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10/10/1997 - Hillary Clinton Speaks in Panama

Stressing her goal "to empower the women of this hemisphere to participate fully in the life of our nations," Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed a summit of North, South and Central American women leaders in Panama. The topic of the summit was empowering women to be fully active in politics.

"No nation can hope to succeed in our global economy if half its people lack the opportunity and the right to make the most of their God-given potentials. In too many countries, my own as well, too many rights are denied and too many doors of opportunity remain tightly closed," she said to an audience that included 20 first ladies as well as representatives from the U.N. and World Bank.

"Democracy can only achieve its fullest potential when women are not barred by law, by ignorance, by tradition or custom, or by intimidation from making their voices heard at the ballot box." She added that "We should not rest until we have repealed the laws, swept away the webs of tradition, stared down the forces of intimidation that stifle the potential of women and children and that keep nations from being truly democratic and free."

Panamanian first lady Dora Boyd de Perez Balladeres and Columbian first lady Jacquin Strouss de Samper spoke out agaist violence. "Without peace, there is no progress," said Balladeres. de Samper said "We spend three percent of our GDP on way. If these funds were dedicated to strengthening social policies, I am sure that we would have overcome the poverty line."


10/10/1997 - Study Says Women Uninformed About Emergency Contraception

Women in the U.S, are not informed about their options regarding emergency contraception, according to a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Emergency contraception is highly effective in preventing pregnancy, yet women remain largely unaware of its potential. The study said increased awareness and easier access to emergency contraceptive services could drastically reduce the number of abortions and unwanted pregnancies that occur each year.

Emergency contraception involves taking two doses of birth control pills 12 hours apart within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. The pills contain estrogen and progesterone, hormones that prevent the implantation of fertilized eggs and induce menstruation, and are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Doctors recommend taking anti-nausea medication to counter common side effects such as nausea, vomiting and breast pain.

Dr. Anna Glasier of the University of Edinburgh said making the distinction between emergency contraception and abortion better understood would help increase use of emergency contraception among health care providers and potential users. She explained that preventing the implantation of an egg which may have been fertilized is different from abortion, which removes an already-implanted embyro.

The Reproductive Health Technologies Project and the Bridging the Gap Foundation have set up a hotline for information on EC: 1-888-668-2528. Princeton's Office of Population Research has a website on emergency contraception at http://opr.princeton.edu/ec.


10/10/1997 - Pagans to Meet in D.C.

In a peaceful gathering quite different from the recent Promise Keepers rally, pagans are coming to D.C. to clean up litter, donate to food banks, and give blood.

The event, scheduled from October 31 to November 1, will celebrate Samhain, the pagan New Year. Opening ceremonies will include a drumming circle at Jefferson Memorial and three minutes of silence. A flower memorial for those unable to attend will be located at the Lincoln Memorial and will be distributed to local hospices. An ongoing "sacred space" will be at the Mall. All participants are encouraged to wear green to symbolize the earth and to represent solidarity.


10/9/1997 - D&X Abortion Ban Approved by House

By a vote of 296-192, the House of Representatives passed a bill banning D&X abortions. President Clinton will likely veto the measure because it does not contain any exceptions to allow the prodecure to save a woman's life or health.

Because D&X abortions are often done only when the woman's health is at risk for continuing a pregnancy, or because of severe fetal defects, conservatives say that Clinton's objection would render the entire bill meaningless.

The House vote was high enough to override the expected veto, but the Senate has failed twice already to get the two-thirds majority to pass the ban. Last March, they only fell short by three votes.

For the past several months, Congress has also delayed passage of a foreign aid spending bill because it would allow money to go towards international family planning programs that perform or discuss abortion.


10/9/1997 - McKinney to be Court-Martialed

The Army says it will court-martial Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney on 20 counts of sexual harassment, including adultery, indecent assault, soliciting sex, and threatening a female soldier. If convicted, he will face up to 50 years in prison, and receive a dishonorable discharge.

McKinney, the Army's top elisted man and an African-American, has denied the charges brought by six white women and says the case has been racially motivated. His attorney claims that if the case goes to trial, McKinney will reveal sexual misconduct on the part of other senior officers that has gone unpunished.

Responding to increased complaints about sexual harassment and assault in the military, Civilian Army Secretary Togo West announced last month that along with extending boot camp for education on gender issues and improved treatment of women, the Army would make the selection process for drill sergeants tighter by using psychological tests to screen candidates.


10/9/1997 - Feminist Majority Foundation To Celebrate 10th Anniversary in L.A.

Joined by special guests U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Miklulski and Jay Leno, the Feminist Majority Foundation will celebrate our 10th anniversary with a major event in Los Angeles on October 13.

The celebration is a salute to Peg Yorkin, Chair of the Board and co-founder of the Feminist Majority. In 1991, Yorkin endowed $10 million to the organization, the largest contribution ever made for women's rights. The event's co-chairs include famous feminists such as Susan Faludi, Gillian Anderson and Alfre Woodard.


10/9/1997 - Fonda Fights Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

Longtime activist Jane Fonda is leading a campaign against abstinence-only sex education in schools.

She told "Good Morning America" that "Abstinence until marriage is based on a world that isn't out there." She said she is stunned that the government is giving $50 million a year for five years to schools to teach abstinence-only sex education. Durex, a condom manufacturer, is supporting Fonda's campaign.

Many studies have shown that comprehensive sex education leads to lower rates of sexual activity and pregnancy among teens. The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is more than double that of other industrialized countries, whose teens have sex at the same percentage as American teens. In more sexually open countries such as Canada, England, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, sex education is actively promoted and contraceptives are readily available. When children start receiving sex ed in elementary school, they are more likely to delay sexual activity, and to use protection when they become sexually active. Condom distribution in high schools has also been shown to increase the percentage of students practicing safer sex, while not increasing the overall level of sexual activity.

Only 22 states require schools to provide AIDS education and sex ed. Fifteen states require only AIDS education, and 13 states require neither. Five states have actually passed laws against comprehensive sex ed, and 19 states prevent condom distribution in schools. The National Education Association has campaigned for consistent, comprehensive sex ed programs in schools.


10/9/1997 - D&X Abortion Ban Approved by House

By a vote of 296-192, the House of Representatives passed a bill banning D&X abortions. President Clinton will likely veto the measure because it does not contain any exceptions to allow the prodecure to save a woman's life or health.

Because D&X abortions are often done only when the woman's health is at risk for continuing a pregnancy, or because of severe fetal defects, conservatives say that Clinton's objection would render the entire bill meaningless.

The House vote was high enough to override the expected veto, but the Senate has failed twice already to get the two-thirds majority to pass the ban. Last March, they only fell short by three votes.

For the past several months, Congress has also delayed passage of a foreign aid spending bill because it would allow money to go towards international family planning programs that perform or discuss abortion.


10/9/1997 - McKinney to be Court-Martialed

The Army says it will court-martial Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney on 20 counts of sexual harassment, including adultery, indecent assault, soliciting sex, and threatening a female soldier. If convicted, he will face up to 50 years in prison, and receive a dishonorable discharge.

McKinney, the Army's top elisted man and an African-American, has denied the charges brought by six white women and says the case has been racially motivated. His attorney claims that if the case goes to trial, McKinney will reveal sexual misconduct on the part of other senior officers that has gone unpunished.

Responding to increased complaints about sexual harassment and assault in the military, Civilian Army Secretary Togo West announced last month that along with extending boot camp for education on gender issues and improved treatment of women, the Army would make the selection process for drill sergeants tighter by using psychological tests to screen candidates.


10/9/1997 - Feminist Majority Foundation To Celebrate 10th Anniversary in L.A.

Joined by special guests U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Miklulski and Jay Leno, the Feminist Majority Foundation will celebrate our 10th anniversary with a major event in Los Angeles on October 13.

The celebration is a salute to Peg Yorkin, Chair of the Board and co-founder of the Feminist Majority. In 1991, Yorkin endowed $10 million to the organization, the largest contribution ever made for women's rights. The event's co-chairs include famous feminists such as Susan Faludi, Gillian Anderson and Alfre Woodard.


10/9/1997 - Fonda Fights Abstinence-Only Sex Ed

Longtime activist Jane Fonda is leading a campaign against abstinence-only sex education in schools.

She told "Good Morning America" that "Abstinence until marriage is based on a world that isn't out there." She said she is stunned that the government is giving $50 million a year for five years to schools to teach abstinence-only sex education. Durex, a condom manufacturer, is supporting Fonda's campaign.

Many studies have shown that comprehensive sex education leads to lower rates of sexual activity and pregnancy among teens. The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is more than double that of other industrialized countries, whose teens have sex at the same percentage as American teens. In more sexually open countries such as Canada, England, France, the Netherlands and Sweden, sex education is actively promoted and contraceptives are readily available. When children start receiving sex ed in elementary school, they are more likely to delay sexual activity, and to use protection when they become sexually active. Condom distribution in high schools has also been shown to increase the percentage of students practicing safer sex, while not increasing the overall level of sexual activity.

Only 22 states require schools to provide AIDS education and sex ed. Fifteen states require only AIDS education, and 13 states require neither. Five states have actually passed laws against comprehensive sex ed, and 19 states prevent condom distribution in schools. The National Education Association has campaigned for consistent, comprehensive sex ed programs in schools.


10/8/1997 - Vote on D&X Abortions Expected

Final passage of a measure outlawing certain late-term D&X abortions is expected to pass in the House today. It will then go to President Clinton, who vetoed a similar bill last year because it did not contain an exception for women whose health or lives were in danger. Since the current bill still does not allow for these exceptions, Clinton is expected to veto it again. Congress was unable to previously override the veto, lacking only three votes in the Senate.

The House is also expected to approve a Senate amendment that would allow doctors who are prosecuted under the ban to present evidence from state medical licensing boards at trial, a move opposed by the American College of Obsetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Women's Association. A vote to override Clinton's expected veto will most likely occur during next year's election campaigns.


10/8/1997 - First Ladies Meet for Women's Summit

Nineteen women from the Americas, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Panamanian first lady Dora Boyd de Perez, met with representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations today in Panama City for a summit on the problems facing women and children in the Americas.

Each first lady will address the summit on issues such as health and education for females, women's leadership roles, sexual and labor abuse of children, improved education for women and children, and support for rural women wanting to earn an income.


10/8/1997 - Britain's Labour Party Attacks Sexist MPs

A Labour party spokesman said that Labour officials are listening to recordings of all parliament debates since last May's elections, and are drawing up a list of Conservative party members who make sexist and snide remarks to the women. They plan on taking the names of the guilty men to house speaker Betty Boothroyd.

The Labour Party says that since an unprecedented 101 women were elected to Parliament, Conservative men have made sexist comments and accused the women of ignorance about debate procedure. The spokesman said the investigation was a "result of complaints" and that it was "part of a wider look at ways of modernising the House of Commons. It's not just a boys' club anymore."


10/8/1997 - 13-year-old Begins at Oxford

Sufiah Yusof, a mathematical genius who was home-taught by her math-researcher parents, is the second-youngest student ever to enroll at Oxford. The previous prodigy was Ruth Lawrence, who entered the math program at age 12 in 1982 and graduated with a first-class honors degree.

She will live at home with her Pakistan-born parents and four siblings, three of whom are scheduled to attend Oxford next year. Her father said he does not foresee any problems, because Sufiah "has always mixed with people a lot older than herself. She is very mature."

Yusof, who is also a champion tennis player, arrived on Monday at St. Hilda's, Oxford's last remaining all-women's college, for a three year maths degree. "As soon as all the fuss dies down I intend to study as hard as I can," she said.


10/8/1997 - Vote on D&X Abortions Expected

Final passage of a measure outlawing certain late-term D&X abortions is expected to pass in the House today. It will then go to President Clinton, who vetoed a similar bill last year because it did not contain an exception for women whose health or lives were in danger. Since the current bill still does not allow for these exceptions, Clinton is expected to veto it again. Congress was unable to previously override the veto, lacking only three votes in the Senate.

The House is also expected to approve a Senate amendment that would allow doctors who are prosecuted under the ban to present evidence from state medical licensing boards at trial, a move opposed by the American College of Obsetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Women's Association. A vote to override Clinton's expected veto will most likely occur during next year's election campaigns.


10/8/1997 - First Ladies Meet for Women's Summit

Nineteen women from the Americas, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Panamanian first lady Dora Boyd de Perez, met with representatives of the World Bank and the United Nations today in Panama City for a summit on the problems facing women and children in the Americas.

Each first lady will address the summit on issues such as health and education for females, women's leadership roles, sexual and labor abuse of children, improved education for women and children, and support for rural women wanting to earn an income.


10/8/1997 - Britain's Labour Party Attacks Sexist MPs

A Labour party spokesman said that Labour officials are listening to recordings of all parliament debates since last May's elections, and are drawing up a list of Conservative party members who make sexist and snide remarks to the women. They plan on taking the names of the guilty men to house speaker Betty Boothroyd.

The Labour Party says that since an unprecedented 101 women were elected to Parliament, Conservative men have made sexist comments and accused the women of ignorance about debate procedure. The spokesman said the investigation was a "result of complaints" and that it was "part of a wider look at ways of modernising the House of Commons. It's not just a boys' club anymore."


10/8/1997 - 13-year-old Begins at Oxford

Sufiah Yusof, a mathematical genius who was home-taught by her math-researcher parents, is the second-youngest student ever to enroll at Oxford. The previous prodigy was Ruth Lawrence, who entered the math program at age 12 in 1982 and graduated with a first-class honors degree.

She will live at home with her Pakistan-born parents and four siblings, three of whom are scheduled to attend Oxford next year. Her father said he does not foresee any problems, because Sufiah "has always mixed with people a lot older than herself. She is very mature."

Yusof, who is also a champion tennis player, arrived on Monday at St. Hilda's, Oxford's last remaining all-women's college, for a three year maths degree. "As soon as all the fuss dies down I intend to study as hard as I can," she said.


10/7/1997 - U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence for Abortion Doctor Murderer

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the death sentence for Paul Hill, who was convicted of murdering an abortion doctor and a volunteer clinic escort in 1994.

A Connecticut lawyer had appealed on the grounds that Hill should not have been permitted to act as his own trial lawyer. The Supreme Court said Hill, who did not authorize any appeals on his behalf, had "knowingly and intelligently waived" the right to a lawyer. There have never been allegations regarding Hill's mental competency.

Hill, 43, was convicted of murdering Dr. John Bayard Britton and his volunteer escort James Barrett, outside a Pensacola, Florida abortion clinic. He also shot and injured Barrett's wife.

Hill says he welcomes his execution, because he believes it will incite more people to use violence against abortion providers, thereby preventing abortions. "I think I can save more people dead than alive," he said.


10/7/1997 - Judge Extends Block on Abortion Waiting Period Law

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb extended the temporary restraining order on an abortion waiting-period law in Wisconsin on Friday. She said the state must prepare materials for the abortion providers to distribute before the law can be enforced.

The law has had the restraining order on it since April 1996, when Gov. Thompson signed it into law and Planned Parenthood challenged it. Under the new law, physicians must provide state-published information 24 hours before a woman can get an abortion, except in cases of rape or incest. The State Department of Health and Human Services plans to have materials ready by the end of the year, which will include a list of county services for pregnant women and a brochure about fetal development. Crabb denied Planned Parenthood's request to further block the enforcement of the law until they reviewed the material for accuracy.


10/7/1997 - Lesbian Named to Top Clinton Post

Clinton's administration announced on Oct. 1 that longtime lesbian activist Virginia Apuzzo had been appointed to one of 18 Assistant to the President positions, making her the highest-ranking openly gay or lesbian person ever in the government.

Apuzzo will work in Management and Administration, directing White House management and administrative functions and overseeing all Executive Offices agencies. She has been head of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Mario Cuomo's liason to the lesbian and gay community in New York, and Vice Chair of the NY AIDS Advisory Council.

Brian Bond, executive director of the Victory Fund, said "By judging applicants on their qualifications rather than their sexual orientation, President Clinton continues to set a shining example for all fair-minded employers to follow."


10/7/1997 - Japanese Women Seek to Stop Subway Molestation

Tired of being grabbed and fondled on Tokyo subways, Japanese women are speaking out and asking police for help in stopping "chikan," or subway molesters. Police have asked the train companies to consider single-sex cars for women and children, a scenario not seen in 40 years.

Subway molestation has been a well-known problem for years, and the train companies are increasing their campaign against the harassment. Posters in subways tell women to beware of and immediately report molesters. Announcements are being made in the stations and in the cars to warn molesters that they are being watched. "We are asking women who have suffered from abuse to report cases before the fondlers escalate their attacks," said a police spokesman. At one train station, police have arrested 34 men so far this year, almost double last year's number. Women are also becoming more aggressive, complaining publicly and shouting in the subway to humiliate the grabber.

Many men in Tokyo openly look at pornography or at comics depicting graphic rape scenes while on the subways, in front of women and children. Teenage girls in school uniforms are victimized most often, because many Japanese men find the outfits sexy. The subways are so crowded that it is often hard to tell who is doing the grabbing. While some women support the establishment of women-only train cars, others are worried that any woman who rode with men would be seen as wanting to be fondled.


10/7/1997 - Gay Paper Switches to Corporate Ownership in NYC

Many gays and lesbians are worried about the Washington Blade's New York counterpart, set to debut later this month. An employee-owned production in D.C., the Blade in New York will split ownership 50-50 between Blade employees and a large corporation.

"There is a concern any time a corporation comes in with big money ... this is about selling ads [and] corporatizing gay culture," said Troy Masters, publisher of a gay biweekly in New York. Don Michaels, publisher of the Washington Blade and the New York Blade News, said that the New York publication would differ from the D.C. Blade because its reporters would not practice advocacy journalism, but "follow the objective journalist style of reporting ...We have a deadline mentality."

Playwright and gay activist Larry Kramer thinks the gay community won't be interested in the New York Blade News, which he predicts will be "a timid piece of toilet paper that people can wrap their old fish in." In response to criticism that the paper should be owned by gays and take a stance on gay issues, Michaels said, "So what? A paper like this has been needed in New York for a long time."


10/7/1997 - U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence for Abortion Doctor Murderer

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the death sentence for Paul Hill, who was convicted of murdering an abortion doctor and a volunteer clinic escort in 1994.

A Connecticut lawyer had appealed on the grounds that Hill should not have been permitted to act as his own trial lawyer. The Supreme Court said Hill, who did not authorize any appeals on his behalf, had "knowingly and intelligently waived" the right to a lawyer. There have never been allegations regarding Hill's mental competency.

Hill, 43, was convicted of murdering Dr. John Bayard Britton and his volunteer escort James Barrett, outside a Pensacola, Florida abortion clinic. He also shot and injured Barrett's wife.

Hill says he welcomes his execution, because he believes it will incite more people to use violence against abortion providers, thereby preventing abortions. "I think I can save more people dead than alive," he said.