Part II – 1992

1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 |1957 | 1958 | 1959
1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966
1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 19701971 | 1972 | 1973
1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980
1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987
1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | Epilogue, 1993


Members and delegates gathered in Washington, D.C. for NOW’s Silver Anniversary and 25th annual conference, presided over by NOW’s eighth national president, Patricia Ireland. Events included a gala dinner honoring past presidents of the organization at the French Embassy, an auction, and a women’s comedy night produced by Robin Tyler. The centerpiece was a Global Feminist Conference, with representatives from 45 countries. It included workshops, and a general assembly session that called for a “global communications network so women could share information and react quickly to injustices around the world.” The Women’s Philharmonic, conducted by JoAnn Falletta, presented the first-ever women’s concert at the Kennedy Center as the final event of the weekend. (01/10-12/92)

Heavweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was convicted of rape. (02/10/92)

Some 750,000 women, men and children turned out for a NOW-organized march in Washington, D.C. They massed behind a banner that declared “WE WON’T GO BACK! WE WILL FIGHT BACK!” It was the largest march and rally ever held in the nation’s capital. In addition to the leadership and delegations from every pro-choice organization and hundreds of celebrities, thousands of students from 600 campuses across the country participated. (04/05/92)

In Los Angeles, rioting, looting, arson involving 600 buildings, and 52 deaths, followed the acquittal of four policemen on trial for the beating of Rodney King, a Black motorist. (04/29/92)

The Navy announced it had sent the names of 70 men to their commanding officers for possible disciplinary action for their roles in the 1991 sex abuse incident at the Tailhook Convention in 1991. (06/03/92)

The U.S. Supreme Court postponed ruling on a case on whether federal judges have the power to protect abortion clinics from disruptive protests of Operation Rescue. (Bray v. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic). The issue had last arisen in Wichita, KS, when a federal judge called in U.S. marshalls to prevent Operation Rescue from blockading the clinics. The widely used law was based on the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. Speculation was that the justices, who heard the arguments before Clarence Thomas joined the Court, were deadlocked 4-4 and that the arguments would have to be reheard with Justice Thomas casting the deciding vote. (06/08/92).

President George Bush vetoed legislation overturning a federal ban on the use of transplanted fetal tissue from abortions in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, Huntington’s disease, spinal cord injuries and other conditions. (06/23/92)

The 1992 Tailhook Association convention in San Diego, CA was cancelled as the investigation of sexual misconduct by Navy officers at the 1991 convention continued and widened as a result of the disclosure that important documents were omitted from an official inquiry into the assaults. (06/17/92) Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett III resigned, accepting responsibility for “a leadership failure” in the Tailhook scandal. (06/27/92)

In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirmed what it called the “essential holdings” of Roe that women have a constitutional right to choose abortion prior to fetal viability, but declared that states also have a “compelling” interest in potential human life throughout pregnancy and upheld a series of restrictions. (06/29/92)

House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich (R-GA) barely won renomination. Running in a new district in suburban Atlanta because of redistricting, Gingrich, who outspent his Republican challenger $1.1 million to $150,000, squeaked to victory with 50.7% of the vote. (07/21/92)

The Democratic Party nominated Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Sen. Albert Gore of Tennessee as its candidates for President and Vice President. (07/13-17/92) H. Ross Perot unexpectedly abandoned plans to run as an independent. (07/16/92) The Republicans renominated President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle. (08/19/92)

At the Republican Convention, the religious right captured the party platform as Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson and Dan and Marilyn Quayle (who shared their box with right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell) all but declared cultural civil war in harsh speeches that bashed feminists and gays. (08/17-21/92)

John Schlafly, 41, the eldest son of anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, publicly acknowledged that he was gay. Schlafly’s admission came two weeks after QW, a New York magazine, revealed his homosexuality without his consent. His mother, who fought ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by suggesting there was a connection between the ERA and AIDS, denied that this and her opposition to extending civil rights protection to gays, was gay-bashing. (09/18/92)

Congress passed a Family Medical Leave bill which would grant workers up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid leave to obtain medical treatment for themselves or to care for a newborn, sick children, ill spouses or elderly parents. (09/10/92) President Bush vetoed the bill. (09/22/92) Congress failed to override his veto.

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported that there were about a million attacks on women in the previous year by their husbands or lovers and another 3 million violent domestic crimes that went unreported. (10/02/92)

Congress approved a budget of more than $400 million for breast cancer research, a threefold increase over the previous year for the disease that hits one in every eight American women and kills 46,000 a year. The increase in funding came from the Pentagon budget. The federal budget for AIDS research was set at about $1.2 billion for 1993. (10/92)

President George Bush vetoed a bill to overturn the “gag rule”-the federal regulation prohibiting abortion counseling at federally financed family planning clinics-that had been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. The Senate voted to override the veto 73-26, (10/01/92) but the House failed to override with a vote of 266-148, 10 votes short. (10/02/92)

Democrat Bill Clinton was elected President, and Al Gore, Vice President, defeating incumbent Republican President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle. The electoral college vote was 370-168. (11/03/92)


Every day 15 to 20 Filipino, Sri Lankan and other foreign women brought to Kuwait as domestic servants sought refuge in their embassies, according to a report in the New York Times. The Philippine Embassy alone sheltered 130 of these refugees. They complained of beatings, sexual abuse, late or non-payment of salaries, no time off and being denied contact with the outside world. The Kuwaiti government would not issue exit visas without their employers’ consent. Unless they could raise the $1,500 to cover their employers’ cost in bringing them to Kuwait, they were trapped, unable to work and unable to leave. (01/03/92)

Saginaw NOW, Midland NOW and Bay County NOW, the three northern-most Michigan chapters, trained members and other volunteers in tactics of clinic defense when two area clinics became the target of anti-abortion fanatics. They were successful in keeping the clinics, located in a strip shopping mall, open. (1992)

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) expanded its campaign to bring RU 486 into the country by focusing greater attention on Hoechst AG, the German corporation that was the majority owner of the French pharmaceutical company, Roussel Uclaf, that developed the drug. Hoechst was believed to be blocking distribution of RU 486 in the U.S. FMF President Eleanor Smeal traveled to New Jersey to target the Hoechst Celanese Corporation which now accounts for more than 50% of Hoechst AG profits. Said Smeal, “We want the women of New Jersey to know a company headquartered in Sommerville is pivotal in the fight to bring RU 486 into the country.”(01/22/92)

A study of sexual harassment in the U.S. Navy by retired Navy Commander Kay Krohne confirmed yet again a widespread problem in the behavior of both male officers and enlisted men. Krohne, who retired in 1989 after a 21-year Navy career, interviewed 61 women officers, of whom 40-65.5%-had experienced harassment that ranged from being groped to officers exposing themselves. (02/10/92)

Representatives from the Feminist Majority met with Hoechst in Frankfurt to discuss the licensing of RU-486 in the U.S. The delegation included Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin and Jennifer Jackman. They were joined by Dr. Carolyn Motzel, secretary of the Women’s Medical International Organization. The FM delegation separately met with Iris Blaul, the Minister of Health for the German State of Hessen. Blaul had led efforts to begin RU 486 clinical trials in Germany. (02/20/92)

Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal set up an emergency Western Union HotLine and urged the public to flood the Kuwait Embassy and the U.S. State Department with letters urging immediate action on the widely reported accounts that hundreds of Asian women workers were being raped or beaten by their Kuwaiti employers and had taken refuge in their countries’ embassies. The Pentagon had already denied a request by Rep. Pat Schroeder (D-CO) for use of a military plane to fly the women to their respective countries. Schroeder was also denied a visa to visit Kuwait to investigate the reports. (03/16/92)

The Feminist Majority (FM) sponsored a conference on domestic violence immediately after the March for Women’s Lives. FM organizers met with the leadership of 48 state domestic violence coalitions and strategized to increase funding for programs to combat the mounting epidemic of violence against women. The conference was co-sponsored by the National Woman Abuse Prevention Center and focused on sharing information on legislation, developing a federal policy agenda and implementing the Feminist Majority’s campaign to achieve gender balance in the police force. (04/06/92)

The first successful legal action against sexual harassment in Japan came in a decision by a district court (in Fukuoka in Southern Japan) that ruled that a publishing company and one of its male employees had violated a woman’s rights by crude remarks that drove her to quit her job. The feminist movement in Japan is small compared with those in other countries and has had few victories against entrenched sexism. Women said that sexual harassment-from suggestive comments to actual touching- was the norm in Japanese workplaces. Though women are about 40% of the workforce in Japan, most hold clerical jobs. (04/16/92)

The five major clinics in Buffalo, NY, became the target of another siege by Operation Rescue intended to duplicate their effort in Wichita. KS. But this time the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Coordinator Katherine Spillar, a specialist in clinic defense, was on hand with FMF’s Clinic Defense Project organizers, Valerie Berman, Colleen Dermody, duVergne Gaines and Julie Schollenberger, to help Buffalo abortion rights groups organize and to train them in the tactics successfully used in other states. While hundreds of anti-abortion protestors came to Buffalo, not one clinic shut down because hundreds of abortion rights supporters formed a human barricade in front of the clinics and local police maintained tight control at the sites. Key leaders of the local effort included Dianne Mathiowetz, Val Colangelo, Cathy McGuire, Beverly Hiestand, Darcy France, Stephanie Foote, Lynn Rich, and Sharon Fawley. The local YWCA and its executive director, Sue Gaska, provided office and organizing space and support to the defense effort. NOW President Patricia Ireland moved the National Board meeting from Florida to Buffalo and local NOW chapters, as well as NOW volunteers from New York and Boston, all joined in the defense of the clinics. Operation Rescue ended its two-week campaign, suffering from a growing shortage of volunteers willing to risk arrest and overwhelmed by pro-choice forces. The media dubbed the failed effort “Operation Fizzle.” Said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, “There will never be another Wichita.” (04/20-05/02/92)

The Northwest Women’s Law Clinic planned to file suit on behalf of Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer who was discharged from the Washington National Guard, (where she had served as chief nurse), because she was a lesbian. She joined the Army as a student nurse in 1961, was awarded a Bronze Star for her 14-month tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968, and in 1985, was chosen from among 34,000 candidates nationwide as the Veterans Administration’s Nurse of the Year. Married to a career military man for 16 years, she has four sons, two of whom-a 15 and 17 year old-still live with her. (05/30/92)

In the first direct challenge to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on importing RU 486, a pregnant woman, Leona Benten, attempted to bring in a prescription of RU 486 prescribed by her doctor, Louise Taylor, and filled in Europe. The pills were promptly seized by U.S. Customs at Kennedy International Airport. Her trip was arranged by Lawrence Lader of the Abortion Rights Mobilization (ARM), who planned to challenge the seizure in court because they said it was on the FDA’s “import alert” list for political reasons. At the airport to greet Benten and Lader, were NOW President Patricia Ireland, and Feminist Majority President, Eleanor Smeal. (07/01/92)

Acting Navy Secretary J. Daniel Howard ordered a servicewide “stand-down” to give every member of the Navy training on sexual harassment and he announced that the Navy was permanently severing its ties to the Tailhook Association. He also announced the creation of a Standing Committee on Women in the Navy and the Marine Corps to review service sexual harassment policies and hear victims’ complaints.(07/03/92)

Two days after Army Specialist Jacqueline Ortiz (see 06/30 below) said that she had been sexually assaulted by a superior while serving in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, the Army charged Reserve Sergeant David Martinez with one count of forcible sodomy, one count of indecent assault and four counts of falsifying official statements, charges that could result in 40 years of confinment. (07/03/92)

NOW Membership – 275,000; NOW PACs – $550,000. (1992)

Retired Republican Congresswoman Millicent Fenwick, a champion of liberal causes and the model for the Representative Lacey Davenport character in Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic strip, died of heart failure at the age of 82. (09/16/92)

Audre Lorde, 58, black feminist writer and poet laureate of New York State in 1991, died of liver cancer at her home in St. Croix. (11/19/92)


Twenty years after the passage of Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination in education, a report issued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) documented the persistence of bias in favor of men. For every woman who got a chance to play Division I college sports, there were 2.24 men; for every woman who received a scholarship, 2.26 men did; and for every $1 paid to a men’s basketball coach, the women’s coach received 55 cents. In scholarship expenses men received $849,130 to women’s $372,800. The gap in recruiting expenses was nearly 5-1. The breakdown of operating expenses showed $612,206 for men to $179,078 for women. (1992)


State Farm Insurance Company agreed to pay $157 million to 814 women who were denied jobs as agents in the biggest sex discrimination settlement in U.S. history under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The class action suit stemmed from a 1975 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint by Muriel Kraszewski, a former secretary with State Farm who was rejected as an agent by eight State Farm offices despite 12 years experience in insurance sales. She went on to become a successful agent for Farmers Insurance Group, Los Angeles. The women received average payments of $193,000 each. The agreement settling the suit set up a system to allow other California women to file claims and forced State Farm to hire women for 50% of its agent jobs for 10 years. (04/29/92)

Muriel Siebert, the first woman permitted to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1967, was honored for her efforts on behalf of Wall Street women. She was named the 1992 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year, one of only 13 women in the world to be so honored. The international award was established by Mme. Nicole-Barbe Clicquot, a widow who took over her husband’s winery in 1805 and ran it for 60 years. Siebert warned, however, that “Firms are doing what they have to do, legally. But women are coming into Wall Street in large numbers- and they still are not making partner. . . .” Siebert said that equality would come only when the women who gained power on Wall Street used it on behalf of other women. “It will take the decided effort on the part of major firms to make sure that women are advanced according to their abilities. And it will be up to the women who rise to the top to see that they make that effort.” (07/05/92)

The largest single award in a sex discrimination case which was won against Texaco by an employee, Janella Sue Martin, was thrown out by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald E. Cappai, who had presided at the trial. A jury in 1991 had awarded Martin $20.3 million in damages and the same judge had ordered Texaco to promote her two grades. Cappai ruled that the promotion as well as the financial award must be retried, saying that the award was “so disproportionate. . . that it constitutes a manifest injustice and shocks the conscience of this court.” Martin, 49, a credit supervisor, had worked for Texaco for more than 26 years and had agreed to move to Los Angeles from Houston in 1984 because Texaco promised to promote her to manager of credit. After she set up the Los Angeles credit department, Texaco transferred a male employee from Houston, to be her boss while she was on vacation. (07/20/92)


Three states – Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Minnesota – were considering criminal charges against former Roman Catholic priest, Father James Robert Porter, accused of sexually abusing them as children 30 years ago by more than 50 men and women (though the actual total may be 300). The former priest, 58, who had married and fathered four children, was tracked down by Frank Fitzpatrick, one of his victims. The victims who came forward wanted acknowledgement from the church that it made serious mistakes in handling Father Porter’s case; they wanted mechanisms put in place to prevent a recurrence; and financial compensation. Catholic journalist Jason Berry estimated that since 1985, the Catholic Church has paid more than $350 million in damages, health care and legal expenses coming from cases of pedophilia by priests. (06/92)

Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, the National Conference of Bishops’ head of the Right to Life Committee, announced he would establish an independent board made up mostly of lay members to investigate accusations of sexual abuse of children by priests in his archdiocese. He was accepting the recommendation of a three-member commission which had been asked to review archdiocesan policies after it was revealed that several priests with histories of sexual abuse had been reassigned to parishes. The commission found that 57 archdiocesan priests and two visiting priests had been accused of sexual misconduct over the last three decades, and that the charges against 38 priests were substantiated. All but eight were no longer in parish ministry. (06/18/92)

The highest ecclesiastical court of the Presbyterian Church (USA) over-ruled a New York congregation’s decision to hire an openly lesbian minister, ruling that no openly gay, sexually active person could serve as a minister of any of its 11,500 churches. The action barred the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr of San Anselmo, CA, from becoming co-pastor at the Downtown Presbyterian Church of Rochester, NY. Spahr 50, , a divorced mother of two adult sons, was ordained by the denomination four years before its General Assembly halted the ordination of gays and lesbians in 1978. (11/04/92)

Black women make up 35% of female seminary enrollment but when they seek a pulpit in Black Baptist churches, they find the ministry remains a bastion for Black men. Many have turned to mainline predominantly white denominations for a pulpit such as the United Methodist Church or Presbyterian Church (USA), where they still may find both sexism and racism. Rev. Claudia Copeland theorized that Black male preachers guard their pulpits because the church “has been the one place of authentic ownership for the Black male.” (11/07/92)

After nine years of debate over a pastoral letter on the role of women in society and the church, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops fell 53 votes short of a necessary two-thirds to adopt the statement that had ended by being dominated by traditional church views anyway. It was the first time that a proposed pastoral letter – an authoritative teaching of the bishops-had ever been defeated in the U.S. (11/18/92)


The arrival in video stores of the women’s “buddy” film, Thelma and Louise, knocked Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the Arnold Shwarzenegger macho action film, out of first place in rentals. (02/10)

The Girls in the Balcony by Nan Robertson, Pulitzer Prize winning former reporter with the New York Times, took its title from the balcony in the ballroom at the National Press Club, which did not admit women as members. Women reporters were relegated to this balcony to cover events. The book told the story of the landmark 1974 sex discrimination lawsuit known as Elizabeth Boylan et al v. The New York Times. (02/92)

Vice President Dan Quayle charged that the Los Angeles riots were the result of “a poverty of values” and the breakdown of family structure, saying “It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown-a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman-mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another ‘life style choice.'” In the very popular television series, the character Murphy Brown chose to have the baby, fathered by her former husband, rather than have an abortion. (05/19/92)

Tammy Bruce, president of Los Angeles NOW, threatened a boycott of sponsors of E! Entertainment Television, because of its hiring of shock jock Howard Stern to host a weekly celebrity interview show. “When is this industry going to draw the line” she asked, adding that “through the hiring of Stern, E! was sending the message that misogyny and sexism pays and that the network was intent on perpetuating the hatred of women through Stern,” E! agreed to consult with Bruce and other chapter representatives about programming ideas dealing with women’s issues. (11/92)


The Minnesota Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal on the guardianship of Sharon Kowalski finally ended the eight year struggle by Karen Thompson for the right to care for her life partner, Kowalski, who was severely disabled in an auto accident in 1983. A Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in December 1991 that Thompson and Kowalski were “. . . a family of affinity, which ought to be accorded respect,” naming Thompson as guardian. (02/12/92)

California Superior Court Judge Maxine M. Chesney ruled unconstitutional a state law requiring unmarried minors to obtain parental or judicial consent for an abortion. Judge Chesney held that the law, passed in 1987 but not enforced while it was being challenged in court, violated a minor’s right to privacy under the California Constitution. Anti-abortion forces were certain to appeal her decision to the State Supreme Court. (05/27/92)

A class-action lawsuit was filed challenging the constitutionality of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on importing RU 486. The suit was filed by the newly established Center for Reproductive Law and Policy on behalf of Leona Benten. The suit alleged that the FDA ban on RU 486 violated the right of privacy of women who want a non-surgical abortion and interfered with the performance of doctors by preventing them from offering a treatment in the best interests of their patients. In 1988, the FDA issued guidelines permitting the importation of small quantities of unapproved drugs for the personal use of an individual bringing it into the country. Benten carried only enough pills to terminate her own pregnancy. (07/08/92)

Federal District Court Judge Charles P. Sifton, ruled that the government acted illegally when it seized the RU 486 pills from Leona Benten when she re-entered the U.S. However, a panel of three judges of the Federal Appeals Court of the Second Circuit ordered a delay before the pills could be returned to her. Politics surrounding the issue of abortion were apparent in these decisions: Judge Sifton was appointed by President Jimmy Carter; the appeals court panel was composed of John M. Walker, appointed by President George Bush (in fact his cousin), Frank X. Altimari and Daniel J. Mahoney, both appointed by President Ronald Reagan. The appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was scheduled to be taken up by President Bush’s most recent appointee, Justice Clarence Thomas, was to determine if the Appeals Court was correct in stopping the order to return the pills to Benten. (07/14/92)

By a 7-2 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to order the return of the RU 486 pills to Leona Benten, the woman from whom they had been seized by U.S. Customs. In an unsigned opinion, the Court said that Ms. Benten’s lawyers had failed to show a substantial likelihood that the case could be won if it were argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Justices Harry A. Blackmun and John Paul Stevens dissented, arguing that the government’s action placed an “undue burden” on Ms. Benten’s right to an abortion. (07/17/92)


NOW reported that anger over the Senate Judiciary Committee’s treatment of Anita Hill at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings had translated into 13,000 new members in the final months of 1991. The Feminist Majority reported receiving an unsolicited contribution of $10,000 after the hearings and a 30% rise in contributions. Ellen Malcolm of EMILY’s List disclosed a 52% rise in contributions to her organization in the seven weeks after the hearings. (01/07/92)

Working in coalition with abortion rights supporters from other organizations, NOW thwarted Operation Rescue’s (OR) Capitol Project-an attempt to blockade four Washington, D.C. clinics and deny women access to them. The clinics were kept open by hundreds of defenders. In addition to this direct defense coordinated by the Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force, 51st State NOW, working with National NOW, coordinated a series of events to exert pressure on government officials to protect women’s rights. This pressure worked to significantly improve the city’s response over previous years. (01/21-22/92)

The Fund for the Feminist Majority predicted that 1992 would be a breakthrough year for women candidates. It launched its 1992 Feminization of Power Campaign, spearheaded by FM National Coordinator Katherine Spillar and the campaign’s Southwest Coordinator, Dolores Huerta, to inspire record-breaking numbers of women to run for office. As part of the campaign, FFM released a new report, The Feminization of Power: 50/50 by the Year 1100, exploring the severe under-representation of women in government. Women were only 5% of the members of Congress and only 18.4% of all state legislative seats. “Our strategy is simple- the more women who run, the more women will win,” said Spillar. (01/92)

The Anita Hill hearings stirred Mary Dorman, a lawyer, Ann Philbin, curator, Deb Kass, a visual artist and some 100 women in New York City to form the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) which soon spread to 35 other cities. (01/92)

Senator Brock Adams (D-WA), 65, ended his campaign for re-election after allegations by eight women of 20 years of persistent physical assaults and sexual harassment. Adams, a former U.S. Secretary of Transportation elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, was already in trouble as the result of allegations he drugged and molested a female aide in 1987. At his press conference, Adams said that “this is the saddest day of my life. I have never harmed anyone.” (03/01/92)

In Illinois, Carol Moseley Braun defeated two-term incumbent Senator Alan J. Dixon in a stunning upset in the primary. Dixon’s defeat was attributed to his vote in favor of confirming Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. NOW-PAC voted to endorse Braun before she had formally announced her candidacy and maxed out in financial contributions to her. NOW chapters and PACs in Illinois worked for her election statewide in a campaign called “One Million Women for Braun.” (03/17/92)

The Feminist Majority Foundation launched the Web of Influence Campaign to intensify the economic pressure aimed at Roussel Uclaf, the French company that developed RU 486, and its parent company, Hoechst AG of Germany and Rhone-Poulence SA of France, the multi-national corporations that had refused to license the drug in the United States. The campaign identified companies, unions, and organizations in the U.S. that held stocks and bonds in, represented employees at, or bought products from these multi-national companies and their U.S. subsidiaries, Hoechst Celanese, Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals, and Rhone Poulenc Forer. (04/92)

In an upset victory, Lynn Yeakel of Philadelphia surged from behind to win the Pennsylvania Democratic primary to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Arlen Specter. Key to Yeakel’s victory was a television ad showing Senator Spector’s prosecutorial questioning of Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, after which Yeakel appeared to asked, “Did this make you as angry as it made me?” (04/28/92)

Britain’s House of Commons chose Betty Boothroyd as the first woman speaker in its 615-year history. Boothroyd, 62, won by a vote of 372-238 in what was only the third contested election for speaker in this century. There were only 59 women members of the 651-member chamber. (05/92)

In California, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein won their primary contests to become the Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. Political pundits predicted a tougher time for them in the November general election. (06/02/92)

“Strength In Diversity” was the theme of the 1992 National NOW Conference held in Chicago, IL. Resolutions passed by the conference included: endorsement of NOW’s “Elect Women For A Change” campaign; a strategy to step up non-violent civil disobedience actions in support of legal abortion; opposition to anti-lesbian and gay ballot measures such as those in Colorado and Oregon; and a campaign to pressure the Department of Defense to make a full investigation into the Tailhook incident. Conference delegates also voted to endorse the 21st Century party, the creation of which was proposed by NOW’s Commission for Responsive Democracy in 1991. NOW President Patricia Ireland, Executive Vice President Kim Gandy, Secretary Ginny Montes and Action Vice President Rosemary Dempsey also led a NOW delegation of more than 250 activists in Chicago’s Gay Pride March. (06/26-28/92)

At an illegal speakout in front of the White House protesting the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Casey, NOW President Patricia Ireland, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal, and five other speakers were arrested. It was the kickoff of NOW’s non-violent campaign of civil disobedience. Other feminist leaders arrested were Urvashi Vaid, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Ruby Sales, National Chair of Women of All Colors; Kay Ostberg, Lesbian Rights Program Director at the Human Rights Campaign Fund; Aida Bound, Legal Director of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom; and Jane Tennington, Field Service Assistant of the Older Women’s League. (06/30/92)

The German Parliament voted 357-284 to adopt a multi-party bill permitting abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy after counseling. Prior to this, in West Germany, only a doctor could decide whether a woman could terminate a pregnancy. (06/26/92)

Operation Rescue targeted clinics in New York to disrupt the Democratic Convention, but advance teams from the Feminist Majority, led by Katherine Spillar went to New York weeks before the convention at the invitation of local groups who wanted to learn the successful tactics that had been used in Buffalo. Feminist Majority organizers worked with the New York Clinic Defense Task Force training and mobilizing thousands of clinic defenders. Constantly covering up to 35 of the city’s 151 clinics at a time, up to 3,000 clinic defenders kept all clinic doors open during OR’s attempted blockades. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal personally served an injunction to OR’s leader Randall Terry whose forces dwindled steadily. By the time it was over, Terry faced a potential prison term for violating an injunction and OR faced thousands of dollars in fines. NOW Action Vice President Rosemary Dempsey and National Secretary Ginny Montes and volunteers from the National NOW Action Center, NOW New York City, Bronx NOW, Brooklyn NOW, Long Island NOW, New York State NOW and the NOW LDEF were all part of the coalition. NOW Executive Vice President Kim Gandy joined the action in New York after a successful effort to stop OR from blockading clinics in Louisiana. (07/13-17/92)

Women from 53 countries attended an international four-day summit in Dublin, Ireland, organized by Irene Natividad, a former president of the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), and drafted resolutions about women and politics, labor, religion, health and the media. Speakers included Mary Robinson, Ireland’s president; Vigdis Finnbogadottir, Iceland’s president; former U.S. Rep. Bella Abzug, Tiananmen Square student leader Jingqing Cai, and author Betty Friedan. (07/13/92)

NOW’s “Elect Women For A Change” campaign had projects running full force in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, helping feminist candidates win Congressional, state and local primaries. Working with NOW President Patricia Ireland, were National Political Director Alice Cohan and Field Organizers Joan Monnig and Faith Evans. (08-11/92)

During the Republican Convention in Houston, TX, Operation Rescue and the Lambs of Christ attempted to blockade clinics but were outnumbered three to one by clinic defenders trained by Katherine Spillar, Feminist Majority National Coordinator, and an action team from NOW led by President Patricia Ireland. Texas NOW President Jenniffer Hudson joined the national team which included national board member Ellen Convisser, Project Stand Up for Women Director Loretta Kane, NOW’s volunteer and intern coordinator Amy Tracy, Acting Press Secretary Susie Rodriques and field organizer Elizabeth McGee. Planned Parenthood provided resources for the defense of the clinics and the National Republican Coalition for Choice, led by Mary Dent Crisp, former co-chair of the Republican Party, joined the defense lines. (08/17-21/92)

NOW President Patricia Ireland, Political Director Alice Cohan and Field Organizer Faith Evans were in Florida for NOW’s “Elect Women For A Change” campaign, when Hurricane Andrew devastated the state. Working with Palm Beach, Broward and Dade NOW Chapters, they rounded up $110,000 in supplies and cash. Their 30 vehicle “Elect Women For A Change”caravan arrived at Homestead Hospital, where candidates Gwen Margolis for Congress, Elaine Gordon for the Florida House and Linda Singer Stein for County Judge, joined them to unload supplies with which the hospital was able to reopen. (08/24-28/92)

The founding convention of the 21st Century Party took place in Washington, D.C. with more than 230 members from 30 states in attendance to adopt a constitution and platform. Its founding principles called for women as 52% of the Party’s candidates and officers who must reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the nation; and also called for an expanded Bill of Rights for the 21st century. Dolores Huerta, co-founder and Vice President Emerita of the United Farm Workers of America, was elected National Chair. Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority was elected National Secretary and Paula Craver, chief executive officer of Craver, Mathews, Smith and Company, was elected National Treasurer. Four of the original conveners of the Party were elected Vice Chairs: Patricia Ireland, president of NOW; Mel King, MIT professor and co-founder of the Rainbow Coalition; Sara Nelson, executive director of the Christic Institute; and Monica Faith Stewart, Black Women’s Network, Chicago, IL. (08/29-30/92)

The Feminist Majority’s campaign for gender balance broke new ground with the unanimous vote by the Los Angeles City Council in favor of proposals for gender balancing the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The proposals, drafted by the Feminist Majority in conjunction with the California Women’s Law Center and Los Angeles City Council member Zev Yaroslavsky, sought to increase the percentages of women in the LAPD from 14% of the force to 44%. Katherine Spillar, the Feminist Majority’s National Coordinator who spearheaded the police project in Los Angeles, pointed out, “Well over half of all 911 calls are calls of violence against women. Research shows that women officers tend to respond more effectively to incidents of violence against women. And women officers are more convinced of the importance of responding to family fights as a crucial police duty.” (09/09/92)

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, some 150 Muslim women and teenage girls, in advanced stages of pregnancy, said they were raped by Serbian nationalist fighters and imprisoned for months afterward to keep them from having abortions. (10/02/92)

On Election Day in Maryland voters endorsed by 57-43% a constitutional guarantee of a woman’s right to have an abortion. In Arizona, voters rejected by 69-31% a measure that would have amended the state Constitution to ban abortion except to save a woman’s life. In Iowa, voters narrowly rejected by 52% to 48% an initiative to put an Equal Rights Amendment in the state Constitution. (When the ERA was on the state ballot in 1980, it was defeated by 12%). According to exit polls, a majority of women voted for the ERA, but a larger majority of men voted against it. In fact the 1992 ERA lost because of massive gender gap-18 points: men denied women Constitutional equality. Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition, Phyllis Schlafly and her Eagle Forum and Beverly LaHaye and Concerned Women for America, were the forces driving the campaign to defeat the amendment. In Oregon, an anti-homosexual ballot measure put up by Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition was soundly defeated, but in Colorado, a nationally-linked religious right coalition, Colorado for Family Values, succeeded in passing an initiative 54-46% that wrote discrimination against homosexuals into the state constitution. The measure allowed state agencies to discriminate against acknowledged lesbians and gay men or against those simply perceived to be homosexual. (11/03/92)

The Year of the Woman became a reality in the 1992 elections with victories across the country. The percentage of women in Congress doubled from 5% to 10% with the election.Women of color increased their representation in Congress from six seats to 14. The number of women in the Senate increased from two to six and 48 women were elected to the House of Representatives-all pro-choice. Women held more than 20% of statewide elected executive offices and increased their nationwide representation in state legislatures to 20%. A total of 224 women -141 Democrats and 83 Republicans- filed as candidates for House races this year, a record number. In many states (California, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina) the Feminist Majority, NOW and other women’s rights groups recruited feminist women to flood the ticket and run for public office. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois became the first elected African-American woman senator; California made history by being the first state to elect two women to the U.S. Senate, Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and for the first time in many years, two senators from the same party; California also elected the first Mexican-American congresswoman, Los Angeles Democrat Lucille Roybal-Allard; Georgia and North Carolina both elected their first Black congresswomen; New York elected the first Puerto Rican woman in Congress; and Virginia elected a woman to Congress for the first time. Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal said, “If we keep this momentum throughout the decade, we will achieve the goal of 50% women in Congress by the year 1100. (11/03/92)

The Backlash

Pope John Paul II called the use of contraceptives “a sign of grave moral degradation” and praised abstinence. (01/10/92)

“I’m out there with you in spirit,” President Bush told some 70,000 anti-abortion marchers on the Mall in Washington, D.C. on the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion. The March for Life was sponsored by the National Right to Life Committee. Meanwhile, Operation Rescue tried for the second consecutive day to block entrances at two Washington abortion clinics. Police arrested 140 persons for crossing police line, fined them $50 each, and released them. (01/22/92)

In a widely syndicated article entitled “Feminists Have Killed Feminism,” Sally Quinn, third wife of Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post, declared that “feminism as we have known it is dead.” (01/23/92)

In Ireland, a 14-year old girl who became pregnant after being raped by the father of a friend after more than a year of sexual abuse by the man, was forbidden to seek an abortion in England by the Attorney General. Her case came to the attention of authorities when her family asked police whether they should preserve tissue samples from the fetus for possible prosecution of the rapist. The family planned to appeal to the Irish Supreme Court. Ireland’s abortion law was the most restrictive in Europe, permitting only the use of a “morning after” pill that terminated pregnancies in the first 72 hours. (02/20/92)

Barbra Streisand was passed over for an Academy Award nomination as the director of the film The Prince of Tides, though both Nick Nolte and Kate Nelligan were nominated for their performances in the movie. In the 64-year history of the Academy Awards, no woman director had ever won an Oscar and only one-Lina Wertmuller in 1976-was ever nominated. (02/92)

John Cardinal O’Connor led a 13 block march to a Manhattan abortion clinic, the Eastern Women’s Services clinic, where he prayed. The rally was organized by Helpers of God’s Precious Infants, a group that has organized vigils at abortion clinics in Brooklyn and Queens once a month for the last two years. These vigils were led by Bishop Thomas V. Daily of Brooklyn, who marched with the Cardinal. Some 800 abortion rights supporters, including New York City NOW, the Women’s Health Action Mobilization and the Women’s Action Coalition were on hand to protect the clinic. (06/13/92)

In Maryland, 30 anti-abortion demonstrators were arrested after they occupied Prince George’s Reproductive Health Services clinic in Adelphi and refused to leave. (06/13/92)

In Milwaukee, police arrested 105 anti-abortion protestors, including 32 children, as they tried unsuccessfully to block an abortion clinic entrance in defiance of a court order. (06/16/92)

Harvard Law Professor Derrick Bell was dismissed when he was denied an extension of a two-year leave of absence he had taken to protest the school’s failure to grant a woman of color tenure on its law school faculty. The school still had not appointed a Black woman. Of the 68 tenure or tenure-track positions at Harvard Law, seven were held by white women and five by African-American men. (08/92)

According to the Christian Coalition’s estimates, as many as 43% of the delegates to the Republican Convention in Houston were evangelicals; one in seven delegates was a member of the Christian Coalition. (08/17-21/92)

In Zinder, Niger, a mob attacked bars and bordellos, setting them on fire, after militant Muslim holy men declared that the indecent dress and immoral behavior of women were causing a drought, and urged the mob on. (07/18/92)

Five Navy officers were relieved of command and 16 others counseled in disciplinary action that resulted after the “Tomcat Follies” at the Miramar officers club in San Diego, CA. A retired female Navy captain who saw the show protested a banner with a sexual message about Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-CO). Schroeder’s Congressional office received an obscene message from a fax machine at the Marine Corps Air Station at New River, NC. Schroeder, who sits on Armed Services Committee in Congress, had been very critical of the Navy’s investigation of the 1991 Tailhook scandal. (06/25/92)

Female veterans told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that they had been sexually assaulted by male soldiers, their complaints to superiors were generally ignored or dismissed as untrue and veterans hospitals had been unresponsive. Jacqueline Ortiz, 29, an Army reservist who served in the Gulf War said she was “forcibly sodomized” by her sergeant. (06/30/92)

It was widely reported that the former leader of the Moral Majority, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, was clinging to an empire $73 million in debt and on the verge of collapse. The Thomas Road Baptist Church, used as collateral 11 times on loans and bond issues since 1981, was in the hands of the Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency charged with salvaging the assets of failed savings and loans. A group of 2110 investors, who bought $18.8 million of now-defaulted church bonds in 1991, wanted to foreclose on the 160-acre Liberty University campus. An Arkansas Bank was collecting from Falwell’s own paycheck for repayment of loans he personally secured. And his Liberty Home Studies Institute was more than $10 million in debt. As debts mounted, Falwell cut the number of stations carrying his “Old Time Gospel Hour” from 110 to 60. Falwell was planning to buy more air time to promote a new book he had written on traditional family values. (09/92)

In a nationwide push for power, the Christian Coalition, a tax-exempt religious right organization founded by Pat Robertson, using covert methods, including fielding candidates who concealed their true beliefs, won hundreds of local races on Election Day. Said Ralph Reed, executive director of the Christian Coalition, “We focused on where the real power is: in the states and in the precincts and in the neighborhoods where people live and work. . . . at school boards and at the state legislative level we had big, tremendous victories.” As the Coalition gains power in local government, it will press its conservative agenda, opposing abortion and laws guaranteeing rights of women and homosexuals, seeking the removal of certain books from school libraries and pressing for school prayer, teaching abstinence in sex education classes and the teaching of creationism in schools. It was estimated that the Coalition had won 40% of the 500 races it had targeted. (11/03/92)

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