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9/8/1997 - Gore Pledges Administration's Support for Working Women

U.S. Vice President Al Gore promised working women "labor rights, civil rights and human rights" in a speech delivered to an AFL-CIO conference this Saturday. "We can't be satisfied until the notion of equal pay for equal work is not just a theory but a reality in the lives of working women," Gore said. The three-day conference, a project of the AFL-CIO's Working Women's Department, concerned major issues facing working women and their families and drew more than 1,700 attendees. Women discussed ways to bring change, both on the job and in their communities.


9/8/1997 - Jones Rejects Settlement, Seeks New Counsel

Paula Corbin Jones is interviewing new counsel in her 3-year-old sexual harassment dispute with U.S. President Clinton after refusing a $700,000 settlement proposed by her lawyers. Jones counsel, Joe Cammarata and Gil Davis, asked for permission to withdraw from the case if Jones refused to settle. Jones refused to grant this permission, and Cammarata and Davis have since asked U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright for permission to withdraw from Jones' case, citing a "difference of opinion."

A spokesperson for Jones, Susan Carpenter McMillan, claims that Cammarata and Davis are "are hell-bent on settling" and "don't really want to go to trial." According to McMillan, Jones rejected the latest settlement because she disagreed with the wording of Clinton's apology. Cammarata and Davis have refused to comment, citing attorney-client privilege.


9/8/1997 - Williams Breaks New Ground for African American Women In Tennis

Venus Williams, a 17-year-old tennis star from Florida, on Sunday became the first African American women to play in the U.S. Open Women's Singles Final in 39 years. Williams follows Althea Gibson, who in 1957 became the first African American woman to play in the prestigious tournament final. Gibson won the U.S. Open two years in a row, in 1957 and 1958.

Although Williams lost her match on Sunday against top-seeded Martina Hingis, she won a great victory for people of color in a sport that is largely considered white and upper-middle class. Many speculate that Williams might become a "Tiger Woods of tennis," by stirring up new interest in the sport and by serving as a role model for young African American women.


9/5/1997 - House Votes to Eliminate U.S. Funding for Intl. Family Planning Organizations

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said that September 4, 1997 was "a sad day for women." On that day, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $12.3 million foreign aid bill including the Smith amendment, a measure that eliminates U.S. financial aid to international family planning organizations that practice or advocate abortion. Pelosi, who sponsored a narrowly defeated alternative amendment that would have preserved funding for organizations that pay for abortion services with private funds, says of the Smith measure, "It means more unplanned pregnancies, more abortions, exploding populations and exploding poverty."

In July, the Senate passed a $13.2 billion foreign aid bill that did not include the Smith admendment. Senators have deemed this abortion measure "veto bait." The House and Senate will have to agree on a single bill before the legislation is sent to President Clinton for approval. President Clinton has vowed to veto any legislation that restricts family planning activities.


9/5/1997 - Saudi Arabian Man Kills Newborn Daughter for Being Female

The Arab News daily reported Thursday that a man threw his newborn child to the ground, killing her, when he realized the baby was female. The man, who had six daughters and no sons, claimed he did not intend to kill the baby, but was simply venting his frustration. The newspaper did not state whether the man had been arrested.


9/5/1997 - Operation Rescue Lawsuit Dismissed

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf has dismissed Operation Rescue's lawsuit against democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Lawyers for the anti-choice organization alleged that Kennedy made false and defamatory statements about Operation Rescue in a 1993 television interview. In the interview, Kennedy was explaining why women need guaranteed access to abortion clinics. "When we have a national organization like Operation Rescue that has as a matter of national policy firebombing and even murder, that's unacceptable."

Wolf ruled that Kennedy was not liable for his statements because those statements were made as part of his Senatorial duties. "His remarks about Operation Rescue were made, at least in part, to inform the public of the reasons for his position on a legislative matter." Operation Rescue plans to appeal the decision.


9/5/1997 - Vaginal Births Found Safe After Cesarean Section

A new study in Pediatrics reports that women who have had a cesarean section can go on to give birth vaginally without increasing their own or their infant's risk of complications. Vaginal births are less debilitating to mothers, both physically and economically, and do not encourage the respiratory problems that have been linked to elective cesarean sections. Thirty-eight percent of cesarean sections performed in the U.S. are repeat cesareans, giving the U.S. one of the highest rates of repeat procedures.


9/5/1997 - U.S. Supreme Court Refuses Stay on Proposition 209

Civil and women's rights activists requesting an emergency stay on the enforcement of Proposition 209 were refused Thursday, when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the request without comment.

The Court has yet to decide whether it will hear an appeal of Proposition 209's constitutionality, and opponents of the law are confident that the decision, expected in October, will be in their favor. Mark Rosenbaum, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, states "This case involves critical questions regarding the ability of cities and states to address historic discrimination and deserves a review by our nation's highest court." Ed Chen, staff attorney for the ACLU of Northern California, hopes that local cities will not jump to enforce Proposition 209, since a Supreme Court reversal of may be forthcoming and the changes would cause "a great deal of disruption to their programs."


9/4/1997 - Senate Moves to Eliminate Medicaid Abortions

The Senate voted Wednesday to eliminate Medicaid funding for abortions performed by managed care organizations. Exceptions would be granted in instances where the unwanted pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or endangers the mother's life. The House will consider this provision, sponsored by Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Missouri, later this week.

According to Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, abortion services are currently covered by two thirds of managed-care plans. The Senate's move will have a particularly devastating affect on poor women, who depend on Medicaid-funded managed care for their basic healthcare. Parenthood Federation of America president Gloria Feldt remarked, "This action stands in stark contrast to the original intent of the federal Medicaid program by further marginalizing poor women and erecting barriers to equal health care for all."


9/4/1997 - Nutri/System Replaces Fen-Phen With Phen-Pro

Nutri/System Weight Loss Centers has discontinued the use of fen-phen in response to reports that the drug causes damage to heart valves and increases blood pressure. Nutri/System has replaced fen-phen with an alternative drug combination called phen-pro, a mixture of phentermine and Prozac, an anti-depressant.

Nutri/System claims that the new drug is effective and safer than fen-phen. Others, like Dr. Lewis J. Rubin, head of pulmonary medicine at the University of Maryland Medical School, claim that phen-pro has not yet been proven safe. "Let's not embrace the next [drug] that comes down the pike until it's proven safe and effective."


9/4/1997 - Calcium, Vitamin D Prevent Bone Fractures, Study Reports

A new study found that calcium and vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of broken bones in elderly persons. Previous studies have established that calcium supplements can slow bone loss and increase bone density, and that vitamin D encourages the body's absorption of calcium. The new study by Dr. Beth Dawson-Hughes et al and published in last Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine, is unique in that it shows that calcium can actually prevent fractures from occurring.

In the study, subjects that took calcium supplements were more than 50% less likely to suffer a broken bone after a fall than were subject that did not take calcium supplements. The annual cost of osteoporosis (gradual thinning and weakening of bone tissue) and fractures that are caused by osteoporosis is an estimated $10 billion.


9/3/1997 - Abortion Dispute May Obstruct Administration's Plan

An anticipated abortion dispute in Congress, led by Republican Rep. Chris Smith of N.J., may jeopardize the Clinton administration's plan to repay United Nations debt and restructure U.S. foreign policy organization through the State Department authorization bill. The authorization bill, which was discussed and partially agreed-upon in a House-Senate conference last month and may come up in the House again this week, would bring the U.S. Information Agency and the Arms Control Agency under the State Department and allocate $819 million for repayment of U.S. debt to the United Nations.

The portion of the bill that is in contention is a measure that concerns funding for family planning organizations that practice or advocate abortion. Smith would like to reinstate the former "Mexico City" provision by amending the State Department authorization bill. The Mexico City provision, strictly enforced by the Bush and Reagan administrations and then abolished by Clinton in 1993, bars the use of U.S. funds for international family planning organizations that perform or advocate abortions. If the House-Senate approves the "Mexico City" language suggested by Smith, Clinton will likely veto the bill.


9/3/1997 - Corporations Cater to Women Entrepreneurs

The U.S. Department of Labor has projected that women will own approximately one-half of U.S. businesses by the year 2000. There are approximately eight million women business owners today, and these businesses generate $2.3 trillion in sales. Lucile Reid, who directs a $10 billion loan program for women business owners for Wells Fargo Bank, says of women-owned businesses, "They've grown from being tiny businesses to strong, small businesses with great growth prospects, so you [corporations] better pay attention."

Several major U.S. corporations have responded to women's growing economic power by altering their sales strategies and marketing specifically to women. IBM now has women-led divisions that target women business owners. AT&T has launched commercials which feature women business owners and has trained its sales force to use communication skills and tactics that women are said to prefer. For example, women, more so than men, desire partnerships with their vendors. They seek to establish long-term relationships, demand frequent personal attention, and are often more loyal to their vendors than are men. Some women business owners dispute these generalizations and fear that essentialist stereotypes will impede them in their struggles for equality with men.


9/3/1997 - Chicago Sponsors Gay-Pride Themed Renovations

Chicago's North Halsted Street, home to one of the city's most visible and prosperous gay communities, will receive city funds for renovations and improvements that have a gay-pride theme. Mark Johnson, spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said, "Such a institutional recognition of a largely homosexual community is a national first." The renovations, scheduled to begin in March of 1998, will include rainbow-colored lights, hung in arches on a half-mile stretch of Halsted Street. In addition to the new lighting, sidewalks will be repaired and widened, and trees will be planted. "This particular strip has contributed million of dollars to the economic base of the city, so the city is reinvesting in the community," said Mary Morten, liaison to the gay and lesbian community for Mayor Richard Daley.


9/3/1997 - WOC Honors Diana With Land Mines Campaign

Women Organizing for Change (WOC) is honoring Diana, the Princess of Wales, by lending its efforts to one of her many worthy causes. "There will be many memorials to the Princess of Wales. But perhaps the best tribute to her life would be to make her fight against land mines a success." According to the WOC, the U.S. government has done little to eliminate the use of these destructive devices, which claim many innocent lives each year. If you would like to contribute to WOC's efforts, please contact President Clinton and urge him to join in the fight to eliminate land mines. He can be reached via e-mail (president@whitehouse.gov), phone (202/456-1414), fax (202/456-2883), or mail (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500).


9/3/1997 - Dallas Diocese Asks Vatican to Nullify Priest's Ordination

Roman Catholic officials in Dallas asked the Vatican to nullify the ordination of Father Rudolph Kos on grounds that Kos lied to them about his background and sexual orientation. Kos, who is an accused pedophile, cost the church $119.6 million in a July 24th civil lawsuit award to 11 plaintiffs. The jury found that the diocese was "grossly negligent" in dealing with the alleged abuse and concealed information about Kos. Former Vatican Embassy lawyer speculates that Vatican will likely reject the request for nullification. "They ignoring warnings for years and didn't do anything. You can't undo that."


9/3/1997 - Dallas Diocese Asks Vatican to Nullify Priest's Ordination

Roman Catholic officials in Dallas asked the Vatican to nullify the ordination of Father Rudolph Kos on grounds that Kos lied to them about his background and sexual orientation. Kos, who is an accused pedophile, cost the church $119.6 million in a July 24th civil lawsuit award to 11 plaintiffs. The jury found that the diocese was "grossly negligent" in dealing with the alleged abuse and concealed information about Kos. Former Vatican Embassy lawyer speculates that Vatican will likely reject the request for nullification. "They ignoring warnings for years and didn't do anything. You can't undo that."


9/3/1997 - Fort Bragg Soldiers Disciplined for Sexual Harassment

Army officials at Fort Bragg, N.C., have disciplined seven of thirteen soldiers accused of sexual misconduct and may punish an eighth. Army investigators determined that the remaining five soldiers will not be punished. The accused harassers worked in the 1st Corps Support Command Consolidated Dining Facility and were charged with making inappropriate sexual comments and fraternization.

Of the seven soldiers disciplined, two were charged under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which allows for demotions, reductions in pay, the assignment of extra duty, or the imposition of mild restrictions. The remaining five soldiers received written reprimands. A new manager has been appointed at the dining facility.


9/2/1997 - Oregon Prisoner Denied an Abortion

The Yamhill County, Oregon board of commissioners passed a new anti-abortion law last Thursday. Under this law, Joni Ledbetter, a prisoner jailed on robbery charges, will be denied an abortion and forced to carry her unwanted pregnancy to term because Yamhill county agents will not release her for the procedure. The law prohibits county agents from facilitating abortions in any way.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon plans to challenge the Yamhill County law in court. Executive Director David Fidanque defended women's constitutional right to an abortion, stating, "No government agency can force a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn't want to continue."

[Source: Reuters - August 29, 1997


9/2/1997 - Israelis Accused of Prostituting South African Women

Ten South African women, lured to Tel Aviv with the promise of legitimate jobs, allege that they were forced into prostitution. One of the accusers claimed that she was threatened with death. The South African women have since been sent home and an investigation is underway.


9/2/1997 - Hong Kong Sex Discrimination Laws Challenge Popular Newspaper

Hong Kong's Apple Daily printed an advertisement for "several pretty female reporters," in an apparent violation of the country's new anti-discrimination employment laws. The new anti-discrimination laws prohibit employers from citing sex, marital status, or lack of disability as a condition of employment, but allow employers to request workers of a specific age or race. The publisher of the popular Apple Daily newspaper will be the first organization tried under the new discrimination laws.


9/2/1997 - WOC Honors Diana With Land Mines Campaign

Women Organizing for Change (WOC) is honoring Diana, the Princess of Wales, by lending its efforts to one of her many worthy causes. "There will be many memorials to the Princess of Wales. But perhaps the best tribute to her life would be to make her fight against land mines a success." According to the WOC, the U.S. government has done little to eliminate the use of these destructive devices, which claim many innocent lives each year. If you would like to contribute to WOC's efforts, please contact President Clinton and urge him to join in the fight to eliminate land mines. He can be reached via e-mail (president@whitehouse.gov), phone (202/456-1414), fax (202/456-2883), or mail (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20500).


9/2/1997 - Janet Jagan May Become Guyana's First Female Head of State

Janet Jagan, widow of Guyanese President Cheddi Jagan, accepted the People's Progressive Party's presidential nomination on Sunday, August 31st. If elected, Jagan will be the first female head of state in Guyana. A Chicagoan and Jewish-American nurse, Jagan would also be Guyana's first foreign-born elected leader.

Jagan has served in Guyana's highest post of prime minister since her husband's death in March of 1996 and has also served as health minister. Her husband's deputy, Sam Hinds has been president since Cheddi Jagan's passing and will be Janet Jagan's running mate in the coming election.


9/2/1997 - WBNA Attendance Rivals Men's Sports

The Women's National Basketball Association wrapped up a wildly successful inaugural season with a championship game this Saturday. The WNBA drew more spectators than Major League Soccer in August and matched the television audience of men's professional golf. New York's Liberty team drew more fans to Madison Square Gardens than the New York Knicks have since 1987, and both the Phoenix and New York teams averaged more than 13,000 spectators per game. Even the Utah team, which had the lowest average attendance at 7,611, drew nearly twice as many fans as was originally anticipated. The WBNA looks forward to an even more successful season next year.


9/1/1997 - Army Excuses Aberdeen Commander

On July 31, Army officials said the two-star general in charge of Aberdeen should not be held responsible for the widespread sexual scandal that occurred on the base. Four mid-level officers at the Aberdeen Ordnance Center should, however, receive administrative punishment for the sex scandals in their battalions, according to the Army leadership.

Gen. William Hartzog, who heads the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command and who determined the disciplinary measures after a seven-month review, excused Maj. Gen. Robert D. Shadley, the Aberdeen commander, because he claims Shadley had no idea of sexual misconduct on the base. Although the Army decided the four officers who were directly responsible for the battalions should receive punishment, an official described the disciplinary action as “nothing earth-shattering” and may not affect the future careers of the men. The Army’s decision prompted Rep. Jane Harman (D- Calif.), a member of a House panel studying gender issues in the military, to comment, “There was clearly a lax environment at Aberdeen and my view is that there is responsibility at the top and through the chain of command. I’ll be watching to see what the Army’s total solution is. It must include some action against senior levels who were asleep at the switch. Wrongdoing must be punished and wrongdoing includes failure to supervise.”