Our Bodies, Our Blog

Take a Survey on Using Emergency Contraception for Book on the History of EC

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Have a few moments to take a survey about emergency contraception?

Heather Munro Prescott, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University, is writing a book on the history of emergency contraception, and she’s looking for input from women who have used EC — as well as input from their partners, health care providers and activists. Prescott is especially interested in hearing from women who used EC in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

Yes, emergency contraception has been around for decades, though most of what … Read

Politics Interfere with Breast Health Program Funding in California

By Rachel Walden |

As noted in a recent article for the LA Times, Planned Parenthood for Orange and San Bernadino Counties is in a dispute with the Orange County (California) government over money from tobacco settlement revenue (TSR) that would have funded a breast health program for uninsured/low-income women under age 40 at high risk for breast cancer.

The County claims that the organization was denied funding for the program due to a missed deadline, while PPOSBC argues that the County set an unreasonable deadline and created … Read

Stories: Women Write About Infertility and Pregnancy Loss

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Last year, in an article published at Myhags, freelance writer and registered nurse Jen Dozer wrote about the emotional effects of pregnancy after infertility or loss. She later spoke with Our Bodies Our Blog about her own experience with infertility and the anxiety and distrust she felt toward her own body when she did become pregnant.

After Dozer’s article was published, she asked readers of her blog, Mrs. Spock, to share their own stories about infertility and pregnancy loss. Read

Remembering Senator Kennedy’s Work on Behalf of All

By Judy Norsigian |

It is with heavy heart that so many of us receive the news of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death. Although I have been anticipating this moment for weeks now, the reality is still such a shock.

I know that for so many women’s health activists, Kennedy’s passing will only strengthen our resolve to continue his valiant fight for meaningful health care reform. I have started writing letters to several read liberal Republicans, beseeching them to honor his memory by breaking ranks with the Republican Party … Read

A Tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, Healthcare Champion

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

As we remember the life of Sen. Ted Kennedy, the Senate’s Liberal Lion, I wanted to link once again to an essay Kennedy wrote this summer on the need for universal, affordable health care coverage.

To review Kennedy’s political career is to review much of this country’s history of health care reform efforts. In 1966, after visiting the Columbia Point Neighborhood Health Center in Boston — a pilot project providing health services to low-income families — Kennedy authored legislation establishing a network of … Read

Commentary on the Marketing of Gardasil

By Rachel Walden |

A commentary in the current issue of the journal JAMA [abstract only] addresses Merck’s marketing of its HPV vaccine, Gardasil, and describes several ethical and public health-related problems with the company’s approach.

The authors observe that the vaccine was “promoted primarily to ‘guard’ not against HPV viruses or sexually transmitted diseases but against cervical cancer,” and provides an interesting critique of the broad approach vaccine-maker Merck used. The company’s tactic was to encourage all girls within a certain age group to be vaccinated as … Read

Picturing a World Where Women Are Empowered and Valued

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Women in the developing world are the focus of the Aug. 23 edition of The New York Times Magazine.

The main feature is an essay adapted from a new book by Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff and former Times correspondent Sheryl Wudunn. Titled “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” the book and its companion website look at three major abuses against women: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; and … Read

The Ghostwriters, the Doctors and the NIH: Putting an End to Medical Articles Written to Sell Drugs

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Last week we presented Stephen Colbert’s hilarious send-up of the not-so-hilarious news that Wyeth pharmaceutical company had hired ghostwriters to write 26 scientific papers about hormone replacement therapy.

These articles, which emphasized the benefits of taking HRT and de-emphasized the risks, appeared in medical journals between 1998 and 2005. No coincidence that sales of Wyeth’s hormone drugs, Premarin and Prempro, soared, reaching nearly $2 billion in 2001. Usage began to drop in 2002, when the Women’s Health Initiative, a study of postmenopausal women, found … Read

Removing Financial Incentives for Unnecessary C-Sections

By Rachel Walden |

In a piece for Seattle’s Crosscut, “Take away the incentives for too many c-sections,” Carolyn McConnell makes a case for reducing the seemingly ever-increasing rate of c-sections (currently ranging from 14-48% in that state) by reducing the financial incentives that may encourage physicians to perform them read than necessary.

McConnell explains that beginning this month, Washington state, through Medicaid reimbursements, will pay hospitals the same amount for an uncomplicated C-section as for a complicated vaginal birth. She notes that “Almost half of all births … Read

Rep. Barney Frank Refutes Protester’s Accusation; Democrats May Pursue Reform Bill on Their Own

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

A USA Today/Gallup poll found 34 percent of respondents who are following news accounts of town hall meetings on healthcare reform were read sympathetic to the protestors’ viewpoints, while 21 percent said the protests had made them less sympathetic.

Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn is surprised the protests haven’t led to a backlash — “Surely the public would recoil at the demonstrators’ preference for confrontation over dialogue. Their wild overstatements and paranoia. Their signs featuring President Barack Obama with a Hitler-style mustache and other … Read