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Amy Allina

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When a woman in Idaho, who had taken drugs that she ordered over the Internet to end her unintended pregnancy, told a friend about what she experienced, she ended up under arrest, charged with a felony for having an illegal abortion.

The National Women’s Health Network (NWHN) was founded in 1975, at a time when many women’s health activists felt encouraged by the changes they saw in reproductive health care. The organization’s early years coincided with the start of the modern era of legal abortion in the United States.

You would think that the medical establishment would rejoice and celebrate this historic public health achievement: science giving women and their health care providers information that we can use to guide our behavior in a way that dramatically improves our health and saves lives. But, in the case of the WHI, you’d be wrong.

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.

About the Author

Amy Allina

Amy Allina, MA, is a leader in women’s health advocacy who spent 15 years on NWHN staff as Program Director and Deputy Director. Throughout her career, Amy has used her expertise to further women’s rights including serving on the board for the Universal Health Care Network and consulting for organizations like Planned Parenthood and the International Family Planning Coalition.