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2/13/1998 - Judge Rules City Can’t Block Clinic

U.S. District Judge Charles Wolle ruled that the city of Bettendorf, Iowa cannot use zoning ordinances to block the construction of a Planned Parenthood clinic. In the third attempt by the city to stall construction of the abortion clinic, the judge also ruled that no zoning changes need to be made for construction to begin. Wolle claimed that the city’s obstruction violated the constitutional rights of Planned Parenthood and “women who would be served by plaintiff’s medical clinic.”

Bettendorf is part of the “Quad Cities,” the largest metropolitan area in the country without abortion services. The nearest abortion clinic is in Iowa City, 50 miles away.

National President of Planned Parenthood Gloria Feldt said the decision was a “triumph for the health needs of women in the Quad Cities and a defeat for those trying to use bureaucratic obstacles to deny women access to safe abortion service.”

2/13/1998 - Emergency Cell Phones Dispensed to Domestic Violence Victims

Communities in Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia are giving out cellular phones to victims of domestic abuse and violence. The phones have been pre-programmed to dial 911. Programs to give out cellular phones exist in Arlington and Montgomery counties, Alexandria, Williamsburg, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach, VA. Some phones were donated by local phone companies, but most were donated by county and city employees through donation drives.

Pendants with buttons that alert local authorities are also distributed to victims of domestic abuse. Although some phones and pendants have been used to prevent or stop attacks, authorities cite peace of mind as the most important factor in the new program. “This has made them feel safe and that’s a great leap forward,” said Sgt. Scott Gibson, head of the Alexandria police department’s domestic violence unit.

Domestic Violence Information Center

2/13/1998 - Portugal Abortion Foes Push Referendum

Abortion foes in Portugal are attempting to do away with a bill passed by Parliament last week that legalizes abortion. A national referendum backed by the center-right Social Democratic Party and the conservative Popular party will be voted on next week.

Currently, abortions can only be performed when there is a risk to the mother’s life. If the referendum fails, the new law allowing women to request abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy will take affect in 90 days.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion

2/13/1998 - Egyptian Health Minister Defends Female Circumcision Ban

Egyptian Health Minister Ismail Sallam criticized Moslem fundamentalists for opposing Egypt’s ban on female circumcision. Sallam was routinely interrupted by Moslem extremists condemning the ban during a Cairo Book Fair. Sallam replied, “Growing a beard doesn’t give you the right to issue religious decrees. It’s the mufti’s prerogative and he said that female circumcision is not a religious duty .... We must protect poor and peasant girls because we know that the wealthy, officials, and senior clerics don’t circumcise their own,” said Sallam.

Egypt’s State Council ordered in December that a ban on female circumcision would stand. The court ruled that, “henceforth, it is illegal for anyone to carry out circumcision operations, even if the girl or her parents agree to it.” Offenders face up to three years in prison.

During female circumcision part or all of the labia and clitoris are amputated to remove a woman’s sexual desire. More than 90 percent of Egyptian girls are circumcised around the ages of five or six. Around 70 percent of the operations are performed in the home in filthy conditions, sometimes resulting in death from bleeding or infection.

Feminist News Stories on Female Genital Mutilation

2/13/1998 - FBI, Justice Department to Convict U.S. Sexual Abusers in Latin America

Casa Alianza, a non-profit organization that works with street children in Latin America, will begin working with the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department to apprehend men and women who sexually abuse children in Central America. Bruce Harris, Regional Director of the Casa Alianza Programs for Latin America, stated “We have noticed a significant increase in the number of cases of sexual abuse against street boys and girls, perpetrated by foreigners who travel to the countries we work with ... the number of Americans is rising.”

It is illegal for Americans to travel to foreign countries with the intent of sexual abuse. If convicted, abusers can face up to 10 years in prison and fines of $250,000.

2/12/1998 - Dogs Detect Bomb Material Traces in Clinic Bombing Investigation

Dogs trained to detect bomb materials are being used to investigate the Alabama clinic bombing and to track down the lead material witness, Eric Robert Rudolph. The dogs detected possible explosive residue in Rudolph’s truck, and responded to potential residue found in a small warehouse that was once rented by Rudolph.

The FBI also believes that Rudolph may have been in Birmingham, participating in pro-life rallies during the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, five days before the explosion.

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

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/12/1998 - Divorced Women Face IRS Assaults

“The American tax system mistreats divorced women,” said Elizabeth Cockrell before a Senate Finance Committee hearing, designed to aid in the examination of current IRS procedures and laws. Committee chairman William V. Roth Jr. (R-Del) has suggested that innocent spouse “provisions” will be addressed.

Four women delivered testimony claiming that they have all been pursued by the IRS for their former husbands’ debts. The women all signed joint tax returns during their marriages, but none of them made any tax decisions. The IRS is now claiming that the women owe $300,000 to $650,000 in back taxes. In many cases, when the women’s assets are being pursued by the IRS their former husbands are not.

Under current law, spouses who sign a joint return are responsible for the full amount of income tax due. The Clinton administration has announced plans to provide relief to innocent spouses of IRS investigations.

2/12/1998 - Anti-Abortionists Deny IMF, UN Relief Funds

Anti-abortion militants are once again threatening to strike down attempts to supply an $18 billion relief package to the International Monetary Fund. Abortion opponents are demanding that the U.S. prohibit funding to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that perform abortions or encourage family planning in foreign countries.

Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Al) told Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin that money would not be allocated without the support of anti-abortion Congressional members. New Jersey Republican Rep. Christopher Smith claims that they will not back down. “These will not be de-linked,” said Smith, in reference to relief funding and abortion language.

2/12/1998 - Teenager Works for “Girl Power”

The March issue of YM features 15-year-old Ariel Fox, owner of Sticker Sisters. Fox designs and sells magnets, buttons, shoelaces and stickers that feature feminist phrases focusing on “girl power,” domestic violence and sexual abuse. Sticker Sisters’ clients range from grandmothers to rock bands and can be found in eight countries and across the United States.

Fox, a 10th-grader at Montgomery Blair High School, said, “A lot of girls aren’t really proud to be girls. That’s not something they’re really taught, that it’s fun to be a girl or it’s a good thing.” Fox creates the stickers and other products on her home computer, using the profits to create new merchandise.

Fox envisions a world in which girls do not need stickers to proclaim their own self-worth. “What would be nice to see is that they don’t need to feel that they need to rely on the stickers to make the statement .... What I want is for more people to get it on their own,” said Fox.

Contact Ariel Fox and Sticker Sisters at P.O. Box 11480, Takoma Park, Md. 20193, at or on the Web,

2/12/1998 - Brazil Grants Gays Inheritance Rights

Brazil’s Superior Tribunal of Justice ruled that Milton Alves Pedrosa has the right to inherit property he shared with his male partner, Jair Prearo, who passed away. Prearo’s father had disputed Pedrosa’s claim.

Rep. Marta Suplicy said that the ruling will make it easier to pass legislation that would grant equal rights and benefits to homosexual couples already available to heterosexual, married couples. The proposed legislation will appear before the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies later this year.

2/12/1998 - House Resolution Requires Benefits for Stay-at-Home Parents

A resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives requires that any new child care legislation include benefits for stay-at-home parents. Rep. Rosa DeLauor (D-Conn) commented, “I regret that this resolution has chosen to focus on one group of parents.”

The resolution is a rebuttal to President Clinton’s $21.7 billion child care initiative which would grant tax credits and subsidies to working parents. Although the resolution did not present particular policies benefitting stay-at-home and working parents, some Republicans are suggesting an across-the-board tax cut. Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, maintains that tax cuts would give little aid to poorer working families who often owe no taxes.

2/11/1998 - Senate Confirms Surgeon General Satcher

The U.S. Senate voted 63-35 to confirm Dr. David Satcher as Surgeon General. President Clinton commented, “No one is better qualified to be America’s doctor .... He is a mainstream physician who is an eloquent advocate for the health of all Americans.”

Satcher’s nomination overcame strong resistance from conservatives led by Sen. John Ashcroft, who condemned Satcher for supporting Clinton’s veto of a ban on D&X abortions.

Dr. Satcher has worked as a family practitioner, researcher, medical school dean and served for five years as the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Satcher said he plans to “work hard to engage all Americans everywhere in a lively, ongoing conversation about physical activity, good nutrition, responsible behavior and other passports to good health and long life.”

2/11/1998 - Gay and Lesbian Rights Attacked in Maine, Philadelphia

A Maine law prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians was struck down in a vote of 51.9 to 48.1 percent. The special election vetoed a law passed last year that would have criminalized discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodation and credit.

Discrimination law opponent Maine Christian Civic League President Michael Heath said, “It wasn’t out of a sense of wanting to hurt anyone ... it was out of a sense we’ve all had for a long time that there is a right or wrong in terms of human sexuality.”

Supporters of the law will continue their fight for anti-discrimination laws and gay rights. Maine Treasurer Dale McCormick said, “We’re going to have civil rights in my lifetime. I thought I was going to taste it tomorrow morning. We may still taste it.”

In Philadelphia, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese condemned three city proposals that would grant health and pension benefits to same-sex partners of city employees. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua hand-delivered a letter asking Mayor Ed Rendell and City Council members to reject the legislation. The letter claimed that the proposed laws, which would add the term “life partner” to existing ordinances concerning employee benefits, would be “destructive to our city’s moral and social structure.”

Supporter Councilman Angel Ortiz commented on the proposals, claiming that they addressed fairness, not morality. “We’re supposed to treat all citizens equally ... so no citizen is left out or discriminated against because of the relationships they’re in,” said Ortiz.

2/11/1998 - Search for Clinic Bombing Witness Continues

Investigators continue their search for Eric Robert Rudolph, wanted in connection with the Alabama abortion clinic bombing that killed officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured nurse Emily Lyons. A convoy of federal agents and law enforcement officers moved from Murphy, N.C., through back roads, to the Georgia-Tennessee border. Agents combed the mountains with special heat-sensor equipment and two FBI bloodhounds along the way.

Authorities have asked the public not to approach Rudolph if he is seen. Rudolph is a 32-year-old white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighs 150 pounds.

Call the ATF hotline, 1-888-ATF-BOMB, with information concerning Rudolph or the bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

2/11/1998 - U.S. Women Earn Gold, Victories in Olympics

The United States Women’s Hockey team beat rival Finland in a 4-2 victory. The team is tied with Canada, with six points in Olympic standings. Finland has four points, China has 2, and Sweden and Japan have zero. The top two teams will battle in a game for the gold medal immediately after the preliminary round.

Downhill skier Picabo Street won Olympic gold in the women’s super-G, with .01 seconds to spare. Street said “I made a mistake about midway through the course .... It made me mad and I just went for it.”

Street, a native of Idaho who now lives in Portland, Oregon, has recovered from knee surgery and grappled with headaches from a two-week-old accident that knocked her unconscious.

2/11/1998 - Evidence Supports Victims in Army Sex Trial

Prosecutors submitted an audio tape of a February 1997 telephone conversation in which Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney asked Staff Sgt. Christine Fetrow to deny that he had sexually harassed her and claim that “no inappropriateness at all,” had occurred between them.

McKinney said, “All you have to do is tell them that we talked a lot. You call the office sometimes because you want to talk about career development and that kind of stuff. That’s it ... That’s all they need to know.”

Fetrow, the first of fifty to testify against the defendant, said that McKinney had reportedly made unwanted sexual advances and assaulted her since 1994. Fetrow also claimed that she has received “well over 40” anonymous, threatening phone calls since the start of the investigation.

McKinney faces 19 charges, including sexual assault and obstructing justice, stemming from the allegations of six officers. If convicted, he faces 55.5 years in prison, loss of retirement benefits and rank.

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

2/11/1998 - Israeli Army Allows Women in Enemy Territory

The Israeli army will permit women to enter enemy territory during military missions. Female doctors will now be allowed into combat zones to evacuate and treat soldiers.

The decision arises from an increase in women doctors in the army. Israeli Surgeon General Arial Dan stated, “It’s a totally natural development.”

The Israeli Army allows women, who are drafted at the age of 18, to train as pilots and in certain types of combat.

2/10/1998 - First of Fifty Testifies in Army Sex Trial

Former Staff Sgt. Christine Fetrow testified against Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney in a sex harassment court-martial trial. Fetrow, the first woman enlisted in the Army’s elite Old Guard, became the first of 50 anticipated witnesses to testify against McKinney. McKinney, the Army’s former top-enlisted soldier, has been charged with 19 counts of harassment and assault against six officers. Ten of the counts stem from Fetrow’s allegations.

The trial is expected to last four to five weeks. If convicted, McKinney faces up to fifty-five years in prison, loss of rank and retirement benefits.

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

2/10/1998 - Netherlands Grants Adoption Rights for Same-Gender Couples

The Netherlands government announced that it will grant adoption rights to same-gender couples. A new legal partnership registry was recently put in place that allows same-gender couples to obtain marriage certificates.

If a child is born after same-gender couples register as partners, the “non-biological partner” will automatically be recognized as an adoptive parent and lesbian mothers who have children before entering into a partnership can have those children co-adopted by their partners.

Feminist News Stories on Same-Sex Marriage

2/10/1998 - Minority Women Unsatisfied with Advancement Possibilities

A study released by Catalyst research group found that minority women in management are unsatisfied with their chances for promotion and approximately one in four plan to resign from their companies as a result. Researchers surveyed 1,700 minority women, including those with African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American backgrounds, more than half of whom had graduate degrees. Twenty-two percent of those women surveyed intended to leave their companies.

“The women we surveyed are highly educated and believe themselves qualified to advance in corporations .... [they] find they’re not moving up, so they tell us they are going to be moving out,” said Sheila Wellington, president of the Catalyst research group.

2/10/1998 - Washington Welfare Limits Struck Down

U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess ruled against a state law that required people to reside in Washington for one year before collecting welfare benefits at state levels.

“The law unfairly penalizes people who move here to escape from a battering spouse, to join family members or to pursue a job opportunity,” said Julya Hampton, an American Civil Liberties Union representative.

Supporters of the law worried that poor families would move to Washington because of higher benefits. Washington pays a family of three $546 a month, while Idaho pays $276 and Oregon $460.

A federal appeals court recently struck down a similar law in California, citing discrimination against new residents.

2/10/1998 - Washington Welfare Limits Struck Down

U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess ruled against a state law that required people to reside in Washington for one year before collecting welfare benefits at state levels.

“The law unfairly penalizes people who move here to escape from a battering spouse, to join family members or to pursue a job opportunity,” said Julya Hampton, an American Civil Liberties Union representative.

Supporters of the law worried that poor families would move to Washington because of higher benefits. Washington pays a family of three $546 a month, while Idaho pays $276 and Oregon $460.

A federal appeals court recently struck down a similar law in California, citing discrimination against new residents.

2/9/1998 - ATF Finds Truck Seen at Clinic Bombing

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have located the truck last seen leaving the site of the Alabama clinic bombing that killed police officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured nurse Emily Lyons.

The 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck was found in a wooded area outside Murphy, N.C. Authorities are still searching for Eric Robert Rudolph, the owner of the truck, in the mountains in western North Carolina.

The Justice Department has issued an alert that warns clinics to beware of any suspicious packages, including potted plants, stuffed animals and boxed candy.

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

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/9/1998 - Women’s Hockey Debuts in Olympics

The United States won, 5-0, over China in the long overdue first day of women’s Olympic hockey. “It’s not just a man’s game anymore .... We really feel like we’re out here paving the way for all the women behind us,” said U.S. team captain Cammi Granato, who scored two goals.

The rink was packed as U.S. fans waved flags and cheered for the women. Supporter Heather Norton commented, “So many women have spent their lives breaking down the barriers between men’s and women’s sports and breaking down old stereotypes .... This game should have happened a long time ago.”

2/9/1998 - Feminist Psychologist Mary Roth Walsh Dies at 58

Feminist psychologist Mary Roth Walsh was found dead with her husband, Francis, in their Arlington, Massachusetts home. A neighbor had called police to check on the couple after she noticed the Walsh's garage light left on, and mail piling up. The police entered the house and discovered the couple, both University of Massachusetts professors, dead from carbon-monoxide poisoning. Authorities are still searching for the cause.

The late Mary Roth Walsh was known for her leadership in the field of feminist psychology. Walsh had also written several books, including, The Psychology of Women: Ongoing Debates and Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply: Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession.

Christine McKenna, spokeswoman for the University of Massachusetts in Lowell said, "We are stunned over the deaths of these two fine professors .... They worked here for many years and will be missed by colleagues and students."