Women's Health In Women's Hands

See Your Cervix!


History of Women’s Health Movement


Photo and writing from 1976 LIFE Magazine Special Report, Remarkable Women 1776-1976: Photo from left to right: Suzann Gage, Sherry Shiffer, Francie Hornstein, Carol Downer, Lorraine Rothman & Lynn Heidelberg (lying-down). Credit for Wonder Woman poster and Feminist Women’s Health Center Emblem: Suzann Gage

Our History

In 1969, small women’s health groups started up around the country to create a “women’s night” at the local free clinic, or write books on women’s health and individual women wrote or researched to expose dangerous methods of birth control. Read more coming soon.

“Many of the women who wrote books and started collectives to start the Women’s Health Movements in 1969 first worked in the anti-war movement, the civil rights movement, and the liberal abortion reform movement. Barbara Seaman wrote Free and Female and The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill; the Boston Women’s Health Collective wrote the newsprint pamphlet that became Our Bodies, Ourselves; The Jane collective set up an illegal abortion service. Women stormed the Food and Drug Administration to protest the lack of accurate labeling of the Pill.”)

Books, Films and Videos

We have written books and produced films and videos based on our self-help experiences. We have large, beautiful women’s clinics, staffed by their original self-helpers, which provide well-woman care, adoption facilitation and abortion. There are many women’s clinics around the country that are the direct or indirect beneficiaries of our pioneer clinics who continue to provide humane, respectful health care.

The Self-Help Method is Global

Women around the world have used the self-help method we developed to set up health projects around the world. For example, in India, in the mid-1980’s, women’s health groups established a group called Shodhini (in the Indian language, shodhini means “researcher”), gained the knowledge to challenge the Western, male-dominated health care system, reviving and spreading the knowledge of herbs to deal with women’s common health problems.

 

Monthly Extract and Dido Hasper Interview

Monthly Extract

 

TThe Monthly Extract, An Irregular Periodical, Communications Network, Global Gynecological Self Help Clinics.

In 1971, Lolly Hirsch, a housewife with grown children from Connecticut, came to the self-help-clinic we offered at the NOW conference in Los Angeles. She, like many other NOW members who learned to use the vaginal speculum, invited us to come to the wealthy New York City suburb in Stamford, Connecticut to present self-help to her feminist friends. After our demonstration, they promptly started a self-help clinic, becoming very proficient over the next few years at doing Menstrual Extraction.
Lolly wrote a book on her childbirth experiences which was never published. She had an old-fashioned metal press in her basement as big as a room which she and her daughter, Jeanne Hirsch, used to laboriously print a newsletter for Self-Help Clinics, The Monthly Extract until 1978.

This publication is on file on microfilm in the WOMEN & HEALTH series at the WOMEN’S HISTORY RESEARCH CENTER, INC., 232 Oak Street, Berkeley, Calif. 94708.

And Jeanne Hirsch has a large supply of original issues. If you are interested in purchasing copies of The Monthly Extract please write to Jeanne Ingress at: 963 Isaac Frye Hwy. Wilton, NH 03086. Jeanne Ingress has packets that include a magazine, a booklet, and 11 extracts for a donation of $25.00 plus shipping and handling. She mostly has copies of Women: To, By, Of, For and About, a few of The Witches' Os, Packets of The Monthly Extracts and a few of The Proceedings of The First International Childbirth Conference.

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Select to download "The Monlthly Extract"

Click on image above to view all the Monthly Extract periodicals

Dido Hasper Interview

In 19__, Dido Hasper, Executive Director of the Chico Feminist Women’s Health Center was interviewed.  She answers questions about the history of the health centers, their structure, differences between health centers, struggles with the State, etc.

To Download the article please select the following hyperlink...Dido Hasper Interview

Please visit the Feminists Women’s Health Center website for a timeline of a History of the Women’s Health Movement

Sherry Schieffer worked at the health center for a couple of years.  She was on the Book Team (look below).  She was on of our most gifted writers and she made a significant contribution.  Many years later, Sherry wrote an account of her experience which I believer everyone who was there would agree captures the world of the L.A. FWHC.  Sherry Shiffer’s memoir.


Photo Gallery

 

Note: We would like to dedicate this page to the hundreds of women who joyously and tirelessly created the Women’s Self-Help Movement.  We’re publishing these few photos of the “Book Team” which were taken around 1975 to inspire those who worked at the Feminist Women’s Healths or those who participated in events with us to send us photos (with brief history of the event and names of the people and the location of the photos).

                 In many of the photos that we will be putting on the website, I don’t remember some women’s names.  If I haven’t identified someone and you know their name, please let me know.

THE BOOK TEAM

For approximately five long years, 1975 to 1980, a number of women from all of the Feminist Women’s Health Centers wrote the book.  While those of us who wrote, the rest of the staffs worked extra hours to make it possible.  In these photos, we were still working at the health center offices on Crenshaw.

 

Lorraine Rothman
Becky Chalker (left) Carol Downer (right)
Sandra Sullaway, Becky Chalker
Ginny Cassidy-Brinn, Kathy Hodge
Lorraine Rothman
Becky Chalker (left) Carol Downer (right)
Sandra Sullaway, Becky Chalker
Ginny Cassidy-Brinn, Kathy Hodge
Becky Chalker
Shelly Farber
Carol Downer, Sandra Sullaway, Becky Chalker, and Suzann Gage
Becky Chalker and Suzann Gage
Becky Chalker
Shelly Farber
Carol Downer, Sandra Sullaway, Becky Chalker, and Suzann Gage
Becky Chalker (left) and Suzann Gage (right)
Suzann Gage, unknown, Becky Chalker, unknown
Becky Chalker and Suzann Gage
Becky Chalker
Becky Chalker
Suzann Gage, unknown, Becky Chalker, unknown
Becky Chalker (left) and Suzann Gage (right)
Becky Chalker
Becky Chalker

To contact us:

2451 Ridgeview Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90041
Phone : 323-960-5026
Fax: 323-960-5026
E-Mail: whwh@womenshealthinwomenshands.org


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