• Young Feminist: How Using Menstrual Cups Helped Me Discuss My Reproductive Health
    By: Olivia Snavely The first time I tried a menstrual cup, I couldn’t breathe normally. All of the instructions I’d read had said that relaxing and taking deep breaths made inserting the cup easier, but I couldn’t help how nervous I was. It’s one thing to decide to try a menstrual cup; it’s another to look ...
  • A Virtual Success: Raising Our Voices Event
    On October 13th, NWHN members and supporters gathered online for our first ever virtual event, Raising Our Voices in a Time of Racial Injustice, Health Disparity, and COVID-19. The panel featured Byllye Y. Avery, co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices (RWV) and founder of the Black Women’s Health Imperative; Terrilyne Cole, M.D., MBA, an infectious disease ...
  • Rx For Change: Racial Disparities in Cervical Cancer Mortality
    By Sophia King Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S.1 The vast majority (91%) of these cancers are caused by chronic infection with specific strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).2 Typically, our immune system eliminates HPV before cancer develops.3  If the virus isn’t eliminated, prevention and early detection ...
  • Young Feminist: Reclaiming My Femininity
    By Sophia Harrison  As a young woman growing up in the 21st century, I have spent way too much time struggling with the notion of whether or not a woman’s ability to show emotion, compassion, and humility should be considered a weakness or a strength. Modern stereotypes would like me to believe that caring too much ...
  • Improving Life for Women with Parkinson’s Disease
    By Melissa Schenkman, MPH, MSJ  PCORI Engagement Award supports the creation of a national, prioritized women and Parkinson’s research and care agenda.  As an audiologist, Sharon Krischer used her skills to help others improve their hearing. But, for a long time, she couldn’t hear what her own body was telling her. The mother of three daughters and grandmother ...
  • Women’s Health and the 2020 Elections
    By Sarah Christopherson As I write this in August, it’s hard to predict what new crises the nation might be facing in October, the month best known for ghouls, goblins, and nasty election eve “surprises.” While I can’t say what’s going to happen next, I can say with certainty that the coming election is a matter ...
  • COVID-19: Evaluating New Vaccines
    By Cynthia Pearson The NWHN is far from alone in embracing efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, which is critical to being able to return to something even resembling a normal life. We are, however, disappointed that full disclosure of all of the important data isn’t happening as yet—and that, in some circumstances, federal officials ...
  • Rx for Change: Are VBAC Bans Medically Justified?
    By Zoe Lee-Chiong Women should be able to choose how to deliver their children, with only limited exceptions. Unfortunately, American hospitals often restrict pregnant women from having a vaginal delivery, with harmful consequences.  Take the case of Rinant Dray, who arrived at Staten Island University Hospital in 2011 pregnant with her third child. Although her first two ...
  • How Do We Disrupt the Incredible Burden of COVID-19’s Impact on Communities of Color?How Do We Disrupt the Incredible Burden of COVID-19’s Impact on Communities of Color?
    During an April White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Health (NIH) was asked about reports of health disparities and racial divides experienced during the COVID-19 outbreak. Fauci acknowledged what many public health experts unfortunately already knew. He said that “underlying medical conditions, ...
  • The Path Forward is a Radical OneThe Path Forward is a Radical One
    By Kira S. Jones   “A leopard can’t change its spots.” This saying reminds us that, even if someone or something pretends otherwise, the chance that they’ve altered their true nature is pretty slim. It’s a phrase that perfectly captures how I think about the breast cancer industry and the true nature of “pink ribbon culture.” It’s been ...
  • The Reproductive Justice Movement: A Model for a More Inclusive Movement to Improve End-of-Life Options
    By Ninia Beahr  I am a member—and critic—of the right-to-die movement, which seeks to expand access to assisted dying for people facing incurable, unbearable suffering. Much of my background is in abortion activism. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the mainstream pro-choice movement was led by middle-class White women and focused on the single issue of abortion. By the ...
  • Female-Controlled Barrier Methods: Forgotten But Not Gone
    By Ginny Cassidy-Brinn  When Margaret Sanger coined the term in the early 1900s, “birth control” meant the diaphragm, a soft rubber dome that’s placed in the vagina to block sperm. In 1916, Sanger was arrested and jailed for telling women how to use a diaphragm. In 1936, after years of court battles, physician–prescribed birth control was legalized in the United States. Diaphragm use became widespread until the 1950s, when the Pill, the first hormonal contraceptive, began replacing the diaphragm. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and various hormonal methods ...
  • Women & the Opioid Epidemic: What Works and What Doesn’t 
    By Maggie Gorini   The opioid crisis is big news these days, and with good reason. In 2017 alone, there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths, two-thirds of which involved opioids.i Accidental drug overdose is the leading cause of death in the U.S. among people under age 50.ii We need policymakers, insurers, voters, and practitioners to come together in a multi-pronged approach to prevent ...
  • Vyleesi: Another Attempt to Profit from Women’s Health 
      By Maggie Gorini   In June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved bremelanotide (brand name Vyleesi) to treat a lack of sexual desire in premenopausal women.1 The NWHN advocated against the drug’s approval, and spoke in opposition when the approval announcement was made. Here’s why.   Bremelanotide is designed to treat “hypoactive sexual desire disorder” on an “as-needed” basis. A woman takes it about 45 minutes before she ...
  • The Reproductive Justice Movement: A Model for a More Inclusive Movement to Improve End-of-Life Options
      By Ninia Beahr I am a member—and critic—of the right-to-die movement, which seeks to expand access to assisted dying for people facing incurable, unbearable suffering. Much of my background is in abortion activism. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the mainstream pro-choice movement was led by middle-class White women and focused on the single issue of ...
  • An Open Letter to FDA’s New CommissionerAn Open Letter to FDA’s New Commissioner
    By: Cynthia Pearson Dear Commissioner, I wish you well. Honestly, I do. You’ve got a big job with, well, challenging bosses. But you know what? We’re your bosses, too. The public pays for more than half of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) budget each year, which entitles us to have a say in the agency’s  operations. ...
  • A New Treatment for Postpartum Depression: Boon or Bane?A New Treatment for Postpartum Depression: Boon or Bane?
    By Sophie Krensky and Olivia Shannon Last November, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of brexanolone, a first-of-its-kind treatment for postpartum depression (PPD). We question whether brexanolone will help mothers or if it’s a misdirected silver bullet for a larger, more insidious problem: lack of support ...
  • Brightness Among the Clouds: Positive Women’s Health Efforts at the FDABrightness Among the Clouds: Positive Women’s Health Efforts at the FDA
    By Eliana Kosova In our current political climate, each day brings new attacks on reproductive health. Between the Trump-Pence Administration’s attacks on access to birth control and Congress’s continual efforts to curtail abortion care, we are in an uphill battle when it comes to reproductive freedom. When Scott Gottlieb was tapped as Commissioner of the Food ...
  • The Long Road to Long-term Treatment: Evaluating the State of Uterine Fibroids MedicationThe Long Road to Long-term Treatment: Evaluating the State of Uterine Fibroids Medication
    By Eliana Kosova For some, finding the right medication to treat their medical condition is as simple as consulting a doctor and picking up a prescription. For many others, it’s a waiting game. Unfortunately, for those with uterine fibroids, the situation is more often the latter than the former. Although anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of ...
  • Addyi UpdateAddyi Update
    By Negar Esfandiari and Kara Cotto  In 2015, Valeant, a pharmaceutical giant known for price gouging and shady business practices paid $1 billion in cash for a flawed sexual enhancement drug marketed to women with so-called “acquired generalized hypoactive sexual desire disorder.” The drug, flibanserin, is sold under the name “Addyi,” and is described as the female version of Viagra. Despite the huge amounts of money involved, the drug’s a bust. It’s crucial for women to understand the small pink pill’s dangerous ...