The Battle Over Essure Evaluation

Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・APA ・3 Sources

Jennifer Block's article The Battle For Essure appears in The Washington Post. The focus of the article is on the efficacy of Essure as a pregnancy contraception method. Essure is a lifelong pregnancy preventive product that is implanted into the fallopian tube of consenting patients that, according to its makers, can never malfunction. However, problems arose when the FDA-approved product began to fail, resulting in unintended pregnancies. The author examines how one of the victims of the failing system coped in the aftermath, the nature of the concern the device faces, and the FDA's and device manufacturers' reactions. She takes a stance against the device and provides information supporting her stance. This essay evaluates her use of rhetoric appeal and argues that the author has been effective in delivering her viewpoint to readers through the use of rhetoric.

The author uses several rhetoric appeals to put forward her message. These include pathos; appeal to emotion, eros; appeal to passion and logos; appeal to logic. The use of pathos is widely utilized throughout the text. The author seeks to make the reader share in the mental anguish that the victims of the failed Essure device felt. To achieve that, she used a personal account of Keisha Carney, a 35 year-old mother of eight, who had reached the final decision of not having any more children with her husband of 12 years. With that number of children, it is apparent that the woman was content with staying with only those children. After deliberation with her husband, the woman had reached the decision with finality. The author, therefore, shares the woman’s pain by stating that on investing in the life-changing decision to permanently block her fallopian tubes using Essure, and then receiving the news of her unexpected pregnancy, the woman was shocked. She states that the woman had to be literally picked from the floor after fainting. This statement seeks the readers’ sympathy since one can imagine how devastating the news must have been to Keisha. This was especially painful since in addition to six bigger children, the woman was also nursing two 8-month-old twins. In the light of the above pathetic imagery, the author was successful in using pathos to influence the audience to side with her on the stance that Essure was destroying lives. Pathos is also utilized in framing the reaction of the FDA to the failure of Essure. In that light, the author made them look like they were part of the problem caused by Essure by not acting to revoke Essure’s license of manufacture until the defect was resolved. By using this tactic, feelings of betrayal are evoked in the readers.

The author, however, uses logos most extensively of the three forms of rhetoric appeal. She does this so as to give her article an analytical feel. This is because in addition to the article being persuasive in nature, it is also argumentative. The author does, therefore, not only try to coerce the readers into giving in to her stand on Essure, but also wants the readers to come to the same conclusion as her on their own accord. To achieve this, she lays her main focus on objectively providing information regarding Essure as a device. She provides a history of how the idea of the device was conceptualized so as to make it known to the reader that the device’s inception was founded upon false premises. According to the author, the founder of Essure reverse engineered a project that could help with ensuring fertilization of the ovum by the physical unblocking of the fallopian tube. In that way, the founder of Essure had managed to create a way to naturally induce tissue growth that would conceptually block the fallopian tubes to ensure contraception. By logically tracing the invention of the device, the author managed to convince her audience that Essure was flawed and was thus ineffective as a birth control measure. The author moreover provides evidence on the prevalence of the Essure problem; making it known that Keisha’s predicament was not an isolated case but only one among many cases of Essure failures. She states that there is even a Facebook page dedicated to the awareness of the issues caused by Essure. She states that the FDA even acknowledges that the device is flawed and does not deliver on its promise of guaranteed contraception as the founder claims. The FDA recognized about 16000 cases involving the malfunction of the device since the year 2002 when it was registered. This presentation of objective evidence that support her belief of the defect of Essure helps the readers to appreciate and make up their minds on the scope of the problem. Thereby, it can be said that by using logos, the author has been successful too in not only selling her stance on the defect of Essure, but also in letting the readers come to the same conclusion by themselves.

The author additionally makes use of eros to convey her message of opposition to Essure. However, this form of rhetoric persuasion has been downplayed due to the sensitive nature of the issue. Be that as it may, one instance in the article appears where the author uses appeal to passion to elicit conviction from her audience. She equates the use of Essure to the reduction in sexual virility of patients. The author claims that the device is linked to hormonal imbalances that could cause a dip in the willingness to participate in sexual experiences. Moreover, the author reports that about 3% of women with the device implanted in them felt pain while engaging in sex. Since reduction in sexual drive and painful intercourse are issues conventionally frowned upon occurrence in most adults, the author hopes to use them to make the audience opposed to the device, which has been successfully implemented. Thereby, albeit in a single attempt, she was able to use eros to show the ineffectiveness of Essure.

No matter the rhetoric approach that the author chose to use in delivery of her message, several rhetoric devices have been recurrent in implementing the choice approach. One of these devices is the use of analogy. The device is used to compare the hormonal cycles of women using Essure with that of women who have never used the device. In this way, the author is successful in pointing out discrepancies that are in the form of hormonal issues such as irregular periods in women with Essure. She thus shows that the device is ineffective and harmful to patients. Contrast has also been used to show the differences in the points raised by proponents of Essure in support of the device and the evidence gathered by the author on the incidences of the device’s failures. For example, the manufacturers of Essure acclaim it to be “effective and effective in meeting its objective”. Moreover, the FDA claimed that Essure was an effective substitution to the use of tubal ligature, a more invasive surgical procedure that yielded the same expected contraceptive objectives. However, as the aforementioned evidence suggested, there had been 16,000 cases that contrasted the above statements. Moreover the populated Facebook page that Keisha Carney, the referenced victim, provides evidence that rebuts the claims of the FDA on the safety and effectiveness of Essure. Thereby, it can be concluded that by use of contrast and other rhetoric devices, the article was successful in convincing the public of the ineffectiveness of Essure.


The Battle over Essure has been successful in using rhetoric to show that Essure is ineffective and harmful when used as a contraception method. Rhetoric has been used persuasively to convince the audience of the author’s belief and also argumentatively so as to let the readers decide for themselves on the truth behind her claims. The author has used an amalgam of eros, pathos and logos as a rhetoric approach in achieving this. Pathos and eros have been used primarily in persuasive capacities. This is because they target the audience’ subjective nature of emotion and passion. They were most helpful to elicit support from emotionally sensitive members of the public. However, logos has been used in argumentative capacities, because it targets the portion of the population, who would want to rationally reach the author’s conclusion on their own rather than being coerced. However, all of the above approaches have been implemented by use of several literary devices; among them analogy and contrast. While analogy was applied to show discrepancies in hormonal cycles caused by the device, contrast was used to show discrepancies in the FDA’s defense for the device’s integrity and the evidence present about the device’s flaws. However, both devices utilize the differences between occurrences so as to qualify the correctness of the author’s argument against Essure.

Works Cited

Block, Jennifer “The battle over Essure”. The Washington Post, Jul. 2017, Accessed 1 Aug. 2017.

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