1987-1989 | 1990-1994 | 1995-1999 | 2000


FMF’s second award-winning videotape, Abortion Denied: Shattering Lives, documents the devastating effect of parental consent and notification laws on young women. The video features Karen and Bill Bell, whose daughter, Becky died on September 16, 1988 as a result of an illegal, back-alley abortion due to Indiana’s parental consent law. The videotape is awarded the prestigious Cine Golden Eagle Award in l990.

Karen and Bill Bell join forces with the Feminist Majority Foundation for the Becky Bell Campaign, a national campaign against parental consent and notification laws.

The Feminist Majority Foundation organizes delegation of feminist leaders and prominent scientists to travel to Europe to meet with Roussel Uclaf and Hoechst AG to urge introduction of RU 486 to the United States.

Feminist Majority Foundation Board Chair Peg Yorkin, Foundation President Eleanor Smeal and Foundation Director of Policy and Research Jennifer Jackman prepare petitions to present to pharmaceutical executives. The delegation presents Dr. Edouard Sakiz, CEO of Roussel Uclaf, with 800 lbs. of petitions for RU 486 at the pharmaceutical company’s Paris headquarters. Over 700,000 petitions were delivered to Roussel Uclaf and Hoechst AG over the course of the Foundation’s seven-year campaign.

The Feminist Majority Foundation announces first Feminist of the Year Awards. The Feminist Majority Foundation’s 1990 Feminist of the Year awards are presented to ABC News Anchor Carol Simpson; Harvard Law School Professor Derek Bell; University of Iowa Medical School Professor Dr. Jean Jew; Ireland President Mary Robinson; Saudia Arabian women protesters; Ms. Editor Robin Morgan; Des Moines Register Editor Geneva Overholser and Rape Survivor Nancy Ziegenmeyer; Boson Herald Sports Reporter Lisa Olson; Comedian Nora Dunn; Texas Governor Ann Richards; Los Angeles City Council Member Gloria Molina; Southwest Missouri State University Student Newspaper Editor Traci Bauer; and Brown University student protestors.

Feminization of Power Campus Campaign launches to increase the number of women in student leadership positions. Campaign helps to elect young women to student government president in several colleges and to the board of trustees of several universities.


Peg Yorkin, chair and co-founder of the Feminist Majority Foundation, announces an historic gift of $10 million to the Foundation; the largest contribution ever made for women’s rights. The purpose of the donation is to empower women to take action, and to ensure a legacy of feminism for future generations. “My gift is a wake-up call to women. The pleading by women to men in power must stop. We must empower women,”said Yorkin. The first program of the endowment is to help make RU 486 or another anti-progestin available to women. The timing of the gift was providential. The Yorkin announcement generated unprecedented hope and can-do spirit among women at the same time that the Senate’s treatment of Anita Hill generated unprecedented anger.

NEW INITIATIVE — The Foundation launches a campaign for gender balance in the Los Angeles Police Department after the Rodney King police brutality incident in Los Angeles. The Feminist Majority Foundation calls for gender balance on the special commission investigating the beating and for an investigation of the relationship of the gender composition to police brutality on the police force. Research shows that increasing the numbers of women in police departments reduces police violence and increases police response to domestic violence calls.


Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal announces special New Jersey Campaign aimed at Hoechst Celanese in effort to release RU 486. Hoechst Celanese is a 100%-owned subsidiary of Hoechst AG which controls RU 486 patent rights.

Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, Board Chair Peg Yorkin, and Director of Policy and Research Jennifer Jackman travel to Frankfurt, Germany to meet with officials at Hoechst AG to urge U.S. introduction of RU 486. Hoechst AG, which is the majority shareholder in Roussel Uclaf, has steadfastly opposed distribution of RU 486.

The Feminist Majority Foundation leads a postcard campaign urging Stroh’s Brewery to end an offensive advertising campaign that created a hostile work environment for women employees at the brewery.

GLOBAL VICTORY — The Foundation’s Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women sets up an emergency Western Union Hotline to flood the Kuwait Embassy and the State Department with letters, urging assistance for women domestic workers from the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh who were raped and beaten by their Kuwaiti employers, police and the military. The women had fled to embassies for safety but employers refused to return their passports so the women could return to their homeland. Because of the publicity and pressure of the campaign some 10,000 women were allowed to return to their homeland.

As a part of the Web of Influence Campaign to win introduction of RU 486 to the United States, the Feminist Majority Foundation held a demonstration in April at the Trevira Twosome Race in New York City. The race was sponsored by Hoechst Celanese and Nike. Hoechst Celanese is the 100%-owned subsidiary of Hoechst AG, the German pharmaceutical company that controls the RU 486 patent. Nike uses Hoechst-produced fibers in its sports attire.

As a part of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s Web of Influence Campaign to release RU 486, New York City Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman led efforts to prevent New York City hospitals from purchasing pharmaceutical products from Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, whose parent companies hold stock in Roussel Uclaf.

Feminist Majority Foundation sponsors, with the National Woman Abuse Prevention Center, a national conference of 48 state domestic violence coalitions. The conference sought to develop strategies to increase funding for programs and to implement the Gender Balance in Police Force Project.

VICTORY — The Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Defense Project keeps clinics open in Buffalo, New York despite a planned extended siege by Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue, after having been welcomed to Buffalo by the mayor fails to close clinics and quits blockade efforts in Buffalo after only one week. Next, we help to prevent siege of New York City clinics during and after the l992 National Democratic Convention.

Abortion Rights Mobilization’s President Larry Lader organizes challenge to FDA import ban on RU 486. Lader and Leona Benten traveled to Great Britian to bring back a dose of RU 486 so that Benten could end her pregnancy. The RU 486 supply was confiscated at JFK airport, but Benten’s story made front page news and helped galvanize demands for bringing this medical breakthrough to American women.

Feminist Majority Foundation 1992 Feminists of the Year are Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez; Navy Lieutenant Paula Coughlin; Minnesota High School Student Katy Lyle; Stroh Brewery Plantiffs Dianna Chaves, Antonia Felipe, Beth Gruber, Lana Haston, Jean Keopple, Lisa Meagher, Tammy Meyers, and Diane Novotny-Young; Women’s Rock Group L7; Science Teacher Doug Kirkpatrick; RU 486 Activist Leona Benten; Abortion Rights Mobilization President Larry Lader; Former National Guard Nurse Margarethe Cammermeyer; Author Blanche Weisen Cook; Diane English and Candice Bergen; Third Wave Founders Rebecca Walker and Shannon Liss; Woman Who Won Japan’s First Sexual Harassment Case (whose name was withheld); and Los Angeles City Council for Police Gender Balance Vote.


The Feminist Majority Foundation is among the first organizations to sound the alarm on the increasing virulence of anti-abortion violence and increasing death threats aimed at clinic personnel and defenders. FMF and two clinic owners hold a D.C. press conference to call attention to the increasing violence and death threats 10 days before the murder of Dr. David Gunn. The New York Times article calls Smeal a “cold warrior” looking for a war.

In response to the murder of Dr. David Gunn at a Pensacola, Florida abortion clinic, the Feminist Majority Foundation establishes an Emergency Clinic Defense Fund and provides security equipment, armed guards, and assistance for critically affected Florida clinics. FMF also establishes college fund for Gunn’s two children.

VICTORY — The Feminist Majority Foundation mobilizes unprecedented numbers of abortion rights supporters to protect patients and clinic staff during Operation Rescue’s seven city summer Cities of Refuge attacks including Jackson, MS, Philadelphia, PA, Cleveland, OH, Little Rock, AR. Operation Rescue multi-city blockade strategy fails as clinics stay open and blockade attempts fail.

VICTORY — Feminist Majority Foundation counters Operation Rescue protest against RU 486 in front of the French embassy, outnumbering Operation Rescue by 4-1.

NEW INITIATIVE — Feminist Majority Foundation launches a Task Force on Women and Girls in Sports. The Task Force is chaired by Molly Yard, immediate past president of the National Organization for Women, and is comprised of leaders in the field of women’s athletics who are at the forefront of expanding opportunities for women and girls in athletics: women like Donna Lopiano, Executive Director of the Women’s Sports Foundation; Dr. Christine Grant, Director of Athletics at the University of Iowa; Dr. Evelyn Murphy, former Massachusetts Lt. Governor; and Mariah Burton Nelson, former pro basketball player and author of two books on women in sports.

The Feminist Chronicles, 1953-1993, written by Feminist Majority Foundation board members and co-founders Toni Carabillo and Judith Meuli, is published.

Feminist Majority Foundation releases report on loss of the Iowa state Equal Rights Amendment in referendum, New Strategies, Old Obstacles in the Fight for Equality: An Analysis of the 1992 Iowa Equal Rights Amendment Campaign.

NEW INITIATIVE — The Feminist Majority Foundation’s first annual National Clinic Violence Survey finds that half of clinics nationwide experienced severe anti-abortion violence in 1993. Of the clinics, 21% reported death threats and 18% received bomb threats. Blockcades were set up at 16% of clinics. Clinic personnel were stalked at 14.9% of clinics. Invasions occurred at 14.6% of clinics. Chemical attacks were reported at 10.3% of clinics and arson at 1.8% of clinics.

Feminist Majority Foundation 1993 Feminist of the Year Award recipients are Mary Chapin-Carpenter; Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University and Global Campaign for Women’s Human Rights; Congresswomen Cynthia McKinney and Cardiss Collins; Clinic Buffer Zone Case Attorneys Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, Kathy Patrick, and Susan England; Law Professor Clare Dalton; Lawyer Nancy Ezold; David Gunn, Jr., son of slain abortion provider Dr. David Gunn; New Moon Editors Nancy Gruver, Joe Kelly and the Editorial Board; Senator Carol Moseley-Braun; Harris v. Forklist Sexuah Harassment Plaintiff Teresa Harris; Socialist International Women General Secretary Maria Jonas; Sociologist and Comparable Worth Pioneer Ronnie Steinberg; and Howard Women’s Basketball Coach Sanya Tyler.


The Feminist Majority Foundation helps provide leadership to make women’s empowerment and reproductive rights central to the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo, Egypt. The Foundation was represented at the Cairo conference by a five-member delegation including Jennifer Jackman, Christine Onyango, Colleen Dermondy, Kathleen McLean and Maria Elena Chavez.

VICTORY — Patent rights for RU 486 are transferred from Roussel Uclaf to the Population Council in response to the outpouring of public support for bringing the drug to the United States. Dr. Edouard Sakiz, then Chair of Roussel Uclaf’s Board of Supervisors, acknowledges the Feminist Majority Foundation’s key role in generating public support for RU 486 introduction.

Feminist Majority Foundation’s first annual comedy benefit, “Choose to Laugh: Laugh to Choose,” raises $70,000 for National Clinic Defense Project.

VICTORY — Dr. Heidi Weissman wins $900,000 sex discrimination settlement from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Montefoire Medical Center in New York City, with the help of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

The Foundation supports Dr. Maureen Polsby’s sex discrimination case against the National Institutes of Health.

VICTORY — The Feminist Majority Foundation wins Los Angeles City Council vote ratifying policy requiring Los Angeles Police Academy classes to be at least 43.4% women.

NEW INITIATIVE — Feminist Majority Foundation creates Women’s Trust Fund to help fund clinical trials on RU 486.

VICTORY — Foundation wins landmark U.S. Supreme Court case upholding constitutionality of court-ordered clinic buffer safety zones in Madsen v. Women’s Health Center. Case originates in Melbourne, Florida to protect the Aware Woman Clinic. As a result, about 30% of all abortion clinics are protected by buffer safety-zones today.

Feminist Majority Foundation conducts second annual National Clinic Violence Survey, revealing that anti-abortion extremists are turning from blockade strategies to stalking and death threats.

Dr. Britton and volunteer clinic escort James Barrett are murdered outside of Pensacola, Florida clinics. June Barrett is injured in the attack. National Clinic Defense staff work out of the Pensacola clinic for months to assist clinics during the crisis.

BREAKTHROUGH — The Feminist Majority Foundation plays a key role in securing US Marshals for some 30 of the most severely targeted clinics and, with a professional security firm, conducts professional security assessments for beseiged clinics nationwide.

1994 Walk for Choice in Los Angeles draws hundreds and raises money for National Clinic Defense Project.

GLOBAL VICTORY — The Feminist Majority Foundation organizes demonstration outside the Bangladesh embassy in support of feminist writer Taslima Nasrin. Nasrin left Bangladesh to escape death threats from Muslim fundamentalists opposed to her outspoken views on women’s rights. Nasrin is later granted political asylum in Sweden.

Second Annual Feminist Majority Foundation “Choose to Laugh, Laugh to Choose” event in Los Angeles features Roseanne and raises additional funds for National Clinic Defense Project.

National Clinic Defense Project alerts scores of clinics up and down East Coast after the shootings and murders of Shannon Lowney and Nichols at two Brookline women’s clinics. The Brookline murderer is thwarted as he tries to enter the Norfolk clinic. Just ten days before our National Clinic Defense security team had conducted a security assessment for the clinic.

The Feminist Majority Foundation awarded 1994 Feminist of the Year Awards to Author Isabel Allende; Asian Immigrant WOmen Advocates; Dandy Barrett-Witty and Bruce Barrett, daughter and son of slain volunteer clinic escort James Barrett; Congressman Don Edwards; Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard; National Women’s Health Organization President Susan Hill; Assemblywoman Sheila James Kuehl, first openly gay member of the California Legislature; Bangladesh Feminist Writer Taslima Nasrin; Attorney Winn Newman; United Nations Population Fund Director Nafis Sadik; and Drs. Edouard Sakiz and Catherine Euvrard of Roussel Uclaf.

Support eh ERA banner