October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and instead of touting the wide array of commercial products that claim to raise funds for breast cancer, many organizations around the country have initiated campaigns to make breast cancer treatment and detection more affordable and to fund new technology and research for breast cancer patients. Of U.S. girls born today, 13.2 percent will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.

Pretty in Pink, a nonprofit based in Raleigh, N.C., is helping low-income and uninsured breast cancer patients get free or discounted treatment, including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, reported the Raleigh News and Observer Sept. 25.

Tokyo-based Fujifilm partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to create a Web site, Images of Health: Mammograms for a Million Moms, which encourages women to pledge to get a mammogram and fund screening programs for those in need. The Web site also explores digital mammography, which uses new detection technologies and computers to record, store and enhance the breast images.

Breast Cancer Action has also launched the fifth year of its Think Before You Pink campaign, which urges consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon products and promotions before they participate in them. This year, the campaign is focusing on the amount of money being donated to breast cancer compared to the amount being spent on marketing and what companies are doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic.

"By empowering consumers, we can work together to hold companies accountable to people affected by breast cancer," said Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action. "If shopping could prevent or cure breast cancer, we’d have done it by now. There are so many ways for people who care about this disease to get involved."

More News to Cheer This Week:


  • California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program into law, which will launch the nation’s first statewide effort to measure human exposure to toxic chemicals linked to diseases such as cancer and asthma. The bill was sponsored by California-based nonprofit health groups Breast Cancer Fund and Commonweal.


  • A federal judge has struck down a 2004 Ohio state law that banned the use of the abortion drug, RU-486, after the seventh week of pregnancy, the Associated Press reported Sept 28. The judge determined the law was too vague and had no exception to protect the health of the woman.


  • About 56 percent of women-owned businesses in the United States are run from home, Reuters reported Sept. 27. The data, drawn from a Census Bureau survey of 2.3 million firms, reveals that home-based businesses are run by women with children, women who left the workplace and older women who started their own businesses. Overall, 49 percent of the nation’s businesses are home-based.

For more information:

"Senate Bans Out-of-State Travel for Teen Abortions":

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

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When asked to define what actions comprise domestic violence and abuse, 2 in 5 Americans did not mention hitting, slapping and punching, a Sept. 21 study commissioned by Liz Claiborne Inc. found. Over 90 percent failed to define repeated emotional and verbal abuse, sexual abuse or controlling behaviors as patterns of domestic violence.

As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is recognized in October in the United States, gender-based violence continues to be a health problem around the world. In a landmark study of violence against women in 2005, the World Health Organization found that domestic and sexual violence is widespread and presents profound implications for global health.

Tens of thousands of women in the Republic of Georgia are subjected to domestic violence on a regular basis while perpetrators usually go unpunished, London-based Amnesty International reported Sept. 24. Many stay with their partners because they have nowhere else to go; currently there are only two shelters in Georgia, both run by nongovernmental organizations.

Police in Kyrgyzstan are failing to take action on domestic violence and the abductions of female brides, reported United News of Bangladesh Sept. 27. New York-based Human Rights Watch reports that Kirghiz women often go to authorities after being kicked, strangled, beaten, stabbed and sexually assaulted by their husbands. Instead of treating these crimes seriously, the police often encourage women to reconcile with their abusers.

"The Bush administration’s new foreign assistance framework must address the human rights of women and, in particular, create a global plan to combat domestic violence and hold individual governments accountable," said Amnesty’s Maureen Greenwood-Basken.

More News to Jeer This Week:


  • Safia Ama Jan, a provincial director for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs, was murdered by two gunmen on a motorcycle outside her house in Kandahar while she was going to her office, the AP reported Sept. 25. Ama was known for helping women to get an education. In Kandahar alone, she opened six schools that now have 1,000 female students learning how to bake, to sell their goods and to tailor clothing. During the Taliban regime, Ama ran an underground school for women from her home. After her murder, the Taliban commander of the region claimed responsibility.


  • The House of Representatives voted 264-153 to approve an amended version of a bill that would make it a federal crime to evade one state’s parental consent laws by taking a minor to another state for an abortion, the Los Angeles Times reported Sept. 27. The Senate passed the Teen Endangerment Act in July; the two sides will work out a final version for the president to sign.


  • The directors of the Bahraini College have released a new law forcing female students to wear reserved clothing, reported Al Arabiyah Sept. 29. This law, approved by the Bahraini minister of education, prohibits women from wearing short skirts, shorts and any tight clothing. The college will employ male guides to enforce the law.


  • Women fill less than 10 percent of seats on corporate boards at 300 of the world’s top businesses, Agence France-Presse reported Sept. 25. A joint study from three financial firms showed that women held 7.6 percent of seats on executive committees at those businesses, which together have $17.9 billion in revenues.


  • Up to 200,000 Nepalese women are detained against their will in Indian brothels and 25 percent are under 18, reported the New Kerala newspaper Sept. 24. A report from the Asian Development Bank says that 12,000 Nepalese women are trafficked every year to India on the promise of jobs or because they are a burden to their families.



  • Florida Republican Rep. Mark Foley resigned from Congress Friday afternoon in the wake of an alleged scandal involving sexually explicit e-mails to teen male pages, wreaking havoc in a House race less than six weeks before Election Day, according to the Associated Press. The development brightened the prospects for Tim Mahoney, a pro-choice Democrat who was not considered a formidable opponent to Foley, an anti-choice incumbent who won re-election in 2004 with 68 percent of the vote in the Republican-leaning district in central Florida. It also enhances the Democratic Party’s chances of picking up the net 15 seats they need to retake control of the chamber. Florida Republican officials plan to meet as early as Monday to name GOP nominee to replace Foley, whose name will remain on the ballot.


  • In the nation’s last primary election of the year, Democrat Mazie Hirono of Hawaii won on Sept. 23 and is favored to win the general election in her Democratic-leaning district.


  • Between 1991 and 2004, Arizona girls gave birth to more than 158,300 children, costing taxpayers $3.7 billion and at least $268 million a year, reported the Tucson Citizen Sept. 26, on data drawn from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. However, during that same period, teen births declined nationally by 23 percent. The state’s annual funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs peaked at $4 million.

Irene Lew is the editorial intern at Women’s eNews. Nouhad Moawad is the Arabic site intern and Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief.

Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at [email protected]ws.org.