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3/3/1998 - NOW vs. Scheidler Trial Begins After 12 Years

The trial of the National Organization for Women vs. the director of the Pro-Life Action League, Joe Scheidler, begins this week. NOW vs. Scheidler was filed as a federal class-action lawsuit in 1986.

The case was initiated by then NOW president Eleanor Smeal, after the president of the local Pensacola NOW chapter was injured during a clinic invasion. NOW filed against Joseph Scheidler of Chicago, his Pro-Life Action League, anti-abortion activists, and later, Terry Nichols and Operation Rescue.

The US Supreme Court allowed NOW to go forward in the case against the anti-abortionists under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). NOW argued that anti-abortion extremists were hindering interstate commerce by trying to shut down the clinics. In NOW v. Scheidler, NOW represents its own members and all non-member women, “ whose rights to the services of women’s health centers in the United States at which abortions are performed have been or will be interfered with by defendants’ unlawful activities.”

Initially, a federal judge and appeals court had ruled that the suit did not fall under the RICO laws, because the anti-abortion laws would not gain a profit from closing down the clinics. However, the United States Supreme Court ruled that there was no economic-gain clause in the 1970 law and let the suit stand.

Lucinda Finley, law professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, commented, “The trial will be very useful in getting out on the public record the types of tactics the extremist wing of the anti-abortion movement has resorted to.”

If NOW wins the lawsuit, anti-abortion activities designed to interfere with a women’s right to use the clinics could be punishable by law across the nation.

Domestic Violence Information Center


3/3/1998 - Kuwait Denies Women Suffrage

The Kuwait house legislative panel voted unanimously to deny women the right to vote or run for parliament. House members claimed their decision was based on a Ministry of Islamic Affairs decree, which stated that it is un-Islamic for women to cast ballots or work as politicians.


3/3/1998 - Pharmacists to Distribute "Morning After" Pills

Pharmacists in Washington State can now attend a three-hour training session that will enable them to write prescriptions for the “morning after” birth control pills. Last year the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of higher doses of birth control pills containing estrogen and proestrogen for use as “morning after” pills. The pill combinations are taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and work by preventing the egg and sperm from meeting or by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.

Dianne White, co-owner of a pharmacy in Spokane, said “I feel there’s a real need for this since there are 56,000 unplanned pregnancies here every year .... We’re trained to educate patients even though we’re often looked at as counting and pouring. That’s not just it.”

White is one of three pharmacy owners in Spokane to have received the training needed to dispense the pills. Visit http://opr.princeton.edu/ec/ to get a list of pharmacies providing “morning after” pills.


3/3/1998 - Teens Seeking Abortions Forced Out-of-State

Abortion providers in Virginia will appear today in a Richmond, VA appeals court to challenge the constitutionality of a parental consent law which took effect July 1, 1997. According to statistics from the Virginia health department and abortion clinics show that teenage girls received 20 percent fewer abortions in Virginia since the law took effect, but opponents of the law believe that the young women traveled to Washington, DC, for the abortions, rather than face parents who may not support their decisions.

Abortion clinic and hot line employees report a dramatic increase in calls concerning how to get around the parental consent law. Amy Schriefer, a hot-line operator at the National Abortion Federation, said “it’s definitely a hot spot there .... Before, I never got calls from Virginia asking about D.C. and whether they had a parental law. But now, we get maybe seven to 10 calls a day, mostly from central and southern Virginia. They’re mostly desperate. They’re panicked,” said Schriefer.

Many clinics are also reporting out-of-state teens coming in with advanced stages of pregnancy, due to lapsed time while trying to figure out how to obtain an abortion without telling their parents.

Twenty-nine states have passed laws requiring parental consent or notification before a teenager can obtain an abortion. Simon Heller, a lawyer with the pro-choice group Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in New York, said “It just means that the Virginia General Assembly has accomplished its true purpose, which is not to benefit young women but to stop them from getting abortions in Virginia.”

Feminist News Stories on Abortion


3/3/1998 - Clara Fraser, Radical Woman, Dies

Clara Fraser, founder of the feminist group Radical Women, died from emphysema February 24, at age 74. Ms. Fraser lobbied for the rights of women, minorities, unions workers, gays and prisoners. She co-founded the Freedom Socialist Party, helped write Washington state’s first divorce-reform bill, and organized Washington’s first pro-choice rally.

Ms. Fraser worked for Seattle City Light for many years, and later retired to become a full-time adviser to the Freedom Socialist Part and Radical Women.


3/2/1998 - Leno Testifies Against Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Mavis Leno, member of the National Board of the Feminist Majority, today testified at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to call attention to the extreme human rights violations being committed against women in Afghanistan.

Senator Dianne Feinstein spoke of gender apartheid and violations of human rights by the Taliban. “Where is the world’s outrage?” she asked. Feinstein questioned witnesses on how the United States government and the public could take a greater role in ending the Taliban’s regime and the loss of Afghani “economic and fundamental human rights.”

Since gaining power, the Taliban militia group, which now controls much of Afghanistan, has placed Afghan women under virtual house arrest. The Taliban has decreed that women and girls can no longer attend school; women are banned from employment; women are not allowed to leave their homes unless accompanied by a husband, father, brother, or son; women who do leave their homes have to be covered from head to toe in a "burqa,” with only a mesh opening to see and breath through; the windows of homes with women occupants are required to be painted opaque so the women inside cannot be seen; women are prohibited from being treated by male doctors; and women are banned from wearing white socks and shoes that make noise as they walk.

"We all took pride when the platform of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 reaffirmed that human rights are women's rights and that violence against women is a violation of human rights. Yet what good are these lofty declarations if we do not free the women of Afghanistan?" Leno declared.

In her testimony, Leno also expressed grave concerns about the planned building of a multi-billion dollar gas and oil pipeline from energy-rich Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan to Pakistan. California-based UNOCAL, a U.S. energy company, holds the largest stake in a consortium to build the pipeline. An Argentinian company, Bridas, which is in part owned by Amoco, is also vying for the pipeline. According to some estimates, the Taliban stands to gain as much as $100 million a year from the pipeline.

Judy Benjamin, Senior Technical Advisor for the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, also testified. Benjamin spoke of her recent trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She relayed interviews of Afghani women who said that they “live like birds in a cage.” Benjamin spoke of the Afghani orphanage being run by a director with no previous experience, and of the frequent rapes of both boys and girls.

Other speakers included: Theresa Loar, Senior Coordinator for International Women’s Issues at the State Department, Lea Browning of We Are for Human Rights and the Working Group, Zieba Shorish-Shamley of the Women’s Alliance for Peace and Human Rights in Afghanistan, and a guest appearance by T. Kumar of Amnesty International.

Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Feminist News Stories on Afghanistan


3/2/1998 - Petworth Investigators Accused of Lying, Endangering Women

A taskforce of FBI agents and Distict of Columbia police officers investigating a series of murders of women in the Petworth area of D.C. withheld vital information about the crimes resulting in the spread of false information concerning the killings.

Petworth residents were told on several occasions that the murder victims had not been raped, even though officials were aware that the last women showed evidence of violent sexual assault. Also, police officials insisted that the most recent victim, Dana Hill, killed in early December, 1997, was an isolated incident unrelated to the previous murders, despite the fact that investigators believed otherwise as early as one week after her murder.

Rev. Anthony Moore, a Petworth-area pastor, said "It is one thing if they said we cannot give that information out because it's crucial to the investigation. But to say to the public that these people were not sexually assaulted is an outright lie, and it was deceptive to the community."

Petworth, an area where middle-class blacks once lived, is now a community plagued by drug abuse. Residents have complained for years about crack houses and prostitution. Many believe that the murder victims' involvement in drugs and possible prostitution for drug money led to poor police response. One police officer reportedly referred to the murdered women as "crack whores" at a community meeting.

Darryl Donnell Turner, a seven-year resident of Priceton Place from North Carolina, has been charged with the last two murders in the case and is currently being held without bail. The government's preliminary case against Turner revealed that officials expect to charge Turner with additional deaths.

A former girlfriend of Turner's reported that Turner had sexually assaulted her on January 25, 1998. She did not come forward until after she heard of Turner's arrest because she feared that police would not believe her because of her lifestyle, which she said was similar to those led by the murdered women.


3/2/1998 - Queen Elizabeth: Women May Claim British Crown

Queen Elizabeth II has departed from centuries of patriarchal tradition by deciding that the British Crown shall henceforth pass to a monarch's oldest child, whether a son or daughter.

Lord Williams of Mostyn announced the queen's decision to the House of Lords, saying "There can be no real reason for not giving equal treatment to men and women in this respect."

The next three people in line to succeed Queen Elizabeth II are Prince Charles and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.


3/2/1998 - First Female Chief of Virginia Tribe in 300 Years

Anne Richardson was sworn in as the first female chief of a Virginia tribe since Cockacoeske, chief of the Pamunkey tribe in the mid-1600s. Ms. Richardson, 41, was elected January 31, to take over for her father, Chief Captain "Chawanta" Nelson. She will be known as Queen Anne of Rappahannock. Ms. Richardson's great-uncle and grandfather were also chiefs.

There are approximately 175 Rappahannock tribe members in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula area of Virginia, and around 300 members around the world.


3/2/1998 - Alaskan Judge Challenges Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski ruled not to dismiss a case that challenges Alaska's ban of same-sex marriages. Michalski said that "choosing a partner is a fundamental right," and that the state must show why it should be able to regulate marriage.

State attorneys had asked Michalski to dismiss a case brought by Jay Brause and Gene Dugan of Anchorage, Alaska. The couple, together for twenty years, challenged that 1996 state ban and sought recognition of their relationship. Brause and Dugan said that the ban was a violation of the state constitution.

Alaska state Senator Loren Leman, sponsor of the 1996 marriage ban, believes that a constitutional marriage ban is in order.

Feminist News Stories on Same-Sex Marriage


3/2/1998 - Feminist Majority Leads Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

National Board Member Mavis Leno Testifies at Forum
Sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein


Washington DC -- Mavis Leno, a writer, resident of Los Angeles, California, and member of the National Board of the Feminist Majority, today testified at a forum sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to call attention to the extreme human rights violations being committed against women in Afghanistan. Since taking power, the Taliban militia group, which now controls much of Afghanistan, has placed Afghan women under virtual house arrest. The Taliban has decreed that women and girls can no longer attend school; women are banned from employment; women are not allowed to leave their homes unless accompanied by a husband, father, brother, or son; women who do leave their homes have to be covered from head to toe in a "burqa," with only a mesh opening to see and breath through; the windows of homes with women occupants are required to be painted opaque so the women inside cannot be seen; women are prohibited from being treated by male doctors; and women are banned from wearing white socks and shoes that make noise as they walk.
"Women are being beaten, shot at, and even killed for violating these draconian decrees -- for merely trying to go to work, leaving their homes alone, or violating the Taliban's extreme dress orders," stated Leno. Leno also shared a report from journalist Jan Goodwin that girls at the state orphanage in Kabul have not been allowed to leave the building to go outside since September of 1996 -- although the boys go outside every day to attend school and to play.

"The abuses of women and girls in Afghanistan have been justified in the name of religion and culture. However, the Taliban's decrees are foreign to the religion, the culture, and the people of Afghanistan," said Leno, who related that before the Taliban took control schools were co-educational, 70% of teachers were women, 40% of doctors were women, and Afghan women did not cover themselves with the burqa.

In her testimony, Leno expressed grave concerns about the planned building of a multi-billion dollar gas and oil pipeline from energy-rich Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan to Pakistan. California-based UNOCAL, a U.S. energy company , holds the largest stake in a consortium to build the pipeline. An Argentinian company, Bridas, which is in part owned by Amoco, is also vying for the pipeline. According to some estimates, the Taliban stands to gain as much as $100 million a year from the pipeline.

Leno commended the Clinton Administration for pledging only to recognize a broad-based government in Afghanistan which restores the human rights of women and girls and saluted Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and First Lady Hillary Clinton for publicly condemning the treatment of women in Afghanistan.

"But we urge the Clinton Administration and Congress to do more. The United States also has the ability to bring about change in Afghanistan. Two of the United States' international allies, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have recognized the Taliban and have provided substantial support and weapons to this terrifying regime." In her testimony, Leno outlined concrete actions the United States government should take:

- continue to refuse to recognize the Taliban and oppose United Nations recognition of the Taliban;
- urge Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to cease arming and funding the Taliban;
- withhold U.S. humanitarian assistance unless women and girls are equal beneficiaries and there is adequate monitoring to guarantee this result;
- refuse to support Unocal, Amoco, or any other company in business endeavors that ultimately will shore up the Taliban;
- prohibit U.S. corporations from operating in Afghanistan until the human rights of women and girls are restored; and
- do not contribute to any programs that in any way support the maintenance of this repressive and barbaric regime.


2/27/1998 - Additional Evidence Links Birmingham, Atlanta Bombings

Federal officials have discovered additional physical evidence linking the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic with earlier bombings of a gay nightclub, another abortion clinic and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Small steel plates found inside the Olympic bomb were found to match plates used in two other bombs planted at a suburban Atlanta clinic.

The plates were crafted from steel traced to a metalworking plant in Franklin, N.C., where a friend of Birmingham suspect Eric Robert Rudolph worked. Earlier this week, officials reported that nails matching those used in an Atlanta bombing were found in a storage area rented by Rudolph.

call 1-888-ATF-BOMB with information regarding the bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence


2/27/1998 - McKinney Claims Alibi in Sexual Misconduct Trial

Lawyers for Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney, the army's former top enlisted man, charged with sexual assault and harassment of six female soldiers, claimed that McKinney was obtaining an oil change for his car at about the same time that a pregnant subordinate, Sgt. Christine Roy, accused him of assaulting her.

McKinney's lawyers presented an auto repair shop's records indicating that he arrived at 7:55 p.m. on October 30, 1996. Roy claims that McKinney attacked her between 8:00 and 8:15 p.m. that same evening.

The auto repair shop's manager, Wilbur Canada, testified that he didn't remember seeing McKinney that night, but that McKinney had come into the shop months later and asked to review the records for October 30. Canada granted McKinney's request. He also testified that McKinney's entry was written in both blue and black ink.

Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military


2/27/1998 - Clinton Administration Charges GOP Senators with Anti-Gay Discrimination

The Clinton Administration has accused several Republican Senators of obstructing the nomination of James Hormel for a position as U.S. Ambassador of Luxembourg because he is gay.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) said Senators Time Hutchinson (R-AR), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Bob Smith (R-NH), along with other anonymous individuals, have placed open "holds" on Hormel's nomination, preventing an up or down Senate vote.

Sen. Smith stated that Hormel's political activism for gay rights, and not his sexual orientation, is what he opposes. "This is a matter of advocacy of the gay lifestyle," he said.

White House spokesman Barry Toiv said "There's only one reason he's being held up and that is the fact that he's gay .... he deserves an up or down vote."


2/27/1998 - Scientists Discover Gene Linked to Yeast Infections

A new study published in the journal Science reports that Candida albicans, a fungus that causes yeast infections and other ailments, depends heavily on a gene called INT1. This gene helps Candida cells attach to the gastrointestinal tract, multiply, and spread throughout the body and may constitute a workable target for treatment.

Past studies have indicated that eighty-percent of us acquire Candida albicans cells within the first month of life. The cells don't usually cause serious infection unless the immune system is weakened, but instead leads to common ailments like diaper rash, thrush, or yeast infections in adults.


2/27/1998 - Winfrey Prevails in Beef Defamation Lawsuit

Television talk show host Oprah Winfrey was found not liable for a drastic drop in cattle futures prices that occurred after Winfrey aired a program on mad cow disease.

The program featured Howard Lyman, a vegetarian activist who had once been a cattle rancher and now campaigns vigorously against the meat industry. Jurors deliberated for just under 7 hours before ruling in favor for the defense.

Cattleman Paul Engler has pledged to appeal the verdict.


2/26/1998 - ATF Scales Down Search for Clinic Bomber

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) announced that it is scaling down the search for Eric Robert Rudolph, the man charged with bombing the New Women, All Women’s abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. ATF spokesperson Brian Lett said that approximately one quarter of the investigators sent to search for Rudolph near his home in Murphy, N.C., will remain.

Investigators discovered nails in a warehouse rented by Rudolph similar to those found in explosive devices during last year’s Atlanta bombings. Analysts concluded that the nails discovered in the shed came from the same group as those found in the Atlanta bombings. They “were produced in and sold in a small area .... These were not nails found in every hardware store in America,” said a federal agent.

Eric Robert Rudolph is wanted by the FBI for the bombing of an abortion clinic that killed off-duty police officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured clinic nurse Emily Lyons. There is a $100,000 reward offered for information leading to Rudolph’s arrest.

call 1-888-ATF-BOMB with information regarding the bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence


2/26/1998 - Canadian Women Safer in Streets Than in Homes

Canadian women are safer in the streets than in their own homes. Dr. Peter Jaffe testified before a Canadian inquest on domestic violence, reporting that women are 13 times more likely to be attacked by current or past partners than by a stranger on the street. Women are nine times more likely to be murdered by their partner than by a stranger, and an average of two to three women are killed by their spouses every week in Canada, said Jaffe.

Jaffe, a London, Ontario psychologist, said that a survey of 12,300 women over age 18 reported that 29% had been physically or sexually abused at least once. “It’s a painful number,” he said.

Jaffe attributes the widespread domestic violence to men who grew up in families in which violence occurred. Jaffe said that 75% of abusive men witnessed their fathers beating their mothers. Sixty percent of children who witness assaults suffer from some post-traumatic stress disorder or psychological effect, he said.

Jaffe reported on meetings he had with children between the ages of 5 and 12, whose views on domestic violence were “distorted.” He also testified that some girls he had spoken to had been told that if date rape did not happen during school hours or on school property, the school would not investigate the claims.

Jaffe testified that domestic violence issues need to be dealt with when potential abusers are young. “We spend time on reading, writing and arithmetic, but not on healthy relationships.”

Domestic Violence Information Center


2/26/1998 - Israeli Woman Forced to Divorce After Gang-Rape

Women’s groups in Israel are voicing outrage over a rabbinical court’s ruling that a woman who was gang raped must get a divorce because her husband did not say the required, “I don’t believe you,” after it happened.

When Yediot Aharonot told her husband that she had been raped he called local functionaries for advice, not realizing that he was admitting that he believed his wife’s story. According to haredi rabbis, if a husband believes that his wife was raped, then the woman is deemed disloyal and the couple must get a divorce. Neither Ms. Aharonot nor her husband wish to end the marriage.

Women’s group Naaman’s chairperson Ofra Friedman said, “Instead of supporting the rape victim, who suffered a terrible trauma, the rabbis are adding insult to injury .... It’s a blatant case of violation of basic rights and human dignity and freedom.”


2/26/1998 - Mary Baker Eddy Exhibit Opens in Women’s Rights Park

A new exhibit celebrating the life of feminist Mary Baker Eddy will open on March 7, as one of the “untold stories” at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. The exhibit is part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the First Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848.

Eddy, who was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, was an author, a founder and president of a teaching college, a publisher and editor of a weekly and monthly magazine and of a Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper.

Eddy is best known for her book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, described as “one of the 75 books by women whose words have changed the world,” by the National Women’s Book Association.


2/26/1998 - Women, Girls Smuggled to U.S., Forced into Prostitution

Authorities have charged members of a Mexican family with smuggling women as young as 13 into the United States to work as sex slaves. The women were transported across the border at Brownsville, Texas. Although some women knew they would have to work off a $2,000 smuggling fee in brothels as prostitutes, most were unaware. The women were then moved to Florida, where some were locked in windowless rooms.

The brothels opened in 1996, and catered to Hispanic immigrants.


2/26/1998 - Peru to Discontinue Sterilization Program Targeted to Poor

The Peruvian government has announced intentions to end the targeting of poor women for sterilization. The government had previously been charged with offering rewards to health care workers for sterilizing a minimum number of poor women. The health workers often offered food, clothing and supplies to the women, in exchange for obtaining a tubal ligation. Although tubal ligation is normally a safe procedure, unclean medical conditions and untrained workers often caused death or illness. AP - February 26, 1998


2/25/1998 - Nails Link Clinic Bombing Suspect to Atlanta Explosions

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents announced that they found nails in a storage shed rented by Eric Robert Rudolph in Murphy, N.C. The nails match shrapnel from a bomb used in an explosive device found at one of three sites in Atlanta over the past year and a half. CBS news reported that the FBI may add Rudolph to its “Ten Most Wanted” list.

Officials believe that the matching nails could be the clue to figuring out if a single person caused the bombings of the Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic, a gay nightclub, an Atlanta abortion clinic and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.

Authorities have issued a warrant for Rudolph’s arrest, and are offering a $100,000 reward. Rudolph is wanted for the bombing of the New Women, All Women health clinic which killed off-duty police officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured clinic nurse Emily Lyons.

call 1-888-ATF-BOMB with information regarding the bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph


Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence


2/25/1998 - Rape Victim Testifies in Assailant’s Murder Trial

Mary Vincent testified against the man who raped and mutilated her 20 years ago. Vincent provided 10 minutes of testimony in the penalty phase of a trial charging Lawrence Singleton with the murder of Roxanne Hayes in Tampa, Florida.

Singleton was convicted of raping Vincent, then a 15-year-old runaway, and chopping off her forearms. Vincent told reporters that she looked him in the eye when she identified him as her assailant. “I had to. I had to identify him,” she said.

Singleton was let out on parole 10 years ago after serving time in prison for his actions against Vincent. He denies ever attacking Mary Vincent, but admits to murdering Roxanne Hayes.


2/25/1998 - Military Judge Rejects Defense Pleas to Drop Charges

Military Judge Col. Ferdinand D. Clervi rejected defense pleas to drop 9 of the 19 charges brought against former Sgt. Maj. McKinney. The judge offered no explanation for his ruling, and the defense proceeded directly with the testimony of McKinney’s wife of 26 years, Wilhemina McKinney.

Defense attorneys had expected Wilhemina McKinney to claim that she and her husband had a strong marriage. Instead, she admitted that their relationship was strained after the death of their 19-year-old son, but that they are closer now. Ms. McKinney did not contradict the testimony of her husband’s accusers.

Defense lawyers plan to call 82 witnesses to the stand in support of Sgt. Maj. McKinney. If convicted, McKinney faces 55 1/2 years in prison, loss of rank and retirement benefits.

Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military