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History of Feminist Majority Foundation

1998 History Header

1998

The Feminist Majority Foundation releases its fifth annual National Clinic Violence Survey, showing 24.8% of clinics reported severe violence (including blockades, invasions, bomb threats and bombings, arson threats and arsons, chemical attacks, death threats, and stalking). Just two weeks later, the New Women, All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama becomes the target of a fatal anti-abortion bombing, the suspected work of anti-abortion terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph, still at large. Within hours of the bombing, the Feminist Majority Foundation dispatched senior staff from the National Clinic Access Project to Alabama, sending Alice Cohan and Katherine Spillar to assist both law enforcement and the clinic staff, acting as a vital communication link between law enforcement and clinics throughout the country. The clinic re-opened one week to the day after the bombing, sending a powerful message to the extremists.

The Feminist Majority Foundation's National Center for Women and Policing issues its first annual report, "Equality Denied: The Status of Women in Policing, 1997." The first-of-its-kind report reveals that fewer than 12% of sworn officers nationwide are women, and that women are poorly represented in top-command positions. Calling on law enforcement to gender balance its ranks, NCWP Director Penny Harrington says, "Research shows that women police officers have fewer excessive-use-of-force complaints against them, and are better at dealing with domestic violence situations."

In response to continued news reports that California-based UNOCAL has been negotiating with the Taliban militia to build a gas pipeline through Afghanistan, the Feminist Majority demonstrates, demanding that the CA attorney general revoke UNOCAL's charter. The proposed pipeline could mean an annual $150 million for the Taliban. A few months later, UNOCAL suspends work on the pipeline. Several news media credit the Feminist Majority's protests as a catalyst for UNOCAL's decision.

Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal and National Coordinator Katherine Spillar travel to 21 campuses throughout the U.S., speaking about the Choices Campaign and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliances. The speaking tour sends the message that pro-choice campus activism is urgently needed, and that FMF's new campus program provides support and leadership training to empower the next generation of feminists.

For the first time in history, a federal court found anti-abortion extremists liable for engaging in a nationwide conspiracy to close abortion clinics, in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in the NOW v. Scheidler case. Eleanor Smeal, then President of the National Organization for Women, initiated the case in 1985. The Feminist Majority Foundation's National Clinic Access Project provided research and data to the case for years, and assisted during the trial.

Feminist Majority Board member Mavis Leno and husband Jay Leno donate $100,000 to expand efforts to help Afghan women, and Mavis announces that she will chair FMF's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. The Campaign will educate the public on gender apartheid, outreach to college activists, expose U.S. corporate relations with the Taliban, and work in coalition with women's and human rights groups to pressure the Taliban to restore women's and girls' rights.

The Feminist Majority Foundation's National Center for Women and Policing holds its third annual conference, drawing over 450 women law enforcement officials from 46 states. The conference features a special session on reducing anti-abortion clinic violence.

The Feminist Majority Foundation's National Clinic Access Project travels to central Florida to counter anti-abortion extremists participating in Operation Rescue's "Operation Pushback," an attempt to close clinics in the area. FMF's team works with community volunteers and law enforcement to protect women's health care clinics. Operation Rescue failed to close a single clinic during their nine-day campaign.