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2/20/1998 - UK Working Mothers Call for Improved Childcare Options

More than sixty percent of parents in the UK want to see firmer childcare regulations, according to a survey conducted by the magazine Right Start. Colette Kelleher, director of the Daycare Trust, said, “British parents pay the highest childcare bills in Europe. Much more could be done by the Government and employers to help parents meet the costs of childcare.”

The survey found that more than half of working mothers in Britain spend more than 50 pounds (80 US dollars) a week on childcare. British Social Affairs Correspondent Glenda Cooper reported that one in seven working mothers spends half their wages on childcare.

Researchers surveyed more than 500 families and found that almost half rely on unregulated childcare such as friends or family and only 2 percent use workplace nurseries.

One working mother said, “Society still treats working mums as a nasty disease. I had great difficulty finding a childminder -- no help from social services and nobody willing to fit in with my shift work as a nurse.”

2/20/1998 - Free Eating Disorder Screenings Offered

Tipper Gore urged Americans to get screenings for eating disorders. Free anonymous screenings will be offered starting next Monday through the 28th of February. The National Eating Disorders Screening Program is sponsoring free screenings at hospitals, colleges, and treatment centers throughout the United States.

More than 5 million Americans, mainly women, are affected by eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating. Around 80 percent of those treated recover.

[Source: AP - February 20, 1998]

2/20/1998 - Free Eating Disorder Screenings Offered

Tipper Gore urged Americans to get screenings for eating disorders. Free anonymous screenings will be offered starting next Monday through the 28th of February. The National Eating Disorders Screening Program is sponsoring free screenings at hospitals, colleges, and treatment centers throughout the United States.

More than 5 million Americans, mainly women, are affected by eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating. Around 80 percent of those treated recover.

2/20/1998 - Free Eating Disorder Screenings Offered

Tipper Gore urged Americans to get screenings for eating disorders. Free anonymous screenings will be offered starting next Monday through the 28th of February. The National Eating Disorders Screening Program is sponsoring free screenings at hospitals, colleges, and treatment centers throughout the United States.

More than 5 million Americans, mainly women, are affected by eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating. Around 80 percent of those treated recover.

2/19/1998 - Gay Service Members Face Increased Harassment

Gays and lesbians in the military face increasing harassment, according to an annual report released by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The report cited 563 “command violations,” during which commanders harassed, pursued and asked members about their sexual orientation in violation of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy put in place by President Clinton.

Harassment by commanders led to 850 discharges from the military for gay, lesbian and bisexual members in 1996, the highest number in five years. No numbers were released by the Pentagon for 1997, despite repeated requests from the Network.

The report included recommendations for decreasing violations, including stricter limits on investigations into sexual orientation, punishing commanders who violate the limits, and offering recourse to officers who are being investigated. The report concluded, “It is time for military leaders to obey the law.”

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

2/19/1998 - Medicaid Recipients Obstructed From Sterilization

A study issued by the National Institutes of Health reports significant barriers for women on Medicaid who desire tubal ligation. The study found that only 59 percent of the 1,200 pregnant women on Medicaid obtained the sterilization procedure after filling out the required forms. Medicaid recipients who want a tubal ligation must first attend two counseling sessions and fill out two consent forms at least 30 days apart.

Andrew R. Davidson, a professor of public health at Columbia University, commented “We as a society have tried to put in place things to protect [the] poor .... The incredible irony is that we’ve created barriers to poor people getting what they want.” The “bureaucratic and institutional barriers” were put in place after government courts found that 100,00 to 150,000 poor women were being sterilized, and many faced threats of withdrawn welfare benefits if they did not undergo tubal ligation.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that about half of all married couples obtain sterilization as a form of contraception with the aid of private insurance. Unplanned pregnancies among poor women rate as high as 75 percent. Many cannot afford abortions, which are not covered by Medicaid.

2/19/1998 - Maryland Governor Vows to Veto Abortion Ban

Maryland state senators are gearing up to vote on a bill that would ban D&X abortions. The bill, which has been introduced three times by Sen. Larry E. Haines, is supported by seven of the eleven members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Maryland Governor Parris N. Glendening (D) promised to veto the resolution if it passes the Senate, despite effects it may have on his reelection campaign and advised the Senate to “reject” the bill. Glendening said, “I obviously know this whole issue of abortion is very serious and is to be treated with the greatest attention and care. But I also believe in the right of a woman in consultation with her doctor to make the decision.”

Feminist News Stories on Aborton

2/19/1998 - United States Ranks Last in Providing Maternity Benefits

A study by the United Nation’s International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that working mothers in the United States are given the least generous maternity and nursing benefits in the industrialized world. ILO researchers investigated maternity leave and health benefits required by law in 152 countries. Eighty percent of the countries offer paid maternity leave to women; approximately one-third of those countries allow the leave to last longer than 14 weeks.

The study found that designated breaks for nursing mothers are allowed by law in more than 80 countries, including 45-minute breaks for nursing each day in the Netherlands and a choice between two 30-minute or 15 minute breaks every three hours in Haiti.

The report stated that in 30 percent of the world’s households, women contribute the principal source of income, and 80 percent of women in industrialized nations are expected to work outside the home during their child-bearing years within 10 years. Alfred J. Kahn, a Columbia University professor in comparative social policies commented, “ has only been recently that the country has absorbed the fact that most women are working.”

The United States allows workers to take 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act, passed in 1993. Many small business advocates oppose mandatory paid maternity leave and benefits, arguing that the government should not be telling them how to run their businesses.

2/19/1998 - Pakistani Woman Sentenced to Death for Marriage

Riffat Affridi, a Pakistani woman, is in hiding after being sentenced to death for marrying a man who is part of a different ethnic group. A Pathan council of tribal elders ruled that Affridi must be shot or stoned to death for violating Pathan “honor.” Affridi’s husband, Kanwar Ahson, is a member of the Mohoajir racial group that represents Indians who immigrated to Pakistan when it became independent in 1947.

Ahson was arrested and charged with having sex outside of marriage, after ethnic riots between the two groups shut down the city of Karachi in which two people died and eight others were seriously wounded.

2/19/1998 - Iowa Denies Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

The Iowa House Judiciary Committee ruled in favor of a bill opposing same-sex marriages. The law denies legal recognition of same-sex marriages obtained in another state. Anti-gay forces cite worries that traditional marriage will be devalued as reasons for the law.

The University of Iowa’s student government passed their own resolution the next day supporting legal gay and lesbian marriages.

Feminist News Stories on Same-Sex Marriage

2/19/1998 - Houston Mayor Prohibits Gay Discrimination

Houston Mayor Lee Brown signed an executive order prohibiting city service and employment workers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. The order overturns a 1985 election decision that defeated an ordinance protecting gay and lesbian workers.

Previously, there was no protection from discrimination in local, state or federal law. Former Mayor Jim McConn had signed a similar law in 1979, but the law expired when he left office.

2/19/1998 - Anti-abortion Extremists Plead Guilty to West Coast Bombings

Peter Howard pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for attempting to blow up an abortion clinic. Howard drove a pickup truck into the Family Planning Associates clinic in Bakersfield, California at night and attempted to light containers of fuel in the truck on fire. Howard was stopped by a security guard.

Another anti-abortion extremist, Richard T. Andrews, is expected to plead guilty to setting fires at seven abortion clinics on the West coast between 1992 and 1995. Andrews is charged with eight counts of arson, and faces up to 10 years in prison on each count. Under the terms of an agreement, the government is expected to ask for a seven-year term.

Authorities are still searching for Eric Robert Rudolph, a 32-year-old white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall, and weighs 150 pounds. Rudolph is wanted in connection with the recent Alabama clinic bombing that killed police officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured clinic nurse Emily Lyons.

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB with information regarding the Alabama bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/18/1998 - Operation Rescue Director Convicted for HS Demonstration

Flip Benham, director of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue National, was sentenced to a year in jail by Lynchburg, Virginia Circuit Judge Richard Miller for organizing a religious demonstration at a public school. Benham led more than 150 Liberty University students in an anti-abortion demonstration outside E.C. Glass High School. Groups stood outside the school, blocking the paths to the entrances and exits, waving signs and handing out religious and anti-abortion propaganda to the students.

Police officers testified that the demonstration posed a threat to public safety and that Benham refused to leave when he was asked to do so. Benham insists that he had every right to be there.

Benham and Liberty University student organizer, John Reyes, face a year in jail, with six months possible suspension for good behavior. Jeff Brown, another Liberty student and demonstrator, was also convicted of trespassing and will serve six months in jail, with fifteen days suspended.

2/18/1998 - D.C. Police Officer Charged With Rape

Two weeks after the incident was reported, authorities in Prince George County, Maryland arrested D.C. police officer Daniel Girard Coles, Jr. for second-degree rape. Coles, an eight year police veteran, is charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in his home and in his van.

Coles was released on a $1,000 bond and ordered not to have any contact with the girl, or other minors and to give up possession of his handgun. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison.

2/18/1998 - Honduras Women’s Groups Call for Voluntary Vasectomies

Women’s groups in Honduras are asking Honduran men to undergo vasectomies. “After all the history of planning by women, it’s only fair that men start planning as well, and I recommend that it be through the vasectomy,” said Alba de Mejia, a leading feminist in Honduras. The Honduras government supplies the population with condoms for disease prevention, but little is done to aid the 5.8 million people living in poverty.

Men in Honduras rarely undergo vasectomy. In a society whose culture focuses on machismo, many adhere to the myth that vasectomies, which cuts sperm flow into semen, decrease virility.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.

2/18/1998 - Heart Disease Leading Cause of Death for US Women

A study reports that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. According to a study released by Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, 45 percent of women in the United States are stricken with a heart-related illness during their lives, while 35 percent die from heart disease.

Diana Pettiti, director of Research and Evaluation for Kaiser Permanente, said “Cardiovascular disease in women is really the silent epidemic.” Pettiti suggested that women avoid high fat diets, exercise regularly, quit smoking, and control their blood pressure to prevent or reduce cardiovascular problems.

2/18/1998 - Female Genital Mutilation Prevalent in the United States

Incidents of female genital mutilation are increasing in the United States. Researchers and doctors in the Denver, Colorado area report that at least 6,000 immigrants from African countries that practice genital mutilation have moved to the area. “I know of one patient where it was clear it was performed in this country,” said Dr. Terry Dunn, director of a women’s clinic in Denver. Dunn sees mutilation cases approximately once every three months.

Colorado state Senator Dorothy Rupert, D-Boulder, is pushing a bill that would classify the practice as child abuse and would result in misdemeanor or felony charges. Rupert has proposed three similar bills in the past.

Feminist News Stories on Female Genital Mutilation

2/18/1998 - Peruvian Women Bribed for Sterilization

A month after women’s groups blew the whistle on a Peruvian government sterilization program, reports of women being forced or bribed to submit to tubal ligations continue. Government health workers reportedly offered gifts, including food and clothing, to poor women for undergoing tubal ligation.

Those who survive the surgery are sent away with gifts of clothes and food, however, fatal complications sometimes arise for women who cannot afford medical treatment. A neighbor of Magna Alva, who died ten days after the surgery, said “When you don’t have anything and they offer you clothes and food for your kids, then finally you agree to do it .... Magna told them that her husband was against the idea, but they told her, ‘Don’t worry, we can do it right now, and tonight you will be back home cooking and your husband will never realize what happened.”

The Peruvian government issued quotas for sterilizations in 1995 in an effort to curb the growing population and poverty in exchange for promotions and cash for doctors and nurses. Family planning officials in Peru, where abortion is illegal, say that abstinence, the IUD and tubal ligation are the most common forms of contraception.

A United States Congressional Subcommittee on International and Human Rights Operations has begun investigations concerning the reports of forced sterilization.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.

2/17/1998 - Cornell Professor, Lifetime Feminist Dies at 94

Retired Cornell University Professor Alice Hanson Cook, a lifetime feminist and supporter of equal rights for working women, died February 7 at her home in Ithaca, NY. Professor Cook was 94 years old.

Born in Alexandria, VA. in 1903, Cook attended Northwestern University, where she co-founded the Student Liberal League and became known as one of “the 38,” whom the Chicago Tribune branded as unwelcome at Northwestern due to their pacifist views.

Alice Cook graduated from Northwestern in 1924. She went on to work for a social service agency in St. Louis, taught at a cooperative farm in Arkansas, organized textile workers and became affiliated with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Enginemen and Firemen, the Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen, and the Marine and Shipbuilding Workers.

Cook served as visiting expert on labor education with the office of Military Government in Germany in the late 1940’s, and was chief of the Adult Education Section of the United States High Commission in Germany from 1950 to 1952.

Cook joined the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell in 1952 and began teaching labor history in 1954.

Cook was later appointed as the university’s first ombudsman. Jennie Farley, a Cornell professor of industrial and labor relations, said “She was not only interested, but concerned in every aspect of the working woman’s life .... Alice made it clear that these issues were universal in their importance and that they affected every woman no matter where she lived and worked.”

The establishment of Cook’s Grove in Cornell’s quadrangle along with a plaque that reads “Teacher, Feminist, First University Ombudsman,” marked Cook’s retirement in 1972.

A prolific author, Cook wrote on many issues, including: unions, labor relations and sex discrimination. Her works include, Working Mother: A Survey of Problems and Programs in Nine Countries, Woman and Trade Unions in Eleven Industrialized Countries, and her autobiography, A Lifetime in Labor, which will be published this spring by the Feminist Press of New York.

2/17/1998 - Jury Awards $80.7 Million to UPS Employee

A Polk County jury awarded $80.7 million to Linda Channon, a 22-year-old former United Parcel Service worker. Channon was poked in the breast during an argument by a fellow employee. The driver was fired but then began stalking her. Channon alleged that following the incident she was treated unfairly by the company.

“I had different standards than the men had,” she said. “Every day I was being screamed at, being belittled, being humiliated. Those are things that are hard emotionally when you’ve worked at a place a long time and been very dedicated and done a very good job.”

UPS will appeal the verdict.

2/17/1998 - First Woman War Correspondent Dies at 89

The world’s first female war correspondent, Martha Gellhorn, died at the age of 89. Gellhorn covered the Spanish civil war, Vietnam and the Arab-Israeli wars. Gellhorn witnessed the D-Day landings in Normandy, the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau, and is also known for marrying author Ernest Hemingway in 1940.

Gellhorn worked until her late 70s and believed that a reporters’ job was “to limit yourself to what you see or hear and not suppress or invent.” Friend and journalist Marie Colvin said of Gellhorn, “Hers was a different kind of journalism. She was very passionate.”

2/17/1998 - US Women Win First Women’s Hockey Olympic Event

The United States won the gold in the first women’s ice hockey Olympic event. The US women scored 3-1 in their final game, winning all six games played during the Olympics. The win “closed the gap” on a US-Canadian rivalry.

Canadian coach Shannon Miller said, “I had a feeling of joy go through my body because I realized an Olympic gold medal was being hung on a female hockey player .... I couldn’t believe the impact it had on me.”

2/17/1998 - Filipino “Comfort Women” Seek Meeting with Japanese Royalty

Filipino women who were forced into sexual slavery during World War II are seeking a meeting with Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko in hopes of sharing their stories. The prince and princess are visiting the Philippines’ during the country’s celebration of independence.

Over 200,000 Asian women were forced to work in brothels provided for Japan’s troops. Japan denied involvement with what they called “comfort women” until recently, and refuses to compensate the women for their pain and suffering. The Japanese government has set up a private fund for the women who are now in their late 60s and early 70s. Most of the women are refusing the funds and insist that the government take responsibility for their actions.

“I hope the prince and princess will help us finally get justice before we die,” said Amonita Balajadia, a former slave.

2/17/1998 - Childhood Cancer Victims at High Risk for Breast Cancer

Results of a new study suggest that girls who received chest radiation for childhood cancer should obtain mammograms starting as early as age 25 because they are more likely to develop breast cancer than other women. The study, published in the journal Cancer, found that women treated for cancer during childhood are 20 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who did not receive chest radiation during childhood.

Researchers traced the medical records of 3,463 girls treated for cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee between 1962 and 1995. They found that 12 of the girls developed breast cancer, four of them before the age of 25.

2/17/1998 - Virginia Congress Considers D&X Ban, “Informed Consent” Law

The Virginia House Courts of Justice committee approved a ban on D&X abortions and a law that would require women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion. Senators have given preliminary approval to a D&X bill, and are expected to debate on the “informed consent” bill that would require abortion providers to give women information about abortion and alternatives by telephone or in person at least 24 hours prior to the procedure.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion