Friday Double Dose: Nicaragua Bans Abortions, Source Editor Wins Lawsuit, Test Tube Babies on TV

By Christine Cupaiuolo — October 27, 2006

Nicaragua Bans Abortions: Nicaragua’s National Assembly voted 52-0 to ban all abortions, even in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. “Nicaragua already has strong anti-abortion laws, with women and doctors who take part in abortions facing prison sentences of up to six years,” reports the BBC. “A section of the bill increasing those sentences to up to 30 years was not approved by the parliamentarians, and so will not be signed into law by the country’s President, Enrique Bolanos.”

Protesters gathered in the nation’s capital Wednesday, concerned about the law’s effect on women who suffer pregnancy complications, including ectopic pregnancies. “They are forcing women and girls to die. They are not pro-life, they are pro-death,” Xiomara Luna told Reuters.

“Test Tube Babies” on TV: PBS is airing “Test Tube Babies” as part of its American Experience series. Rachel at Women’s Health News has a write-up. Check here for local listings.

Fired Source Editor Wins Lawsuit: “After a tumultuous two-week trial, Kimberly Osorio, a former editor in chief of the Source magazine, won a workplace lawsuit against the popular hip-hop monthly, and a Manhattan jury awarded her $15.5 million,” reports the Washington Post. “Osorio, who was fired by the Source last year, sued the magazine and its founders, David Mays and Raymond Scott, alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, defamation, retaliatory discharge and maintaining a hostile work environment.”

“This is a victory for women in hip-hop,” Osorio said after the verdict was reached Monday. Interestingly, the jury threw out the charges of harassment and discrimination but found that Osario was fired for complaining to her bosses about those very charges. She was awarded money for the retaliatory firing and for defamation.

Nip/Tuck to a Whole New You: Diana McLellan reviews the new book “Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession With Cosmetic Surgery” by NYT writer Alex Kuczynski, who first felt the need for Botox injections at age 28.

Medicare’s Racial Divide: Researchers at Harvard and Brown universities looking at the medical status of more than 334,000 elderly patients enrolled in 151 health plans have determined there’s a huge gap in the health status between blacks and whites. The differences were noticeable even for those enrolled in high quality health plans.

These findings suggest “that the problem of healthcare disparities is widespread and deeply rooted, reflecting medical, social, and economic factors ranging from physicians not being culturally sensitive, to patients not being able to afford medications or find stores offering fresh fruits and vegetables,” reports the Boston Globe. “Previous studies had looked at whether blacks and whites nationwide received medical tests at the same rate — which they don’t. Health policy specialists not involved with today’s report called it a landmark study because it looked at the actual health of the patients and found disparities regardless of where they lived or whether they belonged to high- or low-quality medical plans.”

New Breast Cancer Center Opens: “Although it kills about 60 percent of patients within five years, inflammatory breast cancer is one of modern disease’s great secrets — rarely recognized by patients, often misdiagnosed by doctors, poorly understood by researchers,” reports the Houston Chonicle. “The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center hopes to change that. On Friday, it announced it was creating the first clinic in the world dedicated to the treatment and research of inflammatory breast cancer.”

“Pink is Not the Only Color Associated with Breast Cancer”: Boston has relaunched a citywide Pink and Black campaign to raise awareness of how breast cancer affects black women, reports the Boston Globe. “Most of the ads I’ve seen were always white women, like it’s a white woman’s disease,” Carmen K. Johnson, a black woman and cancer survivor who is featured in a campaign ad, told the Globe. “It’s imperative that black women find their lumps early. The doctors still don’t know what causes breast cancer, and they surely don’t know why breast cancer in black women is more aggressive.”

Busy Ballots: “On the list of ballot measures that affect women in this year’s midterm elections, South Dakota’s initiative to repeal a statewide ban on virtually all abortions leaps out,” reports Women’s eNews. “But there are about 200 initiatives on ballots next month — the third-highest number since the first measure was voted on in 1904 — and many also directly affect women.”


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