New Meds Slow Breast Cancer; U.S. Curbs Plan B

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

Breast cancer experts cheered two new medicines that significantly delay the time until women with very advanced cases get worse, reported Bloomberg Businessweek Dec. 7.

Drug test results were released Dec. 7 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. The new drugs are some of the first major developments since the drug Herceptin came out in 1998, which has become standard treatment for a certain type of breast cancer.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • On Dec. 9, the day before the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, Laureates Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni opposition leader Tawakkul Karman vowed to work even harder to make the world see women not just as victims of conflicts, but as leaders in efforts to resolve them, reportedThe Washington Post.
  • Twelve radio stations to promote women’s rights in Ghana have been launched in the past 11 months by The Media Foundation for West Africa, reported Vibe Ghana on Dec. 9.
  • The First Lady of Senegal Viviane Wade called on all African governments to increase budgetary allocations to family planning and reproductive health, reported Modern Ghana Dec. 8.
  • A call for member countries of the East African Community to collaboratively uproot gender-based violence was made by Oda Gasinzigwa, Rwanda‘s Chief Gender Monitor, reported All Africa Dec. 9. She made the call to members of the East African Legislative Assembly at a recent conference.
  • Activists in major United Kingdom cities will march today to speak out against a ‘pornified’ culture driving increasing numbers of women to seek vaginal cosmetic surgery, according to a Dec. 8 press release from UK Feminista. Hundreds have signed up to the London event’s Facebook page.
  • Women will be allowed to serve in the British Royal Navy’s submarines, according to a Dec. 8 press release from the Ministry of Defense. The decision came after an 18-month review looking at the legal, operational, health, social, technical and financial issues of allowing women to serve on submarines.
  • The FBI voted to update the agency’s definition of rape Dec. 6, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 7. The new definition takes out the requirement of a "forcible" assault and the restriction that the attack must be toward a woman.
  • Men found guilty of harassing women in Saudi Arabia may soon be publicly shamed and fined, The International Business Times reported Dec. 7.
  • The Obama administration announced a wide-ranging effort to use U.S. foreign aid to promote rights for gays and lesbians abroad, reported The Huffington Post reported Dec. 6. Obama also ordered U.S. agencies to improve protections for gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Canada will continue to support the women of Afghanistan after international forces withdraw from the country in three years, CBC reported Dec. 6.
  • Women are set to walk away with a record number of seats in Slovenia’s parliamentary election, The Washington Post reported Dec. 5. Preliminary results on Dec. 5 indicated that women won 28 seats, an increase from the current 14 women-held seats in the 90-member assembly.
  • Nigerian activists rallied outside of the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations on Dec. 5 to denounce Nigerian legislation that criminalizes homosexuality and LGBT advocacy. The activists submitted a letter, signed online by supporters, to consular officials outside of the mission offices in midtown Manhattan, N.Y.
  • Occupy Wall Street’s spirit infused a Dec. 3 convention of about 100 domestic workers at the New York Academy of Medicine, in uptown Manhattan. In August 2010 New York passed the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, granting an estimated 200,000 housekeepers, child care workers and elderly caregivers in the state basic rights, including some paid time off and protection from discrimination and harassment. A year later, New York domestic workers and their allies are considering how to push this groundbreaking law nationally.

Jeers

Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, rejected FDA plans to make the morning-after contraceptive pill, Plan B, accessible to teenagers under 17 without a prescription, The New York Daily News reported Dec. 7. President Obama announced his support for her controversial decision Dec. 8, reported The Huffington Post.

To voice opposition, Change.org launched a campaign against the decision, saying it is: "Illogical and unfounded. Physicians around the country agree that Plan B is incredibly safe and effective for all ages, helping to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies."

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Widespread child marriage jeopardizes Yemeni girls’ access to education, harms their health and keeps them second-class citizens, said a Dec. 8 Human Rights Watch press release.
  • In an attempt to curb population growth the Indian government is offering incentives to encourage female Indians to undergo sterilization, reportedAl JazeeraDec. 7. Critics say the policy is sexist because it requires women to bear all the responsibility for family planning.
  • An Ohio state lawmaker urged senators to pass the ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill during a Dec. 7 state Senate hearing, reported The Associated Press Dec. 7. The bill would outlaw abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat The GOP-led Ohio House passed the measure with a 54-44 vote in June; this was the first hearing since.
  • Government-funded researchers tested AIDS drugs on hundreds of foster children over the past two decades, without providing basic protection afforded in federal law, reported MSNBC Dec. 7.
  • Rick Santorum said a homosexual relationship is not "equal" to heterosexual relationship, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 6. The Republican presidential candidate made the comment at a campaign stop on Dec. 5 at a Christian college in Iowa.
  • Three elderly women from southern Florida accused Transportation Security Administration officers of forcing them to strip at New York’s JFK International Airport last week, My Fox Phoenix reported Dec. 6.
  • Hundreds of Afghan women are languishing in Afghanistan’s prisons for fleeing violence and forced marriage, The Daily Telegraph reported Dec. 4. The latest United Nations figures estimate that the women’s prison population has risen to about 600, up from 380 two years ago.
  • Shaima Jastaniah, the Saudi woman who made international headlines in September for being condemned to 10 lashes for driving a car, may be lashed in spite of the royal pardon, The Atlantic reported Dec. 5. She will be flogged unless she wins a legal appeal in mid-December. If Saudi women are given the right to drive, it would spell the end of virginity in the country, a report in Saudi Arabia has warned, BBC News reported Dec. 2.
  • More than 2,800 so-called honor attacks on girls and women — punishments for bringing shame on the family — were recorded by Britain’s police last year, Agence-France Press reported Dec. 3.
  • A Mexican state prosecutor and advocate against violence toward women was shot in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Fox News Latino reported Dec. 3. Authorities said she was attacked in an attempted robbery.
  • Sixty percent of black girls and teens have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men before reaching the age of 18, according to an ongoing study conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, News One reported Dec. 2.
  • Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum will attend an anti-abortion forum hosted by Mike Huckabee in Iowa next week, The Hill reported Dec. 7.

Noted:

  • Karl Rove’s independent group Crossroads GPS created a new ad to attack Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, reported ThinkProgress Dec. 8. The ad said she was responsible for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, however, ThinkProgress notes that this is false. Warren currently leads against Republican incumbent Scott Brown by a 49-42 percent margin, reported The Boston Herald Dec. 8.
  • Abortion does not raise the risk of a woman suffering mental health problems, a major review by experts concludes, reported the BBC Dec. 9. The study did show that women with an unwanted pregnancy have a higher incidence of mental health problems in general, but this is not affected by whether they have an abortion or give birth.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has released a series of videos in which female veterans describe their experiences serving in the military, Market Watch reported Dec. 5.
  • The FDA said that drug labeling for two new contraceptive pills should be updated to emphasize recent data suggesting a higher risk of blood clots with these drugs than older birth control pills, reported CBC Canada Dec. 9.
  • Women gained over half of the 120,000 jobs gained this month in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported Dec. 6. However, the female labor force participation rate still fell from 58.2 percent in October to 57.9 percent in November, the lowest female labor force participation rate since September 1993.
  • A female soldier is believed to have become the first woman in the British Army to kill an enemy fighter in combat, The New York Daily News reported Dec. 5.
  • Members of Congress held a hearing on legislation that would ban sex-selection abortions and abortions done if the unborn child is of a specific race, Fox News reported Dec. 6. Organizations like Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the ACLU say they are strongly opposed to such a ban, Life News reported Dec. 6.
  • France’s parliament backed a proposal that would criminalize payment for sex, BBC News reported Dec. 6. Some campaigners reject the bill, advocating prostitutes’ rights instead.
  • Women are being offered free supplies of the emergency morning-after contraceptive pill over the Christmas and New Year holidays in Britain, AFP reported Dec. 6.

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