Tag: women’s health

“A Basic Issue of Women’s Liberation”: The Feminist Campaign to Legalize Contraception in 1970s Ireland

On May 22, 1971, forty-seven members of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement (IWLM) boarded the 8am train from Dublin to Belfast. Their aim was to purchase contraceptives in the north, where contraception was legal under UK law, and to travel back to Dublin with them in order to highlight the hypocrisy of Irish law, which… Read more →

Women Against Abortion: Inside the Largest Moral Reform Movement of the Twentieth Century, by Karissa Haugeberg

Not a year goes by without state legislatures across the country implementing new regulatory burdens on abortion clinics, or requiring excessive waiting periods for women seeking abortions. In fact, while abortion continues to be a legal procedure, the twentieth-first-century abortion landscape is often much more restrictive than it was in the years immediately following the… Read more →

Eighth-Grade Innovator Helps Girls Focus on Class Periods, Not Menstrual Periods

“If men could menstruate,” Gloria Steinem observed wryly in an iconic 1978 essay for Ms. magazine, “[s]anitary supplies would be federally funded and free.” Surely, too, tampons and pads would be stocked in every public bathroom just like toilet paper. Instead here we are, almost 40 years and a powerful women’s movement later, and women… Read more →

The Pill Kills: Women’s Health and Feminist Activism

On December 16, 1975, a group of Washington, D.C. area women’s health activists held the first-ever protest at the headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The demonstration took the form of a “memorial service” to commemorate the thousands of women who had died from using the contraceptive pill and other estrogen-containing drugs, and… Read more →

Irish Abortion Trails and Informal Care Networks: Facilitating Continuities in Care

Women from the north and south of Ireland have travelled to England to access abortion services since the advent of the British Abortion Act in 1967 (and before this as single expectant mothers.)1 Lacking help from health services in either jurisdiction of Ireland, activist networks on these abortion trails have emerged to support the thousands… Read more →

Contraception, Depression, and Who Bears the Burden of Unwelcome Side Effects

I started taking hormonal birth control pills in September 2015. That entire past summer, I had begun to experience some early warning signs of a depressive relapse. As someone who’d battled mental illness throughout my adolescence, I dreaded that possibility intensely. Throughout my freshman year of college, I’d managed to keep depression at bay without… Read more →

Friday Night Rights: Abortion in Small-Town Texas

Two recent events have made me return to my favorite TV show of all time, Friday Night Lights, a well-written and riveting drama about football and small-town life in West Texas. First, I recently saw Connie Britton, aka Tami Taylor outside a restaurant in Beachwood Canyon, Los Angeles. I got so excited I stalled my… Read more →

Misunderstanding Miscarriage

By Lara Freidenfelds

Miscarriage rarely makes the news, except in tabloids. But last year, Virginia state Senator Mark Obenshain’s ill-advised attempt to require Virginia women to report all miscarriages to the police contributed to his failure to become Virginia’s state attorney general. The bill, introduced in 2009, haunted his race for the position. Obenshain was trying to demonstrate his moral outrage over the case of a frightened teenager who had given birth to a premature stillborn baby, and disposed of it in a dumpster. It was a tragic case, to all observers. But instead of asking how his state could better provide sex education and contraception, or provide support to teens who get pregnant, he wrote a bill aimed at surveillance and punishment. On penalty of up to a year in prison, women would be required to report all incidences of fetal demise occurring outside a physician’s supervision to the police. They were to report the pregnant woman’s name and the location of the remains, and would not be allowed to dispose of them without police supervision.