Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for 21st Century 2006

Women’s eNews announces today its 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2006: 20 women and one man who are dedicating their lives to improving the lives of all women at home, in the workplace, in school and on the playing field.

VAWA Good to Go; Abused Immigrants Denied Aid

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After hanging in limbo for months, legislation that would fund existing and new programs that aid victims of domestic violence broke through an impasse this week and appeared headed for quick enactment. House and Senate lawmakers reached an agreement Friday that would allow the measure to win final passage before the end of the year and perhaps as early as this weekend. The 10-year-old Violence Against Women Act expired Sept. 30 and is temporarily being funded at last year’s levels.

Female Activists Unite; Girls 80% of Unschooled

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Almost 200 female activists from nearly 70 countries met in Sri Lanka Tuesday to address issues including violence, harassment and intimidation faced by female human rights activists, Amnesty International announced. The London-based human rights organization reported that women who advocate on behalf of human rights face increased challenges including growing fundamentalism and militarism, as well as hostility toward political activists.

A Woman to Lead Liberia; Probe of FDA Withdrawn

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Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became Africa’s first elected woman president after winning Liberia’s presidential election Tuesday, the Associated Press reported. She declared victory Thursday night, despite claims from her opponent, George Weah, that her campaign stuffed ballot boxes and tainted the election results. Election monitors have found no signs of fraud.

Pharms Cede Anti-HIV Rights; Child Support Aid Cut

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersWomen in developing countries will have easier access to future microbicides that will offer some protection against the AIDS virus. Two pharmaceutical firms–Merck and Co., Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb–have agreed to donate the rights to develop, manufacture and distribute vaginal gels and creams that include experimental compounds to help prevent HIV infection. The nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides will be permitted to develop the products without paying royalties. In a study, 4 in 6 monkeys who were treated with the compounds before exposure to HIV escaped infection, according to the journal Nature.The move is one that follows years of pleas from the developing world to reduce the costs of AIDS drugs. “The search for an effective microbicide is crucial to providing women with more options to protect themselves against HIV infection,” said Dr. Peter Piot, executive director of The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.Other News to Cheer This Week:More than 1,800 delegates from 120 countries gathered in Bangkok Oct.

Alaska Protects Plan B; Biz Women Left Behind

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe Alaska State Medical Board rejected a proposal Oct. 21 that would have required women to have a doctor’s examination before receiving emergency contraceptive pills, the Anchorage Daily News reported.A state epidemiologist said there was no medical reason to justify the change. “We all know that nationally politics have interceded,” said Dr. John Middaugh. “Please don’t let the politics trump science and undermine the integrity of the state medical board.”In the face of a public outcry against the proposal, the board determined that women may continue to get the emergency contraceptive known as Plan B directly from participating pharmacists.In the United Kingdom, fewer women asked their physicians to write them prescriptions for Plan B, opting to buy it over-the-counter instead, the BBC reported on Friday. Sales of the drug almost doubled over a 12-month period in 2004-05 in comparison to the previous year.

Court Aids Inmate; Bush Names Pro-Lifer to State

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersA Missouri inmate who learned she was pregnant after her incarceration for a parole violation will be able to obtain an abortion, Reuters reported Monday.State prison officials denied the woman’s request to have an abortion, but a federal judge ordered them to transport her to a St. Louis clinic to have the procedure. On appeal, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issued a temporary delay of the lower court’s order, pending a review by the full court. The high court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, lifted the stay, without commenting further.Identified only as Jane Roe in the court filings, the woman’s lawyers said the decision ended a seven-week effort by state officials to prevent the abortion. Officials argued that transporting a prisoner for a medically unnecessary abortion violated policy and that state law forbids spending public money to facilitate abortions.Other News to Cheer This Week:The drug Herpecin (trastuzumab) has been found to dramatically improve outcomes among women with an aggressive form of breast cancer that accounts for between 15 and 25 percent of all cases, according to Reuters.Results from two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine Oct.

Gov Pans High Court Case; Abstinence Funds Awarded

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersNew Hampshire Gov. John H. Lynch has departed from his state’s official position on its parental notification law by taking the highly unusual step of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule his state’s law is unconstitutional, his office announced Wednesday.Lynch filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case brought by Planned Parenthood of Northern New England that challenges the constitutionality of New Hampshire’s Parental Notification Act. The act requires a 48-hour waiting period after the parents of minors seeking abortions have been notified and was struck down by two state courts. New Hampshire’s Republican attorney general Kelly Ayotte then appealed to the Supreme Court, where the case awaits final decision.In his brief to the Court, Lynch says that the law contains no exception to allow health practitioners to act in an emergency. Additionally, the act holds no emergency health provision and does not protect physicians from criminal liability in the event of performing a life-saving abortion without at least 48 hours advance notice to parents.”As governor, I have a duty to stand up for the health and lives of our citizens,” Lynch, a pro-choice Democrat, said. “That is why I am filing this brief.