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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."

2/9/1998 - Technique May Lead to Less Breast Cancer Surgery

A new scanning procedure has been developed that may result in less surgery for women with breast cancer. Doctors from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, developed the new procedure that checks lymph nodes for malignancy.

“Pictures are taken twice over 24 hours using a gamma camera and a computer then compares the two images showing the probability of a tumor being there,” said Dr. Keith Britton, head of the ICRF Nuclear Medicine Unit.

“If a node is positive it can be removed and looked at by pathology to double check if cancer is present. That way we can tell women in advance how extensive their breast cancer is going to be,” said Britton.

Cancer patients currently have to undergo painful surgery to remove lymph nodes to be checked for spreading cancer.

A study published in the British Journal of Cancer showed the new technique to be 90 percent correct in predicting the spread of cancer. The most common form of cancer among women, one in 12 will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.

2/9/1998 - U.S. Marines Attack Colombian Woman

Four U.S. Marines have been charged with attacking a woman. The Marines, stationed at the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Columbia, took the woman to a U.S. embassy garage, where one of the Marines demanded she have sex with him. When she refused, the Marines beat her. The woman attempted to gain compensation for the attack from the embassy and was offered $150 by a U.S. official to not file suit.

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

2/9/1998 - Pregnant Waitresses Awarded $786,000 in Discrimination Suit

In a suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal jury awarded $786,000 to three waitresses for sex discrimination. The Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Florida required waitresses to transfer to lower-paying positions such as cashier and hostess after their fifth month of pregnancy. Lawyers for the Rustic Inn claim that the restaurant was trying to protect pregnant women from having to lift heavy trays.

“We are very upset .... In over 40 years, only three women complained on this issue,” said restaurant general manager Michael Diascro.

Plaintiff Barbara Nuesse, who was fired after her fifth month of pregnancy, said “I feel I’ve really done right by all women, not just myself and the other girls.”

2/9/1998 - Congresswoman Seeks CA Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination

Congresswoman Jane Harman announced her decision to run for governor of California. Harman will run against businessman Al Checchi and Lt. Gov. Gray Davis for the Democratic nomination.

Harman graduated from Harvard Law School and before being elected to Congress, served as an aide to U.S. Sen. John Tunney, D-Cal., in the 1970’s. She was deputy Cabinet secretary in the Carter White House and special counsel for the Defense Department. Harman is known for her past pro-choice and gay rights stances.

2/6/1998 - Bombing Investigation Named After Police Victim

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is naming the investigation into the bombing of an abortion clinic after Robert Dewayne Sanderson, the Birmingham police officer who was killed. ATF special agent Joe Green said, “we decided to name it the Sandbomb Task Force .... That’s our way of honoring the officer.”

Authorities, including members of the ATF’s elite National Response Team, are continuing investigations throughout the Birmingham area. “It’s important that we cover as much ground as we can as quickly as we can,” said Green.

The New Woman All Women Clinic that was bombed reopened yesterday. Two patients arrived minutes after the doors were opened. Diane Derzis, clinic co-owner, said, “It just shows the determination of women who want an abortion.”

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/6/1998 - Senegal President: Cease Female Genital Mutilation

Senegal President Abdou Diouf called for an end to female genital mutilation, requesting that the government formulate a law prohibiting the practice. Diouf said it was necessary to “inform the population and to raise awareness about risks which women and children are exposed to” as a result of the procedure.

Diouf said that ending female genital mutilation is part of promoting human rights and the fight for equality between men and women through government regulations.

Diouf called for a “national dialogue” about the practice. “In each village in Senegal, the inhabitants must come together and decide to end the practice of female circumcision,” proclaimed Diouf.

Feminist News Stories on Female Genital Mutilation

2/6/1998 - Portugal Relaxes Abortion Laws

The Portugal Parliament passed a law legalizing abortions performed up to the 10th week of pregnancy. The vote, 116-107, came a year after a similar proposal was voted down.

Socialist Party delegate Sousa Pinto said, “This finally allows us to develop more sensitive, more appropriate measures” for dealing with unwelcome pregnancies. The new bill will take effect in 90 days and allows women who want an abortion to have consultations with family planning centers, where they will be referred to an abortion provider.

Abortions were decriminalized in Portugal 13 years ago. Women could obtain abortions when their health was in serious risk during the first three months of gestation. Last year 280 legal abortions were performed in Portugal, with pro-choice advocates estimating 16,000 botched, illegal abortions.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion

2/6/1998 - Pharmaceutical Company Settles Sexual Harassment Suit

The pharmaceutical company Astra USA, Inc. has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a sexual harassment suit brought by approximately 80 women. Victims claim that they were expected to socialize, dance and have sex with top company officials and clients. When employees attempted to come forward with complaints, they were often fired or denied promotions, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“It was constant, and you couldn’t complain,” said Lelia Bush, a former Astra employee, “There was no one to complain to.”

Ivan Rowley, Astra’s current president, issued a statement concerning the settlement. “It is important that we acknowledge that there were instances of sexual harassment at Astra. As a company we are ashamed of the unacceptable behavior,” said Rowley.

2/6/1998 - Special K Discontinues Too-Thin Model Ads

The Kellogg Co. announced that it will no longer use “super slim” models in Special K ads. The ads for the low-fat cereal depicted extremely thin women with tight-fitting clothes.

“Women generally were not able to relate to our previous ads,” said Kenna Bridges, product publicity manager for Kellogg. “They felt the body weights and sizes were unrealistic. We took the feedback and we’re reshaping our own attitude,” said Bridges.

2/6/1998 - Court Upholds Breast Implant Lawsuit Decision

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Judge Yada Magee’s decision to dismiss 1,800 women from a lawsuit against Dow Chemical. Judge Magee ruled in December that the claims were too dissimilar to lump into one lawsuit. Each of the 1,800 women can instead file individual lawsuits, without having to prove the breast implant company’s negligence. The original lawsuit against Dow Chemical, filed by eight women, remains in court. Dow Corning, the manufacturer of the implants, filed for bankruptcy in 1995.

2/6/1998 - ACLU Challenges Maryland Anti-Gay Law

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged a Maryland law that makes oral sex an illegal act between members of the same sex. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five lesbians and gay men, who claim that their equal protection and privacy rights protected in the Constitution are violated. Couples caught engaging in or offering oral sex to members of the same gender face up to 10 years in prison.

“People use this law to justify bashing and violence against us .... It allows non-gays who don’t like us to demonize us as criminals,” said Catherine Brennan, a Baltimore lawyer and plaintiff in the suit.

Oral sex between consensual, heterosexual couples is legal in Maryland. Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas have similar laws which criminalize oral sex between homosexual couples.

2/5/1998 - FBI Releases Photo of Bombing Witness

The FBI has issued photographs and descriptions of Eric Robert Rudolph and searched his home. Rudolph1s whose truck was last scene leaving the scene of the Birmingham, Alabama clinic bombing. Rudolph is a white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, and was born on September 19, 1966.

"Although Mr. Rudolph is being sought only as a witness, due to the violence associated with this crime he should not be approached by anyone outside of law enforcement," said the FBI in a statement. Rudolph registered his 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck with a white camper shell on the back, with the address of an abortion provider in Asheville, North Carolina. Owners of the Asheville clinic also own the New Women clinic that was bombed in Birmingham. The properties had been listed in a brochure that was being distributed among anti-abortion extremists.

The explosion killed a police officer and seriously injured Emily Lyons, a clinic nurse. Lyons, who underwent 10 hours of surgery on the day of the bombing, lost her left eye. Lyons also suffered severe injuries to her right eye, leg, abdomen and hands. Status reports on Emily Lyon1s condition, and information on where to send letters of support can be found on the Lyon1s Web page,

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB if you have information about possible suspects.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/5/1998 - Human Rights Study Reports Worldwide Oppression of Women

The U.S. State Department's latest annual human rights study reported that women around the world are still being denied basic rights. The annual report on human rights covers 193 countries, and is used by the U.S. Congress to make decisions concerning foreign aid, military and trade preferences. During his first term, President Clinton required that the report devote a section to the status of women.

Despite continued advances in areas such as the prohibition of genital mutilation, and the criminalization of domestic violence, which can largely be attributed to the work of non-governmental organizations (NGO1s), many women continue to be denied their basic human rights. The abuses listed range from rape and forced prostitution to continued economic disparities in what are considered to be modern, democratic countries.

Algerian and Afghan women face the harshest conditions, according to the reports. Since the Taliban militia gained control over Afghanistan, women are systematically being stripped of basic rights they once enjoyed.

The study reported, "Women were beaten for violating increasingly restrictive Taliban dress codes, which require women to be covered from head to toe. Women were strictly prohibited from working outside the home, and women and girls were denied the right to an education. Women were forbidden from appearing outside the home unless accompanied by a male family. Beatings and death resulted from failure to observe these restrictions."

Women in Algeria are undergoing barbarous conditions as a result of fighting between Islamic militants and the military-backed government. The report stated, "Algerian women suffered extreme oppression and atrocities by militant groups this year, including rape, forced prostitution, 'temporary marriages,' and beatings and beheading for failure to wear head coverings," the report said.

The study also reported an increase of human rights abuses in countries that are in "transition" towards a democratic government. "In such situations," said the report, "women lack shelter, food, and the ability to provide for their children." Increased trafficking of women was also noticed, specifically in Eastern Europe, Indochina and the former Soviet Union.

Violence against women both inside and outside of the home runs rampant throughout the United States and "virtually every country."

Feminist News Stories on Afghanistan

2/5/1998 - Army Officer Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Misconduct Charges

Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney pled not guilty to 19 charges, including sexual misconduct. McKinney, the Army1s former top enlisted soldier, has been accused by six women of sexual harassment and misconduct. McKinney faces charges of indecent assault, maltreatment of a subordinate, adultery and obstruction of justice.

Six officers, including four women and six command sergeants major were questioned for jury duty. Jury selection will be concluded today.

In military law, the jury can consist of a minimum of five members. Two-thirds are required to vote for a conviction, while three-fourths of the panel must vote for a sentence of ten years or more. McKinney, who filed papers requesting retirement with full benefits this summer, faces loss of rank and 55 years in prison if convicted.

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

2/5/1998 - Conservatives Stall Surgeon General Nomination

The nomination of Dr. David Satcher reached the Senate floor, and was stalled by objections from conservatives. Sen. John D. Ashcroft (R-MO), who is leading the opposition, criticized Satcher1s opposition to legislation that would ban D&X abortions, and for supporting needle exchange programs for drug addicts to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), the only medical doctor in the Senate, supported Satcher, claiming that he was highly qualified. Satcher has also received support from the Congressional Black Caucus, the American Medical Association and Conservative Rep. Tom Coburn.

Should Ashcroft decide to filibuster the nomination, 60 votes would confirm Satcher for the surgeon general post.

2/5/1998 - Maryland Considers Domestic Violence Divorce Law

A House of Maryland Delegates will vote on legislation that would allow married victims of domestic violence to obtain an immediate divorce. Currently, Maryland residents must endure a one-year waiting limit before filing for divorce.

The law "traps women in dangerous relationships .... We must remove every obstacle that prevents women from making a safe escape," said Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in a statement to Judiciary Committee members.

Domestic Violence Information Center

2/5/1998 - Women Rescued from Human Zoo

Karen women, known for their extended necks resulting from wearing heavy brass neck rings, were being exploited as tourist attractions and later rescued from four shops in northern Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thai social welfare officials liberated 39 women from the shops, after receiving complaints from tourists that the women were being "put on show like in a zoo."

The women were members of 2,000 Karen refugees who fled violence in their homeland.

2/4/1998 - Abortion Rights Advocates Warn of Increasing Violence

As abortion rights advocates gather in Birmingham, Alabama to offer their support to clinic workers after a deadly bombing, activists are warning that clinic violence is increasing. Ann Glazier, a researcher for Planned Parenthood Federation said, "it’s this idea: If you want to do violence, claim to be the Army of God no matter who you are .... Too many clinics are saying, "The Army of God is in Atlanta. What do we have to worry about in Montana?" said Glazier.

FBI investigators are still inspecting letters received by news agencies which claimed responsibility for the bombing by the Army of God. Authorities have made no arrests and are still searching for a 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck, registered to Eric Robert Rudolph, with North Carolina License plates, KND-1117.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/4/1998 - Army Sexual Misconduct Trial Suspended

The court-martial trial of Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney, the Army’s former top soldier, has been suspended while McKinney’s lawyers investigate a plaintiff who had been under witness protection since her allegations were made. Sgt. Christine Feltrow claimed that after filing charges of sexual misconduct against McKinney she was threatened. The Army agreed to place Feltrow under protection, and will not say where she is being held.

Six women accused McKinney of sexually assaulting or threatening them. McKinney, a 29-year Army veteran, faces 19 charges and 55 years in prison if convicted.

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

2/4/1998 - Conservative Rep. Supports Surgeon General Nomination

Conservative Rep. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has issued his support for surgeon general nominee, Dr. David Satcher. Coburn, also a medical doctor, sent a letter to Senator Ashcroft, R-MO, one of the strongest adversaries of Satcher’s appointment.

Ashcroft protests the nomination because of Satcher’s opposition to a proposed ban on late-term abortions, and Satcher’s support of international research studies on pregnant women with the AIDS virus. Rep. Coburn wrote, "While I can appreciate many of your concerns about his nomination, I believe it is imperative that the post of surgeon general be filled as soon as possible and that Dr. Satcher is by far the best candidate to be nominated by President Clinton." Coburn added, "He is extremely qualified ... and I firmly believe him to be a man of character and integrity."

Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, said that she respects the rights of Senate members to object to appointments, but "we do not believe that they have the right to prevent a man of extraordinary integrity and impeccable qualifications ... from serving his country."

The surgeon general’s post has been vacant since 1994, when Dr. Joycelyn Elders resigned after a controversy over her remarks supporting sex education. The Senate denied approval to Dr. Henry Foster, who was nominated by President Clinton in 1995. The Senate is expected to vote on Satcher’s nomination later this week.

2/4/1998 - Student Tenor Recast Because of Gender

A high school senior was recast in Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical, "The Lass That Loved a Sailor." Sara Zinzilieta, a strong tenor, originally won the lead as the sailor. After a flurry of controversy and a parent’s meeting during which some parents complained that keeping a girl in the part would send a "mixed message" to students, the school board recast Ms. Zinzilieta to a major soprano female role.

"It was pretty awful because I had tried out for the role and had gotten it, and then it was taken away from me because I’m female. There’s no love scenes. There’s not even a hug," said Zinzilieta.

Director of the high school’s drama program, Doug Hahn, quit after the board’s decision took effect. "There would be no Shakespeare if we didn’t have men and women playing different roles," said Hahn.