Originally Published in Women's Health Movement Paper, July 1980
The Women's Health Movement is a movement of women who are working on women's health issues so that women's lives will be improved by having more control over their bodies. Much of the work of the women's health movement has been to improve the ability of women to get health care within the health care system, to develop alternatives to the traditional health care system, and to fight unsafe medical practices which are harming women all over the world. Many women's health groups are directly confronting pharmaceutical companies which manufacture dangerous experimental drugs, hospitals for dangerous childbirth practices, sterilization abuse and unnecessary surgery. Other women's health groups have launched suits to get damages for women who have had health injuries from dangerous medical practices (such as DES, or Dalkon Shields).
The Self-Help Clinic is another major part of the womens health movement. In self-help groups women have learned much about the normal functioning of our bodies and how to control our health care, through self-examination. Self-help groups have focused on safe birth control methods, treating vaginal infections, lesbian health care, menopause, and early pregnancy detection. Women involved in self-help clinics are working in the spirit of women regaining control over their own lives.
Women-controlled clinic are another part of the women's health movement. These clinics offer a real alternative to women from the medical system. These women-controlled clinics offer many services, ranging from abortions, to pregnancy screening, vaginal infection clinics, VD screening, and some women health care clinics have home birth projects and/or lesbian health care clinics.
Women's support groups have also emerged on issues such as breast surgery, C-sections, rape, DES Daughters.