New this month (in addition to the letters, etc., below):
"Art of Gynecology" by Dr. Nelson Soucasaux, Brazilian gynecologist - Readers' home remedies for menstrual problems


Would you
stop menstruating if you could? (New contributions, but I lost several contributions because of e-mail problems. Please resend if you e-mailed me in June!! Or send even if you DIDN'T!)
Words and expressions about menstruation: I lost several contributions because of e-mail problems. Please resend if you e-mailed me in June!! Or send even if you DIDN'T!
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?


first page | LIST OF ALL TOPICS | MUM address | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets directory | contraception and religion | costumes | cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | famous people | FAQ | humor | huts | links | media coverage of MUM | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | religion | menstrual products safety | science | shame | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour (video) | underpants directory | videos, films directory | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads

Jobs, conferences, prizes, announcements, etc., in the lower half of this page

Radio station rejects ad for this museum

I love classical music. When my favorite classical station in this Washington, D.C., area, WBJC, in Baltimore, held its last fund-raising campaign, it offered to run one ad of the contributor's creation five times on any available day for $180. The ads had to fit a certain short format and adhere to FCC regulations - not be obscene, no call to action, etc. - and could have either business or personal content.

So I sent in the following: "This program is brought to you in part by your MUM, the museum of that time of the month. Its Web site is at http//[.]"

Shortly afterwards the fund-raising manager left a message on my voice mail to call her. She said that the ad would not do and that she would send me a new form for another ad.

I asked what I should change to make the ad acceptable.

She said the station manager did not approve of the content of the MUM Web site. Later, in a letter, she told me that he said the content was inappropriate for the station's listeners. But there was nothing in the instructions I received restricting subject matter.

They need to read the quote here as to why menstruation is important to talk about.

So I asked for and got my $180 donation back, and I returned three CDs they sent me.

What if the manager had been a woman? Or what if the ads had been for the general topic of women's health, or an AIDS marathon or raising money for breast cancer? Would the word "breast" have offended the manager, à la U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's covering up of the bared marble breast of Justice behind him in press conferences? Are diseases more mentionable than normalcy? Strange!

When I started the museum I thought that intelligent, educated folks - I bet they comprise the bulk of the classical music audience - would react, well, intelligently to it, but 10 years of this museum in virtual and real form have taught me that most people, smart or dumb or in the middle, can't come to grips with menstruation.

Just as the Fox Network couldn't, as related in the Michael Moore item right below.

So that's why they must visit the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health.

No, not Mum, but MUM's the word!

Oh, by the way, Larry Bryant, a friend of mine as well of the First Amendment and the ONLY person to encourage me to start the museum when it was in the thinking stage, is encouraging me to file suit against the station.

So, speaking of Michael Moore . . .

His Fahrenheit 9/11 is playing now in packed theaters. As part of my retirement party - see the item below - my boss, his boss and the office tech took me to see it.

But in 1995 a producer for Moore's television program TV Nation called me, saying she was eager to have me on the program, as creator of the Museum of Menstruation. (The Wall Street Journal wrote at the time, "TV Nation may be the rarest of species, a television program both funny and important.") Not knowing anything about Moore, I said yes.

After three phone calls, the producer finally said it couldn't happen; she was audibly upset. She explained that lawyers from Fox Network, which carried the show, felt that the subject of the museum, menstruation, violated the standards and practices of that network. Although I was no TV-watcher, I had heard enough about Fox to wonder if it had any standards at all.

Many of the media did discuss MUM, however, including the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC - as well as Howard Stern and Comedy Central's Daily Show. Here are more of the media that have written, spoken about or filmed this museum.

I'm free! Well, almost

Last week I retired from my day job with the Department of Defense. Yippee! Although I will paint portraits and pawtraits (after 15 July see my portraits of people and animals on to afford retirement, I can now devote much more time to this site and finding a public place for this museum - the main project in my life - probably in the Washington, D.C., area, where I live and which millions of tourists visit. But under the right circumstances other cities could house and display the 5000-or-so item collection. If all else fails, I've promised Australia's largest museum, the Powerhouse, in Sydney, the collection because I'm convinced it will show at least part of it and because I admire the courageous health section director, Megan Hicks [read more about her]. Read my plans for MUM.

Why did I start this museum, which has been a roller coaster ride? In the introduction to his recently published Niddah: Lorsque les juifs conceptualisent la menstruation [read about it], Evyatar Marienberg of Tel-Aviv University hit the nail on the head (my translation):

Certain male and female readers might ask why the subject of menstruation deserves such a study [as his: "Niddah: When the Jews conceptualized menstruation"]. My response is relatively simple: it concerns a phenomenon that affects everyone, everywhere and at all times. It deals with a phenomenon that is universal. For woman, it's a question of something that touches their own bodies . . . . Menstruation also affects men, even if without doubt it's much less evident. . . . It's a matter of a phenomenon that touches the Other, who, before the modern era, very rarely write works of theology, science or medicine: women.

[The French text: "Certains lecteurs et lectrices pourront se demander pourquoi le subject de la menstruation mérite une telle étude. Ma résponse est relativement simple: il s'agit d'un phénomène qui touche tout le monde, partout, et en tout temps; il s'agit d'un phénomène qui est universal. Pour les femmes, il s'agit de quelque chose qui touche leur propre corps . . . . La menstruation affecte aussi, même si c'est sans aucun doute, d'une manière beaucoup moins évidente, les hommes. . . . Il s'agit d'un phénomène qui touche uniquement l'autre, qui, avant l'époque moderne, écrit très rarement des oeuvres de théologie, de science ou de médicine: les femmes.]

I would add my desire to do something worthwhile, unique and involving many things I find interesting: women, art, language, cultural history and science, and allowing me to teach and blend the visual with the intellectual. I also researched and created historical exhibits in my last job. And it's taboo.

Write again - lightening ruined my modem

That's what a computer tech told me, and I lost many days of your e-mail. If you wrote and got bounced or if you don't see your mail here, please write me again. I've since bought a back-up computer and strong UPS and will get a faster, non-modem way to communicate with you. And more secure.

Send in your home remedies for your period problems

A site visitor made this great suggestion. Read the first list here.

Women have smaller brains than men but greater cortical complexity

This might compensate for being smaller. Read the technical English text or, if you read German, a friendlier version.

Test to predict menopause

The seasons might be involved in the onset of menopause

Science Daily reports, "Research by Hungarian fertility experts published (Thursday 10 June) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction, has revealed that the onset of menopause may not be dictated only by the fact that a woman's lifetime supply of eggs are running low, but also by changes in the seasons."

Letters to your MUM

  Click to enlarge

Red Hot Period Party on 15 July in San Diego!

We discovered your site in researching and using our right brains in preparation for our RED HOT PERIOD PARTY on July 15, 2004 at Oak Knoll Family Therapy Center in San Diego, California. We celebrate periods most importantly because we specialize in Eating Disorders. Our girls and women experience fears of growing up and joy in their recovery when they finally get their periods back or start for the first time. The reproductive system is the first to shut down when women diet, develop EDs, as you probably know.

Don't Mess with Mother Nature.

We will definitely use your materials at our event. We have over 40, 11-60 year old women in our program. We have a tree that we are creating ornaments for in celebration of "Coming of Age" and each will tell a story. We are wearing red and serving red food. We did this with body image at Christmas/Winter holiday and it was a great coming together of women of all generations in support of each other. We also presented this tree at local events for NEDA's Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Just to let you know that you have made a connection with our community of women. Connection and community is the cure.

Karen Ritter, LCSW
Oak Knoll Family Therapy Center

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~ Dr.Seuss

Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center

International Eating Disorder Referral Organization

Phone: 858-792-7463

2923 Sandy Pointe Suite 6 Del Mar, CA 92014-2052

We would love to be listed on your site as a resource for eating disorder issues, is this possible? Further, we would like to establish reciprocal links with your Web page. Here is some information on our organization.

The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of eating disorders. We provide information and treatment resources for all forms of eating disorders.

The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center was created to fill an important community need, that of providing prompt information to individuals needing assistance in finding eating disorder treatment in their area. We provide referrals to eating disorder practitioners, treatment facilities, and support groups. Referrals to eating disorder specialists are offered at no charge as a community service.  In addition, we offer general information to the public about the treatment and prevention of eating disorders and we hope to promote social attitudes that enhance a healthy body image and self-esteem.

Those who would like eating disorder information or need a referral can contact The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center by telephone, "snail" mail or by e-mail. The Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center is able to link those needing treatment resources with eating disorder professionals who provide individual, family, and group treatment. If an agency or treatment center can fit a client's needs better than a private practitioner, then the service will refer to that organization. 

Take Care. Christine.

Christine A. Hartline, M.A.

Executive Director

Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center            

phone: 858-792-7463    


[Lightning deleted several letters on my computer. Please resend them if you don't see your contribution!]

Add section for Eastern religions - what a treasure trove!

Dear Sir,

I ran into your site while looking for experiential appraisal of menstruation by women themselves. I enjoyed finding in short texts an overview of the three "major" religions' views on the subject.

May I suggest that you add a page for Eastern religious views, taoist, Buddhist, yogic? Views there span the same positive-negative range. As in other religions, too, knowledge about women's experience and practices (physical in this case) has so been suppressed over the centuries that little is now known of what archaics and ancients might have remembered from the matriarchal cultures' knowledge. Modern women have to rediscover it. Below is a line to follow.

There is, in all religions, a "deeper" or "inner" aspect of religious teaching, knowledge of human nature, and mystic practices. The quest for "enlightenment" and its problem of behavioural and mind agitation and pains has roots in the body and the quest for longevity and youthfulness, freedom from disease and from being dependent on external things or people. For women, some practices involve menstruation. It seems, though, that these are mostly lost, due to negative biases and to the progressive psychologizing of spiritual practices.

Mysticism, spiritual practices, and archaic "myths" of reversing menstruation for health:

I know of one Buddhist practice called "slaying the Red Dragon," aiming to stop menses (for women monks, the body is "just a vehicle" and menstrual uproars of emotions a hindrance to meditation). I cannot trace anyone who actually knows what this practice involves.

In Chinese and yogic traditions, there's a lot of sexual practices to "raise spirit" or life energy, but China has retained a notion that women could stop their menses and gain at the same time a healthier body, also more prone to "spiritual development."

I also think I remember (can't quote) something in the beginning of the Bible (descendants of Noah) about a woman who was menopausal, received the Grace of God, became fertile again, and pregnant. [Note that scholars increasingly stop considering ancient texts as mere stories and find historical validation for their contents, so may be there is something real to that story].

These remnants of traditions, apparently often rooted in pre-archaic female shamanism. go in the same general direction as some of the books you quote. Namely, that

(1) Menstruation is an illness-cleansing process, which, however should not lead to negatively valuing of women, persons with 'uncleanliness'. 'Illness' is a problem that must have a solution.

(2) Menstruation blood and menopause may not be necessary or inevitable at all. There is controversy about whether it's a uniquely human phenomenon, and indications that rich agriculture-based food might cause it in caged animals - so why not in women- , and its occurrence seems variable in animal species and individuals - so why not in women, since most males do not experience sexual organ failure at midlife.

(3) Therefore, there might be a way of not having menstruation, without resorting to medical drug interference, which I know from personal experience (contraceptive pill) can wreck havoc in the hormonal system both short term and long term - see literature on the effect of Hormone Replacement Therapy on cancers, for example, or see literature about the painlessness of menopause or childbirth in certain cultures. I could find no theoretical reason to make such things necessarily impossible.

(4) This would mean there could be both a way of stopping them without loosing fertility once they have started, and a way of maintaining health so they do not start at all. Most ancient traditions state that there is knowledge about human nature that has been lost.

Your list of euphemisms and words for menstruation (here) supports the idea that menstruation is not pleasant (and at its worst feels like illness; shall we trust instincts?) but also the idea that they constitute an "activation of power," including creative, but also the "red power" of hormonal uprising as in an adrenaline or testosterone rush. Such "activations" have a lot to do with how cells behave in a cancer. This line of thought has not been explored in medical or anthropological contexts as far as I know.

Displaying info on mystic practices and these unusual health goals might help validate women's experience as both unpleasant but not blamable, and a possible opportunity to approach health in a different way, from a woman's viewpoint. Hence scholarly and medical studies of possibilities in women's conditions rather than a mere remedial "disease'" approach, post- (e.g. PMS) or pre- (as in one of the books you quote, about ridding the world of menstruation).

My way of dealing with all this is to not accept as full truth anything I read, including scientific knowledge and household knowledge, and to seek answers for myself, observing my own experience as it is, rather than through the filters of what I've learned or of my bodily conditioning, and draw inspiration and support from archaic texts, less limiting. Since a couple of scholars have responded to your site, I'd like to make an appeal to women researchers to not stay with only objective science or scholarship, but to include their own experience in a "first person" research method.

Results of a trial of the new pill to suppress menstruation, Seasonale: "effective, safe and well tolerated"

Christine L. Hitchcock, Ph.D., Research Associate, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), Endocrinology, Dept. of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada (URL:, sent this to members of the The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (which includes me).

Here is the first article from the Phase III trial of the higher dose extended schedule pill (Seasonale).

In Contraception. 2003 Aug;68(2):89-96.

A multicenter, randomized study of an extended cycle oral contraceptive.

Anderson FD, Hait H.

The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical

School, Norfolk, VA 23501, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy and safety of Seasonale, 91-day extended cycle oral contraceptive (OC). METHODS: A parallel, randomized, multicenter open-label, 1-year study of the OC Seasonale [30 microg ethinyl estradiol (EE)/150 microg levonorgestrel (LNG), and Nordette-28 (30 microg EE/150 microg LNG)] in sexually active, adult women (18-40 years) of childbearing potential. Patients received either four 91-day cycles of extended cycle regimen OC, or 13 cycles of the conventional 28-day OC with daily monitoring of compliance and bleeding via electronic diaries. RESULTS: When taken daily for 84 days followed by 7 days of placebo, the extended cycle regimen was effective in preventing pregnancy and had a safety profile that was comparable to that observed with the 28-day OC regimen that served as the control. While unscheduled (breakthrough) bleeding was reported among patients treated with the extended cycle regimen, it decreased with each successive cycle of therapy and was comparable to that reported by patients who received the conventional OF regimen by the fourth extended cycle. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that Seasonale, 91-day extended cycle OC containing 84 days of 30 microg EE/150 microg LNG followed by 7 days of placebo, was effective, safe and well tolerated.

PMID: 12954519

Press release from the maker of Seasonale, Barr Laboratories

(Kathleen O'Grady, of the Canadian Women's Health Network, kindly sent this to The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research members)

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Barr Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BRL) today announced that it has begun promoting SEASONALE(R) (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) 0.15 mg/0.03 mg tablets directly to physicians and other healthcare providers. SEASONALE is the first and only FDA-approved extended-cycle oral contraceptive indicated for the prevention of pregnancy and designed to reduce periods from 13 to 4 per year. The Company has initiated physician detailing and promotional activities using the 250-person Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Women's Healthcare Sales Force. Duramed is a wholly owned subsidiary of Barr Laboratories, Inc.

The Company began shipping SEASONALE in mid-October. Promotional Programs directed to physicians include a variety of patient education initiatives, various medical education programs and a publication plan that includes journal advertising. Women and healthcare professionals who would like to learn more about SEASONALE, including full prescribing information, should visit or call the toll-free number 800-719-FOUR (3687).

"We are excited to begin marketing this new choice in oral contraception to healthcare providers and patients through extensive promotional activities and an education campaign," Bruce L. Downey, Barr's Chairman and CEO said. "Our market research indicates that the extended-cycle regimen represents a substantial opportunity with patients and we believe that the already high awareness of SEASONALE will be even higher among target physicians and patients following the launch of our promotional activities and detailing by our Women's Healthcare Sales Force."

"SEASONALE is a 91-day regimen taken daily as 84 active tablets of 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel/0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol, followed by 7 inactive tablets and is designed to reduce the number of periods from 13 to 4 per year," explained Dr. Carole S. Ben-Maimon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Barr Research. "With SEASONALE, women now have an FDA-approved, safe and effective alternative to the traditional 28-day oral contraceptive regimen."

Clinical Data

The clinical data supporting FDA approval of the SEASONALE (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) 0.15 mg/0.03 mg tablets product resulted from a randomized, open-label, multi-center trial that ended in March 2002 and an extension to that trial. In the trials, SEASONALE was found to prevent pregnancy and had a comparable safety profile to a more traditional oral contraceptive.

In the trial, the most reported adverse events were nasopharyngitis, headache and intermenstrual bleeding or spotting.

SEASONALE(R) has been formulated using well-established components, long recognized as safe and effective when used in a 28-day regimen. SEASONALE offers 4 periods per year as compared to 13 per year with traditional oral contraceptives. When prescribing SEASONALE, the convenience of fewer planned menses (4 per year instead of 13 per year) should be weighed against the inconvenience of increased intermenstrual bleeding and/or spotting.

Important Information About Oral Contraceptives

It is estimated that more than 16 million women currently take oral contraceptives in the United States. Oral contraceptives are not for every woman. Serious as well as minor side effects have been reported with the use of hormonal contraceptives. Serious risks include blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially in women over 35 years. Oral contraceptives do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Use of SEASONALE provides women with more hormonal exposure on a yearly basis than conventional monthly oral contraceptives containing similar strength synthetic estrogens and progestins (an additional 9 weeks per year). While this added exposure may pose an additional risk of thrombotic and thromboembolic disease, studies to date with SEASONALE have not suggested an increased risk of these disorders. The convenience of fewer menses (4 vs. 13 per year) should be weighed against the inconvenience of increased intermenstrual bleeding/spotting.

Barr Laboratories, Inc. is engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals.

Forward-Looking Statements

The following sections contain a number of forward-looking statements. To the extent that any statements made in this press release contain information that is not historical, these statements are essentially forward-looking. Forward-looking statements can be identified by their use of words such as "expects," "plans," "will," "may," "anticipates," "believes," "should," "intends," "estimates" and other words of similar meaning. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that cannot be predicted or quantified and, consequently, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include: the difficulty in predicting the timing and outcome of legal proceedings, including patent-related matters such as patent challenge settlements and patent infringement cases; the difficulty of predicting the timing of U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approvals; court and FDA decisions on exclusivity periods; the ability of competitors to extend exclusivity periods for their products; the success of our product development activities; market and customer acceptance and demand for our pharmaceutical products; our dependence on revenues from significant customers; reimbursement policies of third party payors; our dependence on revenues from significant products; the use of estimates in the preparation of our financial statements; the impact of competitive products and pricing; the ability to develop and launch new products on a timely basis; the availability of raw materials; the availability of any product we purchase and sell as a distributor; our mix of product sales between manufactured products, which typically have higher margins, and distributed products; the regulatory environment; our exposure to product liability and other lawsuits and contingencies; the increasing cost of insurance and the availability of product liability insurance coverage; our timely and successful completion of strategic initiatives, including integrating companies and products we acquire and implementing new enterprise resource planning systems; fluctuations in operating results, including the effects on such results from spending for research and development, sales and marketing activities and patent challenge activities; and other risks detailed from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Barr Laboratories, Inc.

CONTACT: Carol A. Cox, Barr Laboratories, Inc., +1-201-930-3720,

Free documents from Women's Health Initiative to celebrate its one-year anniversary

To mark the one-year anniversary of the Women's Health Initiative Study, which highlighted possible health risks associated with long-term hormone therapy use for menopausal women, the Canadian Women's Health Network has now made the following documents available online and free of charge:

Frequently Asked Questions, answered in plain language:

What is Menopause?

What is Hormone Therapy (HT)?

What are the Alternatives to Hormone Therapy?

Menopause and Heart Disease; What are my Risks?

How do I Stop Taking Hormone Therapy?

In-depth articles:

*The Pros and Cons of Hormone Therapy: Making An Informed Decision

*Health Protection Measures from the Women's Health Initiative

*The Medicalization of Menopause

*HRT in the News: The Women's Health Initiative

*Challenges of Change: Midlife, Menopause and Disability

*Natural Hormones - Are They a Safe Alternative?

*Perimenopause Naturally: An Integrative Medicine Approach

*Thinking Straight: Oestrogen and Cognitive Function at Midlife

*The Truth About Hormone Replacement Therapy

*Menopause Home Test: Save Your $$$

*Recent Studies on Menopause and Pain

*What The Experts are Saying Now: A Round-Up of International Opinion

*Women and Healthy Aging

... and many more!

Check us out at
The Canadian Women's Health Network
Women's Health Information You Can Trust

Many thanks to the Women's Health Clinic, Winnipeg, and A Friend Indeed newsletter, for making many of these documents available to the general public.


Kathleen O'Grady, Director of Communications
Canadian Women's Health Network/Le Réseau canadien pour la santé des femmes
Suite 203, 419 Graham Ave.
Winnipeg MB R3C 0M3
Tel (204) 942-5500, ext. 20


Jobs, conferences, prizes, etc.

Book about periods needs your input, MEN!

Kaylee Powers-Monteros is writing a book about women's periods called "Bloody Rites."

"I consider a woman's period her rite of passage. . . . My book is focusing on the language we use about periods and how that impacts our perceptions of it," she writes.

She has a chapter about men's first learning about menstruation and would like to hear from men in response to the question, "When was the first time you ever heard anything about a period and what was it?" I already sent her mine: when I was in sixth grade the kid next door said his sister had started bleeding from you-know-where. I didn't know anything about you-know-where, actually, having grown up in a prudish military household with two bothers, no sisters and a mother who must have felt very alone.

E-mail her at

Migrane study at Emory University needs online participants

Researchers at the Emory University School of Nursing are conducting an Internet-based study looking at the experience of migraines in women between the ages of 40 and 55. The study includes completion of online questionnaires and participation in an online discussion group with other women who also have headaches. For more information, please visit the study Web site at, or call the research phone line at 404-712-8558.

Thanks so much.

Peggy Moloney

Contribute to fund in honor of Jill Wolhandler and help The Women's Community Health Center in Massachusetts (U.S.A.)

Dear Women [oh, let's add "men," too],

Here is an opportunity to honor two significant contributions to the women's health movement - The Women's Community Health Center in Massachusetts, and Jill Wolhandler, a member of the health center and a strong women's health advocate, who died in December 2002.

For the many of you who worked with Jill, I am including the remembrance from her memorial service.

Jill has many friends throughout the country.

In honor of Jill's vision and commitment to women's health, a fund in Jill's name has been established and we are asking for donations in order to catalogue and process the Women's Community Health Center files. There is a high level of interest in material from this period of the women's health movement, and your contribution would assure that information from that time is preserved. Donations are tax deductible.

Checks can be made to the Schlesinger Library - on the memo section of the check, please write "Processing WCHC."

Send checks to:

Paula Garbarino

Jill Wolhandler Fund

16 Ivaloo St.

Somerville, MA 02143

Thank you,

Catherine DeLorey

Women's Community Health Center Files Reside at the Schlesinger Library

At the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Women's Community Health Center [WCHC] in 1999, a group of former collective members announced that materials from the health center years had been donated to the archives at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library. This material consisted of a variety of documents such as meeting minutes, articles written about or by WCHC members, clinic schedules, surveys and feedback forms, as well as other "herstorical" items.

Several boxes of documents were reviewed to ensure that no confidential material containing names or identifying information about women using the services would be shared with the Schlesinger.

Despite the fact that the material has not yet been organized or catalogued, there have been numerous requests from women's health scholars to review the material. It has become a rich trove of information and offers a unique perspective into the women's health movement of the 1970's and early 1980's.

In order to make the material widely available, the boxes of documents need to be "processed" or catalogued. To do this, personnel at the library will fully review the contents of the collection. Generally this involves preserving the original order of the material as it was donated according to either chronological or topical categories. If no original order exists, they will determine how to best logically sort and present it so that scholars can use the contents. The material will be subdivided into folders with guides to contents and clippings will be photocopied. An overall guide to the organization and listing of summaries will be generated. This guide will be available on the internet with worldwide circulation. Folders will be photocopied and sent out upon request for personal research purposes only. Publication permission usually rests with the library and the original authors of the material.

Other legal arrangements were made at the time the gift of the material was made to the Schlesinger; Cookie Avrin generously offered legal assistance in this process.

About 5 linear feet of material (the library's standard of measurement) was donated. Processing is expected to cost $600 per foot. The total estimated cost is approximately $3000.

On a related note, the library has about 40 feet of material from Our Bodies Ourselves and recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to process that collection.

A Remembrance of Jill

Written by Diane Willow for Jill's memorial service

Jill Wolhandler was born on January 22, 1949 in Scarsdale, New York. She died on December 6, 2002 in the home that she shared with her beloved partner, Janet Connors.

Jill moved to Dorchester to be with Janet and her children David, Shana and Joel, shortly after meeting Janet fifteen years ago. Jill felt great joy and pride in her chosen family.

Together they made a nurturing home that always welcomed their extended family of friends. Seth and Terrance remained dear members of Jill's extended family.

And, over the years Charlotte and Christopher came into her life at 26 Bearse Avenue.

Jill was the first child of her beloved mother Jean and her father Joe, and the older sister of Peter, Laurie and Steven. She later found enduring pleasure as Aunt Jill to Sara, Gina and Jacob. After excelling in the Scarsdale schools, she went to the International School in Geneva to complete high school. She continued her education at the University of Chicago before beginning graduate studies at Johns Perkins University. She utilized her deep knowledge of human physiology in teaching, writing and political work. Later in life she completed graduate studies in occupational therapy at Tufts University. She attributed her most significant learning to her ongoing work as a social activist.

After moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the mid nineteen-seventies, she became involved in the work of the local and national women's health movement. She contributed to an early publication of Our Bodies Ourselves (1976) as a freelance editor and co-authored a chapter in the New Our Bodies Ourselves (1984). She joined the Women's Community Health Center (1975), working first as a member of the collective and later as one of the four women on the guiding committee.

During her time as the most enduring member of the health center, Jill dedicated herself to the self-help philosophy with particular focus on the Pelvic Teaching program (the first of its kind in the nation) in collaboration with Harvard Medical School as well as the Fertility Consciousness project. Toxic shock syndrome and the related Tampon legislation was also a focal point for Jill's research and advocacy. She was also an early supporter on research related to daughters born to mothers who had used DES during their pregnancies.

Jill's political activism for women's health issues brought her to the Vermont Women's Health Center where she was able to learn abortion procedures legally. She spent a year in Vermont, developing these skills, believing that she would then be able to pass them on if abortions were to become illegal again.

Meanwhile, she did ongoing work as a bookkeeper. Her former clients included Red Sun Press and other activist organizations. Her most recent work was as the Business Manager of the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy. Although deadlines were often a cause for worry with Jill, she was meticulous in her accounting and her co-workers valued her conscientious approach.

A cello player in her youth, Jill revived her passion for music through her annual participation in the Early Music Week at Pinewoods, as a player of the bass viol in the Brandeis Early Music Ensemble, and as a member and the Treasurer of the New England Regional Chapter of the Viola de Gamba Society. She found peace in music and pleasure in sharing it with others.

Many of Jill's friends and acquaintances have often heard Jill express her love of words with her unique sense of humor. She was known to make up her own vocabulary, whether as terms of endearment for loved ones, alternative names for common places and landmarks or just her quirky way of describing things. Her love of nature and the natural world was a sustaining force in her life. She was especially fond of the ocean and felt at home walking the beaches of the Cape or staying in Provincetown.

She loved animals, was an avid bird watcher and lived for many years with cats and turtles. She raised small red-eared sliders. When these turtles came to her they were the size of a quarter. After decades of thriving, they now require two hands to hold and continue their lives in a plexi-pond at The Children's Museum in Boston.

A playful spirit at heart, Jill took delight in the mini-firework displays bursting from sparklers and the swirling rainbow colors in drifting soap bubbles.

Her pleasure in play and her curious mind made her an engaged companion of the children in her life and others who remain young at heart. A rather old soul who had her share of challenges, Jill found her joy in friendships and in the ways that she was able to contribute to a better quality of life through social activism.

Women's Universal Health Initiative

Women's Universal Health Initiative

Women's Universal Health Initiative is by women for women - if you have ideas, events, information, or comments to share, send them to

In these difficult times, all advocacy groups are struggling financially. WUHI is no exception. Please consider becoming a member to support the continuation of the web site and our work on universal health care.

You become a member of WUHI with a tax-deductible donation of any amount. Go to the WUHI website to join online, or send your donation to WUHI, Box 623, Boston, MA 02120.

Health Care Reform: a Women's Issue

Anne Kasper

Anne Kasper, a long time women's health activist, discusses why health care reform is a women's issue. Anne is an editor, with Susan J. Ferguson of Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic, a powerful and informative book on the politics of breast cancer.

To read the complete article: <>

Health care reform has long been a women's issue. Since the beginnings of the Women's Health Movement in the late 1960s, women have known that the health care system does not work in the best interests of women's health. When we think of the health care system and its component parts ­ doctors, hospitals, clinics, and prescription drugs, for instance ­ we are increasingly aware that the current system is not designed to promote and maintain our personal health or the health of others. Instead, we are aware of a medical system that delivers sporadic, interventionist, hi-tech, and curative care when what we need most often is continuous, primary, low-tech, and preventive care. Women are the majority of the uninsured and the under insured as well as the majority of health care providers. We are experts on our health, the health of our families, and the health of our communities. We know that we need a health care system that must be a part of changes in other social spheres -- such as wage work, housing, poverty, inequality, and education -- since good health care results from more than access to medical services.

Featured Site

UHCAN - Universal Health Care Action Network

UHCAN is a nationwide network of individuals and organizations, committed to achieving health care for all. It provides a national resource center, facilitates information sharing and the development of strategies for health care justice. UHCAN was formed to bring together diverse groups and activists working for comprehensive health care in state and national campaigns across the country.

Their annual conference, planned for October 24-26, 2003 in Baltimore, MD, is one of the best grass-roots action conferences available. They consider universal health care justice from many perspectives.

Visit UHCAN's website for resources, analyses of health reform issues, and more information on their campaigns for health care justice.

Proposals, Policies, Pending Legislation

Health Care Access Campaign - the Health Care Access Resolution

Health care in America is unjust and inefficient. It costs too much, covers too little, and excludes too many. As the economy deteriorates, it is rapidly getting worse.

One in seven Americans, 80% of whom are from working families, lack health insurance and consequently suffer unnecessary illness and premature death. Tens of millions more are under insured, unable to afford needed services, particularly medications. Health care costs are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Communities of color endure major disparities in access and treatment. Double-digit medical inflation undermines employment-based insurance, as employers drop coverage or ask their employees to pay more for less. State budgets are in their worst shape in half a century. Medicare and Medicaid are caught between increases in need and a financial restraints.

In the 108th Congress, the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force will introduce the Health Care Access Resolution, directing Congress to enact legislation by 2005 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. Legislators, reacting to the urgency for health care reform, will likely introduce several proposals in this Congress.

Check out the link to learn more about the resolution and how you can contribute to it.

Proposed Health Insurance Tax Credits Could Shortchange Women

Commonwealth Fund report, reviews federal policies designed to help low-income adults buy health insurance, which have focused on tax credits for purchasing coverage in the individual insurance market. This analysis of premium and benefit quotes for individual health plans offered in 25 cities finds that tax credits at the level of those in recent proposals would not be enough to make health insurance affordable to women with low incomes.

Time for Change: the Hidden Cost of a Fragmented Health Insurance System

An excellent overview by Karen Davis, President of The Commonwealth Fund, of factors in the US health care system that lead to it being the most expensive health system in the world.

A Place at the Table: Women's Needs and Medicare Reform

By Marilyn Moon and Pamela Herd

This book, published by the Century Foundation, shows that women have different retirement needs as a group than men. Women are more likely to require long-term care services because they live longer and are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases. Suggests guidelines that would make Medicare reforms work for women, including how to deal with comprehensiveness, affordability, access to quality care, and the availability of information.

Women in the Health Care System: Health Status, Insurance, and Access to Care

Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) focuses on women in the United States in 1996. Health insurance status is examined in terms of whether women are publicly insured, privately insured, or uninsured, and whether insured women are policyholders or dependents.

Health Insurance Coverage in America: 2001 Data Update

Although not specific to women, this resource contains valuable information about women and health insurance coverage and provides valuable information and facts for general presentations on universal health care. The chart book provides year 2001 data on health insurance coverage, with special attention to the uninsured. It includes trends and major shifts in coverage and a profile of the uninsured population.


Health Care Links

Links to state, national and international organizations working for single payer health care and universal health care. A resource of Physicians for a National Health Program - check out the site for many other resources and excellent factual information on a single payer health care system [ <> ].

Universal Health Care Organizations in Your State

A list of state organizations working for universal health care. Resource of Everybody In, Nobody Out [EINO: ]. Not all states represented.

Families USA New Online Service .

Families USA online service to provide registered users with the following benefits:

Free bimonthly newsletters with articles on health policy issue.

Announcements about organization events.

Discounts on publications

Kaiser Network for Health Policy - Publications and Reports <;hc=806&amp;linkcat=61>

Reports and publications on health policy, access, uninsured and insurance. Supported by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Good source of information.


May 8 - 9 2003

Health Policy and the Underserved

Sponsored by the Joint Center for Poverty Research, looks a social, economic, and outcomes of policies for the underserved.

May 14-16, 2003

2003 Managed Care Law Conference

Colorado Springs, CO

Co-sponsored by American Health Lawyers Association and American Association of Health Plans. Presents legal issues facing health plans and providers.

October 24-26, 2003

National Universal Health Care Action Network [UHCAN] Conference

Baltimore, MD

One of the best grass-roots action conferences available. Considers universal health care from all its perspectives. Check out their website for an overview of their orientation.

November 15, 2003

Physicians for a National Health Program Fall Meeting

San Francisco, CA

November 15 - 19, 2003

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

San Francisco, CA

Meeting of professionals in public health. Has many sessions on health care reform and women's health, including universal health care.

January 22-23, 2004

National Health Policy Conference

Washington, DC

Wide-ranging discussions of health policy, including health care reform and universal health care.

Women's Universal Health Initiative

PO Box 623

Boston, MA 02120-2822

617-739-2923 Ext 3 <>


Canadian TV film about menstruation Under Wraps now called Menstruation: Breaking the Silence and for sale

Read more about it - it includes this museum (when it was in my house) and many interesting people associated publically with menstruation. Individual Americans can buy the video by contacting

Films for the Humanities
P.O. Box 2053
Princeton, NJ 08543-2053

Tel: 609-275-1400
Fax: 609-275-3767
Toll free order line: 1-800-257-5126

Canadians purchase it through the National Film Board of Canada.

Did your mother slap you when you had your first period?

If so, Lana Thompson wants to hear from you.

The approximately 4000 items of this museum will go to Australia's largest museum . . .

if I die before establishing the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health as a permanent public display in the United States (read more of my plans here). I have had coronary angioplasty; I have heart disease related to that which killed all six of my parents and grandparents (some when young), according to the foremost Johns Hopkins lipids specialist. The professor told me I would be a "very sick person" if I were not a vegetarian since I cannot tolerate any of the medications available. Almost two years ago I debated the concept of the museum on American national television ("Moral Court," Fox Network) and MUM board member Miki Walsh (see the board), who was in the audience at Warner Brothers studios in Hollywood, said I looked like a zombie - it was the insomnia-inducing effect of the cholesterol medication.

And almost two years ago Megan Hicks, curator of medicine at Australia's Powerhouse Museum, the country's largest, in Sydney, visited MUM (see her and read about the visit). She described her creation of an exhibit about the history of contraception that traveled Australia; because of the subject many people had objected to it before it started and predicted its failure. But it was a great success!

The museum would have a good home.

I'm trying to establish myself as a painter (see some of my paintings) in order to retire from my present job to give myself the time to get this museum into a public place and on display permanently (at least much of it); it's impossible to do now because of the time my present job requires.

An Australian e-mailed me about this:

Wow, the response to the museum, if it were set up in Australia, would be so varied. You'd have some people rejoicing about it and others totally opposing it (we have some yobbos here who think menstruation is "dirty" and all that other rubbish). I reckon it would be great to have it here. Imagine all the school projects! It might make a lot of younger women happier about menstruating, too. I'd go check it out (and take my boyfriend too) :)

Hey, are you related to Karen Finley, the performance artist?? [Not that I know of, and she hasn't claimed me!]

Don't eliminate the ten Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor

The Bush Administration is planning to propose, in next year's budget, to eliminate the ten Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor. This decision signals the Administration's intent to dismantle the only federal agency specifically mandated to represent the needs of women in the paid work force.

Established in 1920, the Women's Bureau plays a critical function in helping women become aware of their legal rights in the workplace and guiding them to appropriate enforcement agencies for help. The Regional Offices take the lead on the issues that working women care about the most - training for higher paying jobs and non-traditional employment, enforcing laws against pay discrimination, and helping businesses create successful child-care and other family-friendly policies, to name only a few initiatives.

The Regional Offices have achieved real results for wage-earning women for eighty-one years, especially for those who have low incomes or language barriers. The one-on-one assistance provided at the Regional Offices cannot be replaced by a Web site or an electronic voice mail system maintained in Washington.

You can take action on this issue today! Go to to write to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and tell her you care about keeping the Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau in operation. You can also let E. Mitchell Daniels, Jr., Director of the Office of Management and Budget, know how you feel about this. You can write a letter of your own or use one we've prepared for you.

If you find this information useful, be sure to forward this alert to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up to receive Email Action Alerts from the National Women's Law Center at

Thank you!

I'm decreasing the frequency of the updates to make time for figuring out how to earn an income

I can retire from my graphics job in July, 2002, and I must if I want to continue developing the site and museum, because of the time involved. But I can't live on the retirement income, so I must find a way to earn enough to support myself. I'm working on some ideas now, and I need the only spare time I have, the time I do these updates on weekends. So, starting December 2001, I will update this site once a month rather than weekly.

Book about menstruation published in Spain

The Spanish journalist who contributed some words for menstruation to this site last year and wrote about this museum (MUM) in the Madrid newspaper "El País" just co-authored with her daughter a book about menstruation (cover at left).

She writes, in part,

Dear Harry Finley,

As I told you, my daughter (Clara de Cominges) and I have written a book (called "El tabú") about menstruation, which is the first one to be published in Spain about that subject. The book - it talks about the MUM - is coming out at the end of March and I just said to the publisher, Editorial Planeta, to contact you and send you some pages from it and the cover as well. I'm sure that it will be interesting to you to have some information about the book that I hope has enough sense of humour to be understood anywhere. Thank you for your interest and help.

If you need anything else, please let me know.

Best wishes,

Margarita Rivière

Belen Lopez, the editor of nonfiction at Planeta, adds that "Margarita, more than 50 years old, and Clara, 20, expose their own experiences about menstruation with a sensational sense of humour." (publisher's site)

My guess is that Spaniards will regard the cover as risqué, as many Americans would. And the book, too. But, let's celebrate!

I earlier mentioned that Procter & Gamble was trying to change attitudes in the Spanish-speaking Americas to get more women to use tampons, specifically Tampax - a hard sell.

Compare this cover with the box cover for the Canadian television video about menstruation, Under Wraps, and the second The Curse.

An American network is now developing a program about menstruation for a popular cable channel; some folks from the network visited me recently to borrow material.

And this museum lent historical tampons and ads for a television program in Spain last year.

Now, if I could only read Spanish! (I'm a former German teacher.)

Money and this site

I, Harry Finley, creator of the museum and site and the "I" of the narrative here, receive a small amount of money from Google-sponsored ads on this site; I have no control over which ads Google sends. I'm hoping this Google money will cover what I pay for a server to host this site and the cost of the site-specific search engine. Otherwise, expenses for the site come out of my pocket, where my salary from my job as a graphic designer is deposited. Sometimes people donate items to the museum.


What happens when you visit this site?

For now, a search engine service will tell me who visits this site, although I don't know in what detail yet. I am not taking names - it's something that comes with the service, which I'm testing to see if it makes it easier for you to locate information on this large site.

In any case, I'm not giving away or selling names of visitors and you won't receive anything from me; you won't get a "cookie." I feel the same way most of you do when you visit a site: I want to be anonymous! Leave me alone!

Help Wanted: This Museum Needs a Public Official For Its Board of Directors

Your MUM is doing the paper work necessary to become eligible to receive support from foundations as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. To achieve this status, it helps to have a American public official - an elected or appointed official of the government, federal, state or local - on its board of directors.

What public official out there will support a museum for the worldwide culture of women's health and menstruation?

Read about my ideas for the museum. What are yours?

Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law, finances and fund raising to the board.

Any suggestions?

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome [and here's a support association for it].

Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked me to tell you that

Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and is linked to diabetes.

Learn more about current research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University - or contact Jane Newman.

If you have fewer than six periods a year, you may be eligible to participate in the study!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

"Art of Gynecology" by Dr. Nelson Soucasaux, Brazilian gynecologist - Readers' home remedies for menstrual problems

Would you
stop menstruating if you could? (New contributions, but I lost several contributions because of e-mail problems. Please resend if you e-mailed me in June!! Or send even if you DIDN'T!)
Words and expressions about menstruation: I lost several contributions because of e-mail problems. Please resend if you e-mailed me in June!! Or send even if you DIDN'T!
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?


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© 2004 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to