovered in academic labs using government money and the drug companies just put the finishing touches on them, develop them and charge a small fortune.

I’ll give you the fortune bit, for sure.  There’s no doubt that the marketers and finance guys are charging what the market will bear and then some.  They’re greedy, ruthless and cruel.  The whole drug industry has pivoted to serve the owners and the owners want money.  That affects what gets researched, promoted and sold and at what cost.

BUT

There is absolutely no truth to the idea that academia passes on almost fully formed drugs to industry where we researchers add our special sauce flourishes and then cash in big.

I repeat.

There is absolutely no truth to the idea that academia passes on almost fully formed drugs to industry where we researchers add our special sauce flourishes and then cash in big.

If Dean Baker and Jay Ackroyd and Yves Smith want to propagate this myth, they can knock themselves out.  But it’s no more true that the idea that Bill and Hillary Clinton did something nefarious with a land deal in the Ozarks.

Maybe it’s what they want to be true, maybe it fits their worldview, maybe it’s wishful thinking but it not true.  And I should know because I’ve worked in both industrial and academic settings and I actually DO the kind of drug discovery that Jay and Dean talk about so confidently but have no clue about.

The truth is that academia rarely submits a fully realized drug entity to industry for development.  What it submits is frequently just an idea.  Sometimes, that is just a target (a protein, receptor, gene, etc) and sometimes, it consists of some very basic building blocks.  Those building blocks will not resemble the final drug product until industrial medicinal chemists spend years and years rescaffolding it, making new appendages for it, and developing whole libraries of potential drug compounds that may not resemble the initial compound in the least when they are finished.

So, yes, the NIH funds a lot of research but, no, that research does not result in anywhere near effective or consumable drugs until industrial chemists get their hands on it and bend it to their wills.  By the way, those industrial chemists used to be academic chemists.  It’s not supposed to be an adversarial relationship.

Anyway, for all you pharma researchers out there who are pissed off by the “everybody knows” truthiness and yet more dissing of your shrinking profession and want to set the record straight, let Jay Ackroyd at Virtually Speaking know.  God only knows why Jay won’t simply invite someone like Derek Lowe on his show to tell it like it really is.  It’s almost like they don’t want to hear the truth, that somehow by sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “la-la-la, I can’t HEAR you”, that that’s going to make the poor graduate students working for peanuts into unsung heroes and pump lots of righteous indignation into the put upon American people.  Well, those graduate students ARE unsung heroes, but so are many of my former industrial colleagues in medicinal chemistry and drug design who have slaved tirelessly for years wrestling some academic’s decidedly un-druglike molecule into a real drug that can be developed.

I’m really insulted by this poor performance by Ackroyd and Baker.  The left deserves people who are not lazy and who will actually go out of their way to get to the truth.  Otherwise, the drug industry will continue to fail, drugs will continue to skyrocket in price and no one will be able to do anything about it because they’ll all be off chasing wild geese or red herrings or whatever it is you call it that is just a waste of time and energy.

Jay and Dean aren’t even seeing through a glass darkly at this point.  If they would only come and actually, you know, talk to us, we could tell them what’s really going on so they could talk more intelligently about a subject they clearly know nothing about at the present time.  I’m not sure what is holding them back.  Is it the absurd notion that those of us who work(ed) for industry  are as greedy, ruthless and conservative as the guys who laid us all off?  Even if that were true, (it’s not, not by a long shot) is that a good reason for ignoring what we have to say?

You can’t fix a problem if you are totally ignorant.

Here’s Jay’s links if you want to set the record straight.

Jay on Facebook

Jay on Twitter

VS Guests on Twitter

VS in Second Life

VS Ning

VS on BlogTalkRadio

VS on Facebook

VS on Itunes

And here is Dean Baker’s twitter feed.

 

 

 

 

Pharma can’t find post-doc STEM graduates to do incredibly boring paperwork jobs, hiring managers say

Derek Lowe at In the Pipeline asked for an eye catching headline to summarize a new labor report on the dismal fate of STEM graduates so I thought I’d give it a shot:

The knowledge-intensive pharmaceutical industry had the highest reported difficulty in hiring top talent of the 19 industries featured in PwC’s 2012 Global CEO Survey. CEOs identified talent gaps as one of the biggest threats to future growth prospects.

Research conducted by HRI, including a survey of human resource and R&D executives at U.S. biopharmaceutical companies found (that) fifty-one percent of industry executives report that hiring has become increasingly difficult and only 28 percent feel very confident they will have access to top talent.

Of course, the workplace is not stagnant and the demand for certain skills is always evolving. Seen this way, the data suggest that pharma execs may want the sort of talent that is not on the sidelines or simply clamoring for a different opportunity. For instance, 34 percent say that developing and managing outside partnerships is the most important skill being sought among scientists. . .

Well, it all makes sense to me.  What pharma wants is not scientists, they want lawyers to negotiate contracts and efficiency experts to break down each experiment into a set of easily digestible tasks.  That’s not really science anymore because the ability to think for oneself, analyze procedures and take advantage of serendipity is lacking but nevermind the counterintuitiveness of it all. Chemists and molecular biologists didn’t spent 12 extra years doing lab work in order to push papers around.  They planned to actually work in a lab, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Funny how you have to tack that apology onto the end of the sentence when you are referring to people who actually get their hands dirty.  We’re working with someone else’s values when it is assumed that the thing scientists would prefer above all things is to work their way out of the lab and never have to touch a chemical or wear a labcoat again.  Well, anyway, they said they don’t want people like that anymore.  You know, those scientific malingerers who hide out in university corridors waiting for a hit of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry or whiff of stewing e.coli.

This is what happens to an industry that gets taken over by the brain trusts on Wall Street.  They think that any industry that’s not finance can be outsourced and managed by people a little bit like them but who simply have more experience in the lab.  I hope they’re not counting on fresh out of school Harvard PhDs to this work because even they need about a decade’s worth of seasoning before they even know who to manage or what to do to make a project work.

Come to think of it, you don’t need PhDs to do this stuff.  Why not just hire any science type sucker who needs to make ends meet?  We all know how to use Excel and PowerPoint and we’ve all got experience slogging through the badly implemented SAP systems that the executive branch is so proud of.  You don’t need to go to an Ivy League university for 12 years to be a scientifically literate corporate drone.  A BS level employee with a 2 month crash course in drug discovery could probably do it.  I mean, that’s how it’s done on Wall Street, right?  You take some overprivileged  23 year old recent graduates from Princeton and teach them how to do finance in 2 months before they’re set loose on the world.  What could possibly go wrong?

Flee from science majors, little children!  Flee!

In another sign of the times, Derek posts on yet another company that’s had to lay off early stage discovery staff in order to move their two lead projects into development and clinical trials.  That means, the dedicated chemists, drug designers, biologists, pharmacologists, etc will have to pack up their pipettes and find another job.  They probably *won’t* be able to work on the same kind of project again and use their expertise. There goes the mortgage on the house, the car payments, the college funds.  Imagine having to do this every couple of years- if you’re lucky enough to actually work in a lab and not tied to a chair in Massachusetts managing people in Shanghai.

I hope it’s not to much longer before our nation’s leaders realize they’ve been lied to about the promise of “entrepreneurship” in biotech.  The initial overhead costs are among the highest of any industry and a payoff is unlikely.  The big pharmas that are preying like vultures on the promising tidbits on the skeletons of little start ups are the same companies that couldn’t get blockbusters to market after several rounds of M&A and sinking billions of dollars into very badly managed R&D departments.

Believe it or not, there are lot of scientists who are not dying to relocate to Cambridge to work in the offices of big pharma.  The ones who do go to Cambridge and South San Francisco are just postponing the inevitable.  The rest of us would rather take pay cuts for some modicum of stability or get out of science altogether.

Whatever.  What the world needs now is a good plague to wipe out the aristocrats and middle men and let the scientists get on with it without any further interference.

************************************

Zombie Symmetry shows what’s involved in drug discovery these days:

Attention Cory Booker

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 10.54.27 AMI saw you on the DailyShow last night and the stuff you said about the state of New Jersey being desperately short of biomedical researchers made me sick to my stomach.

You have to know this is not true.  How could you NOT know this is not true?  It’s so easy to prove with cold hard numbers and statistics.  The big pharmas are pulling out of New Jersey to go to Massachusetts because Massachusetts offered them almost half a Billion dollars in taxpayer money to relocate there.  They are leaving thousands and thousands of us behind.  That’s thousands and thousands of well-educated, technically proficient, TAXPAYERS. That’s where the unemployment money is going, Cory.  Those companies take the money that Massachusetts is offering, dump thousands and thousands of us on the state of New Jersey’s unemployment roles and then relocate only a tiny fraction of their workforce to Massachusetts.  What do they do with the rest of the tax incentives?  Beats me but I’m sure the shareholders are happy.

The idea that you would actually believe a pharma lobbyist who tells you he can’t find good help anymore in NJ and now has to outsource and that you would voluntarily spread this misinformation without actually checking to see if what they’re telling you is true or not defies explanation.  It makes no sense, Cory.  It is UN-believable. You either know that you are willfully lying, compromised by people who you view as your true “peers” or you’re dumber than a box of rocks.

I suggest you spend some time with those of us who used to work for pharma and are now unemployed in New Jersey.  Funny how no politician actually does that.  They’re more than happy to listen to whatever bullshit the financiers and industry propaganda artists tell them but they won’t go down to the NJ Department of Labor and actually check the database for the unemployed from Roche, Sanofi, Pfizer, Merck and all of the other companies that shed employees on a routine basis.  Go check out the shuttered lab facilities in South Brunswick and Bridgewater.  Our unemployment rate is more than 10% in this state and a big slice of it comes from the biomedical researchers who are not employed anymore.

But don’t tell lies on national TV.  It will come back to bite you during your next campaign.  Someone who is that out of touch shouldn’t be representing our state.

By the way, the idea that “the more you learn, the more you earn” is the old paradigm.  It doesn’t work any more. Wake up already or you’re going to condemn a whole generation of New Jersey school children to a lifetime of indentured servitude to pay off their student loans for the low paying jobs they got in a laboratory.  Come talk to us, Cory.  The sooner you get a clue, the better off the school kids in Newark will be.  What we need is a tough negotiator, not more low paid scientists who can’t make ends meet in New Jersey anymore.

Friday: The Big Squeeze

Had a really good day yesterday.  I’m back in the saddle again, sort of.  I have some real work but, unfortunately, no job yet.  But I’m optimistic, especially because 6 months away from the workstation hasn’t resulted in any permanent damage.  It came back to me pretty quickly.

Well, technically, it’s not a unix system- yet.  It’s coming.

In the meantime, I’m not surprised by the recent census data that shows that 1 in 2 Americans is now poor or low income.  The problem with that article is that even though it mentions that college educated families are now suffering, it still emphasizes what we might consider the “typical” poor person.  That person doesn’t have a college education, may be unmarried, has a child “out of wedlock” (fornicators!).  The article is designed to comfort the comfortable.  It’s mostly the uneducated working class that’s suffering and they made some pretty poor life choices.

This would be highly inaccurate, as well as unfair to the struggling 18 year old who, after all, shouldn’t be punished forever for putting the cart before the horse.  It feels too much like The Scarlet Letter morality and that didn’t end well.  I keep featuring the trials and tribulations of the research industry because I’m close to it.  But what is happening in research is an indication of what is really happening to the middle class.  Over 100,000 of us scientists have been laid off since the crash and all the people that I know who have managed to find new jobs have taken very steep cuts in wages, in the neighborhood of 30-50%.  If they’re lucky to get that, they might not have benefits.  It’s funny that we have already readjusted our expectations so that if you are only getting 50% of your former salary but manage to get health benefits from your employer, you’re considered successful.

And we’re not talking about high school graduates with illegitimate children living on Baker Street.  We’re talking about people who have advanced degrees in hard sciences and who just a couple of years ago were making $80,000 plus per year.  Of course, that doesn’t go very far in the northeast unless you have a spouse who works.  It only sounds like a lot of money if you’ve never had to live in central NJ.  But imagine having to pay all of your former expenses (mortgage, utilities, car insurance, food) in one of the most expensive areas of the country, the NYC metropolitan suburb area, on half of that income.  That’s what’s so maddening about the current economic situation.  Our cost of living hasn’t dropped- at all.  Expenses are still the same.  It’s just that you are much less likely to be able to afford to pay them.

I call it The Big Squeeze and I blame the Republican party.  I’m not letting Democrats off the hook here.  They may be in denial thinking, “Oh, it can’t be that bad.  At least not bad enough that I actually should refuse this campaign contribution from Pfizer or {insert some large pharma here}.”  Um, it *is* that bad.  Really, really bad.  It can’t last forever.  I’m assuming that the s%^& is being timed to hit the fan sometime next year in the midst of the election season.  By mid-summer next year, we will see main street dry up.  There will be a lot fewer families taking vacations, kids taking piano lessons, people buying stuff.  There will be more foreclosures, fewer unemployment benefits and an even greater spike in the school lunch program applications.  There will be more insanely rabid Republican crazy voters who have lost all sense of proportion and “christian” charity.  It’s all designed to extract a giant scream of uncle from Americans.  Think of it as economic torture until we give in and sign our hard earned benefits and safety net away.

It doesn’t have to be like this and, honestly, I can’t figure out why the bonus class wasn’t content with the fists full of dollars they were making during the Clinton years.  But for whatever reason, the wealthy and well connected have this ridiculous idea in their heads that they’re the only ones who know how to work hard and that the rest of us are just slackers and parasites.  This is the biggest problem we’re facing.  We are running up against a misplaced attitude of self-worth among the Wall Street crowd.  They have some peculiar notion that because they are rich, they earned that money virtuously while the rest of us are dirty, stupid and lazy.

I’d just like to caution the Democratic operatives out there who may be reading this that that’s a hard argument to make to the research community who have been working their asses off in the past decade to please a management strata that never seems to be satisfied.  Now that I’ve been out of work for awhile, I’ve come to see how mentally abused researchers have been.  Every second of every day is consumed with the thought that the next day could be the last on the job and that their entire middle class existence could be wiped out with the delete key on some clueless MBA’s spreadsheet.  And there’s a sense that the MBAs think that this anxiety producing pogrom against their workers is a good thing, that it puts the fear of  “job creators” into them and teaches them the value of money.  But while unemployment is devastating financially and ruins relationships and is just hard on your kids, the one thing it has in its favor is that the worst has happened and you don’t have to worry about it anymore.  Oddly enough, it gives us time to actually think about science once again and find satisfaction in learning new things.

So, to all of you researchers out there who are losing everything, hang in there as best you can.  I don’t believe this will last forever and there is some evidence that small companies and academia will slowly be able to pick up the slack at vastly reduced salaries but perhaps, not so much layoff insanity.  But The Big Squeeze is too damaging to the economy and will have lasting consequences.  As Jane Caro says, what we are witnessing is a struggle between authoritarianism and small “l” liberalism.  Right now, it looks like the authoritarians have the upper hand.  But even their ravening nutcase followers are subject to the global economy.  I don’t know what it will take to get them on the streets side by side with the occupiers but if I were politicians, I’d be worried right now that maybe they’ve gone too far.  The poor are not just the fornicating 18 year olds with no place to live.  They’re now the labcoated men and women who used to do the science fairs at your kids’ schools.  They’re extremely angry right now and they vote.

In the meantime, it’s still a beautiful world.  That tends to make the current economic situation a little easier to bear.

PS. I will be visiting Philadelphia more frequently in the forseeable future.  If there are any bloggers there who would like to get together for lunch or dinner, email me.  Yes, the traffic is atrocious.

More layoffs in Pharma

Yeah, yeah, I know, lefties would care about us except we’re *pharma*.  Your (lack of) concern is truly touching.

This latest layoff is from Sanofi-Aventis in Bridgewater, NJ.  Hundreds of scientists will be losing their jobs.  20-30% may be transferred to the Cambridge facility.  Looks like NJ just lost a bunch more taxpayers.  There’s not a lot of upside to the layoff of more of my friends and colleagues.  There are a lot more of us biomedical researchers on the market now.  With the recent announcements of layoffs from Merck, Novartis and Amgen, it’s almost as if the spigot was opened full force again.  What is happening to pharma right now would have someone like Steve Jobs spitting nails.  The entire focus has been on extracting every last dollar out of the company and abandoning the product line.  It’s hard to predict what comes next but pharma can’t be bled dry forever and the Chinese are not ready to take over yet.

Geeks are people too and we have caloric and shelter requirements like everyone else.  I would say I am surprised that the Obama administration is not paying greater attention to this problem but by the time the effects of so many unemployed researchers finally hits the American consciousness, he will be out of office.  What might have happened if he had taken Christina Romer up on that suggestion of $100 billion for a jobs program?  We might all be working our butts off in some mothballed lab somewhere, carrying on with the research we were doing, living on decent but unspectacular salaries and paying our taxes.

But since we are not all male construction workers, Obama isn’t worrying his pretty little head about us.

No one is entitled to a second term.

 

Faradays and collaborators

This week, I am at a science summit in Philadelphia, atrios’ urban hellhole. The traffic is miserable, the parking is expensive (although, yesterday, I found a lot that only charged me $10 for the whole day. No sexual favors involved. Go figure.). I love public transportation but this is not a post about that.

No, this is a post about management schizophrenia.

Yesterday, Yvonne Martin, the doyenne of drug design, gave a presentation. The science was retrospective but her commentary on the state of pharma management was scathing. Well, in general there’s a lot of commentary in general about the way modelers have been written off and excluded from patents and publications. Everyone here has a story to tell about how the pressure to get credit for a design drives people to shut out their collaborators.

Yvonne’s tale is a little different. She worked with a talented designer in her group and had high respect for his work. They enjoyed collaborating. But her employee couldn’t get a promotion. Why? Because management had decided (erroneously in Yvonne’s estimation) that the employee only did what Yvonne told him to do. He was judged incapable of doing his own work. Yvonne said she thought it was because management does not really value collaboration. Then she said, “or maybe it’s because I’m a woman.”

Jeez, I hate to keep coming back to this but when a person who has been in the business a long time sees things this way too, there might be a problem. I have worked for two extraordinary supervisors. I learned a lot from both of them. Both of them preferred collaboration. Neither of them are appreciated for their skill in bringing people together to work productively. One of them was a woman. And recent studies suggest that the more women you have in your working groups, the more creative and productive your group will be because they are more likely to share information and cooperate on solving problems.

More distressing is the idea that because a person is less senior, their contributions are instantly attributed to their manager. This is a symptom of what management wants rather than what they say they want.

What management says it wants is collaboration and breaking down walls and sharing information. They have the graphics department put together little origami paper pamphlets showing the “dos” and “don’ts” of good corporate behavior. We all study these things and dismiss them because data and observation confirm that is is precisely the “don’t” behaviors that are rewarded. Secrecy? Check. Don’t share information? Check. Cutting people out of the loop? Check. People who believe in the value of collaborating and crowd sourcing, those people are willing to share the credit. But the minute you do that, you lessen your own contribution in the eyes of management and you aren’t ambitious and competitive enough.

So, there are more and more stories at this summit of chemists cutting modelers out of the loop, refusing to make molecules that aren’t their ideas and jobs lost without a paper trail because the designer is thought to be junior and therefore easier to write off. What takes the place is a system where the non-collaborators are encouraged to take credit for other people’s work and are rewarded for it. It’s a system where loyalty is more important than work effort. It’s a system where hierarchy and pedigree takes the place of ability.

In short, it’s the same kind of system that existed in the early 19th century Britain when gentlemen scientists with money and educations limited to the well heeled class held sway in the scientific societies of the day and when the works of people like Michael Faraday, without the formal education and from working class backgrounds, were vulnerable to the ambitions and entitled behavior of their betters.

It is Michael Faraday who is remembered as one of the greatest experimentalists ever. But it was an uphill struggle. America was supposed to be a land of opportunity where anyone with a good idea could get a shot and that has been our greatest strength in terms of innovation. When the home schooled (Edison) and the college dropouts ( zuckerman, jobs, and gates) were able to innovate without barriers, we were great as a country.

But these are the days when pedigree and ruthlessness trumps all. When it’s more important that one person is designated as the innovator and automatically gets the credit no matter what they do, the barriers for good minds to gain entry and participate become too high. What results is a lot of top heavy departments. A lot of people who want to direct and are forced to pursue the top spot and fewer people who work together to solve problems.

Collaborators and Faradays beware.

Wednesday: Stuff the Left Does that Drives Me Nuts

Busy, busy, busy, guys.  This is just a free form post of stuff the Left does that bugs the shit out of me.  For the record, I consider myself on the left -liberal side of the spectrum.  But my mind is not so wide open that my brains have fallen out.

1.) Blaming corporations for everything.  Yes, corporations are the bad boys of America.  They pushed the envelope too far.  If Margaret Heffernan, the author of Willful Blindness, is to be believed, they are staffed at the top by a bunch of preening assholes who are short term thinking, self serving and not necessarily working for the shareholders.  But it’s hard to do some kinds of work without the support of a corporation.  That’s just a fact.  The miserable, whining lefties can cry all they want about how unfair and mean and BIG and POWERFUL corporations are and how they run everything with obscene, unholy gobs of cash.  That’s like blaming the candy for being sweet.  No one says that politicians have to do their bidding.  If you don’t like what corporations are getting away with, change the fricking rulemakers.  It really is that easy.  And don’t be surprised if politicians are the ones behind the “corporations are the source of all evil in the world”.  It takes the eye off the ball, which is the politician.  So what if corporations can purchase more TV adds than Ron Popiell?  These days, you can watch TV for days without seeing a single political ad if you don’t want to.  When it comes to winning an office, the average Joe has as good a chance as anyone using social media.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is just doing a haka.

2.) Single payer is the holy grail of healthcare reform.  Mebbe.  Mebbe not.  We won’t know until we discuss all of the options.  Wedding ourselves to one answer and repeating it over and over again like it’s some kind of mantra could cloud our judgement.  It’s better to find out what successful national healthcare policies have in common, distill the salient virtues and try to match those virtues as closely as possible.  That might mean single payer or it may mean something else.  Lefties who insist that there is only one way to do this are boxing themselves into a corner and not thinking creatively.

3.) Big Pharma is Satan cubed.  There are big problems in pharma.  Some of these problems pharma did to itself.  No, no, don’t try to wiggle out of it.  Taking the easy route with merger and acquisitions has ruined research.  You can blame researchers all you want but keeping the beatings up until we all become cheaper to employ is not going to work.  In fact, it will backfire.  It will only make us not want to do science anymore, which, if I remember my microeconomics correctly, will cause a scarcity in scientists, making us more expensive to employ.  So, this strategy is doomed, DOOOOOMED, I say, to failure.  If people can go through life making a lower middle class living without having to learn the Hamiltonian equation, they will.  In fact, you can live your entire existence without ever once having to learn Organic Chemistry and your lifestyle might actually improve, if current trends persist.  So, if you want good researchers, you will have to make it worth their while to study the shit that 99.9% of the population in any country in the world won’t touch with a 10 foot pole. But I digress.

The reason why lefties deride pharma at their peril is because if you want good healthcare reform, (see point #2), pharma *should* be a necessary and indispensible part of the package and will help keep costs down.  Yes, sports fans, if you can prevent strokes, heart attacks, asthma attacks, psychotic episodes, epilepsy, diabetes and a whole host of other maladies from clogging up your emergency rooms and taking up valuable hospital beds, pharma is worth every  penny.  An ounce of prevention is worth a couple billion dollars in cure.

Think about that next time you want to bash pharma.  Which would you rather pay for?  Some obese, diabetic, cardio case waiting to happen sucking up thousands of dollars a day with IVs out the wazoo or some monthly prescriptions for ace inhibitors, insulin and cholesterol lowering drugs?  This is not rocket science, oh ye self proclaimed “our side is smarter than their side” lefties.  Whether or not pharma is effective in delivering this message is another problem.  Your stupidity will show.  Give people a choice between going to the hospital with some life threatening crisis and taking some pills everyday and they will choose the pills every time.

5.) Roe v. Wade is the holy grail of womens’ rights and must be protected at all costs.  In fact, the opposite is true.  The longer Roe is out there, the more our rights will be eroded by fundamentalist nutcases who are goaded by neo-feudalist politicians who know a good issue when they see it.  Democrats are also guilty of using Roe as a political football.  It shouldn’t have escaped the left’s attention (but it looks like it probably has) that the Obama campaign amped up the fear factor with respect to Roe in order to terrify women into voting for the Sun King.  Yes, Democrats are just as cynical and self-serving as Republicans when it comes to womens’ rights.  Let’s not sugar coat this.

You can’t build your rights on abortion.  Drop this pointless, losing, distracting battle to protect Roe and go for equality.  Are women equal?  Do they have the same rights as men under the law?  If they do, then you can set your own terms when it comes to abortion, preferably one that rewards responsibility and develops guidelines that the majority of people in this country can live with.

There’s more but I’m out of time.  Ciao for now.

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