What If Women Are Offered Contraception for Free?


Last fall, researchers in Missouri caught the attention of public health experts and advocates across North America. Some 9,000 St. Louis women had been offered their choice of contraceptives for free in a study that has since been called an “Obamacare simulation.” Two years later, the teen pregnancy rate was at 6 per 1,000 instead […]

Poorer Countries Get Price Cut on HPV Vaccine – But Is It Enough?

Some of the world’s poorest countries are getting price cuts for vaccines that protect against 70 percent of all cervical cancers. The two companies involved, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline, announced recently that their vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) would be sold to those countries for $4.50 and $4.60, respectively. These prices are an improvement from the previous $13 per […]

The President, Personal Stories and Health Care Reform


I’ve been a proponent of telling personal stories to make a political point for as long as I’ve worked in women’s health.  I’ve seen firsthand how powerful a story can be.  I’ve told my own stories and encouraged other women to tell theirs.  But I’ve never seen a President introduced by someone who started by […]

Peace Corps Women Deserve Abortion Coverage, Too


With states tightening up abortion laws, and the FDA still restricting emergency contraception, recent reproductive rights efforts have been less than encouraging. However, it was a step forward last year when President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which included a provision sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), that protects military women by providing […]

New FDA Restrictions on Morning-After Pill Are … Still Restrictive

UPDATE: The U.S. Justice Department announced today that it will appeal U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman’s decision to make emergency contraception available to all ages without restrictions, and asked for a stay of his ruling. The implication is that the DOJ supports the FDA ruling that’s explained below. After U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled […]

Can Catholic Colleges Block Free Condom Distribution?


The Affordable Care Act requires that birth control be made available through health plans, in some cases without co-pays or deductibles. That’s prompted religious institutions to object to paying for care that’s not consistent with their values. But Boston College’s recent steps to stop free condom distribution doesn’t involve sponsoring birth control—it involves location. Boston […]

Making it Better, Not Worse


You need former Ms. editor Letty Cottin Pogrebin‘s new book How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick. Everyone needs this book. If you have a sick friend, if you are a sick friend, if your friend has a family member who is sick, here’s where to turn to learn how to help […]

The Breast Cancer Gene and Control of Women’s Bodies


When it comes to women’s health, corporate interests and profits have been driving the agenda for far too long. There’s no better example than breast cancer, where companies make billions selling pink ribbon products in the name of the disease, and yet we have too little to show for this money. The commodification of breast […]

McConnell and Judd: What It Means When We Talk About Gender and Mental Health


On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. […]

Eye-Opening Dispatch from “Kingdom of the Sick”


Laurie Edwards is all too familiar with life in the “kingdom of the sick,” which is how cultural critic Susan Sontag famously described the hidden world of chronic illness. From an early age, the 32-year old writer, blogger and mother of a young daughter has spent weeks of her life in the hospital and endured […]