Female Cagers Tops; Fetuses Given Legal Status

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

A new study has revealed remarkable graduation rates among women’s student basketball teams that are part of the Sweet 16 tournament of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The study, “Keeping Score When It Counts: Graduation Rates and Diversity in Campus Leadership for 2004 Women’s Sweet 16 Teams,” indicated that the women’s teams had much higher graduation rates than that of their male counterparts. The study also found that 5 of the final 16 teams in the women’s Division I tournament graduated 100 percent of their African American players, reported the Los Angeles Times. The study was released this week and conducted by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida.

Stanford University in California had the highest overall graduation rate of 93 percent, followed by Vanderbilt University in Tennessee at 92 percent, University of Texas at Austin at 88 percent and Duke University in North Carolina at 87 percent. University of California at Santa Barbara, Duke University in North Carolina, Louisiana State University, Notre Dame University in Indiana and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee had 100 percent graduation rates for female African American players.

Ten of the women’s teams graduated with higher rates than their schools’ overall student-athlete graduation rates. By contrast, 64 percent of the reporting men’s teams had basketball student-athlete graduation rates that were at least 20 to 29 percentage points lower than their school’s overall student-athlete graduation rate. Six of the men’s Sweet 16 teams had graduation rates below 50 percent.

“It does not matter if you are white or African American: Women basketball student-athletes get the work done in the classroom while the men lag woefully behind,” said the study’s author, Richard Lapchick, director of the DeVos Sports Business Managment / Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at University of Central Florida.


Jeers

The Senate approved legislation this week making the harming of a fetus a separate federal offense in a violent crime against a pregnant woman.

The Unborn Victims of Violence Act was passed on Thursday, clearing the Senate with a 61-38 vote, reports The Associated Press. Supporters of the bill claim that the law is a step closer to recognizing the value of all human life. Opponents say the bill is an attempt to undermine the value of the pregnant woman’s life and provide legal protections to fetuses from the moment of conception–separate from those of pregnant women.

“The creation of separate legal rights of the fetus provides the basis for turning the pregnancy itself into a crime waiting to happen and a pregnant woman a suspect from the moment of conception,” Lynn Paltrow, director of the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women said.

Paltrow notes that the law omits federal punishment for the harming of the pregnant woman, effectively providing more legal protection to the fetus than to the woman.

“If the purpose is at least in part to protect the pregnant woman, why would you not include increased penalties for harm to the woman as well as to the fetus?”

As of Friday, neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National District Attorneys Association had taken a stance on the legislation.

— Emma Pearse.

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