women's health


Panelists at Side Effects Public Media’s two-part Happier Birth Days conversation answered viewer questions about maternal and infant health disparities in Indiana’s black communities. But there wasn’t time to answer all questions. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr.

Photo by Parentingupstream is licensed under CC0. https://pixabay.com/en/doctor-hospital-bed-delivery-labor-840127/

A law professor in Illinois wants to put a stop to a medical practice that she says treats women’s bodies like cadavers. 

Across most of the U.S., teaching hospitals allow medical students to conduct pelvic exams on female patients without their knowledge or explicit consent. 

Tattoo Artists Offer Mastectomy Patients Another Way To Heal

Mar 12, 2018
Alex Stern / WHYY/The Pulse

“The first time I looked in the mirror and saw myself after my double mastectomy, it was kind of shocking,” Maureen Matteis-Bilbee says.

Behind The Turntable, An Unexpected Resource For Assault Prevention

Feb 22, 2018

Bloomington, Indiana has no shortage of night clubs. A classic college town, on any day of the week, bar-goers can begin a crawl in the late afternoon and hit a dozen sticky dance floors by midnight.

Matthew Hatcher / for Side Effects Public Media

On a Saturday afternoon at the downtown Columbus, Ohio courthouse, close to 20 men sat in a conference room; arms crossed, eyes staring blankly ahead, listening to a lecture. One white-haired man with glasses and hearing aids yelled for the presenter to speak up.

Beth Van Dam / Flickr

While serving time in jail, Emma King had to go to great lengths to find something as common as tampons. She and other women in prison eventually learned how to make their own.

Treating Domestic Violence As A Medical Issue

Jan 30, 2018
Anna Gorman / Kaiser Health News

Fanny Ortiz, a mother of five who lives just east of downtown Los Angeles, spent nearly a decade married to a man who controlled her and frequently threatened her. Then, she said, his abuse escalated. “He would physically hit me in the face, throw me on the wall,” she recalled.

Stunner On Birth Control: Trump’s Moral Exemption Is Geared To Just 2 Groups

Oct 17, 2017

Few people were surprised last week when the Trump administration issued a rule to make it easier for some religious employers to opt out of offering no-cost prescription birth control to their female employees under the Affordable Care Act.

Updated 4:52 pm

The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women.

According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.

In Cambridge, Mass., a woman named Kristin sits down on a stone bench to talk about a common but rarely discussed injury that's starting to grow along with the opioid epidemic: rape.

Court Helps Kids By Healing Parents’ Addictions

Aug 17, 2016
Robert Durell for California Healthline

At 10 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, a line of parents pushing strollers filed into a conference room at the Sacramento County Courthouse. They sat at rows of narrow plastic tables, shushing their babies and gazing up at a man in a black robe.


Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Restrictions In Texas Anti-Abortion Law

Jun 27, 2016
In a 5-3 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor or Whole Woman's Health in their case against Texas health commissioner John Hellerstedt.
Jordan Uhl via Flickr

The Supreme Court struck down key aspects of a Texas abortion law Monday, casting doubt on similar laws in nearly two dozen states.

At issue in the court’s decision were two specific provisions of a sweeping law to restrict abortions passed by the Texas legislature in 2013. The provisions before the court required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles from the abortion clinic and required abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety standards as “ambulatory surgical centers” that perform much more complicated procedures.

New York Aims To Become The Next State To Toss The Tampon Tax

May 18, 2016

Feminine products are having a moment. With some calling for a red wave to take the taboo out of menstruation, politicians across the country are trying to make tampons and sanitary pads as affordable and accessible as possible.

Five states have eliminated sales taxes on pads and tampons: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland and Minnesota. In New York, a bill awaits the governor's signature, and other efforts to improve access to sanitary products are underway.

Brandy Beck considers herself lucky. As a breast-feeding mom, the Frontier Airlines pilot has experienced severe breast pain, engorged breasts, clogged ducts, decreased milk supply, three interruptions while pumping at work, and pumping in airport and airplane bathrooms.

Pregnancy Fairness Act Protects Illinois Women, But Justice Moves Slowly

Apr 19, 2016

Bene’t Holmes was four months pregnant when she had a miscarriage at work. It happened the day after her manager at a Chicago Walmart denied her request for lighter duties. According to her account, a doctor had told the then-25 year-old that she should no longer lift 50-pound boxes as her job demanded. But she needed the job.

Holmes told her story in a July 2014 blog post for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. A month after she wrote that post, the Illinois General Assembly approved a measure that requires all employers provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers or those who have childbirth-related conditions. The law came too late to protect women like Holmes, but its backers hope it will prevent other women from facing the same wrenching choice: Put your unborn child at risk or lose your job?

As Birthing Centers Increase In Popularity, Kansas Midwives Push For Legal Independence

Mar 16, 2016
Kendra Wyatt, left, of the New Birth Center in Kansas City, Kansas, and expectant mother Sarah Lockridge inspect a 'birthing sling' in the room that Sarah is hoping to use when she delivers h
Jim McLean / Heartland Health Monitor

The number of birth center deliveries – while still small compared to hospitals – has jumped more than 50 percent since 2007. And recent research has documented some associated health benefits.

A study soon to be published in the journal Women’s Health Issues says there are fewer pre-term births and low birthweight babies in states where midwives – working in birth centers and hospitals – do more deliveries. There are also fewer cesarean births.

States Start to Let Pharmacists Prescribe Birth Control Pills

Feb 18, 2016
Rebecca Smith / KBIA

Since January, Charley McGrady has been doling out hormonal contraceptive pills and patches to women who come to her Eugene, Oregon, pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription for birth control.

About half, (yes, half!) of pregnancies are unplanned. With that in mind, the CDC is advising women of childbearing age to completely abstain from drinking, unless they're using birth control. As USA Today reports, the government wants to stop women from risking fetal alcohol syndrome by drinking when they don't yet know they're pregnant.

Wanda Filer, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians told USA Today she hopes the report will make women stop and think, but it's a bit of a tough sell:

Texans Try To Repair Damage Wreaked Upon Family Planning Clinics

Feb 1, 2016

For the past five years, the Texas Legislature has done everything in its power to defund Planned Parenthood. But it's not so easy to target that organization without hurting family planning clinics around the state generally.

Of the 82 clinics that have closed, only a third were Planned Parenthood.

Twenty-two years after Congress ordered the National Institutes of Health to include women in the clinical trials it funds to test medical treatments, women make up more than half the participants in those trials.

That’s the good news. Unfortunately, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office, NIH can’t tell whether researchers are also examining outcomes by sex to see whether men and women are affected differently by what’s being tested.

Answering Your Questions: Health 101 For Grown Women

Nov 25, 2015

Remember that health class you had in middle school? Where you found out all that stuff about your body? We wondered why there wasn't a class like that for middle age. Could someone tell us what happens to us as we move through the decades?

Morning Edition asked listeners to send their questions about women's bodies and aging as part of our ongoing series Changing Lives of Women. We heard from hundreds of you asking about everything from sleeplessness to STDs to sex in old age.

Conflicting Advice On Annual Pelvic Exams: Are They Doing Any Good?

Oct 13, 2015

It’s the latest battle over screening: Should healthy women skip annual pelvic exams?

A controversial recommendation last year by the American College of Physicians, which represents the nation’s internists, strongly urged that doctors stop routinely performing the invasive exam on women without symptoms and who are not pregnant.

This story was produced by Kaiser Health News.

Women Find A Fertility Test Isn't As Reliable As They'd Like

Oct 5, 2015

Women concerned about their fertility can use a test to help decide whether they should freeze their eggs now or whether they still have time to have a baby.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Medical abortion services at the Columbia, Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic are under threat, due, in part, to political pressure from the Missouri legislature. This clinic is one of only two places in the state where a woman can get an abortion, but following an announcement made by the University of Missouri Health Care system last Thursday, they may not be available for much longer.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards testified before the House Oversight Committee Tuesday, in the wake of the release of a series of undercover videos this summer that showed high-level staffers discussing the harvesting of fetal tissue.