OBOS in the News

The Feminist Case For Single Payer

By Natalie Shure | Jacobin |

While Our Bodies, Ourselves is remembered for its role in the history of women’s health and culture, less attention is paid to its political context. In the 1970s, the small collective became one of the first feminist organizations to demand a single-payer health-care system: “Suffice it to say that capitalism is incapable of providing good health care, both curative and preventive, for all people,” one entry read.

Read the full story: The Feminist Case For Single Payer

With a Groundbreaking Handbook and a Dystopian Tale, Women Gain a Voice

By Clyde Haberman | The New York Times |

Retro Report, whose video documentaries explore how major news stories of the past still resonate, turns its lens on “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” a book first published in the early 1970s. It revolutionized how health care for women was discussed. In frank language and illustrations, it delved into topics that a half-century ago were publicly taboo, from birth control to pregnancy, from sexual desires to menopause.

Read the full story: With a Groundbreaking Handbook and a Dystopian Tale, Women Gain a Voice

Joan Ditzion on Aging with Purpose, Passion and Power

By Debbie Galant | Senior Planet |

There’s a real need for women to create safe spaces where we can talk together about how we’re dealing with aging: our aging bodies, our aging lives, our aging relationships. All of that…. The stereotypes in our culture about aging are so limited and so off…. I feel that we’re in a living lab, because we’re in an unprecedented demographic boom. And it’s not as if there are any experts out there who know. We’re all at a new stage of evolution in some sense.

Read … More

Our Places, Ourselves

By Chelsea Garbell | The New York Jewish Week |

A revolutionary text in a revolutionary time when the idea of a woman naming and claiming her body and her sexuality for herself was just beginning to flourish, Our Bodies, Ourselves openly diagrammed reproductive organs and discussed abortion (which was illegal), virginity, orgasms, sexuality, birth control, childbirth, consent, and more.

A lesser known part of this story is that nine of those twelve women were Jewish. In the forty-eight years since the book was conceptualized and embedded in a movement, the world and women’s place in … More

’20th Century Women’ Review: Annette Bening Shines in Brilliant Mother-Son Drama

By Peter Travers | Rolling Stone |

Rarely has a film so ingeniously blended cultural artifacts into its storytelling DNA. Abbie, a cancer survivor buries her head in books about women’s health such as “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” a text that also instructs Jamie in the wonders of clitoral stimulation, a theory that baffles and annoys one of his male peers to the point of violent outburst.

Read the whole story: “20th Century Women” Review: Annette Bening Shines in Brilliant Mother-Son Drama

Past & Present: “Our Bodies, Ourselves” at 45


The Boston Collective argued that reproductive justice was at the forefront of women’s liberation. By combining personal stories with medical information, they wanted to make women more capable of evaluating and questioning medical institutions and acting as equal partners in their own healthcare decisions. A first of its kind, Our Bodies, Ourselves contained information on women’s health and sexuality, including sexual orientation, birth control, abortion, childbirth, domestic violence, and menopause. At the time, this information was readily available to physicians, but remained difficult to access … More

The surprising history of abortion in the United States


Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade legalized abortion across the United States, states have enacted more than 1,074 laws to limit access to the procedure, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive rights organization. More than a quarter of these laws passed between 2010 and 2015.

It wasn’t always like this, says Reagan, a professor of history, medicine, gender, women’s studies and law at the University of Illinois.

So how did we get here?

With the help of Reagan, author of “When Abortion Was a Crime,” … More

Our Bodies Ourselves Marches On, Into The 21st Century

Here & Now |

Here & Now‘s Robin Young speaks with OBOS’ new executive director Julie Childers and co-founder Judy Norsigian about the impact and new vision of Our Bodies Ourselves.

“What is so distinctive and important about Our Bodies Ourselves is how we combine information about women’s bodies that leads to self-knowledge with political activism and with an understanding of how the social and political sphere influences how we live our lives,” Childers said.

Listen to the whole interview:  Our Bodies Ourselves Marches On, Into The 21st Century with … More

Nina Tassler

Boston University’s 143rd Commencement Address |

When I arrived on campus as a freshman, my father drove me in our faux-wood-paneled country squire station wagon from Florida to Boston. We carried my boxes and single suitcase up the stairs of a really nice brownstone at 37 Carlton Street in Brookline.

As we walked by the doors looking for my room, I noticed little cut-out flowers made of construction paper on each door. There were names written on each flower – women’s names – only women’s names. I very quickly realized that my … More