Newsletter The Women’s Health Activist® is a bimonthly publication of the National Women’s Health Network. We’d like to hear from you. Please e-mail questions or comments to email@example.com.
By Judy Costlow
I have been aging for decades, but it only took me one year to grow old! “Things” can happen quickly in our lives as we age, and we may not be prepared to handle them. Loss of a loved one, a stroke, a broken hip, heart attack, and diabetes are all too common for older folks. A friend says, Jan fell and broke her hip. Even though she is doing well, she is limited in her physical activities, as she must now use a cane. What can we do to better prepare ourselves for healthier aging? Part of the answer, which this article explores, lies in building and maintaining social connections, keeping physically fit, and avoiding falls.
By Cindy Pearson
Ever hear that old joke? One friend asks another “How was the continental breakfast at the hotel?” The friend replies, ‘It was awful. The coffee was cold, the pastry was stale, and the juice was sour. And there wasn’t enough of it!”
By Rebecca Spence
In January, the U.S. women’s health movement celebrated the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to legal abortion. In the decades since Roe, health activists have focused on advocating for reproductive justice, which demands that women have the right to be parents — as well as the right not to parent — and to decide where, with whom, and how we give birth. Reproductive justice includes the rights to accept or refuse any type of maternity care and to access this care from respectful and culturally appropriate providers — which are essential for women to be able to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
Trans men's Health is a “Women’s Health” Issue: Expanding the Boundaries of Sexual & Reproductive Health Care
By E. Cameron Hartofelis, MA(c), MPH(c) and Anu Manchikanti Gomez, PhD, MSc
During the 2012 elections, Vice President Joe Biden called transgender discrimination, “the civil rights issue of our time.” While this is a sign that transgender rights are garnering national attention, the population continues to face many obstacles in accessing needed health care. In particular, transgender men (or “trans men”) face significant barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care.
By Amy Laskowske
When I was 19, I was blindsided by getting an osteoporosis diagnosis. The first images that came to my mind were of an unhealthy woman, who was not knowledgeable about her health, and who was sickly looking. At the time, I was a successful runner just beginning an exciting career as a Division I collegiate athlete. I was a good student and was conscious about my health because my success as a student-athlete depended on it! But, I also prioritized my immediate goals and short-term success over my long-term health. I ignored the advice to do “everything in moderation” — and had to deal with the consequences.
January 1, 2013, marked a new day in preventive health services coverage for many women! The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all new private insurance plans cover key women’s preventive health services without additional costs like co-pays. This rule applies to new plans, as well as to on-going insurance plans’ new coverage periods. Because most plans’ coverage periods start at the beginning of the calendar year, many women gained access to these important services without co-pays in January.
By Rachel Walden
The National Women’s Health Network has long argued for stricter regulation and elimination of direct-to-consumer (DTC) drug advertising due to its tendency to overstate drugs’ benefits and understate risks in order to increase pharmaceutical companies’ profits. A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that every $1 the pharmaceutical industry spends on DTC advertising yields $4.20 in drug sales, and that DTC ads are responsible for 12 percent ($2.6 billion) of the total growth in drug spending in 2000.i
There seems to be no limit to what you can use a smart phone for these days! A new app gives people a way to share their sexually transmitted infection (STI) status through what the developer calls “safe bumping.” Mobile users can touch (“bump”) their mobile phones together and instantly exchange information about their STD status. The MedXcom app also encourages users to get STD tests; allows your doctor to post that a person is STD-free on the app; and provides a way for people with an STD to track their treatment plan, medications, and appointments.
On Thursday, October 18, NWHN supporters gathered at Elizabeth’s on L in Washington, DC for the 5th Annual Barbara Seaman Awards for Activism in Women’s Health. This year’s theme was Celebrating Changemakers, honoring two women who have qualitatively transformed the way social justice is done.
By Nicole Dubowitz
By Cindy Pearson
Shortly before the end of 2012, in one whirlwind 24-hour period, I got a chance to talk to both President Obama and to Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Both of these opportunities came during holiday parties: one at the White House and one in HHS’s DC headquarters.
By Debra L. Ness
They call us the “Sandwich Generation,” which sounds kind of nice. After all, who doesn’t like a good sandwich? But that phrase obscures a reality that virtually every woman either faces today or will face tomorrow: caring for herself while simultaneously looking after her children, parents, in-laws and, sometimes, grandparents. All this while coping with a challenging economy and a health care system that fails to consistently deliver high-quality, well-coordinated care.
By Brittnee Hawkins
40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade
Forty years ago, when a woman realized that she needed an abortion, her ability to get a safe procedure depended on where she lived and how much money she had.
Forty years later, with abortion legal in all U.S. states thanks to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, a woman can much more easily get a safe procedure.
But not always – many women face the barriers like medically unnecessary procedures imposed by state legislatures.
By Charlea Massion and Adriene Fugh-Berman
We all know that some pharmaceutical companies put their own corporate profits ahead of patient safety. But, those companies don’t have a lock on this behavior — here’s an example of a medical device company that has also compromised patient safety.
Almost 80 percent of teenage pregnancies in the US are unplanned, and most of these are the result of failure of or lack of contraception – so it’s a good thing women have access to Emergency Contraception (EC)! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released a policy statement that EC is safe and effective for teens and that pediatricians should make sure that sexually active girls have advance prescriptions in case they need EC. Hopefully AAP members will heed this call and make sure that teens have EC on hand.
By Kate Ryan and Amy Allina
Heart-shaped pubic patch? Take it all off? Vajazzle it with sequins? Deodorant? Bleach? Cosmetic surgery? There’s an astounding range of products and services available these days for changing the appearance of female genitals. Take to the Internet and you’ll find both discussion and debate about these practices. The discussion includes pros and cons of various techniques; reviews of, shall we say, stylists and practitioners in your area; and DIY (do-it-yourself) instructions and tips. The debate often comes down to two questions: is it feminist? And, is it harmful to your health?