NWHN in Action – September/October 2013

Taken from the September/October 2013 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 (especially lately) safe abortion care. The answer: our lives! Thanks to our members’ generous support, the NWHN is able to work on all fronts — advocating, collaborating, and educating in order 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

One of the best ways to get the word out about the new health care law is through the media. Staff appeared on a variety of media outlets in recent months, as we count down to full implementation of the Affordable Care Act on January 1, 2014. Executive Director Cindy Pearson spoke on radio programs in New Mexico and New York, and published an article in the Spring issue of Ms. Magazine. Program & Policy Director Amy Allina was a guest on the Black Women’s Health Imperative’s radio show, discussing the law’s impact on women.

In addition, Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) Fellow Melissa Torres-Montoya trained student leaders on their new health benefits as part of NWHN’s Our Campus, Our Coverage program. Trainings occurred at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the George Washington University, and University of Alabama.

Challenging Dangerous Drugs & Devices

Any woman who has a hip implant would want to know if the device has been recalled, which is why the NWHN has been advocating for a medical device tracking system! So when Senior Program Coordinator Kate Ryan spoke on a panel with the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) device center, she took the opportunity to urge the FDA to implement the new rules quickly and make sure the system is consumer-friendly and easy-to-use.

Securing Sexual & Reproductive Health and Autonomy

Nearly 40 Members of Congress signed on to our letter urging the Obama Administration not to appeal the court ruling that Emergency Contraception (EC) must be made available without prescriptions or age limits. We’ve been working to ensure our members and the public know what’s happening with access to EC at every turn, and are thrilled that Plan B has finally hit the shelves!

Public funding for research on women’s health is vital because industry will never fund treatments that lack a potential for making profits, like research on yoga to reduce hot flashes. Senior Program Coordinator Kate Ryan met with Members of Congress to advocate for increased Federal funding for research on understudied areas of women’s health including contraception, pelvic floor disorders, and uterine fibroids.