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10/12/1995 - New Compounds Tested for Post-Menopausal Women

Early tests of new synthetic compounds show that they could protect women from heart disease and osteoporosis in the same way estrogen does. Taking estrogen hormone supplements after menopause helps reduce the risk of heart disease in women and bone-t hinning osteoporosis. Some women don't take estrogen, however, because of its possible side-effects -- increased risk of certain cancers. The compounds, now in testing stages, don't incur those possible side-effects.

Though similar to estrogen, doctors warn that differences nonetheless remain. Unlike estrogen, the synthetic compounds don't prevent hot flashes associated with menopause, nor do they raise the "good" type of cholesterol. Doctors also believe that est rogen might protect against Alzheimer's disease and colon cancer, but they don't know if the compounds have similar effects. The compounds still remain years away from market sales, but analysts predict that they could create profits in the hundreds of m illions.


10/11/1995 - Supreme Court Hears Gay Rights Case

The Supreme heard arguments yesterday in Romer vs. Evans, an appeal from the Colorado Supreme Court. That court ruled last year that a state, voter-approved constitutional amendment that banned laws which protected homosexuals against discrimin ation denied them equal protection. Both sides received help and tough questioning from the justices, with only Justice Thomas failing to enter the debate on Colorado's Amendment 2. Both Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Scalia seemed to favor Colorad o Solicitor General Timothy M. Tymkovich's case.

However, Justices O'Connor and Kennedy, who now hold the swing votes in many of the crucial cases before the court, seemed troubled by the state's case. Kennedy asked the first question minutes into the hearing and effectively dismissed as irrelevent to the present case the precedent around which Tymkovich centered his case. O'Connor seemed especially troubled about the impact of the amendment and asked whether or not, for example, the ban would permit libraries to disallow homosexuals from checking out books. When the state replied that it would not cut off homosexuals from normal legal protections, O'Connor responded, "How do we know that?" Justice Ginsburg also asked whether or not a hospital allocating scarce resources could deny a kidney dial ysis machine to homosexuals. Because the amendment has not been authoritatively interpreted or put into practice, Tymocovich responded with, "We don't know."


10/11/1995 - Flight Attendants Win Raise from American

A three-member arbitration panel created to solve a labor dispute between flight attendants and American Airlines awarded the flight attendants a 17 percent pay increase over the next six years. The panel rejected American's plans to cut vacation pay by 25% and reduce pay for layovers and periods between flights. The panel also established wage rates based on comparison of rates paid by United and Delta Airlines. The Association of Professional Flight attendants started the process in 1993 by initi ating a five-day, pre-Thanksgiving strike to resolve wage disputes. The strike ended after President Clinton intervened and management agreed to arbitration.


10/11/1995 - Athletic Shoe Companies to Target Women

Title IX has spurred a dramatic growth in women's participation in sports since its passage in 1972. In 1971, one in twenty-seven girls played school sports, but the Women's Sports Foundation found that that number soared to one in three girls playin g school sports in 1994. This past year, women spent more on athletic shoes than men for the first time, $5.4 billion versus $5.2 billion. However, only 15% of Nike's $138 million ad budget from last year went to ads solely targetng women. Nike and Ree bok both plan to step up their products and advertising for women with Nike CEO Phil Knight admitting that, "the company recently got a little less stupid."

Already, Reebok has initiated educational programs and created Girls' Sports Summit to encourage girls to play sports. The company also hosted a Sports Training Challenge for high school junior and senior female athletes this past summer. Nike has wo n critical acclaim for its recent advertisements which urge parents to encourage their girls to play sports. In the ad, girls say how playing sports helps their physical fitness and makes them feel better about themselves. One girl says that playing spo rts will make her more likely to leave her husband if he beats her.


10/11/1995 - Athletic Shoe Companies to Target Women

Title IX has spurred a dramatic growth in women's participation in sports since its passage in 1972. In 1971, one in twenty-seven girls played school sports, but the Women's Sports Foundation found that that number soared to one in three girls playin g school sports in 1994. This past year, women spent more on athletic shoes than men for the first time, $5.4 billion versus $5.2 billion. However, only 15% of Nike's $138 million ad budget from last year went to ads solely targetng women. Nike and Ree bok both plan to step up their products and advertising for women with Nike CEO Phil Knight admitting that, "the company recently got a little less stupid."

Already, Reebok has initiated educational programs and created Girls' Sports Summit to encourage girls to play sports. The company also hosted a Sports Training Challenge for high school junior and senior female athletes this past summer. Nike has wo n critical acclaim for its recent advertisements which urge parents to encourage their girls to play sports. In the ad, girls say how playing sports helps their physical fitness and makes them feel better about themselves. One girl says that playing spo rts will make her more likely to leave her husband if he beats her.


10/11/1995 - Gingrinch and AMA Strike Deal

The American Medical Association announced Tuesday night its support for the G.O.P Medicare plan. This announcement comes after an agreement between House Speaker Gingrich and AMA leaders whereby the redesign of Medicare would not cut fees paid to doc tors. The agreement would also limit payment of damages to victims of medical malpractice and exempt doctors from antitrust laws in certain situations. Under the pre-agreement reform, $26 billion in savings over seven years would have come from cutting doctors' payments. It is likely that now the plan will pass those costs on to the elderly, who already face dramatic premium increases and reduced coverage.


10/11/1995 - Governors Oppose Ban on Some Welfare Aid

A group of U.S. governors has sent a bipartisan letter to Congress urging them not to place bans on aid to teenage mothers with children or mothers who have additional children while on welfare. Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson (R) and Nevada Governo r Robert Miller (D) urged Congress to give states maximum flexibility in setting their own rules, reported The Washington Post. The paper did not list the names of all the governors who signed the letter.

The House and Senate Welfare bills effectively end guaranteed aid to children and turn welfare into block grants to states. The bills also limit aid to five years, cap overall funding and demand work after two years. The House bill goes on to deny fe deral money to teen-age mothers, refuses to give additional money to mothers on welfare who have more children and give states control of school lunch programs.


10/11/1995 - Number of Female Executives Increasing

In 1977 forty-six women served on the boards of Fortune 500 Companies. Today 600 women serve on the boards, with more than 40% of them rising to those positions from the corporate ranks. That's up from 22% in 1983 who got to the boards from go vernment or university positions. Their history with the companies makes them more likely candidate for CEO positions. Though no Fortune 500 Companies have women CEOs yet, their presence on the boards and their history with their companies is hel ping to crack the glass ceiling.


10/11/1995 - Law to Keep Repeat Sex Offenders off the Streets

Recently passed and signed legislation in California keeps repeat sex offenders off the streets if they have mental disorders. The legislation requires inmates to receive in-patient treatment for mental disorders before they are released back into soc iety. The legislation aims to keep repeat sex offenders from committing more crimes once released from prison. The California Department of Corrections reports that currently 13,000 repeat sex offenders serve time in CA's state prison with approximately 3,000 released annually


10/10/1995 - Abortion Foes Gearing Up for Congressional Battles

National Right to Life members flooded fax machines and e-mail boxes with a clear and simple message, "defeat the $243 billion defense bill" -- the bill contained a single clause relating to abortion. The House, torn between increasing Pentagon spendi ng or voting down an abortion provision, chose the latter, thus setting the stage for future abortion fights in the House.

Abortion rights face many threats on the U.S. House agenda: the House D.C. appropriations bill is expected to restrict abortion funding; the House version of the foreign aid bill denies grants to organizations which attempt to legalize abortion in dev eloping countries (the Senate bill allows the grants); the House has included provisions in the health and human services spending bill which prohibit federal funding of embryo experimentation, allow medical schools which don't provide abortion training t o receive federal funds, and allow states to refuse Medicaid support for abortion. Many observers also expect that the full House will soon take up a bill to limit all abortions. This would be the first such attempt since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.


10/10/1995 - Judge Approves Breast Implant Settlement

U.S. District Judge Sam Pointer approved yesterday the new settlement arrangement agreed to by three breast implant companies and women in a class-action lawsuit. Women who can prove that they had implants from one of three companies -- Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Baxter International Inc., and 3M Co., may now receive from $10,000 to $750,000 each, depending on their health and age. The boards and insurers of the three companies must now approve the settlement. Women who are dissatisfied with the agre ement have the option of dropping out of the class-action suit and filing their own suit.


10/9/1995 - CALIFORNIA STUDENTS TO PROTEST AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Students in the nine-campus University of California system will protest, on Thursday, the Board of Regents' summer decision to end affirmative action for the university system. Student protesters hope to involve administrators, faculty and also some regents in their day long protest across campuses and march at the Sacramento Capitol. Student leaders expect over 10,000 to protest at UC Berkeley and plan an all day teach-in at UC Davis. At UCLA students have held daily protests since last week, and at UC Riverside, students burned copies of the new decision in garbage cans.


10/9/1995 - MEDICARE CUTS TO SERIOUSLY AFFECT ELDERLY WOMEN

Currently, Medicaid covers nearly half (48%) of all nursing home costs. Proposed cuts in the Medicare and Medicaid system will seriously disadvantage those who now benefit from the programs, especially elderly women who comprise 75% of nursing home residents. Congress' proposal would nullify guaranteed health care insurance for elderly, poor and disabled Americans and turn care into a voucher system.

The proposed changes to Medicare include an increase in premiums and a reduction in coverage. Congress plans to increase the premium rate by 50%, from $100 to $150. This would dangerously affect the roughly 75% of Medicare beneficiaries who receive less than $25,000 in annual income. Women compromise two-thirds of the persons on Medicare living below the poverty level and proposed changes would make health care unaffordable to many of them. Indeed, the increase in premiums would force many to request Medicaid benefits.


10/9/1995 - BUDGET BILL WOULD ALSO REPEAL FEDERAL NURSING HOME CARE STANDARDS

In an attempt to decentralize power, the budget bills drafted by both houses of Congress would repeal tough federal standards on nursing home care. The industry has not formally asked for a repeal of the standards enacted in 1987 after a study by the National Academy of Science found that "shockingly deficient care" in some homes mandated federal intervention. The Federal standards regulate nurse-to-patient ratios and mandate treatment standards which do not allow staff to tie down or drug patients. Under the new plans, states would create and enforce their own standards, which could be far less stringent than current federal standards. Women, who comprise approximately 75% of all nursing home patients, will be disproportionally affected by the repeal.


9/29/1995 - 1% of Ashkenazi Jews in the United States Carry Breast Cancer Gene Defect

A study published today in the journal Nature Genetics found that one percent of American Jewish women of Ashkenazi descent carry a mutation of the gene, BRCA1, associated with breast cancer. The discovery has great promise of allowing scientis ts to gain a better understanding of the incidence of breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer and the mutated gene, 185delAG, have an eighty to ninety percent chance of getting the disease. They also have a forty to fifty percent chan ce of getting colon cancer. A new study is beginning immediately to determine exactly how much of a cancer risk the mutation signifies for Jewish women without a history of breast cancer in their family. Unfortunately, no known cure exists for cancer and genetic testing raises questions of what therapy to provide for persons with positive results.


9/29/1995 - Committee Makes Changes to Medicare, Medicaid Without Ensuring Coverage

Last night, the Senate Finance Committee declined attempts to ensure that poor, elderly and disabled persons receive coverage from Medicare and Medicaid programs. Committee Chairman, William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del.) has proposed that the federal government grant states the right to determine eligibility and benefits. The committee voted down an amendment which would have restored entitlements to the poor. The committee also passed a change, requested by New York among other states, which would lower the amount they must contribute to Medicaid programs by ten percent.

The Senate Finance Committee moved through twelve of forty amendments and then recessed for the night. Because of technical and drafting delays, it has extended the date of their final mark-up to October 9, approximately three weeks beyond their deadl ine.


9/29/1995 - University Costs Rise by 6%, Congress Considers Cutting Back Student Loan Programs

An annual survey released on Thursday by the College Board indicates that College tuition and fees rose by six percent this school year. The increases in college costs is rising faster than inflation and comes at a time when Congress plans to reduce b oth student loan and grant programs. The increases in costs and cut in grants are coming together in such a way that, "many young people in our society face a deeply mortgaged future," said Donald M. Stewart, president of the College Board.


9/27/1995 - Wal-mart Pulls "Someday A Woman Will Be President" T-Shirt

Citing its offensiveness to some shoppers, a Wal-mart store close to Miami stopped selling a t-shirt which proclaimed, "Someday A Woman Will Be President." The store had sold roughly two-thirds of its stock of 204 shirts, but decided to stop selling them when the store received a complaint from one customer. A buyer of women's clothes for the national office, Sharon Higginbotham, told the t-shirt's designer, Ann Moliver Ruben, that the store would not carry the shirt nationwide because its message, "goes against Wal-Mart's family values."


9/27/1995 - Clinton Backs Lawsuit Against Bosnian Leader

The Clinton Administration has filed a brief supporting a lawsuit against Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb Leader. Two women, victims of the Balkan war, have filed the lawsuit in an attempt to hold him liable for Bosnian Serb war crimes. One woman says she was raped and mutilated by Serbian soldiers, the other says she witnessed Bosnian Serb soldiers rape and eventually murder her mother. The case is now before an appeals court, which will consider whether or not to overrule a lower court's ruling that Karadzic cannot be tried.


9/26/1995 - Country Opposes G.O.P. Medicare Plan, Expresses Dissatisfaction with Republican Leadership

A CNN/USA Today poll of 1,011 Americans conducted Sept. 22-24 found that fifty-one percent oppose Republicans' plan to reform Medicare while only thirty-two percent favor it. Fifty-three percent felt that the elderly would be worse off if the reforms came into effect. Furthermore, forty-four percent indicated that the Republican leadership in Congress was moving the country in the wrong direction, up from thirty-seven percent in March of 1995 and twenty-seven percent in November of 1994.

In general, the Medicare reform would raise premiums for individuals (many admit that premiums would double) and slow payments to doctors and hospitals. Republicans also hope that beneficiaries will voluntarily switch to other types of health maintenance organizations. Democrats have strongly criticized the reforms and Republican handling of them, arguing that they are attempting to move the reforms through Congress without disclosing them fully to the American public.


9/26/1995 - Powell Speaks Up For Affirmative Action, Military Still Has A Long Way To Go

Prior to a book signing in San Francisco, retired Gen. Colin Powell spoke out in favor of affirmative action programs, saying it is necessary for society to provide corrections for racist practices. Powell also warned that candidates should not use the issue as a "political football." Rather, Americans should come together and talk the issue through to come up with fair solutions for everyone.

Powell commented that, "I'm a great believer in affirmative action and equal opportunity. I've seen it work in the military." Unfortunately, men are the primary beneficiaries of the military affirmative action programs Powell used as an example. Women make up only eleven percent of the armed forces, due in part to quota systems which limit, rather than expand, their involvement. The military closes many job opportunities and promotions to women who otherwise meet the necessary qualifications. The Clinton administration opened a record number of positions for women in the military, but women still do not have the same opportunities men enjoy to succeed in and benefit from full active service.


9/23/1995 - Medicare and Medicaid Cuts Disproportionately Affect Women

Hours before the Senate welfare vote, which in effect cuts benefits to millions of poor American families by giving states block grants, House Speaker Newt Gingrinch suggested block granting the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides health care coverage for 36 million poor Americans, the vast majority of whom are single women with children. His proposal would eliminate a thirty year-old safety net which guarantees certain groups automatic health care coverage. Furthermore, block grants could give the states a vast amount of leeway to save on their current Medicaid spending, thus increasingly cutting back benefits to the poor. Destitute mothers and their children, who make up the majority of current recipients, stand to lose the most from these, in President Clinton's words, "Draconian Cuts."

G.O.P. leaders in the House also issued a 60-page report yesterday regarding the overhaul of Medicare. In discussing Medicare, G.O.P. leaders have announced that their plan would gradually double health insurance premiums for the elderly. Already, approximately fifteen percent of an elderly personís income goes towards health care. This plan would drive up that percentage thus causing grave financial and medical hardship for many elderly persons struggling with reduced social security benefits and increasing life spans. This negatively affects millions of Americans and it disproportionately harms women, who compromise the majority of the elderly population. And, because women receive significantly smaller pension payments and on average only 2/3rds of the amount men receive in Social Security payments, they also make up a disproportionate number of the elderly poor.


9/22/1995 - Wells Fargo Opens Credit Line for Businesswomen

Wells Fargo Banks has announced plans to open a one billion dollar credit line for women who have run profitable businesses for at least two years. Bank officials said they hoped to tap into an important resource within the economy. Annually, women-o wned firms in the United States generate $1.4 trillion and employ 15.5 million workers.


9/22/1995 - Helms Amendment Fails

The Senate voted yesterday against an amendment proposed by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) which would ban U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund. By a vote of 91 to 9 the Senate passed a foreign aid bill which would provide $12.3 billion, $2.4 bi llion less than what President Clinton had requested, for international programs. On a vote of 57 to 43 rejecting Helm's proposed ban, the Senate appropriated $35 million of that amount to the U.N. agency responsible for family planning. Although the bi ll prohibits any of the funding from being used to pay for abortions, the Senate did delete anti-abortion language within the bill that the House had earlier passed.


9/21/1995 - New Study Published on Mammogram Testing

A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that it's cost-effective for women to begin yearly mammograms at the age of forty and then have bi-annual tests after the age of fifty. Dr. John Rosenquist and Dr. Karen Lindfors, co-authors of the recently published study, found that it costs $2,972 for women to receive mammograms every year from the ages of 40 to 79. The outcome is generally an addition of forty days to a woman's life. However, yearly mammog rams from the age of forty to forty nine and bi-annual tests after fifty would cost $1,915 and add an average of thirty-five days to a woman's life. The averages generally mean that for women who don't have breast cancer, the lifespan remains the same. But, Rosenquist indicates that for women who do have breast cancer could add years to their lives.