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 Susan Yanow, MSW
“Danielle Deaver was 22 weeks pregnant when her water broke and doctors gave her a devastating prognosis: With undeveloped lungs, the baby likely would never survive outside the womb, and because all the amniotic fluid had drained, the tiny growing fetus slowly would be crushed by the uterus walls. Deaver's prior pregnancy ended the same way at 15 weeks, and doctors induced her to spare the pain. But this time, when the couple sought the same procedure, doctors could not legally help them. Just one month earlier, Nebraska had enacted the nation's first fetal pain legislation, banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation. So the Deavers had to wait more than a week to deliver baby Elizabeth, who died after just 15 minutes....”1.
We are thrilled that the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) recently honored the Network with its Grassroots Activism Award for our success in reducing the incidence of breast cancer! The Network’s longtime advocacy — including our members’ and supporters’ activism —challenged the widespread use of hormone therapy and led to this important accomplishment. Presenting the award, NBCC President Fran Visco commended the Network for taking on the battle to change medical practice and demand answers about hormones’ health effects, both positive and negative.
We often face harsh realities when we don’t fit into what society deems to be normal. But, does that also mean we can be harassed or discriminated against? The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) doesn’t think so. In April, the EEOC ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender and gender non-conforming workers from employment discrimination. This landmark change clarifies existing national policy and strengthens this (too slowly) evolving area of employment law.
By Shaniqua Seth and Malika Redmond
Accentuated and airbrushed, often young and Caucasian, female body parts are displayed on billboards throughout the U.S. as a staple marketing technique to attract consumers’ attention and dollars. Feminists have long critiqued the way this advertising strategy objectifies women, but the strategy took a twist when a controversial billboard made national news after it was erected in New York City in 2011. The ad used a woman of color’s body not to sell a product, but to promote an anti-choice message. The young African-American girl in the billboard was both the object and subject of the message, which read: “The Most Dangerous Place for an African-American is in the Womb.”
By Amy Allina
Here in the U.S., we aren’t very good at talking about contraception. In fact, we’re usually down-right terrible at it! Recent conservative attacks have focused public attention on how universally accepted contraceptive use is in this country, which may make it a little easier for us to talk about. But, these attacks have serious downsides for the contraceptive conversation, too.
By Joan Wilentz
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) are characterized by pain and dysfunction in one or both jaw joints and/or their surrounding tissues. These joints are the most complex in the body. They work as a pair, positioned on either side of the head, connecting the upper ends of the mandible (the lower jaw bone) to the temporal bone of the skull. The joints enable you to move your jaw in three dimensions: up and down, forward and back, and side to side. Serious disruption in the jaw’s function affects the ability to eat, chew, and swallow food; speak and make facial expressions; and breathe and sleep comfortably.
By Christina Cherel
They say good men are hard to find and that sailing through the dating waters can be rough. I’ve found that, for an outspoken, pro-choice feminist woman in her early twenties, the pool of eligible bachelors is even shallower.
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