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A Healthy Baby Girl
A film by Judith Helfand
1996, 57 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99490
In 1963 filmmaker Judith Helfand's mother was prescribed the ineffective, carcinogenic synthetic hormone diethylstilbestrol (DES), meant to prevent miscarriage and ensure a healthy baby. At twenty-five, Judith was diagnosed with DES-related cervical cancer. After a radical hysterectomy she went to her family's home to heal and picked up her camera. The resulting video-diary is a fascinating exploration of how science, marketing and corporate power can affect our deepest relationships. Shot over five years, A HEALTHY BABY GIRL tells a story of survival, mother-daughter love, family renewal, and community activism. Intimate, humorous, and searing, it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the relationship between women's health, public policy, medical ethics and corporate responsibility.

A HEALTHY BABY GIRL was funded by the Independent Television Service (ITVS) with funds provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Discussion Guide Available


Peabody Award, 1997

  • Sundance Film Festival
  • IDA Best Documentary Nomination
  • HeSCA Media Award, Honorable Mention
  • Sydney Int'l Film Festival, Best Documentary
  • Atlanta Film and Video Fest, Best Documentary
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival

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    "Turns medical statistics into human beings and as it mixes with the rich affection of the family at its center becomes something irresistible and transforming.
    John Anderson
    New York Newsday

    "A must-see....One of the best films ever made which goes beyond facts and figures to show the impact-on an entire family-of corporate disregard for women's health.
    Cindy Pearson
    National Women's Health Network

    "A vital resource.Medical school libraries should definitely purchase so the doctors and nurses of tomorrow can be made aware of the huge impact of past medical decisions."
    Video Librarian

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    A Healthy Baby Girl is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us