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4/24/1996 - New Compound Shows Promise As Advanced Breast Cancer Treatment

Researchers have found positive results in the creation of a genetically engineered compound that attacks the protein in the gene HER-2/neu, which is present in a high number of breast cancer cases. The compound enhances the killing ability of chemotherapy by weakening the strength of the tumor-causing protein in HER-2/neu. Several women who were treated with the compound found that their tumors disappeared, shrank, and in one case actually disappeared. Over a hundred breast cancer centers around the world are testing the new compound. For more information call 1-800-821-8590.


4/24/1996 - New York Bill Seeks to Prevent Rape in Jail

A bill pending in the New York State Assembly would criminalize all sex, even consensual sex, between inmates and prison guards. Several reports of incidents in which female inmates who rebuffed guards' sexual advances or complained of sexual misconduct were cruelly disciplined have prompted law makers to expand the definition of rape in prisons. The relationship between the prisoner and guard, one that consists of dependence and psychological domination, would be classified as a situation in which women cannot safely say "no" to sexual advances. Women have reported being denied phone privileges, mail, and sanitary napkins, being put in isolation, or being brutally beaten by angry guards if they did not succumb to the pressure for sex. Fourteen other states have similar laws, which have been supported by social workers, prisoners, and the guards themselves.


4/24/1996 - Genes Show Breast and Ovarian Cancer Link

The two genes known to carry breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, may be linked to the gene that causes ovarian cancer. Researchers have found that in one in every 20 cases of ovarian cancer, BRCA2 -- the breast cancer gene discovered last year -- was present. This finding further strengthens the evidence that ovarian cancer is hereditary.

Ovarian Cancer will strike an estimated 26,700 women a year and 14,800 will die. Only 23 percent of cases are diagnosed early, but the survival rate for treating it early is 91 percent. The new findings provide hope that genetic screening will help women who have a hereditary predisposition to ovarian cancer. Evidence is still inconclusive as to why some family members with the mutated gene develop ovarian cancer but others do not.


News: April 15, 1996


4/24/1996 - New Jersey Court Allows Women to Request HIV Testing of Rapists

Following in the footsteps of several other states, the New Jersey Appellate Division Court upheld two state statutes that give sexual assault victims the right to request that their attackers be tested for the HIV virus. The higher court's decision rejected a Family Court's claim that compulsory HIV tests violates a defendant's Fourth Amendment rights. The Appellate Court stated that testing was not an unreasonable search or seizure, because testing does not endanger the criminal. Edward Martone of the New Jersey ACLU said that an appeal to the state Supreme Court is certain


4/24/1996 - Judge May Be Removed For Lenient Stance On Domestic Violence

Brooklyn Judge Lorin Duckman, who is accused of a bias against domestic violence victims and having a record of lenient sentencing in domestic violence cases, is being investigated by the New York judicial oversight panel. Governor George Pataki has suggested that Duckman resign and save the panel the trouble of investigating the obvious violations of law.


4/23/1996 - Poll Shows Women Favor Democrats

According to the most recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, women’s votes are crucial to the re-election of President Clinton. While men are evenly divided at 45 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Sen. Bob Dole in a two-way race, 52 percent of women favor Clinton and only 34 percent favor Dole. Women also favor Democrats by a 16-point margin when asked how they would vote in Congressional elections if they were held today. Men favored Republicans by a 10-point margin. The gender gap even influences women who describe themselves as independent: 49 percent said they would vote Democratic in 1996 House races, while only 31 percent of independent men agreed. The survey, conducted March 31 to April 2, polled 1,257 adults and has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


4/23/1996 - Women Face Tough Fight for Superintendent Jobs

Although almost 75 percent of elementary and secondary teachers are women and the number of women qualified to be public school superintendents is increasing, women still make up only 10 percent of all superintendents nationwide. When applying for superintendent positions, women have been asked questions regarding how their husbands feel about the job and about relocating. According to Elizabeth Morie, associate professor at James Madison University and former Lexington, Va. superintendent, women still have difficulty seeing themselves as principals and need encouragement to seek the job of superintendent. Morie’s research confirms two other studies which found that male teachers move into administration from the classroom earlier than women and are more likely to skip several steps, such as going from middle school principal to superintendent. Patricia Dignan, superintendent of Falls Church, Va. schools, said that once women move into higher positions, they still face greater scrutiny than men and have a harder time establishing credibility.

Morie indicated that girls need to see more women in top positions in order to envision higher possibilities for themselves. The younger I think they see those role models, the less they are inhibited,” Morie said. Jackie DeFazio, president of the American Association of University Women and a high school principal, agreed. She said that it is very important that kids see us modeling what the possibilities are -- that not only for us, but in their minds, women can do any kind of job.”


4/23/1996 - FDA Approval Likely for Ovarian Cancer Drug

On Friday (4-19), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee unanimously approved a new cancer drug to combat ovarian cancer. If approved by the FDA, Topotecan, manufactured by SmithKine Beecham Pharmaceutical, will be used to treat women with ovarian cancer after other treatments and chemotherapy have failed. The drug, which will be marketed as Hycamtin,” inhibits an enzyme that tumors need to grow and works inside the cancer cell to interrupt DNA replication. Hycamtin was shown to delay progression of ovarian cancer in late-stage patients for about 23 weeks -- nine weeks longer than Taxol, a similar drug manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Taxol is already approved in 64 countries, including the U.S., where it is also approved for treating breast cancer.


4/23/1996 - Judge Won’t Promote Tailhook Pilot

U.S. District Judge Albert Bryan, Jr. dismissed a suit brought by Cmdr. Robert E. Stumpf, a Navy pilot involved in the 1991 Tailhook scandal in which Navy pilots sexually harassed and assaulted female officers at the annual convention. Stumpf, who the Navy cleared of misconduct, was not promoted because of his presence at the convention. Judge Bryan ruled he did not have the power to promote Stumpf.


4/23/1996 - Texas Universities Resume Affirmative Action

Public universities in Texas will resume affirmative action programs designed to increase minority enrollment. Last month a federal appeals court banned the admissions policies, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay on Friday (4-19), effective until May 13. The earlier ruling was wrecking havoc on admissions officials scrambling to redesign admissions policies. After Texas files its expected appeal to the Supreme Court, the stay will remain in effect until the Court rules on the case. If the Court refuses to hear the case, the stay would be lifted. Texas Attorney General Dan Morales said he expects the Supreme Court to hear the case, which could affect admissions policies across the nation. The Justice Department has denounced the earlier ruling and has said it will support the affirmative action programs.


4/22/1996 - Poll Shows Women Favor Democrats

According to the most recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, women’s votes are crucial to the re-election of President Clinton. While men are evenly divided at 45 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Sen. Bob Dole in a two-way race, 52 percent of women favor Clinton and only 34 percent favor Dole. Women also favor Democrats by a 16-point margin when asked how they would vote in Congressional elections if they were held today. Men favored Republicans by a 10-point margin. The gender gap even influences women who describe themselves as independent: 49 percent said they would vote Democratic in 1996 House races, while only 31 percent of independent men agreed. The survey, conducted March 31 to April 2, polled 1,257 adults and has a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.


4/22/1996 - Women Face Tough Fight for Superintendent Jobs

Although almost 75 percent of elementary and secondary teachers are women and the number of women qualified to be public school superintendents is increasing, women still make up only 10 percent of all superintendents nationwide. When applying for superintendent positions, women have been asked questions regarding how their husbands feel about the job and about relocating. According to Elizabeth Morie, associate professor at James Madison University and former Lexington, Va. superintendent, women still have difficulty seeing themselves as principals and need encouragement to seek the job of superintendent. Morie’s research confirms two other studies which found that male teachers move into administration from the classroom earlier than women and are more likely to skip several steps, such as going from middle school principal to superintendent. Patricia Dignan, superintendent of Falls Church, Va. schools, said that once women move into higher positions, they still face greater scrutiny than men and have a harder time establishing credibility.

Morie indicated that girls need to see more women in top positions in order to envision higher possibilities for themselves. The younger I think they see those role models, the less they are inhibited,” Morie said. Jackie DeFazio, president of the American Association of University Women and a high school principal, agreed. She said that it is very important that kids see us modeling what the possibilities are -- that not only for us, but in their minds, women can do any kind of job.”


4/22/1996 - FDA Approval Likely for Ovarian Cancer Drug

On Friday (4-19), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee unanimously approved a new cancer drug to combat ovarian cancer. If approved by the FDA, Topotecan, manufactured by SmithKine Beecham Pharmaceutical, will be used to treat women with ovarian cancer after other treatments and chemotherapy have failed. The drug, which will be marketed as Hycamtin,” inhibits an enzyme that tumors need to grow and works inside the cancer cell to interrupt DNA replication. Hycamtin was shown to delay progression of ovarian cancer in late-stage patients for about 23 weeks -- nine weeks longer than Taxol, a similar drug manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Taxol is already approved in 64 countries, including the U.S., where it is also approved for treating breast cancer.


4/22/1996 - Judge Won’t Promote Tailhook Pilot

.S. District Judge Albert Bryan, Jr. dismissed a suit brought by Cmdr. Robert E. Stumpf, a Navy pilot involved in the 1991 Tailhook scandal in which Navy pilots sexually harassed and assaulted female officers at the annual convention. Stumpf, who the Navy cleared of misconduct, was not promoted because of his presence at the convention. Judge Bryan ruled he did not have the power to promote Stumpf.


4/22/1996 - Texas Universities Resume Affirmative Action

Public universities in Texas will resume affirmative action programs designed to increase minority enrollment. Last month a federal appeals court banned the admissions policies, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay on Friday (4-19), effective until May 13. The earlier ruling was wrecking havoc on admissions officials scrambling to redesign admissions policies. After Texas files its expected appeal to the Supreme Court, the stay will remain in effect until the Court rules on the case. If the Court refuses to hear the case, the stay would be lifted. Texas Attorney General Dan Morales said he expects the Supreme Court to hear the case, which could affect admissions policies across the nation. The Justice Department has denounced the earlier ruling and has said it will support the affirmative action programs.


4/20/1996 - Woman Waiting For Court Decision For Admission At The Citadel

One year after Shannon Faulkner successfully opened the doors to women at The Citadel, one of the nation's most prestigious old boys clubs, another woman is challenging the courts for her admission. Nancy Mellette, 18, is actively challenging The Citadel's all-male admissions policy with cases pending in the South Carolina District Court and the Supreme Court. While she waits for a decision from the courts, she has decided to attend a one year program at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in Fort Monmouth , N.J., this fall


4/20/1996 - Women Executives Explore New Trade Opportunities In Mexico

Alexis Herman, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Liason, will lead a delegation of female business leaders to Mexico. The April 22 mission seeks to assist women-owned businesses in finding new ways to expand trade opportunities and will explore trade prospects in the region.


4/20/1996 - Owner of Professional Football Team Charged with Sexual Assault

Ken Behring, owner of the professional football team the Seattle Seahawks, is being sued by a former employee for general and punitive damages on charges of sexual assault and battery. The plaintiff, Patricia Parker, served as Behring's chief financial officer from October 1993 until March 1996, where she oversaw Behring's multi-million dollar investment portfolio. Parker alleges that she faced two years of sexual innuendo, verbal sexual assault, and was assaulted by Behring in January 1996. Behring has denied the charges.


4/20/1996 - Online Voter Registration Registration Drive Geared to Young

The first online voter registration effort has been launched by MCI and Rock The Vote. Users access the site at either of the two locations, the MCI Net Vote'96 site or the Rock The Vote site, then fill out an on-screen registration form and hit "submit." One week before the elections the new voters will be reminded to go to the polls. The project is directed at the country's 25 million 18-to-24 -year-olds, 58 percent of whom are not registered to vote. The Congressional Internet Caucus and Sheryl Crow have endorsed the effort and they are convinced that by making the process easy and via a medium which is very popular for the young age group, there will be a high success rate.


4/19/1996 - Evidence Mounts in New York Rape Case

Kerry Kotler was arrested for rape on April 8, four years after being freed from jail after DNA evidence cleared him of another rape. According to prosecutor Randy Hinrichs, five unique DNA markers from semen found on the victim matched markers from Kotler's blood; the odds against the semen being from someone other than Kotler are 1 in 7.5 million. The victim's clothing also contained dog hairs matching hairs from Kotler's German shepherd. The victim, raped August 20, described her attacker's car and gave police a partial license plate number, which led to the discovery that the vehicle belonged to Kotler's girlfriend.

If convicted, Kotler could be sentenced to 50 years for rape and kidnapping but is currently free on $25,000 bail


4/19/1996 - Minimum Wage Increase Would Effect Millions of Women

Of the 3.66 million workers in the U.S. who are paid the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour, 63 percent are women. The debate to raise the minimum wage 90 cents over a two year period is currently dividing Congress by party lines. Republicans have generally opposed an increase, fearful that it will contribute to a loss of jobs, but have recently expressed a willingness to compromise with the Democrats, who have been hoping to pass an increase this year. A poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News shows that 84 percent of Americans support an increase in the minimum wage. Since the last time the minimum wage was raised, in 1991, its buying value has dropped by 50 cents.


4/19/1996 - AIDS Rates Increased For Women in 1995

In 1995, the number of women diagnosed with AIDS increased to its highest percentage yet: 19 percent of all adult and adolescent cases. Nationwide, the AIDS rate has declined. Last year the number of people diagnosed with the disease dropped seven percent. There have been over half a million AIDS cases reported since 1981.


4/19/1996 - Traditional Religious Group Opposed to Female Bishop

On April 13, a group of 60 members from the Concerned Parishioners of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington gathered outside of the National Cathedral to protest the local appearances of Jane Holmes Dixon, one of six female assistant Episcopal bishops in the U.S. The protesters oppose the Church's liberal policy towards ordaining women, and gay men and lesbians. The group claims the Church is more concerned with political theology than adhering to a traditional belief of the Holy Scriptures.


4/18/1996 - Adult Men Responsible for Teen Pregnancies

According to a study in Thursday's (4-18) American Journal of Public Health, adult men are responsible for two thirds of the babies born to teenage mothers in California in 1993. The men averaged four to six years older than the girls they impregnated. The study by Mike Males of UC Irvine concurs with findings from a 1995 study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute which combined birth certificates with the results of an overlooked 1998 federal survey of 10,000 women. School-age male peers fathered only 34.5 percent of the babies born to California girls aged 10 to 19 in 1993. About 27 percent of the births to 10 to 14 year-old girls were fathered by men aged 20 to 24. Males commented that the men at fault are not in schools or targeted for programs to combat teen pregnancy but said that California is airing public service announcements to target such men and has started an effort to prosecute more men for statutory rape.


4/18/1996 - American Legion Found Guilty of Discrimination Against Lesbians and Gay Men

A ruling by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has found the American Legion's California division guilty of discriminating against gay men and lesbians. The city commission concluded that the division of the largest veterans' organization in the United States distributed homophobic literature opposing gays in the military, lied to a gay veteran's group, and deliberately prevented gay veterans from expressing their point of view. A city law in San Francisco prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but state law supersedes the ordinance in this case, inhibiting the commission to order the Legion to make changes