Health Info

Game-Changing Women’s Health Victories in Recent History

Publication Date: March 28, 2022

By: Adele Scheiber

December 2021 – Women’s Health Win: The FDA permanently removes medically unnecessary access restrictions to the abortion pill.

Specifically, they permanently removed the in-person dispensing requirement, meaning that women can now get the abortion pill by mail and take it at home. Advocacy arguments and specific language crafted by the NWHN were instrumental in winning this phase of the fight. Learn more about the history of this fight here, and check out our website for up-to-date medical facts on the safety and legality of medication abortion.


May 2020 – Toxic, cancer-causing baby powder is taken off North American shelves thanks to advocacy efforts co-led by the NWHN.

After years of grassroots advocacy, a strong coalition of public health groups forced Johnson & Johnson to stop selling hazardous talc-based baby powder in North America, and successfully pushed for greater Congressional oversight. We also co-led an open letter with Black Women for Wellness condemning J&J’s decision to continue selling baby powder outside of North America.

2020 - Powder Health

2020 – The Network armed the public with accurate information on COVID-19 and emerging treatments and pushed for more diversity in drug trials.

As information emerged about transmission, symptoms, and protective measures, The Network was one of the first organizations to analyze the disparate impact of COVID-10 on communities of color and call for equitable access to PPE, paid leave, and respectful patient treatment. The Network also analyzed vaccine safety information and produced widely quoted critiques of the failure to include enough Black and Indigenous volunteers in vaccine trials.

2019 Toxic Products

December 2019 – Negligent personal care product companies are finally held to account.

The Network kicked the fight for safe personal care products into high gear by expanding our earlier work on the issue into a full-fledged advocacy campaign. Toxic ingredients in makeup, hair dyes, baby powder, and other personal care products have been linked to numerous health problems - and Black women bear the brunt of the burden. But current federal law hobbles FDA oversight. To push for correction of this egregious negligence, The Network lobbied and educated members of Congress, helped the House draft marquee legislation, and organized dozens of reproductive justice organizations to rally around this issue. These efforts paid off; Congress had a historic committee hearing where we testified and is on the brink of passing corrective legislation.

September 2019 – We helped block Medicaid work requirements, saving health care for thousands.

Our Dying from Red Tape campaign helped save health care for thousands by opposing work requirements as a condition of coverage. We assisted our state partners in gathering real-life stories to support legal challenges that were ultimately successful, blocking implementation of work requirements in all but one state.

March 2018 – The FDA Office of Women’s Health is saved, ensuring women are considered in all their diversities in drug and device trials.

When the then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tried to defund the FDA Office of Women’s Health (OWH), the NWHN stepped in to stop it. The Network helped organize a successful lightning-speed advocacy campaign to save the OWH, and Gottlieb was forced to back down within a week.

2017 – The Network strengthened the capacity of dozens of health groups led by people of color.

We provided technical assistance for organizational development through the Working Against the Grain project for people of color-led groups. The Afiya Center in Texas and Trans Queer Pueblo in Arizona were standout successes. As a result of their increased organizational capacity supported by RWV co-founder Byllye Avery and NWHN staff, the groups started new programs to address the health needs of immigrants, strengthened state-wide organizing, and secured a policy win for Black mothers.

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