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2/11/1998 - Gay and Lesbian Rights Attacked in Maine, Philadelphia

A Maine law prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians was struck down in a vote of 51.9 to 48.1 percent. The special election vetoed a law passed last year that would have criminalized discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, public accommodation and credit.

Discrimination law opponent Maine Christian Civic League President Michael Heath said, “It wasn’t out of a sense of wanting to hurt anyone ... it was out of a sense we’ve all had for a long time that there is a right or wrong in terms of human sexuality.”

Supporters of the law will continue their fight for anti-discrimination laws and gay rights. Maine Treasurer Dale McCormick said, “We’re going to have civil rights in my lifetime. I thought I was going to taste it tomorrow morning. We may still taste it.”

In Philadelphia, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese condemned three city proposals that would grant health and pension benefits to same-sex partners of city employees. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua hand-delivered a letter asking Mayor Ed Rendell and City Council members to reject the legislation. The letter claimed that the proposed laws, which would add the term “life partner” to existing ordinances concerning employee benefits, would be “destructive to our city’s moral and social structure.”

Supporter Councilman Angel Ortiz commented on the proposals, claiming that they addressed fairness, not morality. “We’re supposed to treat all citizens equally ... so no citizen is left out or discriminated against because of the relationships they’re in,” said Ortiz.


2/11/1998 - Search for Clinic Bombing Witness Continues

Investigators continue their search for Eric Robert Rudolph, wanted in connection with the Alabama abortion clinic bombing that killed officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured nurse Emily Lyons. A convoy of federal agents and law enforcement officers moved from Murphy, N.C., through back roads, to the Georgia-Tennessee border. Agents combed the mountains with special heat-sensor equipment and two FBI bloodhounds along the way.

Authorities have asked the public not to approach Rudolph if he is seen. Rudolph is a 32-year-old white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighs 150 pounds.

Call the ATF hotline, 1-888-ATF-BOMB, with information concerning Rudolph or the bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph


2/11/1998 - U.S. Women Earn Gold, Victories in Olympics

The United States Women’s Hockey team beat rival Finland in a 4-2 victory. The team is tied with Canada, with six points in Olympic standings. Finland has four points, China has 2, and Sweden and Japan have zero. The top two teams will battle in a game for the gold medal immediately after the preliminary round.

Downhill skier Picabo Street won Olympic gold in the women’s super-G, with .01 seconds to spare. Street said “I made a mistake about midway through the course .... It made me mad and I just went for it.”

Street, a native of Idaho who now lives in Portland, Oregon, has recovered from knee surgery and grappled with headaches from a two-week-old accident that knocked her unconscious.


2/11/1998 - Evidence Supports Victims in Army Sex Trial

Prosecutors submitted an audio tape of a February 1997 telephone conversation in which Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney asked Staff Sgt. Christine Fetrow to deny that he had sexually harassed her and claim that “no inappropriateness at all,” had occurred between them.

McKinney said, “All you have to do is tell them that we talked a lot. You call the office sometimes because you want to talk about career development and that kind of stuff. That’s it ... That’s all they need to know.”

Fetrow, the first of fifty to testify against the defendant, said that McKinney had reportedly made unwanted sexual advances and assaulted her since 1994. Fetrow also claimed that she has received “well over 40” anonymous, threatening phone calls since the start of the investigation.

McKinney faces 19 charges, including sexual assault and obstructing justice, stemming from the allegations of six officers. If convicted, he faces 55.5 years in prison, loss of retirement benefits and rank.

Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military


2/11/1998 - Israeli Army Allows Women in Enemy Territory

The Israeli army will permit women to enter enemy territory during military missions. Female doctors will now be allowed into combat zones to evacuate and treat soldiers.

The decision arises from an increase in women doctors in the army. Israeli Surgeon General Arial Dan stated, “It’s a totally natural development.”

The Israeli Army allows women, who are drafted at the age of 18, to train as pilots and in certain types of combat.


2/10/1998 - First of Fifty Testifies in Army Sex Trial

Former Staff Sgt. Christine Fetrow testified against Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney in a sex harassment court-martial trial. Fetrow, the first woman enlisted in the Army’s elite Old Guard, became the first of 50 anticipated witnesses to testify against McKinney. McKinney, the Army’s former top-enlisted soldier, has been charged with 19 counts of harassment and assault against six officers. Ten of the counts stem from Fetrow’s allegations.

The trial is expected to last four to five weeks. If convicted, McKinney faces up to fifty-five years in prison, loss of rank and retirement benefits.

Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military


2/10/1998 - Netherlands Grants Adoption Rights for Same-Gender Couples

The Netherlands government announced that it will grant adoption rights to same-gender couples. A new legal partnership registry was recently put in place that allows same-gender couples to obtain marriage certificates.

If a child is born after same-gender couples register as partners, the “non-biological partner” will automatically be recognized as an adoptive parent and lesbian mothers who have children before entering into a partnership can have those children co-adopted by their partners.

Feminist News Stories on Same-Sex Marriage


2/10/1998 - Minority Women Unsatisfied with Advancement Possibilities

A study released by Catalyst research group found that minority women in management are unsatisfied with their chances for promotion and approximately one in four plan to resign from their companies as a result. Researchers surveyed 1,700 minority women, including those with African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American backgrounds, more than half of whom had graduate degrees. Twenty-two percent of those women surveyed intended to leave their companies.

“The women we surveyed are highly educated and believe themselves qualified to advance in corporations .... [they] find they’re not moving up, so they tell us they are going to be moving out,” said Sheila Wellington, president of the Catalyst research group.


2/10/1998 - Washington Welfare Limits Struck Down

U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess ruled against a state law that required people to reside in Washington for one year before collecting welfare benefits at state levels.

“The law unfairly penalizes people who move here to escape from a battering spouse, to join family members or to pursue a job opportunity,” said Julya Hampton, an American Civil Liberties Union representative.

Supporters of the law worried that poor families would move to Washington because of higher benefits. Washington pays a family of three $546 a month, while Idaho pays $276 and Oregon $460.

A federal appeals court recently struck down a similar law in California, citing discrimination against new residents.


2/10/1998 - Washington Welfare Limits Struck Down

U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess ruled against a state law that required people to reside in Washington for one year before collecting welfare benefits at state levels.

“The law unfairly penalizes people who move here to escape from a battering spouse, to join family members or to pursue a job opportunity,” said Julya Hampton, an American Civil Liberties Union representative.

Supporters of the law worried that poor families would move to Washington because of higher benefits. Washington pays a family of three $546 a month, while Idaho pays $276 and Oregon $460.

A federal appeals court recently struck down a similar law in California, citing discrimination against new residents.


2/9/1998 - ATF Finds Truck Seen at Clinic Bombing

Investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) have located the truck last seen leaving the site of the Alabama clinic bombing that killed police officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured nurse Emily Lyons.

The 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck was found in a wooded area outside Murphy, N.C. Authorities are still searching for Eric Robert Rudolph, the owner of the truck, in the mountains in western North Carolina.

The Justice Department has issued an alert that warns clinics to beware of any suspicious packages, including potted plants, stuffed animals and boxed candy.

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB with any information regarding the bombing.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence


2/9/1998 - Women’s Hockey Debuts in Olympics

The United States won, 5-0, over China in the long overdue first day of women’s Olympic hockey. “It’s not just a man’s game anymore .... We really feel like we’re out here paving the way for all the women behind us,” said U.S. team captain Cammi Granato, who scored two goals.

The rink was packed as U.S. fans waved flags and cheered for the women. Supporter Heather Norton commented, “So many women have spent their lives breaking down the barriers between men’s and women’s sports and breaking down old stereotypes .... This game should have happened a long time ago.”


2/9/1998 - Feminist Psychologist Mary Roth Walsh Dies at 58

Feminist psychologist Mary Roth Walsh was found dead with her husband, Francis, in their Arlington, Massachusetts home. A neighbor had called police to check on the couple after she noticed the Walsh's garage light left on, and mail piling up. The police entered the house and discovered the couple, both University of Massachusetts professors, dead from carbon-monoxide poisoning. Authorities are still searching for the cause.

The late Mary Roth Walsh was known for her leadership in the field of feminist psychology. Walsh had also written several books, including, The Psychology of Women: Ongoing Debates and Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply: Sexual Barriers in the Medical Profession.

Christine McKenna, spokeswoman for the University of Massachusetts in Lowell said, "We are stunned over the deaths of these two fine professors .... They worked here for many years and will be missed by colleagues and students."


2/9/1998 - Technique May Lead to Less Breast Cancer Surgery

A new scanning procedure has been developed that may result in less surgery for women with breast cancer. Doctors from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, developed the new procedure that checks lymph nodes for malignancy.

“Pictures are taken twice over 24 hours using a gamma camera and a computer then compares the two images showing the probability of a tumor being there,” said Dr. Keith Britton, head of the ICRF Nuclear Medicine Unit.

“If a node is positive it can be removed and looked at by pathology to double check if cancer is present. That way we can tell women in advance how extensive their breast cancer is going to be,” said Britton.

Cancer patients currently have to undergo painful surgery to remove lymph nodes to be checked for spreading cancer.

A study published in the British Journal of Cancer showed the new technique to be 90 percent correct in predicting the spread of cancer. The most common form of cancer among women, one in 12 will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.


2/9/1998 - U.S. Marines Attack Colombian Woman

Four U.S. Marines have been charged with attacking a woman. The Marines, stationed at the U.S. embassy in Bogota, Columbia, took the woman to a U.S. embassy garage, where one of the Marines demanded she have sex with him. When she refused, the Marines beat her. The woman attempted to gain compensation for the attack from the embassy and was offered $150 by a U.S. official to not file suit.

Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military


2/9/1998 - Pregnant Waitresses Awarded $786,000 in Discrimination Suit

In a suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal jury awarded $786,000 to three waitresses for sex discrimination. The Rustic Inn Crabhouse in Florida required waitresses to transfer to lower-paying positions such as cashier and hostess after their fifth month of pregnancy. Lawyers for the Rustic Inn claim that the restaurant was trying to protect pregnant women from having to lift heavy trays.

“We are very upset .... In over 40 years, only three women complained on this issue,” said restaurant general manager Michael Diascro.

Plaintiff Barbara Nuesse, who was fired after her fifth month of pregnancy, said “I feel I’ve really done right by all women, not just myself and the other girls.”


2/9/1998 - Congresswoman Seeks CA Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination

Congresswoman Jane Harman announced her decision to run for governor of California. Harman will run against businessman Al Checchi and Lt. Gov. Gray Davis for the Democratic nomination.

Harman graduated from Harvard Law School and before being elected to Congress, served as an aide to U.S. Sen. John Tunney, D-Cal., in the 1970’s. She was deputy Cabinet secretary in the Carter White House and special counsel for the Defense Department. Harman is known for her past pro-choice and gay rights stances.


2/6/1998 - Bombing Investigation Named After Police Victim

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) is naming the investigation into the bombing of an abortion clinic after Robert Dewayne Sanderson, the Birmingham police officer who was killed. ATF special agent Joe Green said, “we decided to name it the Sandbomb Task Force .... That’s our way of honoring the officer.”

Authorities, including members of the ATF’s elite National Response Team, are continuing investigations throughout the Birmingham area. “It’s important that we cover as much ground as we can as quickly as we can,” said Green.

The New Woman All Women Clinic that was bombed reopened yesterday. Two patients arrived minutes after the doors were opened. Diane Derzis, clinic co-owner, said, “It just shows the determination of women who want an abortion.”

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence


2/6/1998 - Senegal President: Cease Female Genital Mutilation

Senegal President Abdou Diouf called for an end to female genital mutilation, requesting that the government formulate a law prohibiting the practice. Diouf said it was necessary to “inform the population and to raise awareness about risks which women and children are exposed to” as a result of the procedure.

Diouf said that ending female genital mutilation is part of promoting human rights and the fight for equality between men and women through government regulations.

Diouf called for a “national dialogue” about the practice. “In each village in Senegal, the inhabitants must come together and decide to end the practice of female circumcision,” proclaimed Diouf.

Feminist News Stories on Female Genital Mutilation


2/6/1998 - Portugal Relaxes Abortion Laws

The Portugal Parliament passed a law legalizing abortions performed up to the 10th week of pregnancy. The vote, 116-107, came a year after a similar proposal was voted down.

Socialist Party delegate Sousa Pinto said, “This finally allows us to develop more sensitive, more appropriate measures” for dealing with unwelcome pregnancies. The new bill will take effect in 90 days and allows women who want an abortion to have consultations with family planning centers, where they will be referred to an abortion provider.

Abortions were decriminalized in Portugal 13 years ago. Women could obtain abortions when their health was in serious risk during the first three months of gestation. Last year 280 legal abortions were performed in Portugal, with pro-choice advocates estimating 16,000 botched, illegal abortions.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion


2/6/1998 - Pharmaceutical Company Settles Sexual Harassment Suit

The pharmaceutical company Astra USA, Inc. has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a sexual harassment suit brought by approximately 80 women. Victims claim that they were expected to socialize, dance and have sex with top company officials and clients. When employees attempted to come forward with complaints, they were often fired or denied promotions, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“It was constant, and you couldn’t complain,” said Lelia Bush, a former Astra employee, “There was no one to complain to.”

Ivan Rowley, Astra’s current president, issued a statement concerning the settlement. “It is important that we acknowledge that there were instances of sexual harassment at Astra. As a company we are ashamed of the unacceptable behavior,” said Rowley.


2/6/1998 - Special K Discontinues Too-Thin Model Ads

The Kellogg Co. announced that it will no longer use “super slim” models in Special K ads. The ads for the low-fat cereal depicted extremely thin women with tight-fitting clothes.

“Women generally were not able to relate to our previous ads,” said Kenna Bridges, product publicity manager for Kellogg. “They felt the body weights and sizes were unrealistic. We took the feedback and we’re reshaping our own attitude,” said Bridges.


2/6/1998 - Court Upholds Breast Implant Lawsuit Decision

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal upheld Judge Yada Magee’s decision to dismiss 1,800 women from a lawsuit against Dow Chemical. Judge Magee ruled in December that the claims were too dissimilar to lump into one lawsuit. Each of the 1,800 women can instead file individual lawsuits, without having to prove the breast implant company’s negligence. The original lawsuit against Dow Chemical, filed by eight women, remains in court. Dow Corning, the manufacturer of the implants, filed for bankruptcy in 1995.


2/6/1998 - ACLU Challenges Maryland Anti-Gay Law

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged a Maryland law that makes oral sex an illegal act between members of the same sex. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five lesbians and gay men, who claim that their equal protection and privacy rights protected in the Constitution are violated. Couples caught engaging in or offering oral sex to members of the same gender face up to 10 years in prison.

“People use this law to justify bashing and violence against us .... It allows non-gays who don’t like us to demonize us as criminals,” said Catherine Brennan, a Baltimore lawyer and plaintiff in the suit.

Oral sex between consensual, heterosexual couples is legal in Maryland. Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas have similar laws which criminalize oral sex between homosexual couples.


2/5/1998 - FBI Releases Photo of Bombing Witness

The FBI has issued photographs and descriptions of Eric Robert Rudolph and searched his home. Rudolph1s whose truck was last scene leaving the scene of the Birmingham, Alabama clinic bombing. Rudolph is a white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall, weighs 150 pounds, and was born on September 19, 1966.

"Although Mr. Rudolph is being sought only as a witness, due to the violence associated with this crime he should not be approached by anyone outside of law enforcement," said the FBI in a statement. Rudolph registered his 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck with a white camper shell on the back, with the address of an abortion provider in Asheville, North Carolina. Owners of the Asheville clinic also own the New Women clinic that was bombed in Birmingham. The properties had been listed in a brochure that was being distributed among anti-abortion extremists.

The explosion killed a police officer and seriously injured Emily Lyons, a clinic nurse. Lyons, who underwent 10 hours of surgery on the day of the bombing, lost her left eye. Lyons also suffered severe injuries to her right eye, leg, abdomen and hands. Status reports on Emily Lyon1s condition, and information on where to send letters of support can be found on the Lyon1s Web page, http://www.net800.com/emily/.

Call 1-888-ATF-BOMB if you have information about possible suspects.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence