(1932-2007) died September 24, 2007 at home with her family in Fullerton after a recent diagnosis of advanced cancer. She made a major contribution to the women of the world as described in this biography from Feminists Who Changed America: 1963 – 1975 edited by Barbara J. Love:
A pioneer of the Self-Help Movement, Rothman has dedicated her life to women’s rights of self-determination and control of their bodies. She was a founding member of Self-Help Clinic One (1971), and in the fall of that year traveled throughout the U.S. with Carol Downer, speaking to NOW chapters and other women’s groups about self-examination and menstrual extraction. In 1972, Rothman applied for and received a U.S. patent for the Menstrual Extraction Kit, the Del’Em, and co-founded the first Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC) in Los Angeles. Women were taught cervical and vaginal self-exams and how to perform their own pregnancy tests. They also set up a patient advocacy program with local hospital administrators and doctors to provide simple outpatient suction abortions, on demand, without the hospital board’s approval or a necessity clause.
Concurrently, Rothman co-founded the second FWHC in Santa Ana, CA. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade, both centers opened licensed out-patient woman-controlled non-profit clinics providing a full range of well woman health care services, including abortion. Rothman served as an administrator and director of these facilities. From 1973 to 1974, feminist health activists from across the U.S. were introduced to the Self Help Clinic’s patient participatory and educational concepts and opened their own feminist women’s health centers.
In 1975 Rothman’s self-help clinic concept was the subject of the books A New View of a Woman’s Body, How To Stay OUT of the Gynecologists Office and Woman-Centered Pregnancy and Birth.
She co-wrote (with Marcia Wexler, Ph.D.) Menopause Myths and Facts, What Every Women Should Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy (Feminist Health Press, 1999). Through 1986, Rothman worked in administration at the FWHC’s in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, and with it’s umbrella organization, The Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers, which included over a dozen sites. In 1999, she joined the FWHC’s website as a consultant and self-help clinic advocate. (ABS)
Links to Lorraine Rothman’s life and work: