Sheri M. Whitley
THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Each year, nearly twice as many U.S. women die from
heart disease as from all cancers combined. And though
more men than women suffer from heart disease, the mortality
rate is higher among women. One reason may be that women
have been left out of most clinical trials, so less
is known about how the disease affects us. But the FDA
is now encouraging women to take part in trials and
the Society for Women's Health Research, a Washington,
D.C., nonprofit, is offering an information kit on existing
trials and a resource list if you want to participate.
Call (877) 332-2636 or visit www.womencando.org.
a victory for privacy and women's rights, the Supreme
Court ruled in March that hospitals cannot perform drug
tests on pregnant women without their consent. A South
Carolina hospital began employing the practice in 1989
in an effort, it said, to protect the unborn children
of women suspected of using drugs. But since some of
the women who tested positive were arrested from their
hospital beds immediately after giving birth, the Supreme
Court ruled that the primary focus of the policy was
to collect evidence for prosecution, a violation of
patients' rights to protection from unlawful searches.
Dissenting Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas, ever
eager to promote their conservative views on reproductive
issues, wrote that the majority's ruling proved "once
again that no good deed goes unpunished."
Among women with breast cancer, those without health
insurance are 49% more likely to die than those with
insurance. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention
and Treatment Act, signed into law last October by President
Clinton after lobbying by grassroots activists, will
make it easier for these women to receive treatment.
The legislation gives states the option to provide medical
assistance to women diagnosed with breast and cervical
cancer through a federal screening program. Previously,
the program diagnosed the cancer, but left women without
medical insurance in the lurch.
YOU A REMIFEMINIST?
an intriguing new series of ads for a menopausal supplement
dubbed Remifemin, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline
asks, "Are you a Remifeminist?" Why would a company
rely on the word "feminist" to sell a product
especially when the media insists that feminism is a
negative term? Research at Glaxo showed that most perimenopausal
and menopausal women had positive associations with
the word, so it made sense to use it when selling a
drug that relieves menopausal symptoms. Michele Klingensmith,
a senior marketing exec for Glaxo, says, "Menopause
is a time when many women feel isolated and are experiencing
lots of change in their lives, and the word 'feminism'
is associated with bonding and connecting with other
women." We couldn't have said it better.