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1/12/1998 - Acetaminophen May Reduce Risk of Ovarian Cancer
A study published in the British medical journal The Lancet reported a reduced risk of ovarian cancer among women taking a weekly dose of drugs containing acetaminophen. Researchers studied over-the-counter painkiller use by 563 women who had ovarian cancer and 523 healthy women. Of the healthy women, 8.8 percent used painkillers which contained acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, Excedrin, Anacin 3 and Midol, while only 4.6 percent of those with ovarian cancer took such drugs.
Researchers believe that acetaminophen may reduce hormones that stimulate the ovaries. The report did not address some claims that extended use of such drugs may pose serious health risks.
Christian Coalition co-leader Randy Tate sent a letter to the GOP’s chairman, Jim Nicholson, urging RNC members to support a “litmus test” resolution. The resolution would deny funds to candidates who “oppose measures to end so-called partial-birth abortions.” Tate’s letter is a response to Nicholson’s request earlier this month to vote against the resolution. Nicholson argued that taking such a hard stance on partial-birth abortion is likely to drive moderates and women away from the conservative Republican Party.
Tate and other religious extremists do not agree with Nicholson’s view. “We understand the need for inclusion, but there are some issues of transcendent moral significance, such as partial-birth abortions, which should be strongly condemned by both word and deed. The resolution before the RNC is just such a deed,” said Tate.
A vote on the resolution will be held during a RNC meeting Palm Springs later this week.
The Taliban militia group in Afghanistan, which has banned women from working and going to school, would earn between $50 million and $100 million per year in revenues if an oil pipeline is built through Afghanistan by the U.S. oil company Unocal, according to the Washington Post.
Although the Taliban, which controls most of Afghanistan, has not been recognized as the country's official government by the United States, the United Nations, or most other countries, Unocal has already hosted Taliban leaders at a business meeting and started a $900,000 program to train Afghan men to build the pipeline. Unocal said it will begin training women in clerical and teaching jobs soon.
The Feminist Majority and other women's groups fear that plans for the pipeline, which is favored by the Clinton administration, will lead to international recognition of the Taliban and make permanent the gender apartheid of women in Afghanistan. Not only are women banned from working and going to school, but they are also banned from leaving their homes without a close male relative and without being covered head-to-toe in a garment called a "burqa."
About 70% of Kabul residents are women, many of whom are widowed and who have no close male relatives to support and escort them. Women have been shot at for leaving their homes to seek medical care.
Pharmaceutical companies are beginning to discern the potentially lucrative market of women, developing 372 medicines to treat medical problems unique to womenin 1997, a significant increase from the 263 drugs considered in 1991. The Pharmaceutical industry recognizes that women make up two-thirds of 44 million hospital procedures each year, 61% of doctor’s visits, 75% of nursing home residents and 59% of prescription drug purchases.
Although gynecological and reproductive health problems are rarely covered by insurance, breast cancer treatments are among the most researched drugs. Thirteen new contraceptives are under development, including a vaginal ring which would deliver contraceptive hormones for up to a year with no hassle.
New studies on women’s diseases reflect the FDA’s 1993 ruling requiring drug makers to include women in testing and August 1997’s ruling to stop excluding women of childbearing age.
Dr. Jocelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General, was honored by Pharmacia & Upjohn (P&U) with a Women’s Health Achievement Award. In accepting the award, Elders, known for her commitment to women’s health, addressed reproductive issues in the U.S. today saying, “I am disturbed when I see health legislation limiting the information we can give to young people about sexuality and contraception. Reproductive health policy in this country should be comprehensive, not limited.”
“Through her candor and commitment, Dr. Elders has been a lightning rod and a pioneer for reproductive health issues,” said Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Elders, who was fired from her post as Surgeon General in 1994 by President Clinton, continually battled conservatives on the issues of abortion and sex education.
1/12/1998 - Pro-Choice Leaders to Release New Anti-Choice Violence Reports on the Eve of the Roe v. Wade 25th Anniversary
Three Leading National Organizations Will Reveal New Trends in Anti-Choice Terrorism and Assess the Effectiveness of Current Strategies to Reduce Anti-Choice Violence
Gloria Feldt, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Vicki Saporta, Executive Director, National Abortion Federation
Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation
Representatives of the Feminist Majority Foundation, PPFA, and NAF will present 1997 violence and disruption statistics and assess current trends in anti-choice violence against abortion providers.
Thursday, January 15, 1998 at 9:30 a.m.
National Press Club (Zenger Room), 13th and G Street, NW (near Metro Center), Washington, D.C.
Michelle Kwan became the first woman ever to earn a 6.0 for a short program during the U.S. skating Nationals. Kwan received seven 6.0s, the most at U.S. championships since Brian Boitano recorded eight in 1988.
“'Wow!’ is what I was thinking,” Kwan said, “During the program, I was just taking it step by step but at the end, I was like: ‘Now I can enjoy the moment.”
A 23-year-old Chinese woman, Tang Shengli, jumped from a second story window, to avoid being forced into prostitution. “I would like to tell all of society with my own blood that women’s spirit cannot be humiliated,” said Shengli, who is now paralyzed from the waist down.
Shengli and other women were locked in a room, and forced to watch pornographic videos. They were told to study the videos for later use as prostitutes.
Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics pled no-contest and was found guilty of domestic violence charges. Canseco was arrested in November for hitting his wife. He carries two previous domestic violence charges.
Canseco, who left the courtroom before his case was called, was sentenced to probation and will undergo 26 sessions of battery counseling.
Women’s organizations are outraged by comments made by Turkey’s Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, Isilay Saygin, supporting forced virginity tests for young women. Saygin called the tests a “necessity." The practice, said Sirin Teteli, the president of women’s rights group, KA-DER, is a “nasty and patriarchal tradition” and has driven women to suicide. Saygin responded, “Girls who have committed suicide because they were forced to take a virginity test would have committed suicide anyway.”
The women's groups said Saygin’s comment is a reflection of oppression based on fundamental tradition and religion in the Middle East. “This is just one manifestation of the fundamental problem, that women are treated as objects of family honor,” Teteli said.
Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, has agreed to settle in a lawsuit brought by NOW and two abortion clinics 12 years ago. The permanent injunction agreed to by Terry prohibits him from committing violent acts against clinics, the staff and patients, and from belonging to any groups which commit these acts. Violating this prohibition will result in a $15,000 penalty and would allow NOW to reestablish the lawsuit against him. “This injunction will remove the godfather of the ‘Rescue Racket’ from the streets,” said NOW president Patricia Ireland.
Terry’s compliance is a partial victory in NOW v. Scheidler. The case was initiated by then NOW president Eleanor Smeal, after the President of the local Pensacola NOW chapter was injured during a clinic invasion. NOW filed against Joseph Scheidler of Chicago, his Pro-Life Action League, anti-abortion activists, and later, Terry and Operation Rescue.
The US Supreme Court allowed NOW to present a case against the anti-abortions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). NOW argued that anti-abortion extremists were hindering interstate commerce by trying to shut down the clinics. In NOW v. Scheidler, NOW represents its own members and all non-member women, “ whose rights to the services of women’s health centers in the United States at which abortions are performed have been or will be interfered with by defendants’ unlawful activities.”
Attorney General Janet Reno urged Congress to pass legislation that will expand the definition of hate crimes to include those related to disabilities, gender or sexual orientation. Currently, hate crimes include those based on race, color, religion and national origin.
The plea stems from an FBI report finding 8,759 hate crimes in 1996, an increase from 1995’s 7,947. The report, compiled from more than 11,000 police agencies, found 1,016 hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
During last November’s first White House conference on hate crimes, Reno announced plans to distribute prevention manuals to teachers for anti-bias training by the Justice and Education departments, and will be considering strategies for fighting these crimes.
Wilma Mankiller, the first female Native American chief, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom next Thursday. Mankiller, who was elected twice as chief, has tackled such issues as the reduction of infant mortality, health and education, and business among the Cherokees.
Other female recipients include Brooke Astor, a philanthropist who contributed to the New York Public Library, Margaret Murie, an environmental activist who helped pass legislation which protects the Alaskan lands, and Mario Obledo, Latino rights advocate and founder of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund.
Hyundai Motor America’s “Power of the Purse” workshops are empowering women and the press has taken notice. The free workshops, facilitated by Donna Kane, provide information on buying and servicing a car.
For years, women have encountered condescension, unfair pricing, and incomplete explanations in car dealerships. Today, nearly 80 percent of all car purchases are influenced by women, yet sexism still thrives in dealerships across the U.S. Women are using their economic power and newfound skills to their advantage. “Many women find that after attending our workshop they can walk confidently into any dealership and know exactly how to maintain control of the situation,” said Kane.
1/8/1998 - Mexico Names First Female Foreign Minister
Rosario Green was named the first Mexican woman foreign minister by President Ernesto Zedillo. Green, 56, known for her support of women’s issues, was also appointed the first coordinator of women’s issues for the United Nation in 1995 while serving as assistant secretary general for political affairs.
1/8/1998 - Cancer Risk Greater in High Estrogen Breast
A study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports a link between breast tissue that contains an “overexpression," or increased quantity, of estrogen receptors and a greater risk of malignant breast cancer. Researchers studied 376 women who had undergone breast surgery and found that those with more than 1% receptor-positive tissue had three times the risk of cancer.
Although Hormone Replacement Therapy increases the amount of receptor positive tissue, further studies need to be conducted as to whether there is any significant link, researchers said.
At a White House ceremony President Clinton proposed $21.7 billion in tax breaks and new spending for child care . The proposal is part of the new budget, which will be submitted to Congress next month. The child care initiative includes $7.5 billion towards subsidizing child care for low-income families, $5.2 for “expanding” the child and dependent-care tax credit, $3.8 billion for the Head Start program, $3 billion to improve the quality of child care, and additional support for after- and before-school programs. The proposal also features enforcement of state child-care standards and tax credits to businesses that provide their own or aid in the provision of child care for their employees.
In putting forth the proposal, which is aimed towards making child care more accessible and affordable for working parents, Clinton stated, “What the government is supposed to do is to help to create the conditions and give people the tools that will enable them to raise and love their children while successfully participating in the American workplace.”
1/8/1998 - Judge Orders Abusive Man to Marry Girlfriend
Judge Clyde Gober ordered Darrell Meadows of Georgia, who threatened to kill his girlfriend, Angela Whaley, and their daughter, to marry Whaley by mid-February. Meadows, who pled guilty to disorderly conduct to avoid charges for threatening to murder, has been released on probation.
Critics argue that marriage only gives an abusive man more power over a woman and children. The judge defends his position stating that Meadows will now be legally required to support the child.
Military judge Col. Ferdinand Clervi denied lawyer’s requests to dismiss a sexual misconduct trial against former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Gene McKinney. McKinney’s attorneys claimed the jury was unfairly “stacked” with women and senior officials. Three of the twelve jury members are women, 25 percent, while women make up about 14 percent of army personnel. Army prosecutor Lt. Col. Michael Child said, “There is no basis to suggest that if there are more women sitting on this panel that they couldn’t be just as fair.” McKinney, the Army’s former top enlisted man, is charged with 19 counts of sexual harassment and assault. If convicted, he faces a possible reduction in rank and 56 years in prison.
1/7/1998 - Stress Linked to Fight Against Breast Cancer
A study issued in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reports a link between anxiety and a weakened immune system in breast cancer patients. Researchers interviewed 116 women after surgery for invasive breast cancer, but before starting radiation or chemotherapy. The researchers first conducted psychological tests to determine levels of stress related to the disease and then tested the women’s blood for immune cell levels. Those with high stress had weakened immune systems. The study is the first in several designed to determine if lowering stress can aid in the fight against cancer. Researchers noted, “it is hard to ignore” that support can favorably affect the course of some cancers.
1/7/1998 - Prisoner Mothers Separated from Family
Two hundred and forty female inmates are being transferred from the D.C. corrections facility this month to facilities 300 miles away in Connecticut. Part of a federal financial rescue plan for the District, the transfer will weaken the already-fragile bond between the women, the majority of whom are single mothers, and their children. Cynthia Seymour of the Child Welfare League of America said about 150, 000 children in the U.S. have mothers in jail or prison. “...To move the mother so far away really makes the possibility of visiting even less likely. That’s the most devastating piece of this,” Seymour said.
1/7/1998 - Disney’s Eisner Not Distressed By Boycott
Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner stated in an annual letter to Disney’s shareholders he “always will defend the right” of the company to produce entertainment that some might find offensive. Eisner alluded to the recent Disney boycott by the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. The Baptists denounced Disney’s policy of offering benefits to partners of Gay and Lesbian Disney employees and ABC’s Ellen show which is the first primetime show to feature a Lesbian. “We are all fortunate to be in a country that protects ... free expression. We will not let a mayor, or a congressman, or a senator, or a particular interest group or even a President control our content,” Eisner stated. The annual report reflects no impact from the boycotts, with record-breaking revenues of $22.5 billion in 1997.
Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson urged party members to vote against a resolution that would deny funds to “any candidate or nominee of this party who opposes measures to end so-called partial-birth abortion.” Nicholson said that the party needs to remain broad enough for moderates, reacting to recent worries that a stance on such a controversial issue might drive away moderates and women. Last October, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly, 217 to 8, to pass a ban on the procedure. Although Congress has yet to override President Clinton’s veto on a ban of partial-birth abortions, Republicans promise to continue pressing the issue.
Chalauy Prathumasuth, a 41-year-old Thai woman, was set free Tuesday after being chained in a deserted hut for 13 years by her parents. The parents told the police that Chalauy began acting unusually when her husband left her, and took her baby son. They believed she was under the influence of black magic left by her husband. Prathumasuth was taken from the hut, located in Uthong village, 75 miles north of Bangkok, and is now in a hospital, police said.
Vice President Al Gore and Aida Alvarez, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, launched the SBA's Online Women's Business Center (www.onlinewbc.org) yesterday. The new Internet site provides information and free training to novice and established women business owners. Structured to "provide women the means of working together in creating possibilities and opportunities," its services include a marketing mall, finance center, management institute, technology tower and procurement place.
Alvarez said, "I am committed to increasing women business owner's opportunities for success with innovations such as this online center." According to the National Foundation of Women Business Owners, businesses owned by women in the United States number 8 million, provide jobs to one in five workers and grow faster than all other businesses.