Medical journalist Barbara Seaman exposed the risks of birth control pills, making them the first-ever prescription drug to include an FDA warning health on possible side effects. Fueled by her own experiences with doctors who did not explain the risks of medication they prescribed for her, Seaman began reporting on the lack of informed consent in women’s health care, and on the deaths associated with using contraceptive pills that had high levels of estrogen. Her first book, The Doctor’s Case Against the Pill, became the basis for the 1970 senate hearings that resulted in informational inserts for patients on the pill’s risks and side effects. In 1975, in a speech at Harvard Medical School, she argued that more women needed to be admitted to training in obstetrics and gynecology; at the time, only three percent of students in those fields were women. She co-founded the National Women’s Health Network and became vice-president of the New York City Women’s Medical Center. Seaman also served as a contributing editor to Ms. Magazine and continued to write and speak out on informed consent and patent safety until her death.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Barbara Seaman." (Viewed on June 22, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/seaman-barbara>.