Founders, board members and staff of Our Bodies Ourselves, Jan 2018
OBOS founders, board members and staff, Jan 2018. From L to R: back row: Amy Crystal, Bonnie Shepard, Jane Case, Miriam Hawley, Kiki Zeldes, Joan Ditzion, Bindiya Patel, Julie Childers, Sally Whelan, Ayesha Chatterjee, Shahira Ahmed, & Jane Pincus. Front row: Norma Meras Swenson, Judy Norsigian, Marlene Gerber Fried, Joelle Leacock, & Erin Entrada Kelly

About Us

Update, April 2018: Earlier this year, OBOS held a retreat to determine our future. We came to the painful conclusion that we don’t have the resources and infrastructure to continue our main programs using paid staff. Instead we will transition to a volunteer-led 501(c)3 that will mainly advocate for women’s health and social justice. Read more about what this means.

Our Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) is a nonprofit, public interest organization based in Boston, Mass., that develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality.

OBOS’s publications, website, and blog also 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 Global Initiative provides support for and works closely with women’s groups around the world that choose to adapt “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for their own countries and communities. These remarkable adaptions now exist in 30 languages — and counting.

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.

Formerly known as the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, OBOS has served the public interest since its inception in 1971. It remains one of the few health groups that doesn’t accept funds from pharmaceutical companies. OBOS’s health information, both in book format and online, meets international standards for health research.

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

Our landmark publication, “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” first published in 1971, has sold millions of copies and received numerous honors. Library Journal named the most recent edition, published in 2011, one of the best consumer health books of the year. Also 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.”

Learn more about OBOS’s publications, including single-topic books on menopause and pregnancy and birth. Bulk orders and clinic discounts are available.