Our Bodies, Our Blog

Women’s Health Advocates Call for Better Healthcare Reform

By Rachel Walden |

Last week, and delivered a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and several committee chairs on health care reform. The letter — signed by Myhags and many other supporting organizations — thanks these leaders for their support of healthcare reform and provides recommendations related to women’s health for inclusion in the final legislation.

The signing organizations believe that the final legislation must not add new barriers or … Read

The Senate Race in Massachusetts & Our National Political Health

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Tomorrow Massachusetts voters will go to the polls for a special election to fill the seat of the late Ted Kennedy. The incredibly, unexpectedly tight race has implications that reach nationwide.

Whoever wins this seat may cast the deciding vote in the Senate for healthcare  — and in other divisive issues down the road. Democratic candidate State Attorney General Martha Coakley will vote in favor of healthcare reform; her Republican rival, State Sen. Scott Brown, has promised to vote against it.

While there … Read

Responding to the Needs of Women and Girls in Haiti

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

“In Haiti, as is always true in the aftermath of a major disaster, in addition to the urgent need for what we traditionally consider the pillars of immediate aid – food, water, shelter, medical care – there are needs that are specific to women, particularly for pregnant women and mothers with new babies and the need to address the added vulnerability to violence that women face when government infrastructures are dysfunctional,” .

Myhags has compiled a … Read

Case on Court-Ordered Bed Rest Highlights Reproductive Rights Concerns for Pregnant Women

By Rachel Walden |

Oral arguments began this week in the Florida case of Samantha Burton, a pregnant woman who visited her doctor when she was 25 weeks pregnant with signs of a potential miscarriage. The doctor ordered bed rest, which Burton declined with the intent of seeking a second opinion, as her two job and two existing young children made bed rest a difficult prospect. The doctor then ed the state.

According to the :

She was ordered to stay in bed at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital … Read

Bill Proposed to Make Emergency Contraception Read Readily Available to Women in the Military

By Rachel Walden |

Via AirForceTimes I learned that the [S 2904/HR 4386], a bill that would require emergency contraception to be made available at all military health care treatment facilities, was introduced in mid-December by sponsors Al Franken (D-MN) in the Senate and Michael Michaud (D-ME) in the House.

NARAL Pro-Choice America praised the bill, noting the bill’s potential affect on women serving overseas, stating, “Sen. Franken’s bill is based on the principle of fairness: Women in the military serving overseas should … Read

Public Comments Requested on National Plan to Reduce Health Disparities

By Rachel Walden |

The federal Office of Minority Health is requesting comments on its , which describes the current state of health disparities in the United States and proposes strategies for their elimination.

The Plan was developed following regional meetings in 2007-2009, during which:

Twenty common strategies were defined and organized around five core areas for improvement: awareness, leadership, health and health system experiences, cultural and linguistic competency, and coordination of research/evaluation. The Plan provides a roadmap – a starting point – of the collaborative … Read

FDA Announces Program to Study Prescription Drugs in Pregnancy

By Rachel Walden |

Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the creation of a new research program, dubbed the “Medication Exposure in Pregnancy Risk Evaluation Program” (MEPREP), to study the effects of prescription drugs used during pregnancy.

In explaining the need for such research funding and initiatives, the agency states:

About two-thirds of women who deliver a baby have taken at least one prescription medication during pregnancy according to a journal article published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. There are very few clinical … Read

Bone Density Loss and Depo: Who’s at Risk?

By Rachel Walden |

The current issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology includes an article on the risk of bone mineral density loss in users of contraceptive shots (DPMA, or brand name Depo Provera). As we mentioned in a previous post, the drug comes with a box warning that “Women who use Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection may lose significant bone mineral density. Bone loss is greater with increasing duration of use and may not be completely reversible.”

The current study compared women who used DMPA for at least 24 months … Read

A Radio Conversation on Midwifery

By Rachel Walden |

Boston’s NPR news station, WBUR, recently featured a program on midwives, “” (archived online).

The almost hour-long segment, which aired on the program “Radio Boston,” addresses why some people choose home births and/or midwifery care; the ongoing discussion in Massachusetts about the of midwives; and related birth issues such as malpractice insurance, c-section rates, cost and birthing centers.

A bill pending in the Massachusetts state Senate calls for the creation of a state board that would regulate and license Certified Nurse Midwives … Read

Read Research on Risks of Birth Impairments with Assisted Reproduction

By Rachel Walden |

The November issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility includes an that attempts to determine whether assisted reproductive technology (ART, or AHR for “assisted human reproduction”) may be associated with a higher risk of birth impairments.

The authors reviewed data from records in an Ontario birth database for which information about reproductive assistance was reported, and compared outcomes for the 790 infants conceived via assisted means (including ovulation induction, intra-uterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and intracytoplasmic sperm injection) to the outcomes of 43,462 … Read