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2/4/1998 - Christian Journal Article Supports Choice

An article advocating abortion rights for women throughout their pregnancies recently appeared in a Christian journal. The article, “Abortion and Public Policy,” appeared in the December 1997 issue of Christian Ethics Today and was written by retired United Methodist Church seminary professor, John M. Swomley. In the article Swomley writes, there “should be no legislation criminalizing or restricting abortion before the third trimester or the viability of the fetus.”

The article also argues that: the Bible teaches life does not commence until birth, rights of the individual should have priority over the rights of the unborn, banning abortion would result in “compulsory pregnancy ... a form of slavery,” prohibiting tax-funded abortions for the poor and requiring parental notification would compound violence against women, health care should be guaranteed by the government, contraceptives, including RU-486 should be developed, and sex education in public schools should be mandatory.

Professor Swomley has been an abortion-rights activist for more than 20 years. Swomley signed a letter supporting President Clinton’s veto of the Partial-birth Abortion Ban sent by the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights. He also serves on the board of directors of the ACLU and The Interfaith Alliance, and the advisory board of Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri and Eastern Kansas.

Femnist News Stories on Abortion

2/4/1998 - ABA Embryo Policy Voted Down

An American Bar Association policy which would have granted “possession and control,” of a frozen embryo to that parent willing to assume parental responsibilities was voted down. A majority of the 531 ABA delegates opposed the proposal, which had been supported by the ABA’s board of governors.

District of Columbia lawyer Estelle Rogers voiced her concern and claimed that the ABA’s first step into this new area “should not be a misstep.” Rogers voiced concerns over a hypothetical episode in which an abandoned woman loses rights over the embryo when her ex-husband decides to use the embryo to have children in a new marriage.

[Source: - February 2, 1998]

2/3/1998 - Army of God Responsible for Alabama Clinic Bombing

The Army of God claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic in letters postmarked just hours after the explosion. Letters sent to Reuters news agency, WAGA-TV of Atlanta and The Atlanta Journal and Constitution were all handwritten in block-style capital letters. The messages were in some ways identical to those claiming responsibility for the bombing of the Atlanta Family Planning Services clinic in January 1997, and the Otherside Lounge on February 21, 1997.

FBI agent Woody Endersen, head of the Atlanta Bomb Task Force, believes the letters came from the same source, “The handwriting and other elements are identical,” he said. However, FBI spokesman Craig Dahle said that it is “too soon to say anything now” about the “authenticity” of the letters.

The most recent letter threatened additional violence towards those who provide abortion services. “Let those who work in the murder mill’s (sic) around the nation be warned once more -- you will be targeted without quarter -- you are not immune from retaliation. Your commisar’s (sic) in Washington can’t protect you,” the letter threatens.

The letter also refers to the French abortion pill, RU-486, that is being offered through clinical trials throughout the United States by the Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM). “We will target anyone who manufactures, markets, sells and distrobtes (sic) the pill.”

The Army of God became known in the early 1980’s when it set fire to two Florida abortion clinics. Later that year a bombing occurred in a Falls Church, VA. clinic, and Dr. Hector Zaevallos and his wife were kidnapped from their home. Although members of the Army of God are not known, Don Benny Anderson, who was convicted of the arsons, bombing and kidnapping, declared himself the group’s leader. The militant, anti-abortion group also distributes a manual containing information on how to make a bomb.

Kathy Spillar, national coordinator for the Feminist Majority Foundation, said the letters from the Army of God “must be taken very seriously,” and stressed previous letters sent during the Atlanta bombings which claimed, “the next facility targeted may not be empty. Clearly that is what happened in Birmingham,” said Spillar.

Abortion-rights supporters from around the country traveled to Birmingham to offer their assistance and help repair the damage. “The only way terrorists will win is if we fail to reopen clinics after they have been hit. We will not be intimated,” proclaimed Spillar.

New Women All Women’s Clinic co-owner Diane Derzis stated, “The only thing I’m thinking of doing is getting the clinic back open ...What’s happened is not going to scare me out of the business.” Clinic phones lines will reopen today, and patients will be admitted Thursday. “We’ll work all night if we have to,” said Derzis. Workers remain calm. Currently, it is the “safest clinic in the U.S.,” the workers said.

Authorities continue their search for a 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck, with North Carolina plates KND-1117, registered to Eric Robert Rudolph. The truck was last seen leaving the scene following the explosion. A warrant has been issued for Rudolph, who is wanted for questioning as a witness.

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB to give leads on suspects.

Feminist News on Clinic Violence

2/3/1998 - U.S. Feminist Organizations and European Parliament Join Forces to End Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS -- Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal today joined Emma Bonino, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, other members of the European Parliament, international non-governmental organizations and women from Afghanistan in launching an international campaign, "A Flower for the Women of Kabul," to end gender apartheid in Afghanistan.
"Today, American feminists join with the European Parliament and the international feminist community in expressing our outrage at the situation of women in Afghanistan and in intensifying our campaign to compel the Taliban to cease and desist their abhorrent treatment of women. We cannot stand silently by as Afghan women become victims of inhumane gender apartheid. If this were happening to any other class of people around the world, there would be an international concerted government response. We must make sure human rights standards are applied when it is women and girls who are brutally treated. How can women be safe anywhere if some governments can carry out gender apartheid with impunity?" Smeal said.

"Over thirty national organizations in the United States -- including the YWCA, American Nurses Association, National Organization for Women, and the Council of Presidents which represents all major women's organizations -- and thousands of individuals have joined the Feminist Majority's campaign to stop gender apartheid in Afghanistan. We are demanding that neither the United Nations nor the United States recognize the Taliban government until the human rights of women and girls are restored," added Smeal.

"Moreover, U.S. women's groups are urging American oil and gas companies not to proceed with plans to build a multi-million dollar pipeline from the oil fields of Turmenkistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan until this outrageous gender apartheid is ended in Afghanistan. The price of a pipeline cannot be the enslavement women. Thus far, Unocal, a California-based company, with a 46.5% stake in the pipeline consortium has announced it will not move forward with the project until Afghanistan has an internationally recognized government. But women's groups, which have been credited with stalling the pipeline, must remain vigilant because rumors persist that the pipeline is going forward."

On September 27, 1996, the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic militia group, overthrew the government of Afghanistan and unilaterally declared an end to women's basic human rights. Women can now no longer work outside of the home. Afghan women have been prohibited from working and attending school. The Taliban has since increased restrictions on women, beating women who leave their homes without the required "burqa," a restrictive head-to-toe garment. Women can only leave their homes if they are accompanied by a close male relative. And windows in homes have been painted over so that women cannot be seen from the outside. Women are effectively under house arrest.

Additionally, women are often denied medical care, since they cannot be treated by male doctors. Tens of thousands of families have been thrown into destitution because thousands of Afghan women, widowed during decades of civil war, are prevented from earning a living. "We have heard reports from journalist Jan Goodwin, that girls at the state orphanage in Kabul, already living without a sewage system or adequate food, have not been allowed to go outside of the building since September, 1996. Meanwhile, boys at the same orphanage go outside every day to attend school and to play," said Smeal.

Founded by Smeal in 1987, the mission of The Feminist Majority is to encourage feminists to take power and to win equal representation for women in decision-making in all arenas. Today, the Feminist Majority is one of the most prominent non-government organizations in the United States dedicated to the equality of women. The Feminist Majority's name is its message. Inspired by a 1986 Newsweek/Gallup poll, which showed th

2/2/1998 - Army of God Claims Credit for Birmingham Bombing

BIRMINGHAM, AL, 5:50 PM Central Standard Time -- The FBI has apparently just confirmed that letters from the Army of God were recieved today by Atlanta news agencies which claim responsibility for the January 29, 1998 fatal bombing in Birmingham, AL. These letters must be taken seriously. Almost one year ago, similar letters were received by news agencies in Atlanta claiming credit for the Jan. 16, 1997 clinic bombings and the Feb. 19, 1997 bombing of a Lesbian bar. The 1997 Army of God letter had threatened that "the next facility targeted may not BE EMPTY" and that "the Attack thereforE (SIC) serves as a warning : anyone in or around facilities that murder children may become victims of retribution."
The bombing in Birmingham and the bombing in Atlanta both involved anti- personnel bombs. Until the Atlanta bombing, these kinds of devices, deliberately constructed to kill and injure, had not been used.

For years, we have been aware of the Army of God and its terrorist activities directed at abortion clinics and clinic personnel. The Army of God first gained national visibility in 1982 with the kidnapping of Dr. Hector Zevallos, an abortion provider, and his wife in Granite City, Illinois. Members of the Army of God claimed responsibility for and were later convicted of the kidnapping. In 1994, an Army of God manual on bombing and terrorism was dug up in the backyard of Shelley Shannon of Oregon, who was later convicted for the attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller and some 30 counts of arson and bombings in the Pacific Northwest.

For some time, we have believed that a group of people have been acting in concert to terrorize abortion clinics. We have been saying that these extremists are not single issue and that they believe in justifiable homicide against lesbians and gay men and adulterers as well as abortion providers.

Extremists are putting their religious beliefs above the U.S. Constitution. Or they are using religion as a cover not only to threaten the lives of those who believe in reproductive choice and choice in lifestyles, but democracy itself. More law enforcement resources must be allocated to cracking this reign of terror and this investigation must not treat the Birmingham bombings as isolated events.

2/2/1998 - Authorities Search for Witness in Alabama Clinic Bombing

Authorities are searching for Eric Robert Rudolph, a witness whose gray Nissan truck was spotted leaving the Birmingham abortion clinic bombing scene last Thursday. The bomb, made of nails and gunpowder, killed Robert Sanderson, a clinic security officer, and seriously injured Emily Lyons, a nurse and counselor who suffered extensive injuries to her legs, abdomen and face, including the loss of an eye and severe damage to her second eye. It is unclear whether she will see again.

Professor of sociology Dallas Blanchard commented, "the voice of violence in the abortion movement is increasing." In the past, Alabama abortion clinics have been broken into and destroyed, and set on fire.

Workers and volunteers at the nearby Summit Clinic in Birmingham are refusing to surrender to anti-abortion violence; a sign reading ``This clinic stays open,'' sits in its window. Lisa Santer, a new volunteer who helps escort patients inside of the clinic, said she offered her services because she was outraged by the bombing. "I think allowing a bombing to frighten us is not a fitting tribute to a person who gives their life or a part of their body," Santer said.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion

2/2/1998 - ABA Considers Ownership of Frozen Embryos

The American Bar Association is proposing its first-ever policy on the issue of frozen embryos. Concerns over who gets custody of previously frozen embryos after divorce has led to a discussion of policy that would automatically assert ownership to the spouse who favors gestation, and would be willing to assume parental rights and responsibilities.

Pittsburgh lawyer Bruce Wilder commented, "We know this is a sensitive issue, touching on the constitutional right to procreate or decide not to procreate, but when do those rights begin and end?" The spouse who advocates the destruction or continued storage of embryos and does not favor gestation would waive all parental rights and responsibilities.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion

2/2/1998 - Twice-Acquitted Accused Rapist Again Arrested for Rape, Attempted Murder

Twice-Acquitted, Man Again Arrested for Rape, Attempted Murder

Scott Christopher Malsky was arrested for aggravated sexual battery and attempted murder after raping and stabbing a 14-year-old girl in Florida. Malsky, who was twice acquitted of rape in Massachusetts, was a friend of the girl's family.

The girl was found walking down a Florida road after hiding out in the woods for four days, terrified that Malsky would return to kill her.

2/2/1998 - Vitamins Reduce Smoking Damage to Placenta

A report published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that antioxidant vitamins reduce damage to the placenta caused by smoking. A study of more than 1,500 women found that smoking causes growth retardation and fetal distress in labor prompting calcification of the placenta. Researchers at the University of Tennessee and other centers found that antioxidant vitamin E reduced placental calcification in all women, and that vitamin C and beta-carotene limited placental calcification in African-American women.

Researchers also believe that antioxidant vitamins may aid in decreased damage to the placenta due to pregnancy-induced high blood pressure or exposure to environmental pollutants.

1/30/1998 - Investigations Underway in Alabama Clinic Bombing

Investigations continue into the early-morning bombing of the New Women, All Women Health Care clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. An off-duty police officer who also worked as clinic security was killed. A clinic nurse was severely injured, sustaining abdominal, leg, and facial injuries and the loss of an eye.

“This was a vicious, wicked and diabolical attack intended to kill anyone within close proximity. It was not designed to damage property; it was designed to kill or injure,” said James Cavanaugh of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms,

The clinic had received a threat last week from a known anti-abortion activist, who was not considered dangerous. Authorities are searching for a man who threw a wig in a blue bag and fled from the incident. No one has yet claimed responsibility.

Alabama’s attorney general had recently ruled that a “partial-birth” abortion ban passed by the state legislator did not apply to abortions carried out before the fetus was viable outside the womb. The New Women clinic was one of four Alabama clinics challenging the ban in lawsuits brought against the state.

Ellie Smeal, Feminist Majority Foundation president, voiced fears that the bombing is part of an anti-abortion extremist ‘war of attrition,’ a campaign that targets specific clinics in an attempt to destroy or close it down.

“We fear that neither the public nor the press fully comprehend the gravity of this war of attrition and will accept violence at abortion clinics as part of the normal landscape... Just Sunday there was an arson attack of a Planned Parenthood clinic in San Antonio, Texas, which fortunately caused only minimal damage,” said Smeal.

Summit Medical center, another abortion provider located a block away from the New Woman clinic, will remain open despite fears of continued violence.

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB to give leads on suspects.

1/30/1998 - Estrogen Drug Safe for Young Women

Researchers report that raloxifene, normally used to treat osteoporosis in older women, is safe for younger women. Raloxifene, marketed as Evista by Eli Lilly, was designed to duplicate the positive effects of estrogen replacement therapy, without the negative side effects, such as increased risk of breast and endometrial cancers. Researchers had questioned if the drug could treat reproductive system disorders, such as endometriosis, in younger, pre-menopausal women. University of California, San Francisco researchers conducted the study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, to find out if raloxifene would disrupt the menstrual cycle of younger women.

The study concluded that the drug is safe, and does not disrupt normal ovulation. Although studies have yet to be conducted on whether raloxifene will aid in reproductive system diseases in younger women.

1/30/1998 - Police Officer Murders Wife

Philadelphia Police Officer Carl Selby was arrested for drunk driving and charged with shooting his wife twice in the head as she slept. Selby denied killing his wife while his six year-old daughter slept nearby, and presented police with hand and typewritten letters which threatened his wife and daughter, that were sent or left at his home. Officials believe that Selby wrote the letters himself, attempting to frame a man whom he had arrested.

Investigators found a .38-caliber revolver issued by the police in the home. There were no signs of forced-entry or stolen materials. Selby knew his wife, Pamela, was about to leave him, after discovering that he was having an affair.

1/30/1998 - Clinton Condemns Abortion Clinic Bombing

President Clinton denounced the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama clinic in which a clinic security officer was killed and a nurse was seriously injured. “I strongly condemn the senseless violence that claimed the life of an off-duty police officer and injured others in Birmingham, Alabama... This bombing was an unforgivable act that strikes at the heart of the constitutional freedoms and individual liberties all Americans hold dear,” said Clinton.

The President recalled the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) that he passed into legislation, claiming that “We will continue to enforce that law to its fullest extent -- and to protect our nation’s family planning clinics.”

U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno has issued a statement confirming that the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms will be investigating the bombing.

1/29/1998 - Pap Smear Computer Checks Costly

A study conducted at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington concluded that new computer systems used to double-check Pap smears for cervical cancer are more costly and no more effective than humans with microscopes. Researchers reported that the computer system found only six unusual slides among 5,478 that had already been checked and deemed normal. However, experts reported that none of those six slides showed evidence of cancerous cells.

According to the American Cancer Society 14,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,800 women die of the disease annually .

1/29/1998 - California Ordered to Continue Welfare Benefits

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold a ruling that prohibits California from cutting welfare benefits to families who have recently moved to the state. Mark Rosenbaum of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said, “We are thrilled. It takes the foot of the governor off the backs of poor women and children.”

State lawmakers had intended to reduce benefits to welfare recipients who had lived in California less than 12 months to the level of benefits that they had received in their previous state. The reduction would have cut some benefits from $500 to as little as $120 per month.

The federal court agreed with the previous ruling by Sacramento trial judge David Levi that welfare cuts would violate U.S. Constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.

1/29/1998 - Quebec Judge Rules Rape Result of Culture

Women’s rights and Haitian groups are outraged over a ruling by a Quebec judge sentenced two Haitian men to house arrest for the gang rape of a young Haitian woman. Judge Monique Dubreuil sentenced Patrick Lucien and Evens Sannon to 100 hours of community service and 18 months of house arrest. Also, the assailants are not allowed to contact the victim.

Prosecutor Helene DiSalvo asked for four and five years for Lucien and Sannon, respectively. The judge commented on her controversial, mild sentence, “the absence of regret of the two accused seems to be related more to the cultural context, particularly with regard to relations to women.”

Eric Faustin, director of a Haitian religious organization in Montreal said, “She’s saying it’s normal for Haitian men to carry out group rape and not feel any remorse. I find that outrageous.” Women’s rights activist Evelyne Margron condemned the ruling, “The judge is saying that Haitian women consent to being sexually assaulted. It is as false in Haiti as elsewhere. I fear that if the victim had been a white Canadian, the judge would have been less lenient.”

1/29/1998 - Explosion Kills Police Officer, Injures Nurse at AL Women's Clinic

An explosion killed an off-duty police officer and critically injured a clinic nurse at Birmingham's New Woman, All Women Health Care Clinic around 7:30 a.m. Central time this morning.

The police officer and nurse were transported to the University of Alabama hospital, where the nurse is receiving treatment for her injuries. Authorities evacuated a four-block area surrounding the clinic, including two nearby University of Alabama-Birmingham dorms, and are searching for additional explosive devices within a one-mile radius of the clinic.

Authorities will not enter the building until a bomb squad finishes its work, for fear that a second explosion might occur. Just over a year ago, a family planning clinic in Atlanta was hit by two bombs, and all six of the resulting injuries were caused by the second blast.

The blast blew out the windows of the clinic and of an office building located across the street, ripped an awning over the clinic's door, and scattered thick, grey smoke and black debris into the street.

Occupants of nearby buildings attested to the severity of the blast. UAB student Lindsey Thompson said "It felt like lightening had hit the building." Michele Wilson, a volunteer at the Summit Medical Care Clinic, an abortion clinic located one block away from the explosion, said the impact knocked things off the walls there.

Officials from the Atlanta Bomb Task Force, the FBI, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are on the scene and investigating. There are currently no suspects, but officials are interviewing many witnesses.

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB to give leads on suspects.

1/29/1998 - Abortion Access Decreasing in Canada

On the tenth anniversary of Canada's Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized abortion, pro-choice activists worry that violent attacks on abortion providers and political pressure are making it harder for women to gain access to the procedure.

Before the January 1988 ruling, women could obtain abortions only in a hospital setting with the approval of a three-doctor committee. The Supreme Court declared the abortion law unconstitutional, saying it "clearly interferes with a woman's physical and bodily integrity."

Access to abortion is decreasing in Canada. Many provinces refuse to cover all or any of the costs of the abortion within the Canadian universal health-care system and anti-abortion groups, such as the Campaign Life Coalition, are intensifying efforts to prohibit public funding of the procedure.

Abortion providers throughout Canada face a daily risk of violence from anti-abortion extremists. Three shootings of doctors who perform abortions occurred in November of 1994, 1995 and 1997. The doctors were each wounded by shots fired through the windows of their homes. Today, doctors who provide abortions are taking precautions, some even wear bullet-proof vests.

Abortion supporters worry that the risk involved has resulted in the shrinking numbers of abortion providers. "I feel that police are not giving enough attention and priority to finding the perpetrator of these attacks," said Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the abortion-provider who fought for the 1988 Supreme Court decision. Morgentaler, 74, still performs abortions after repeated trials, 10 months in prison and a 1992 bombing of his Toronto clinic. Morgentaler believes that legalizing abortion has lowered the infant mortality rate, reduced the number of unwanted children in Canada and virtually eliminated unsafe, illegal abortions.

1/28/1998 - Sri Lanka Woman Receives Lashes, Jail Sentence for Pregnancy

A housemaid in Sri Lanka will receive 120 lashes, a two-year prison sentence and will be deported from her country for becoming pregnant by her Bangledeshi boyfriend. Sex outside marriage is banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), while adulterers can be stoned to death. Her boyfriend will receive 95 lashes and one month in prison after denying the charges.

1/28/1998 - Key West to Offer Spousal Benefits to Same-Sex Partners

Key West, Florida City officials voted unanimously to extend spousal benefits to unmarried worker’s domestic partners last week. The city has also started a domestic partner registry in which the city clerk will provide a certificate for to city residents for a $50 fee. Same-sex and heterosexual partners who obtain a certificate will be entitled to family leave.

1/28/1998 - German Bishops Ignore Pope, Continue Abortion Counseling

German bishops have announced their intention to continue issuing certificates to women saying that they received counseling before their abortion. The bishops are defying Pope John Paul II’s request that Roman Catholic agencies in Germany stop issuing the certificates, claiming that the certificates support abortion. The German government has urged the clergy to ignore the Pope and continue the counseling.

Women in Germany must provide certificates of counseling obtained from church groups, the Red Cross, or the state before they can have an abortion. The German bishops conference has stated that it would consider discontinuing the certificate program in March.

1/28/1998 - U.S. Supported Pipeline Will Continue, Despite Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Despite promises from oil companies to hold off on a $1.9 billion gas pipeline until there is a recognized government and peace in Afghanistan, Pakistan officials stated that the agreement between the nations is very close to being formalized. The pipeline will travel 105 miles in Turkmenistan, 462 in Afghanistan and 328 in Pakistan, pumping oil from a gas field in Daulatabad with a reserve of 25 trillion cubic feet.

Pakistan officials met directly with the Taliban militia rebels who have taken over much of Afghanistan. Pakistan’s Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Chaudhry Nisar stated, “I convinced Afghans that this particular project was most important for Afghanistan for a number of reasons. If this project goes through, it will bring Afghanistan and most importantly, their government, on the international energy map.”

The Taliban met with Unocal, a United States oil and gas company, and decided to go ahead with the project. Unocal holds 46.5 percent of the stake in the line, and has begun training of Afghan men in the U.S. to build the pipeline.

The Feminist Majority, other women’s organizations and human rights groups worry that the pipeline, which would earn the Taliban $50 to $100 million a year, will lead to recognition of the Taliban government. The militia group has initiated a war of gender apartheid, banning women and girls from working, going to school, and from leaving their homes without wearing a “burqa,” a debilitating head-to-toe garment.

1/28/1998 - World Health Organization Nominates First Woman Director General

Former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland has been nominated director general of the World Health Organization. WHO organizes vaccination efforts, responds to epidemics, distributes medicine and tracks diseases. If Brundtland is elected in May she will be the first woman to head the WHO in its 50 year history, and will be the third woman to be appointed to a major U.N. post within a year.

The United States, which contributes 25% of WHO’s budget, announced its support for Brundtland earlier this month. U.S. representative to the U.N. in Geneva George E. Moose stated, “This is a great step forward for the World Health Organization. She is superbly qualified to lead the World Health Organization into the next century.”

1/27/1998 - Rape Used to Control, Intimidate Indian Women

Women’s organizations in India are outraged over increasing use of rape as a means of intimidation and punishment. “Not only is there an escalation in the number of rapes, but in the perversity of crimes against women,” said Indu Agnihotri, from the Centre for Women’s Studies.

The situation is worse in the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, where caste and gender divides are explicit. Judges have acquitted rapists due to their high caste status, stating that the rape of a lower-caste woman could not have taken place. “Lower-rung police officials are not responsive and either do not register complaints or falsify or delay them,” said Kokila Vyas of the National Commission for Women (NCW) in India.

Women who are working for social justice often face the greatest risk of being raped. In 1993, an activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan in Gujarat who resisted expulsion from her land was gang-raped by police. A lower-caste woman who was leading an anti-liquor movement was stripped, led around naked and raped by men working for the liquor lobby. Land owners and members of the security forces also rape women of lower caste regularly, as a means of subordinating the women.

Women’s groups are crying out for change. “If they think they can silence us with rape, they are mistaken. We will never take it lying down. We are now stronger than ever before,” stated activist Sumli Bai.

1/27/1998 - Domestic Violence Costly in Britain

A major study conducted by three universities reported that one woman in nine is a victim of severe domestic violence in Britain. Members of the research team, who was given access to emergency and social service files, found that thousands of women were seeking help in local area hospitals and service organizations.

Dr. Elizabeth Stanko of Brunel University said, “We have to get away from the idea that domestic violence is something hidden; public services are dealing with it day-in and day-out. It is only hidden in the sense that virtually no public agency could account for how much they spent on domestic violence.”

The study, called Counting the Costs, was aimed at estimating the expenses of domestic violence in England. Reports claim that more than one billion pounds (1.6 billion dollars), or 90 pounds (150 dollars) per household was spent annually.

Joan Ruddock, the minister for women, commented on the study, “Domestic violence is a crime and cannot be tolerated. To put a financial cost on such unacceptable behavior fails to recognize the emotional and physical hurt placed on women and children. We are determined to tackle this scourge of society.”