Barbara Seaman, Author And Women's Activist, 72
Barbara Seaman was a feminist activist, a women's health activist, a journalist, an author and a mentor to many young feminists.
She was sensitized about women's health issues when her aunt, Sally, died of endometrial cancer at the age of 49. Her aunt's oncologist had pointed to Premarin, which her aunt had taken to relieve menopausal symtoms. When the birth control pill came on the market in 1960, Seaman was writing for women's magazines.
She warned against estrogen (an active ingredient in Premarin) very early, and some of her medical positions on women's health caused her to be fired from several magazines. A number of pharmaceutical companies refused to advertise in magazines that carried her writings.
In 1969, she completed her first book, The Doctor's Case Against the Pill. It helped lead to the Nelson pill hearings on the safety of the combined oral contraceptive pill. As a result of the hearings, a health warning was added to the pill. In 1975, Seaman made a speech at Harvard Medical School in which she demanded that more women be admitted to medical school in obstetrics and gynecology. At the time, the number was about 3 percent.
In the 1980s, Seaman also wrote Lovely Me, a biography of Jacqueline Susann. Seaman co-founded the National Women's Health Network with four other women. She authored many other books and more recently was the co-author with Laura Eldridge of The No Nonsense Guide to Menopause.
Seaman was on the board of advisers of the New York Chapter of the National Organization for Women. She died of lung cancer in February.
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