A 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. 20 indicate that women who received a one-year course of the drug while in an early stage of the disease had significantly better outcomes than those who did not. Those who survived had fewer recurrences and additional malignancies, although mortality rates were comparable in both groups.

    Breast cancer incidence increased by three-tenths of a percent annually between 1987 and 2002, according to a September American Cancer Society report. Although deaths from breast cancer have decreased by 2.3 percent since 1990, apparently due to earlier detection and better treatment, the report estimates that more than 40,000 women will die from the disease in 2005 alone.

  • The International Women’s Media Foundation will honor the courage and bravery of three women journalists for producing exemplary work in the face of death threats and war. Sumi Khan, of the Bangladeshi magazine Samakal, reports on politics, crime and corruption in a country that is considered extremely hostile to the press. Anja Niedringhaus, a German staff photographer for The Associated Press, has covered conflicts in the Gaza Strip, Israel, Kuwait, Turkey and Iraq. And Shahla Sherkat, founder of the Iranian monthly, Zanan (Women), was once fired from a government-owned magazine after challenging its depictions of women. The three journalists and columnist Molly Ivins will be honored in New York on Oct. 25 and in Los Angeles Nov. 2.
  • Fed up with her family’s lack of help, a stay-at-home mother went on strike in front of her Indiana home on Tuesday. Regina Stevenson, 41, said she would stop doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning and gardening for her husband, three children, daughter-in-law and grandson–who all live with her–until they learned to clean and appreciate her. “(Stay at home moms) are not paid with money, and I think that you should show a little courtesy and respect for what we do,” Stevenson told The Associated Press.

    As of Friday, the local Frankfort Times reported that Stevenson was still striking, although from inside her home.


In the shadow of the controversial nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court lies another Bush appointee who has raised the concern of reproductive rights groups. This time it’s Ellen Sauerbrey, an abortion rights opponent who has been tapped to serve as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. If confirmed, she would represent the U.S. position on family planning and reproductive health to the international community.

A former Maryland state legislator, failed gubernatorial candidate and former state chair of President Bush’s 2000 election campaign, Sauerbrey currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

“The refugee bureau has not been a spot for political appointments,” said Kathleen Newland, director of the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. “This is not a position for on-the-job learning.”

Other News to Jeer This Week:

  • Enduring gender-based stereotyping by both men and women contributes to the gender gap in U.S. business leadership, according to a new study released Wednesday by Catalyst, the New York-based nonprofit research and advisory group.

    A total of 296 male and female corporate leaders assessed 10 characteristics of top executives as either predominantly male or female traits. Respondents of both genders cast women as better at stereotypically feminine “caretaking skills” like supporting and rewarding, while men were seen as better at stereotypically masculine “take charge” skills including influencing superiors and delegating responsibility.

    This type of thinking may contribute to that fact that less than 2 percent of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 CEOs are women, although they hold over half of all management and professional positions, according to the report.

  • Women do not become high-level executives at creative agencies because “they don’t deserve to,” according to Neil French, worldwide creative director at WPP Group, a leading communications firm. The comment came Oct. 6 during a $100 a seat question-and-answer session with French in Toronto. French told the audience that women’s roles as caregivers and child-bearers prevent them from rising to top-level creative positions. French defended his position in a subsequent interview saying, women “don’t work hard enough. It’s not a joke job.” Uproar over his remarks led French to resign his position on Thursday.

— Allison Stevens contributed to this report.

Karen James is a Women’s eNews intern and master’s candidate at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief for Women’s eNews.