Barbara Seaman, a writer and health activist whose groundbreaking 1969 book that warned against the dangers of the birth control pill is widely credited with launching the modern women's health movement, has died. She was 72.
Seaman died of lung cancer Wednesday at her New York City home, said her son, Noah Seaman.
In her first book, "The Doctors' Case Against the Pill," Seaman exposed the serious and little-known side effects of the high-estrogen pill prescribed at the time. Women weren't warned that the pill could cause heart attacks, strokes, depression and a host of other ills.
Her investigative work prompted Senate hearings in 1970 that led to a warning label on the drug and the mandatory inclusion of patient-information inserts.
When women who had been harmed by the pill were barred from testifying at the hearings, they fought back by constantly interrupting, calling out questions such as "Why isn't there a pill for men?" and "Why are 10 million women being used as guinea pigs?" Seaman wrote 30 years later in the New York Times.
Those acts of "feminist disobedience," as Seaman called them, are often portrayed as ground zero of the women's health movement.
Judy Norsigian, an author of the pioneering women's health book "Our Bodies, Ourselves" (1973), told the Los Angeles Times last week that the protests were "the beginning of women's voices being heard in women's health."
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."