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Emmy(R)- and Golden Globe(R)-Nominated Actress Marcia Cross and Lifetime Television Deliver 20 Million Online Petition Signatures to Capitol Hill to Urge Congress to Stop 'Drive-Through' Mastectomies

- Unprecedented Show of Support for Bipartisan Legislation, The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, Championed by Senators Snowe (R-ME) and Landrieu (D-LA) and Representatives DeLauro (D-CT) and Moran (R-KS) - - Effort Part of Lifetime's Nonpartisan Every Woman Counts Election Year Campaign to Encourage Women to Speak Out on Issues That Matter Most -

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, at a Capitol Hill press conference, actress Marcia Cross joined Lifetime and Members of Congress from both parties to give voice to the 20 million signatures collected on urging Congress to end the practice of "drive-through" mastectomies and pass the bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007, (S.459/H.R. 758). Cross stars in "Desperate Housewives" which airs on ABC and Lifetime Television. The bill -- championed by Senators Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) -- would allow a woman and her doctor to decide if she is best off going home or staying in the hospital for at least 48 hours following physically and emotionally difficult breast cancer surgeries.

Also participating in the press conference were Dr. Kristen Zarfos, a Connecticut oncologist, and Lynn Bradley, a Maryland breast cancer survivor who signed Lifetime's petition because of her experience being sent home from the hospital less than 24 hours after having a double mastectomy.

The more than 20 million signatures gathered on in support of ending "drive-through" mastectomies is part of Lifetime's nonpartisan Every Woman Counts campaign to engage its viewers in the political process and speak out on issues that matter most in their lives. According to a recent Lifetime/Zogby poll both health care and breast cancer were issues of great importance to women as they decide for whom to cast their votes.

As part of the year-long Every Woman Counts initiative, Marcia Cross is joining several other celebrities appearing in television spots and vignettes to raise awareness of critical issues like "drive-through" mastectomies, and encourage women to register, vote and consider running for elected office. The spots will air on Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network, the #1 and #2 basic cable channels for women, and the newly re-launched, through November 4, Election Day. Cross also will urge more women and men to sign Lifetime's online petition to build momentum for passage of The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act.

"I cannot understand why anyone would not support this common-sense legislation. I have known many women affected by a breast cancer diagnosis, and I am proud to use my voice on their behalf today. The last thing a woman diagnosed with breast cancer should worry about is a hospital stay if she needs one," Marcia Cross said.

The Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 (S.459/H.R. 758) has 204 co-sponsors in the House and 18 in the Senate. The bill is sponsored by Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) in the Senate and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) in the House. The legislation, modeled after a 1996 law that banned "drive-through" baby deliveries, would:

-- Guarantee a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours for a woman having a

mastectomy or lumpectomy, and 24 hours for a woman undergoing a lymph

node removal;

-- Require health plans to include notice of these benefits in their

monthly mailing and yearly information packet sent to plan

participants; and

-- Require plans to provide full coverage of second opinions should the

patient seek one.

The legislation is also supported by several prestigious organizations including the American Cancer Society,, Families USA, the Oncology Nursing Society, Sisters Network Inc., and Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization.

"This legislation empowers women and their doctors to make treatment decisions based on what is medically prudent, not simply what will achieve short-term savings. Four of the most frightening words any woman can hear is 'you have breast cancer.' And what begins as fear rapidly resolves into an enormous uncertainty -- asking questions like, what will I have to endure? What's the next step? To leave a woman with the knowledge that she must face a disfiguring procedure due only to her financial position, or to agree to surgery without proper hospitalization, is absolutely unconscionable. Passage of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act will help relieve some of that anxiety," said Senator Snowe.

"Women who must undergo mastectomies deserve the appropriate hospital care that such an invasive surgery warrants. This bill will make the unseemly practice of kicking women out of the hospital against the law," said Senator Landrieu.

"After undergoing the physical and emotional trauma associated with having a mastectomy or lumpectomy, the last thing a woman should have to do is hassle with her insurance company over whether or not she can remain in the hospital. The bipartisan Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act will ensure that the doctors and patients make health care decisions," said Congresswoman DeLauro. "Over twenty million Americans agree -- it is time to pass this common-sense legislation."

"We all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer," Congressman Moran said. "It is a traumatic experience for both the patient and the family. The difficulty of the situation should not be made worse by the uncertainties of insurance coverage. This bill will help ensure patients have adequate recovery time before being released from a medical facility following surgery."

"Though most of our viewers across the country have yet to cast a vote in this election year, more than 20 million have already made their voices heard on the critical issue of 'drive-through' mastectomies," added Meredith Wagner, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Lifetime Networks. "We are grateful to Marcia Cross, Senators Landrieu and Snowe, and Representatives DeLauro and Moran and all of their colleagues in both parties who have already listened, and we hope that Congress will act this year."

Lifetime was made aware of the problem of "drive-through" mastectomies by Representative DeLauro and by viewers in 1996 and responded by creating an online petition. The petition at has been signed more than 15 million times in the past four years and more than 20 million times since its launch.


Marcia Cross is a passionate advocate for breast cancer awareness, as she has several friends who are survivors. Cross was upset to learn that women have had to endure "drive-through" mastectomies, and was eager to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with Members of Congress to bring attention to this issue. Cross can currently be seen starring on television's hottest dramedy, "Desperate Housewives," on ABC. As 'Bree Van De Kamp,' the ultimate perfectionist, Cross brings to life Wisteria Lane's most complex character. Last year she was nominated for an Emmy Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. In the show's first season, Cross received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series Comedy, and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. The critically acclaimed show won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series Comedy, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and a People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Drama. Aside from her successful career as an actress, Cross has also made time to continue her education. She recently completed her clinical training to earn a Masters Degree in Psychology. Cross makes her home in Los Angeles with her husband and twin daughters. LIFETIME broadcasts "Desperate Housewives" Saturdays at midnight and this Saturday, January 26, will air a special marathon from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


First launched in 1992 and now in its fifth presidential election cycle, the 2008 Every Woman Counts initiative includes the most extensive on-air programming, digital content and grassroots efforts to date to encourage women to speak out on critical issues, vote and run for office. To expand the effort and reach women everywhere they live, work and play, Lifetime launched the first-ever Every Woman Counts media and advocacy coalition in partnership with REDBOOK, CosmoGIRL!, Marie Claire, celebrities, experts, and hundreds of women's nonprofit organizations representing more than 15 million women from all sides of the political spectrum, including the American Association of University Women, Business and Professional Women/USA, Independent Women's Forum, League of Women Voters, National Organization for Women, RightNOW!, and many others.


LIFETIME is the leader in women's television and one of the top-rated basic cable television networks. A diverse, multi-media company, LIFETIME is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment and information programming, and advocating a wide range of issues affecting women and their families. LIFETIME Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Lifetime Real Women and Lifetime Digital (including are part of LIFETIME Entertainment Services, a 50/50 joint venture of The Hearst Corporation and The Walt Disney Company.

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