Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Honor of Barbara Seaman - Health Information Blogs

During March it is important to note those women who helped us along the path. Barbara Seaman was one of those women. She was an advocate of things we take for granted today; warning labels on medicine, patients rights and questions about the testing and quality of hormone replacement for menopausal women. You can read more about her at tribute at Our Bodies, Ourselves:
I saw that Barbara's questions went to the heart of the same issues troubling many birthing reformers: How was drug safety established? Why did women know so little about drugs they were given, and have so little to say about what they took into their bodies? Who controlled decisions at the FDA? I had also followed the career of Bostonian Dr. John Rock, one of the "fathers" of The Pill, and even organized a meeting where he spoke, so I knew that fear of women's fertility and world overpopulation were his driving motives, not women's safety.
So in that spirit let’s take a look at one of her legacies, providing healthcare education and information. There is a lot of health information out there. Some of that information comes from pharmaceutical companies, from fraud and tricksters and from legitimate medical and information sources.

These blogs and websites are written or reviewed by health care professionals or medical librarians. I’ll also toss in a few that deals with health topics from a news or ethical perspective.

Nurse Practitioner Barbara Phillips writes at with information targeted to middle age and older women. If you have just crossed over and seeking info on midlife issues, staying healthy or how to do the best by your changing body she has a few ideas on the subject.

Rachel Walden is a medical librarian with two health related blogs. The first is Women's Health News which brings attention to health news that certainly would be of interest to BlogHer readers. An item like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists trying to float a statement on Conscientious Refusal or the right to deny care or treatment based on their personal, religious or ideological beliefs. Spooky, isn't it?

The other blog that Rachel toils at is Our Bodies,Our Blog. Along with Christine Cupaiuolo she touches on the medical and health headlines of the day such as Alabama arresting pregnant women who are drug users and a cross link with a response from the National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Women's Bioethics Blog from the Women's Bioethics Project makes you think on multiple levels. What are the ethics of a transgender legally male person caring a child?

That was my starting point. There was an article about the right to die with a photo of her life before and after her disease. I'm not a fan of euthanasia but this courageous soul had the right to make that decision. Or did she? There is a CNN article on Chantal Sebire as well as a Time magazine article as well.

One of the articles that I was intrigued by was an attempt to defend the right to sell milk with rBST/rBGH funded by Monsanto.

This is even after most consumers and many retailers do not want to purchase milk with this growth hormone. Sabrina W. makes this point:
The central question at the heart of this issue is whether we should make an exception to the paradigm of consumer-driven marketing that is supposed to be a mainstay of a capitalist and free-market economy. Yes, producers should be free to choose whichever methods they like to make their product, so long as it is within basic safety standards established by federal regulation and is accurately labeled to allow consumers to choose their products. But in the end, it is supposed to be the consumer who is allowed to choose which brand and which type of product they exchange their money for to take home. In other words, you have a right to sell whatever you want, but you don't have a right to make other people buy it if they don't want it – Capitalism 101.
So thank you Barbara for the path that we now follow to continue to ask questions and seek valiantly for the answers.

This is a cross post on an article I wrote for BlogHer.

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