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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ellen Shaffer
The Virginia woman's hand-made sign summed it up: “I Can't Believe I'm Still Having to Protest This Shit!” The pro-choice majority is astounded by the tidal wave of vitriolic attacks on reproductive health, rights, justice, and on women's dignity, that constitute the War on Women. These include legislative proposals mandating intrusive and humiliating vaginal ultrasounds with no therapeutic justification before permitting abortion; Rick Santorum's advice that rape victims should celebrate a resulting pregnancy as a blessing; and debates on covering contraception, which is used almost universally. Transforming outrage into decisive policy and political victories requires understanding what is coming at us (and why), and new approaches to seizing the initiative.
By Charlea T. Massion, MD & Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD
Here’s an all too common scenario in health care today: Dehydrated from a severe stomach flu, you’re admitted to a hospital. Your doctor wants to order medication to relieve your nausea and vomiting. A savvy user of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), she enters an order for prochlorperazine, a generic drug in use for over 30 years. The electronic response from the pharmacy is: “This product currently unavailable from the manufacturer.” So, your doctor orders another antiemetic, ondansetron, medication that became generic more recently. The same message returns from the pharmacy: “Unavailable…”
By NWHN Staff
By NWHN Staff
By Cindy Pearson
As I write this column, health care reform is under attack in Congress. Opponents of reform have seized upon one specific women’s health issue and are using it to try to undermine the entire effort. Sound familiar? It should. Almost exactly two years ago, health care reform opponents used a specific women’s health issue to try to stop the reform process altogether.
By Fran Howell
A drug prescribed years ago is responsible for health problems today and individuals who were exposed have absolutely no memory of it. How could they? They were exposed before they were born! Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic estrogen that was given as an anti-miscarriage drug to millions of pregnant women primarily between 1938-1971 (but not limited to those years).i Unfortunately, DES not only did not work to prevent miscarriage, but also caused severe medical problems for both the women who took the drug and their children who were exposed to the drug in utero, who are known as DES Daughters and DES Sons.ii In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised providers not to prescribe DES to pregnant women when it was found to increase the risk of clear-cell adenocarcinoma, a rare vaginal cancer, among DES Daughters.
By Keely Monroe
By Rachel Walden
By Shaniqua Seth
By Bora Chang
By Kate Ryan
This Halloween, an offensive costume called “Anna Rexia” was marketed on the Internet and in costume stores. It included a skeleton-print, skin-tight dress with a measuring-tape belt. One website raved, “Make no bones about it — this dress will spark some conversations!” Yes, it did! In response, Spark, a movement committed to ending the sexualization of girls, launched a petition on www.change.org asking Halloween Store to remove the costume from both its online store AND its shelves in Memphis, TN. Within five hours of the petition’s launch, the vendor promised to remove the costume from the Internet and storeroom shelves.
Despite evidence that abstinence-only-until-marriage health “education” is ineffective in preventing teens from having sex, Texas continues to implement these programs state-wide, with dismal results. A new study finds the state’s high school students are more likely than average to have had sexual intercourse and not used highly-effective methods of birth control. 52% of Texas high school students surveyed reported having had sexual intercourse, versus a national average of 46%; 86% of Texas students surveyed reported not
A report from the Global Symposium Celebrating 40 Years of Our Bodies, Ourselves
When 14 women got together around a kitchen table in Boston in 1970 to write Women and Their Bodies (which would later become Our Bodies, Ourselves), they had grand ambitions. They knew their newsprint creation was much more than a book, and asked readers to view it instead “as a tool which stimulates discussion and action, which allows for new ideas and for change.” Through writing the book, the authors explained that they learned “how we could act together on our collective knowledge [about our bodies] to change the health care system for women and for all people.”
Feminist Health Community Turns Out in Full-Force to Honor Susan Hester & Fushena Cruickshank at NWHN Fundraiser
On Tuesday, November 1, more than 130 people packed Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C. for the National Women’s Health Network’s annual fall fundraiser. This year’s theme was 35 Years: Standing Strong, in celebration of the culmination of our 35th year as an organization. For the fourth consecutive year, we also presented two deserving activists with the Barbara Seaman Award for Activism in Women’s Health.
By Cynthia Pearson
I’ve been thinking a lot about weather lately — bad weather. A big storm can make getting around difficult, disrupt our plans, and delay our arrival at our intended destination. Doesn’t that sound like what we’ve experienced recently with the politics of women’s health? Last fall, we thought we were on our way to a long-anticipated destination: the end of unjustified age restrictions on over-the-counter access to Emergency Contraception (EC). Then, a big storm blew through DC and, when it was over, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to remove the age limit had been overruled and our arrival at our desired destination delayed, once again.
By Kate Ryan
Science is under fire in the U.S. Congress, and a central line of attack is to cut funds for Federally supported research. Whether such attacks are motivated by ideological opposition to specific research areas, or a desire to decrease government spending by cutting programs that Members of Congress deem to be “wasteful”, reducing research funding is harmful to women’s health. Advocates must push back and defend the value of agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Federally