NWHN in Action – May/June 2014

Taken from the May/June 2014 issue of the Women's Health Activist Newsletter.

What's at stake? This is the question we often hear about health care coverage, drug safety, and safe abortion care. The answer: women’s lives! Thanks to our members’ generous support, the National Women’s Health Network is able to work on all fronts — advocating, collaborating, and educating to advance women's health. Here are some highlights of our work in the last few months:

Raising Women's Voices for the Health Care We Need

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working! In all, more than 7.5 million people signed up for coverage, and more than half were women. Regional coordinators worked up ‘til the midnight deadline on March 31 to assure women had the information and support they needed to find a health plan that would work for them and their families and assisting individuals through the enrollment process.  We’re excited to gather and share success stories from people who now have more affordable insurance and are able to get the care they need.

These numbers affirm that our outreach efforts through our Raising Women’s Voices campaign (RWV) are working.  But we’re not stopping, we’re adding new state partners and engaging grassroots organizations throughout the country. In the last few months, RWV welcomed Women with a Vision in Louisiana, and Kentucky Health Justice Network to the effort!

Shortly after the last edition of The Network in Action, the Supreme Court of the US agreed to hear arguments in a case about a woman’s right to affordable contraception.  In January, Raising Women’s Voices joined nearly 100 organizations in filing a friend of the court brief supporting the ACA’s requirement that insurance plans cover contraception without co-pays. Network staff and interns joined almost a thousand supporters on March 25th, rallying outside the Supreme Court and carrying banners with the names of tens of thousands more people from all across the country to deliver the message: bosses don’t belong in the bedroom!

Keep up with the latest from RWV at www.raisingwomensvoices.net

Challenging Dangerous Drugs & Devices

Are you one of the 15 million Americans who take medication to lower your cholesterol? We know the drug guidelines can be confusing, and we want to be sure you have the facts about heart disease and how to treat high cholesterol. That’s why we wrote about statins in the January/February 2014 issue of The Women’s Health Activist, to help separate fact from fiction. Still have questions? Contact our Women’s Health Voice hotline, a free resource supported by member contributions that helps answer questions (call 202.682.2646, or email [email protected]).

The victories keep coming! In the January/February newsletter, Senior Program Coordinator, Kate Ryan, also covered our efforts to promote transparency in the medical device industry. We are delighted that, since then, the Food and Drug Administration has established a new rule for Unique Device Identifiers (UDI) and sent the guidelines to manufacturers. We are monitoring the industry to make sure companies follow these guidelines. We want to hear from you and make sure this rule works for patients. Have you recently gotten a device like a hip or knee replacement? If so, did your doctor talk to you about UDIs?

Securing Sexual & Reproductive Health and Autonomy

The same week we celebrated the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court considered a Massachusetts law establishing buffer zones around reproductive health clinics. We joined a wide coalition of groups advocating that the law remain in place, since such laws protect women’s safety and that of the general public. We anxiously await the Court’s decision on the buffer zones, which is expected in June 2014. Regardless of the outcome, the Network will continue to speak out on the rights of woman, their health, and safety.

Everyone knows about condoms, but what about the female condom? The Network reinvigorated our work to educate our supporters (and their friends) about why you should try a female condom. We celebrated Valentine’s Day by sharing a campaign to promote female condom use.

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