The H Word : What gynecology doesn't want you to know. By

Nora W. Coffey and Rick Schweikert
Read The H Word.  Break the silence.



The H Word is about the common reasons hysterectomy is recommended, the diagnostic studies that should be performed to determine a diagnosis diagnosis, the alternatives in treatment, the risks of those alternatives, the critically important lifelong functions of the uterus and ovaries, and the lifelong consequences of their removal.


The H Word gives women the questions to ask a doctor, and more importantly, it gives them the answers to their questions so they can evaluate the doctor’s response.


The H Word reveals the solution to a century-old practice of unnecessary, unwarranted and unwanted hysterectomy and female castration so that it will not become the legacy of another generation of women and girls.

The H Word takes an unflinching look into the complex environment of hysterectomy and those who enable it. It explores issues of sex, power, and money in the most common non-obstetric surgery performed in America.


Author Biography

Nora W. Coffey


Nora W. Coffey is president of the Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation. She has been a guest lecturer at medical schools, nursing schools and conferences, has been interviewed in most major publications, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Magazine, Vogue and Harpers, and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows, including 20/20, Oprah Winfrey, National Public Radio's Fresh Air, and The Today Show. Her most recent article,"Paying For the Bailout: How Unnecessary Medical Procedures are Taxing the System," was published in The Women's International Perspective, February 4, 2009.

An international nonprofit organization, HERS was established in 1982 to meet the need for accurate information about alternatives to and consequences of hysterectomy by addressing the multiplicity of physical, social, economic and political issues surrounding the surgery. HERS is the only independent organization solely dedicated to the issue of hysterectomy, and it has counseled over 850,000 women, while providing information to millions more throughout the world. Ninety-eight percent of the women HERS has referred to board-certified gynecologists after being told they needed hysterectomies discovered that, in fact, they did not need surgery.

Contact Nora Rick's Bio



Rick Schweikert is a playwright, freelance writer/editor, and a founding member of several theater companies and arts organizations, including Seattle Public Theater and the Gist Street Reading Series in Pittsburgh.

His play "un becoming" premiered Off Broadway at the 45th Street Theatre in New York in 2004, was published in Scene4 Magazine, and has been seen in more than 30 cities.

In conjunction with the HERS Foundation's Protest & Play campaign, he was interviewed for numerous newspapers and radio/television programs from WOR New York to KNBA Anchorage. He has led more than 50 talk-back discussions following performances of "un becoming" and has been a lecturer and panelist on the subject of hysterectomy and political theater in America at various conferences, including the 2007 National Women’s Studies Association Conference, and at many universities, including Vanderbilt University, Florida International University, Temple University, and the University of Pittsburgh.

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Rick Schweikert


Reviews of The H Word


"As a physician, I have consulted with Nora W. Coffey many times. I have also sent many of my patients to HERS to become educated to safely avoid unnecessary hysterectomies. After 35 years in a family practice, with over 20,000 women in our care the incidence of hysterectomy is virtually zero. The H Word is for every woman and for healthcare professionals involved in the care of women."


— Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH

Author of several books and the award-winning medical documentary Primum Non Nocere (Above All Do No Harm).

Next Review

Washington DC

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"This book is an extremely valuable tool for prevention of a crime against women’s bodies and a must-read for all women. The H Word educates women that their organs are not expendable."


— Sybil Shainwald, JD.

Trial lawyer and women’s health advocate who represented class action lawsuits on behalf of women harmed by DES, the Dalkon Shield, and silicone breast implants.

Next Review

Washington DC

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"This is a very important work. It shines a spotlight on this critical issue."


— Mitchell Levine, MD.

Clinical Instructor Tufts and Harvard Schools of Medicine, Chief Gynecologist Obstetrics and Gynecology Waltham Hospital.

Next Review

Washington DC

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"The book is absolutely fabulous. I read it twice and found even more in the second read. In terms of a quote, my partners feel strongly that it would put our practice and our livelihood in jeopardy [to put my name on your book]. Our referral base, when they become aware of the book—which they will—will cease to refer. I hate to say it, but I agree. This is not an act of cowardice, but reality. I hope you’ll understand."


— Three gynecologists were asked to review the book. This is the third physician’s response.


Washington DC

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Hysterectomy Protest Video



Buy the H Word


Order The H Word online from:

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Give The H Word To A Gynecologist.

There are more than 40,000 practicing OB/GYNs in the U.S. Let's make sure that every one of them receives The H Word, so no gynecologist can ever say again, "I didn't know."

Send a copy of The H Word to a gynecologist. Then email HERS at with the doctor's name, city, state, and date it was sent. The name of the sender will remain absolutely confidential. The doctor's name will be added to the list.

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