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10/17/1997 - Breast Cancer Video Deemed Too Risque

A cable station in Contra Costa County in California has pulled a 7-minute film showing women how to do breast exams because it shows naked breasts.

Breast cancer awareness activists complained when the cable director refused to air it again after only one viewing and said it wasn't appropriate for families to watch. County Supervisor Donna Gerber is considering forcing the station to run the video, and said "It's not possible to teach women to do self-examination unless we show the part of the body we're talking about ... we're dealing with an epidemic in which people are dying."


10/17/1997 - Women's Military Memorial to Open Saturday

The Women in Miltary Service for America Memorial will be dedicated at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday. The memorial features more than a dozen alcoves for exhibits, a fountain, reflecting pool, 196-seat theater, computer database of women veterans and a gift shop. It sits by a semi-circular granite wall that has four staircases through it to symbolize the women who broke through military barriers to serve. Eleven glass tablets in the roof are inscribed with quotes that "float" on the marble floor. The four days of events celebrating the memorial are expected to draw thousands of female veterans, including a 101-year-old woman from California who fought in WWI.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, who has been in charge of the project since its inception in 1986, said "When you look at the contribution of women and you see how what they did supported our armed forced, then you have to say it was meaningful and should be honored and recognized."

For more information, call 1-800-4-SALUTE.


10/17/1997 - Chinese Girls Still Being Killed

At a population conference in China yesterday, experts said that families in rural areas were still killing baby girls.

Saying that female infanticide is considered "a family matter, a private issue," Professor Zhu Chuzhu said that the practice still isn't seen as murder to many villagers. Modern neonatal technology that detects the sex of fetuses allows urban women to have sex-selective abortions, which also contributes to the high ratio of boys to girls.

In China, males have traditionally been more highly valued because they are the breadwinners. "If a woman does not have a male child, her status within the family would be affected, her mother-in-law would dislike her, her husband would dislike her," Zhu said.


10/17/1997 - Sweatshop Study Unveiled, Archdioceses Plan Anti-Sweatshop Curriculum

In Newark, New Jersey, Catholic school students will no longer wear uniforms and athletic clothes produced in sweatshops and will be encouraged not to buy other sweatshop-produced clothes, said Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick yesterday.

The archdiocese will teach an anti-sweatshop curriculum to 24,000 students in grades 7-12. The authors hope that by building awareness, children will be encouraged to be more responsible consumers. Schools in other states have shown interest, and the New Jersey diocese plans to expand their anti-sweatshop program to elementary school students.

The curriculum was introduced after a study revealed that a majority of New York City's garment factories are violating federal labor laws. The Department of Labor has ordered that $412,300 in back wages be paid to over 1,400 workers New Jersey labor officials say the state has about 300 sweatshops, many of which hire illegal immigrants and pay them less than minimum wage. McCarrick said that school clothing suppliers will have to prove that they follow labor laws.

Feminists Against Sweatshops


10/17/1997 - Women Increase Voice in Oman Elections

Over 5,000 women electors voted in yesterday's elections for Oman's next consultative council.

Women are 10% of Oman's electoral college. The college voted for 164 candidates out of a field of 736 candidates, including 27 women. This is the first time that women cadidates have been allowed to run. In December, Sultan Qaboos will choose the final consultative council of 82 members. Kuwait is the only Gulf Arab state to have an elected parliament, but women cannot serve.

Female elector Hassina Said al-Adawy said, "we want more women on the council. I believe that if we have problems, we can address them to the women (council members)."


10/16/1997 - Nebraska Court Upholds Lesbian Custody Decision

Nebraska's Court of Appeals has upheld a lower-court ruling that stated "a parent's sexual activity is insufficient to establish a ... change in custody."

In 1995, Thomas Hassenstab filed a suit to reverse Carol Hassenstab's custody of their child after the divorce. Ms. Hassenstab is a lesbian. The court said there was no evidence that her child was "adversely affected or damaged" by her sexual orientation, and that she will keep custody.

Nebraska ACLU Executive Director Matt LeMieux said there was "nothing spectacular" about the decision, because the judges "applied the law in an equal, fair, and just manner. There is no reason why parents in a gay or lesbian relationship should be treated differently under Nebraska's custody laws."

One of the three judges dissented, saying that "Carol's conduct will necessarily impair [her child's] moral training" because her lesbianism conflicted with her Catholicism. LeMieux said that under that "preposterous" reasoning which "could have set a dangerous precedent," a Catholic parent "who believes abortion is wrong...but is pro-choice could have his or her child taken away because of the pro-choice stance."


10/16/1997 - New Law Protects Domestic Violence Victims Who Fight Back

New York Gov. George Pataki signed a bill Tuesday that says police must determine who was the aggressor before arresting anyone in a domestic violence dispute. Women who fight back against their abuser will no longer be arrested for misdemeanor assault, as was the case previously.

"Women who are the targets of domestic violence should not be victimized again by being arrested simply for defending themselves," said Pataki. Sherry Frohman, executive director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence praised Pataki and said the bill would encourage domestic violence victims to report abuse. Pataki also announced that New York would participate in the National March to End the Silence by sending 200 people to Washington.


10/16/1997 - Connecticut Abortion Protester Repeatedly Violates Court Restrictions

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has asked U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas to deny a $200 refund to Stanley Scott for violating a court order preventing him from screaming outside an abortion clinic.

Nevas has ordered Scott to refrain from shouting anti-abortion invectives outside the Summit Women's Health Clinic in Bridgeport loud enough so that the women inside can hear it. He previously paid $200 for violating the order, but it will be refunded if he can prove he has curtailed his behavior. Blumenthal said videotapes caught Scott violating the order nine times in a two-month period. "He's failing to comply with the court's order by yelling and creating noise in a way that poses a risk to the safety and well-being of people" said Blumenthal.

Scott has protested at the center for 21 years. Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, Scott's actions have been restricted. The judicial order regulates not only the level of his screaming, but how close he can get to the clinic and its clients and workers. If Nevas finds the video evidence proves Scott has violated the order, he will not refund the $200.

Index of Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence


10/16/1997 - California Governor Vetoes Gay Rights Bill, Des Moines Considers Similar Measure

For the second time, California Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed AB 257, a bill that would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act.

"This is a Governor who claims to be against discrimination and in favor of strong law enforcement -- but when he had a chance to protect some if the most vulnerable members of society he failed to pass the test," said Laurie McBride, Executive Director of LIFE, a gay/lesbian lobbying group. Ellen McCormick, LIFE's Legislative Advocate, said that over 6,000 letters of support were hand-delivered to Wilson's office. "This bill will be introduced over and over again until we have a Governor that listens to the people."

Meanwhile, in Des Moines, Iowa, Human Rights Commission members will ask the City Council to add sexual orientation to the municipal anti-discrimination ordinance sometime this month or next.

If passed during a possible vote after the Nov. 4 mayoral election, it would make Des Moines the third city in Iowa to legally protect gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

The HRC has brought the issue to the City Council twice before, but it was rejected each time. The HRC revived it last June when an employer fired six homosexual employees because he thought they had unacceptable "moral character."


10/16/1997 - Women Support Whitman

Republican New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman is enjoying strong support from women for the upcoming election.

At a "Women for Whitman" rally in New Bruswick, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" played in the background while almost 2,000 women shouted "Four more years." Her campaign spokesman Pete McDonough said Whitman had "bridged the gender gap that confronts most Republican candidates." Even fellow Republican Peggy Noonan supports her, despite the fact Noonan is anti-abortion and Whitman is pro-choice.

Whitman is supported by the nonpartisan Women's Campaign Fund (WCF) and the bipartisan National Women's Political Caucus. "The women of New Jersey deserve a leader dedicated to protecting their rights," said Marjorie Margioles-Mezvinsky, president of the WCF.

Acknowledging that they "have some work to do in that area," opposing candidate Jim McGreevey's camp said they were "redoubling efforts to reach women." Democrats such as Sen. Frank Lautenberg are criticizing Whitman about her treatment of sexual harassment. "The governor appointed at least two people charged with sexual harassment, sexual impropriety, without a thorough investigation or public airing of the facts. Think about the message that sends to victims of sexual harassment. We find it very unsettling."


10/15/1997 - Atlanta Bombings May be Tied to Police Shooting

Bomb components were found at the home of a man accused of shooting two police officers, leading a bombing task force to suggest the bombings of Olympic park, an Atlanta clinic and a gay nightclub may be linked to the same man. Officer John Sawa, 28, was fatally injured and Officer Patricia Cocciolone, 35, is in critical condition.

Atlanta police arrested Gregory Paul Lewler on Monday on charges of murder and aggravated assault for the shooting death of one police officer and the wounding of another. They were at his apartment investigating a report that Lewler was beating his girlfriend. He held police at bay in a six-hour standoff, allegedly firing 16 shots at them. Explosive materials and stockpiled weapons were found in his apartment, along with militia manuals. Lewler resembles sketches of a man spotted at the clinic and nightclub before the bombings.


10/15/1997 - Anti-Abortion Criminal Jailed

James F. Nerdrum, who confessed to making 350 bomb threats and committing vandalism and property destruction in Eau Claire, Wis., has been sentenced to up to 60 years in a mental institution and 40 years in prison. Nerdrum surrendered and confessed his guilt after a shoot-out with polive Police say most of his crimes, including 278 felonies, reflected his opinions against abortion and pornography.

Nerdrum vandalized a Planned Parenthood facility, and robbed stores that carried adult videos. Police say he caused over $182,000 in property damage and investigative costs, and that he was not charged for all the crimes. Although originally charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery, Nerdrum only pleaded guilty to one charge of armed robbery, and was found innocent on two other armed robbery charges by reason of mental defect.


10/15/1997 - University of Michigan Affirmative Action Programs Challenged

The organization responsible for ending affirmative action at the University of Texas, causing a steep decline in minority enrollment, is now attacking the University of Michigan for policies that doubled its minority population in the past decade.

The Center for Individual Rights filed a class-action lawsuit against the highly competitive school for denying admission to two white students, saying the university violated civil rights laws. They claim the school's affirmative action policies discriminate against white students and favor unqualified blacks and Hispanics.

Confidential admissions policy guidelines released under the Freedom of Information Act show standardized test scores and grades being applied differently to non-whites. University president Lee Bollinger said the guidelines are one set among many, and not rigid.

"For almost 200 years, public universities have unlocked the doors to social and economic opportunity to students from many different backgrounds. We believe it is absolutely essential to do so," Bollinger said.


10/15/1997 - Information and Time Would Increase Women's Voting, Study Says

A survey sponsored by The Women's Vote Project, a coalition of 110 national women's groups, found that women who did not vote in 1992 or 1994 lacked information about candidates and issues, and faced difficulty in finding the time and mobility to vote.

The survey of 620 women from five states was done to find out what motivates and discourages women from voting. Many said that getting information about a candidate was a problem, as well as not having the time to take off work, find a babysitter, or wait in line to vote. The issues the women were most interested in were family and child issues, education, and equal pay.


10/15/1997 - Breast, Ovarian Cancer Research Advancing

According to a study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, identifying women more likely to carry genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancers may now be easier to do.

"This study will assist physicians in determining which patients are at highest risk for having a .. mutation and will help those women and their family members to seek care that may save lives," said Donna Shattuck-Eidens of Myriad Genetics. Her research, in collaboration with 20 international institutions, created a model to identify at-risk women, which looks at factors such as family history, age and ethnicity to predict the presence of the gene BRCA1. When mutated and inherited, BRCA1 and 2 cause between 5-10% of breast cancers.


10/15/1997 - Death Penalty Waived for Lesbian Nurses

The brother of an Australian nurse murdered by two British nurses in Saudi Arabia has waived his right to seek the death penalty, in exchange for financial compensation. In return for his clemency, he made a deal for a 1.2 million settlement.

The case made international headlines because the strict Islamic law in Saudi Arabia would have permitted the nurses to be beheaded in public. One nurse has been sentenced to eight years in prison and 500 lashes, a punishment that angers human-rights advocates. The other is awaiting sentencing. The settlement will be split -- over $720,000 to the hispital to build a day surgery center in the victim's name, $6,000 to the victim's mother, and about $37,000 to her brother. The rest will go to pay legal costs.

The details of the murder are still unclear, but it appears the victim was fighting with the two women over a lesbian relationship.


10/15/1997 - Atlanta Bombings May be Tied to Police Shooting

Bomb components were found at the home of a man accused of shooting two police officers, leading a bombing task force to suggest the bombings of Olympic park, an Atlanta clinic and a gay nightclub may be linked to the same man. Officer John Sawa, 28, was fatally injured and Officer Patricia Cocciolone, 35, is in critical condition.

Atlanta police arrested Gregory Paul Lewler on Monday on charges of murder and aggravated assault for the shooting death of one police officer and the wounding of another. They were at his apartment investigating a report that Lewler was beating his girlfriend. He held police at bay in a six-hour standoff, allegedly firing 16 shots at them. Explosive materials and stockpiled weapons were found in his apartment, along with militia manuals. Lewler resembles sketches of a man spotted at the clinic and nightclub before the bombings.


10/15/1997 - Anti-Abortion Criminal Jailed

James F. Nerdrum, who confessed to making 350 bomb threats and committing vandalism and property destruction in Eau Claire, Wis., has been sentenced to up to 60 years in a mental institution and 40 years in prison. Nerdrum surrendered and confessed his guilt after a shoot-out with polive Police say most of his crimes, including 278 felonies, reflected his opinions against abortion and pornography.

Nerdrum vandalized a Planned Parenthood facility, and robbed stores that carried adult videos. Police say he caused over $182,000 in property damage and investigative costs, and that he was not charged for all the crimes. Although originally charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery, Nerdrum only pleaded guilty to one charge of armed robbery, and was found innocent on two other armed robbery charges by reason of mental defect.


10/15/1997 - University of Michigan Affirmative Action Programs Challenged

The organization responsible for ending affirmative action at the University of Texas, causing a steep decline in minority enrollment, is now attacking the University of Michigan for policies that doubled its minority population in the past decade.

The Center for Individual Rights filed a class-action lawsuit against the highly competitive school for denying admission to two white students, saying the university violated civil rights laws. They claim the school's affirmative action policies discriminate against white students and favor unqualified blacks and Hispanics.

Confidential admissions policy guidelines released under the Freedom of Information Act show standardized test scores and grades being applied differently to non-whites. University president Lee Bollinger said the guidelines are one set among many, and not rigid.

"For almost 200 years, public universities have unlocked the doors to social and economic opportunity to students from many different backgrounds. We believe it is absolutely essential to do so," Bollinger said.


10/15/1997 - Information and Time Would Increase Women's Voting, Study Says

A survey sponsored by The Women's Vote Project, a coalition of 110 national women's groups, found that women who did not vote in 1992 or 1994 lacked information about candidates and issues, and faced difficulty in finding the time and mobility to vote.

The survey of 620 women from five states was done to find out what motivates and discourages women from voting. Many said that getting information about a candidate was a problem, as well as not having the time to take off work, find a babysitter, or wait in line to vote. The issues the women were most interested in were family and child issues, education, and equal pay.


10/15/1997 - Breast, Ovarian Cancer Research Advancing

According to a study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, identifying women more likely to carry genetic mutations linked to breast and ovarian cancers may now be easier to do.

"This study will assist physicians in determining which patients are at highest risk for having a .. mutation and will help those women and their family members to seek care that may save lives," said Donna Shattuck-Eidens of Myriad Genetics. Her research, in collaboration with 20 international institutions, created a model to identify at-risk women, which looks at factors such as family history, age and ethnicity to predict the presence of the gene BRCA1. When mutated and inherited, BRCA1 and 2 cause between 5-10% of breast cancers.


10/15/1997 - Death Penalty Waived for Lesbian Nurses

The brother of an Australian nurse murdered by two British nurses in Saudi Arabia has waived his right to seek the death penalty, in exchange for financial compensation. In return for his clemency, he made a deal for a 1.2 million settlement.

The case made international headlines because the strict Islamic law in Saudi Arabia would have permitted the nurses to be beheaded in public. One nurse has been sentenced to eight years in prison and 500 lashes, a punishment that angers human-rights advocates. The other is awaiting sentencing. The settlement will be split -- over $720,000 to the hispital to build a day surgery center in the victim's name, $6,000 to the victim's mother, and about $37,000 to her brother. The rest will go to pay legal costs.

The details of the murder are still unclear, but it appears the victim was fighting with the two women over a lesbian relationship.


10/14/1997 - Washington Voters Test Gay Rights Bill

Gay rights activists have written an anti-discrimination measure that would prevent discrimination against lesbians and gay men in the workplace. If passed, it will be the first gay rights initiative passed by voters rather than legislators.

Despite the fact that the ballot measure also specifically forbids preferential treatment, quotas, and domestic partner benefits and exempts religious organizations and businesses with less than 8 employees in an effort to counter claims by gay rights opponents,anti-gay activists continue to fight the the initiative. Residents will vote on the measure on November 4.

The Washington Association of Churches, the state's largest organization of Protestant and Catholic churches, has endorsed the initiative. Rev. Dr. Ellis H. Casson, senior pastor of a Seattle First AME Church, said "Today, the people of the state of Washington live in a community where it is legal to deny or remove someone from their job simply because of sexual orientation. We find this principle to be morally wrong."


10/14/1997 - Kenyan Woman Fights to Criminalize Wife-Beating

Defying Maasai tradition that says women are property and can be beaten, Agnes Siyiankoi is enlisting the help of Nairobi lawyers to change Kenya's constitution and outlaw wife-beating.

Siyiankoi's brother, a lawyer, lodged a High Court application seeking the equivalent of $150 in damages for Agnes Siyiankoi's abuse by her husband. He also asked that wife-beating be declared unconstitutional. Sinyianko lives with her brother and three of her four children in Nairobi, where she has accused her husband in court of repeated assault over 13 years. She said the practice of polygamy caused him to beat her constantly.

Women lawyers have recommended several reforms to Kenya's attorney general, including outlawing wife-beating and marital rape. They want to criminalize wifebeating because, even when a man beats his wife to death, he is not prosecuted. Millie Odhiambo of the International Federation of Women Lawyers reports that "...almost every tribe in Kenya practices wife-beating."


10/14/1997 - Report Predicts Decline in Minority College Enrollment

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education published a report that predicts a 50 to 80% drop in minority college enrollment if affirmative action is banned on campuses and SAT scores continue to carry a lot of weight.

"The reality of standardized test scores is that they are not only culturally biased, but are biased against those persons of lower socioeconomic status," said Percy Hintzen, UC-Berkeley African American Studies chair. The study said that the mean SAT scores at institutions like Yale and Caltech were unfair to blacks, since less than half of one percent of blacks meet the median scores for students to be accepted. At the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, applicants who receive less than 28 on the MCAT do not receive interviews; the median score for blacks is 23.5. Minority enrollment plummeted this fall at several Texas and California campuses after affirmative action was banned.

The SAT also has been found to be biased against women.