Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) is a nonprofit, public interest organization based in Cambridge, Mass., that develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality.
OBOS’s landmark publication, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” has sold millions of copies around the world and has been translated into more than two dozen languages. The most recent U.S. edition, published in 2011, was named by Library Journal as one of the best consumer health books of that year.
Our Bodies Ourselves — THe Organization
For more than 40 years, Our Bodies Ourselves (formerly the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective) has been committed to serving only in the public interest and remains one of the few health groups that doesn’t accept funds from pharmaceutical companies. OBOS’s health information — in book format and online — meets international standards for health research.
Working in collaboration with U.S. and global organizations, OBOS vigorously advocates for women’s health by challenging institutions and systems that devalue women and prevent them from having full control over their bodies and their health.
The Our Bodies Ourselves Global Initiative provides support for and works closely with women’s groups that are adapting “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for their own countries and communities.
OBOS is supported by individual donors and institutional funders, including the Appleton Charitable Foundation, Archibald Family Charitable Foundation, Catalyst Fund, Common Benefit Litigation Trust, Ipas, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
“Our Bodies, Ourselves” — the Book
Along with providing accurate, evidence-based information, OBOS’s texts address the social, economic and political conditions that affect health care access and quality of care. This contextual information has inspired readers to learn more about — and to change — laws and policies that affect their own and their family’s well-being.
OBOS’s books, which include single-topic editions on menopause and pregnancy and birth, have received numerous honors. In 2011, Time magazine recognized “Our Bodies, Ourselves” as one of the best 100 nonfiction books (in English) since the founding of Time in 1923.
In 2012, the Library of Congress included the original “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in the exhibit Books That Shaped America, a collection of 88 nonfiction and fiction titles “intended to spark a national conversation on books written by Americans that have influenced our lives.”
“Our Bodies, Ourselves” has also stirred controversy since its inception. It has been banned by high schools and public libraries across the country. Jerry Falwell of Moral Majority once famously condemned the book as “obscene trash.”
The most recent titles, along with information on bulk orders and clinic discounts, are available in the publications section.