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10/31/1997 - Hearing Pushes for Contraceptive Research, Access, Education

On Thursday morning, Representatives Nancy Johnson (R-Calif.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) in conjunction with the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, co-chaired a congressional hearing on women's access to contraceptive technology. At the hearing, members of Congress urged support for legislation which would require insurance companies to include contraceptives among prescription drugs already covered. The hearing began with opening statements from Johnson and Norton focusing on obstacles to the development and use of contraception.

Panelists Dr. Paula Adams Hillard, OB-GYN, a professor in the Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Cincinnati and Dr. Elizabeth Karlin, Director of the Women¹s Medical Center in Madison, Wis., provided testimony on the many forces that can limit access to effective contraception. Among the obstacles to contraceptive use cited by panelists was the cost of birth control methods, ineffective contraception, misinformation on the dangers of contraceptives, lack of insurance coverage, lack of provider training in contraception and the lack of contraceptive research and development.

Karlin said doctors often contribute to this culture and its consequences. She stressed the importance of contraceptive education in medical schools, since most medical schools teach nothing about contraception, and rely on outside pharmaceutical companies to train ob/gyn students. Doctors' ignorance and unwillingness to educate themselves and their patients about contraceptives was made very clear as Dr. Karlin told of tragedies created by misinformation given by untrained physicians.

She described one of her patients, an 18-year-old who had been on Depo-Provera for a year. When she missed an injection and became pregnant, she told Karlin that her doctor told her Depo-Provera prevented pregnancy for two years after one injection. Another woman told Karlin that her doctor refused to sterilize her when her first pregnancy caused a stroke. When she began taking birth control pills, she developed pre-stroke symptoms and had to stop taking them. Pregnant for the second time and at great risk, she asked her doctor about abortion. He refused to either perform one or refer her to another physician.

Other witnesses such as Dr. Florence Haseltine, director of the Center for Population Research, and Roderick Mackenzie, CEO of Gynetics, Inc., testified that family planning is much cheaper than the costs of unintended pregnancies, and that the U.S. has by far the highest rates of unwanted pregnancies and STDs among any industrialized nation. Women are sterilized twice as often as men, and men usually only get vasectomies at their wife's urging. One witness asked why men were not taking more responsibility for birth control. She said that although there have been two huge men's marches in D.C. in the past couple of years, she wondered why they did not discuss "which kind of condom is more comfortable" or "which is better, scalpel or no-scalpel vasectomy." "Lara," a graduate student, testified that every form of birth control she had ever used caused her serious health problems, and called for more contraceptive research.

Congresswomen at the hearing agreed with the panelists, and reaffirmed their commitment to making contraception a part of basic health insurance and health care, given that almost everyone in the country will need birth control at some point in his or her life.


10/31/1997 - Light Punishment for Israeli Rapist

In Israel, a man who raped and sodomized a pregnant woman received a light sentence because the assault was "extremely brief," said judges. Although the woman was late into her pregnancy, and the rape could have severely injured her and her baby, judges gave Reuven Vaknin a brief three-year jail sentence.


10/31/1997 - Indonesian Maid's Life Spared in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi Arabian court has spared an Indonesian maid from having her head cut off as a punishment for murder. The woman, Nasiroh, was convicted of shooting her male employer to death in 1994. She reportedly confessed to a closed court, even though Saudi police say she did not even know how to fire a gun. The wife of the victim has forgiven Nasiroh and exempted her from making a "blood money" payment. Her sentence was reduced to five years in prison.

Human and women's rights activists and Indonesians protested the Saudi closed judicial system. Indonesian and Filipina women often work illegally in Saudi Arabia as maids and servants. There have been many reports of widespread sexual and physical abuse of the women by their Saudi employers.


10/31/1997 - Mary McAleese Leads Irish Election

With votes from most of the Irish constituencies in, Mary McAleese of the Fianna Fail party will be the next president of Ireland.

McAleese was the first choice of 45% of the voters, while her closest competitor Mary Banotti trailed with about 30% of the vote. Banotti conceded defeat this afternoon. McAleese campaigned for reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants.

This year's race was unusual for Ireland because four women and only one man ran for the presidency. Although a neon sign on Ireland's City Hall reads "It'd be much better for the world to be governed by the women in it," from James Joyce's "Ulysses," women make up less than one-eighth of the lower Parliament, take home 61.3% of men's pay, and are still underrepresented in management positions.


10/30/1997 - Promise Keepers Founder Neglected Family, Says Wife

Lyndi McCartney, wife of Promise Keepers' founder Bill McCartney, revealed in a New York Times interview that her husband was frequently absent from home even while preaching to men that they should treasure their wives and families.

The Promise Keepers, a male-only evangelical Christian group, preaches that women should submit to their husbands, and that in return husbands would agree to become more actively involved with their families. But according to his wife, Bill McCartney did not practice what he preached -- he worked constantly, coaching college football teams and founding the Promise Keepers. He was like a plumber, said his wife. "A plumber never fixes anything at home. He's always out fixing everyone else's plumbing." McCartney's son said of his father, "we knew we were loved, but day-to-day he wasn't present."

In 1993, Lyndi McCartney spent the year suffering from bulimia and lost 80 pounds; her husband just thought she was on a diet. Bill gave up his coaching contract in 1994 and now tries to come home by 4:00 p.m., but Lyndi says "We've still got a long way to go" and was amazed on a recent vacation that they were able to talk to each other for three hours.


10/30/1997 - Sydney Olympic Games to Include Women's Water Polo

Women's water polo will be played at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, thanks to the efforts of Australian women players, who led a successful campaign for the sport's inclusion. The campaign included a picket at Sydney Airport in which the athletes, decked out in their swimming costumes, protested to visiting officials.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling. It's not every day that your dreams come true," said Liz Weekes, goalkeeper for the Australian women's team


10/30/1997 - Women Avoiding Pap Smears, Study Says

Almost 40% of American women did not have a Pap smear in the past year, according to a study by the College of American Pathologists.

The national survey showed that although nearly 90% of women over 18 knew they should be tested for cervical cancer each year, many did not find the time to do it. Other reasons women cited for not getting the test were that they were "too old," "embarrassed," "afraid of the results," that they disliked the doctor, or found the procedure too expensive. The study also revealed that older, poorer and less-educated women were least likely to have an annual gynecological exam. Almost half of all women over age 50 did not have a Pap smear in the past year, despite the fact that over half of all cervical cancers are discovered in older women. The researchers also found that about 40% of women did not know that cervical cancer develops over several years. "This is why an annual exam is critical: so that abnormalities can be caught and treated before they become cancerous," the study said.

In a Pap smear, the doctor takes a sample of cells from the cervix to be examined by a lab, which checks the cells for abnormalities. Before the Pap test was developed after WWII, cervical cancer was the cancer most likely to kill American women. Since then, deaths from cervical cancer have dropped 70%. Today, 80% of the women who die of cervical cancer did not have a Pap smear for at least 5 years before their diagnosis.

To find out if the lab that analyzes your Pap smear test is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, call 1-800-LAB-5678.


10/30/1997 - Mathematician Mina Rees Dies

Mina Rees, a noted mathematician and the first woman to head the American Association for the Advancement of Science died at age 95 on Saturday.

In addition to more than ten years of teaching at Hunter College, Rees served as a presidential appointee to the National Science Foundation board and was later elected president, was head of math and later deputy director of the science division at the Office of Naval Research, and was the first dean of graduate studies at the City University of New York, where she was also a founding president of the Graduate School and University Center.

Rees studied rocketry and fluid flow on submarines, in addition to pure algebra. She received the President's Certificate of Merit and the British Medal for Service in Defense of Freedom.


10/30/1997 - NBA Hires First Full-Time Female Refs

On Tuesday, the National Basketball Association named Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner as two of five additional full-time referees hired for the upcoming basketball season, which is scheduled to open this Friday. The NBA decision, lauded as a groundbreaking move by sports enthusiasts and women's rights activists, marks the first time in U.S. pro sports that women officials will referee regular season games in an all-male league.

NBA vice president of basketball operations Rod Thorn stated that he was aware of the positive social significance of the decision, but stressed that gender had not been a factor; Palmer and Kantner had been chosen for their exceptional skill level. "In my opinion, they are among the best referees I can get."

Kantner played basketball while attending the University of Pittsburgh on a field hockey scholarship. Since graduating in 1982, Kantner has worked as a NCAA and international referee for more than a decade and has worked the last three NCAA women's championship games.

Palmer captained the basketball team at Cal Poly Pomona and began refereeing playground recreation games and high school games after her graduation in 1986. She later moved on to college basketball, where she has been officiating for eight years, along with working two NCAA women's semifinals and the past two NCAA women's championships.

Out of the four major U.S. sports leagues, the NBA is the first and only league to employ female referees. The National Hockey, Major league Baseball, and National Football Leagues have never hired female referees. Major League Soccer has used women as officials occasionally, but not on a full-basis. In this context, the NBA's long overdue decision to hire female referees is truly a landmark.


10/30/1997 - Asian Prostitutes, AIDS Experts Demand Condom Use

At the 4th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific yesterday, a group of prostitutes said that if men would wear condoms, the spread of AIDS could be slowed.

The sex workers told the conference in Manila that AIDS was not spread by prostitution, but by unsafe working conditions. "You need at least 20 minutes to negotiate condom use," said Khantini Slahnaih, a male prostitute from Malaysia. He said that sex workers often were forced into their jobs by poverty. "There are a lot of people thinking we like to sell our bodies. It's not true." Slahnaih also demanded that authorities end their harassment of prostitutes, including rape, assault, extortion and other humiliations. The sex workers also spoke out against Taipei's recent criminalization of prostitution, and said they were ordinary people who needed medical coverage and other job benefits.

A government study released in New Delhi on Sunday showed that only 3% of Indian men use condoms. The Indian Health Organisation estimates that a quarter of a million Indians have AIDS, and another 5 million have HIV.

Other experts said that, despite governmental promotion, condom use is still low. In Bangladesh, only 4.4% of men use condoms despite three decades of government promotion. In New Guinea, less than one-third of stores sell condoms, and more than half of those sell condoms that have passed their expiration date. An officer for UN AIDS in Vietnam said that prostitutes were unlikely to use condoms, in hopes of getting bigger tips, or because they couldn't afford them.

At the conference on Sunday, experts stated that the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS was being opposed in many Asian countries. Paula Kelly, an AIDS coordinator for CARE in Vietnam, said that "programs telling women to insist on condoms are a waste of time and money" because "insistence on condom use can easily be the precursor of violence" by men against women. Religious groups also posed problems, said Peter Piot of the U.N Program on AIDS. Before the conference, the Catholic church in Manila issued statements against using condoms to stop AIDS. "I don't expect the Catholic church to actively promote condoms (as long as) it doesn't object to them. I expect them not to be an obstacle," said Piot.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


10/30/1997 - New "Magic Bullet" Cancer Treatment

New Scientist Magazine described a genetically engineered "magic bullet" that may effectively many common cancers. Initial tests reveal that the "magic bullets" effectively treated adenocarcinomas, which are found in cancers of the lung, ovary, breast, colon, and prostate. The bullets injecting tumors with a deadly bacterial toxin, killing the cancerous cells without harming the healthy surrounding tissue.

The "magic bullet" was developed by Jerusalem-based Medical Targeting Recognition Technologies. Clinical trials with colon cancer patients may commence by early 1999.


10/30/1997 - U.S. Census to Record Multi-Racial Ancestry

Franklin Raines, director of the U.S. government's Office of Management and Budget, announced Wednesday that the next U.S. census will not include a "multi-racial" category. Respondents will instead be allowed to check all the racial categories that make up their heritage. OMB officials believe that this change, along with the creation of new racial categories and the reclassification of others, will result in a more specific and accurate analysis of the U.S. population.

Past census questionnaires allowed respondents to list only one racial category. Growing numbers of mixed-race citizens prompted government officials to change this policy. The number of children in bi- or multi-racial families increased over 4 times from 1970 to 1990, from less than 500,000 to 2 million children.

The OMB's new policies will govern the census of 2000 and will be used in all federal statistical programs by 2003. Census statistics are used to determine district seats in Congress and legislatures and to verify enforcement of civil rights measures. The statistics are also used widely by private and public researchers to measure social and economic patterns.


10/29/1997 - ABC Again Puts Parental Advisory on Ellen

Lesbian and gay rights supporters are once again criticizing ABC after the network reversed its earlier decision to discontinue the use of parental advisory warnings on the TV show Ellen. Two weeks ago, activists protested the use of the advisory warnings, claiming ABC's application of the warnings was unfair and discriminatory. ABC backed down from its position and removed the warnings from Ellen's next episode. ABC has now stated that it will use parental advisory warnings on future episodes. Arguing that other heterosexual TV shows are far more sexually explicit, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation is protesting ABC's decision, maintaining that the advisory sets a double standard for gays and lesbians.


10/29/1997 - Women in the Military: British Women To Serve On Front Lines, American Women's Fitness Standards Raised

Britain's women soldiers will now be allowed to have certain jobs on the front lines, Defense Secretary George Robertson said. Seventy percent of jobs will now be opened to women, up from 47% previously. New job opportunities include forward radio operators, combat engineers and artillery gunners.

"If we are to properly modernize our armed forces, we must also bring our personnel policies up to date. The armed forces must represent the society they defend if they are not to become isolated from it," said Robertson.

Women comprise about 6.3% of the British Army. Robertson has also launched a study into whether or not women should be allowed to fight in combat.

In another military policy decision, the U.S. Army announced it will raise the minimum physical fitness standards for women in order to reflect the better athletic performances of women today.

Men's requirements will not change, but the increased minimums for women will bring the different requirements closer together. For example, both sexes will be required to do the same number of push-ups and sit-ups in two minutes.


10/29/1997 - Dutch Panel Supports Gay Marriage

A Parliamentary committee in the Netherlands recommended yesterday that full civil marriage and parenting rights be granted to same-sex couples.

They found that "same sex couples can only be afforded equal treatment if they are allowed to enter into civil marriage. These members do not view the new type of marriage as a break with tradition. After all, marriage has always been a flexible institution which kept pace with social change."

The recommendation could be enacted in early 1998, at the same time that same-gender partner registration will go into effect. This registration will recognize couples but does not allow parental and adoption rights.


10/29/1997 - Women's Groups Demand NIKE End Sweatshop Labor

The Feminist Majority, along with the National Organization for Women, the Ms. Foundation, and other women's groups, held a news conference deploring the use of sweatshops in Vietnam, Indonesia and China by NIKE. NIKE has spent hundreds of millions marketing to women with empowering advertising about women and girls in sports, but at the same time has used sweatshops to produce their sports products. Over a dozen women's groups and individual women, including the Coalition of Labor Union Women and author Alice Walker, signed a letter to NIKE president Philip Knight asking him to use just 10% of NIKE's advertising budget to improve working conditions for factory workers, 80% to 90% of whom are women.

"The message in NIKE's women's empowerment ads is strong," said Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal at a press conference to release the letter, "but there's a disconnect between that message and the way NIKE pays and treats it workers."

The campaign against NIKE, organized by Global Exchange, reveals that sweatshop workers are paid less than a livable wage, are forced to work 12 hours a day, six days a week as well as frequent overtime, and are subject to verbal and physical abuse, unsafe working conditions, and sexual harassment. For example Vietnamese workers are paid $1.60 per day, when three basic Vietnamese meals cost $2.10 a day. The workers often live six to a small, cramped room and receive food from their relatives in the countryside in order to survive. Many of the workers are teenagers. Workers are often prohibited from talking and are allowed only one bathroom break per eight-hour shift, and only two drinks of water. Workers who break rules or make mistakes are punished by fines and/or by corporal punishment: being made to stand or run in the sun, being made to kneel down with hands in the air. Workers lose fingers and hands in unsafe machinery, and are regularly exposed to the carcinogenic chemical benzene, which has been banned in the U.S.

"These girls can't even eat three square meals or go to school, let alone wear NIKE shoes and play sports," said Smeal. "NIKE is robbing them of their lives."

A letter to NIKE, signed by the women's groups, demands that workers to be paid at least $3.00 per day. It also calls for workers to meet regularly with independent monitors who would make sure the factory is obeying safety and overtime laws. For more information or to sign on to the letter, contact Kim Miyoshi at Global Exchange: 415-255-7296. Or see the Global Exchange Web site: http://www.globalexchange.org.


10/29/1997 - Japan May Legalize The Pill

A government panel recommended Tuesday that Japan end its decades-old ban and legalize birth control pills.

Because of a legal loophole that allows birth control pills to be prescribed for menstrual pain, an estimated 200,000 Japanese women already use them. However, they must take higher-dose pills than ones that are made in the U.S., which leads to a higher risk of side effects.

Japan may legalize birth control pills next year, but remains worried that the use of oral contraceptives would decrease the use of condoms and therefore lead to an increase in AIDS. Japan is the only industrialized country that bans birth control pills for the purpose of contraception, although they have a huge abortion industry. Studies show that most Japanese women are ignorant about oral contraceptives.

LEARN MORE Click here to read women's narratives about barriers or successes in accessing reproductive health and family planning services.


10/29/1997 - Federal Domestic Partnership Benefits Bill To Be Introduced

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will introduce the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act tomorrow at a press conference. The bill would make benefits such as health insurance and retirement benefits available to the domestic partners of federal employees.

Some of the bill's co-sponsors, Nita Lowey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Furse (D-Ore.) Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and Bob Filner (D-Calif.), among others, will be present, as well as representatives from supporting organizations. Supporters include federal employee labor unions, gay, lesbian and bisexual rights groups, religious and educational groups and businesses in the private sector.

The bill would allow domestic partners who are financially responsible for one another to participate in retirement programs, have access to life and health insurance, and receive compensation for work-related injuries -- things which are all currently available to spouses of federal employees.


10/29/1997 - "Gender Canyon" Faces GOP, Says Poll

Republicans recently surveyed middle-aged voters and discovered that "the gender gap is a significant electoral problem," said pollster Linda DiVall.

The polls were commissioned to help Republicans understand why women vote for Democrats more often than men. The poll found that among all voters, women support Democrats 47%-35%, while men favor Republicans by 47%-37%. Among voters between age 35 and 59, women support Democrats by a margin of 53%-33%, while men favor Republicans 51%-33%. DiVall told a group of Republicans seeking office that women think that education, health care and environmental protection are important. Women also think any budget surplus should be used to help working families, while men think it should go towards reducing the deficit, she said. The GOP needs to "understand how women react to some of our policies," said DiVall.

The gender gap has had an increasingly significant electoral impact, and will probably play a significant role in the next House elections, where the GOP only holds a slim majority and 19 incumbents are retiring.


10/29/1997 - Lesbians' Killer Gets Death Penalty

Robert Acremant, who murdered Roxanne Ellis and Michelle Abdill two years ago, has been given the death penalty.

Although Acremant's original motive was robbery of the women's property management business, when he discovered Ellis and Abdill were lesbians, he said it "made it easier" to kill them. He thought that lesbians would have no family to miss them. Ellis' daughter Lorri said "I know he doesn't have any remorse for what he did. Now it may put a little fear in him for what my mom felt the day he killed her."

Acrement has also confessed to an earlier murder of a bisexual man. He claimed that the victim, Scott George, had made advances towards him. The trial for that slaying has not been set yet. Acrement has sought the death penalty since his arrest, and told police that he had plans to kill others.


10/28/1997 - Feminist Leader Toni Carabillo Dies

Toni Carabillo, long-time feminist leader and a co-founder and Vice President of the Feminist Majority, died early this morning at the age of 71.

A pioneer of the modern day women's movement, Ms. Carabillo was a founding member of the National Organization for Women, founded and was the first-ever president of the Los Angeles Chapter of NOW, served on NOW's National Board from 1968 to 1977 and as a National NOW Vice President from 1971-1974, chaired NOW's National Advisory Committee from 1975-1977, led west coast efforts for ratification of the federal Equal Rights Amendment from 1980-1982, and co-edited with Judith Meuli the National NOW Times from 1977-1985.

Ms. Carabillo co-founded the Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation with Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin, Judith Meuli and Katherine Spillar in 1987 to encourage women's empowerment. She served as the Feminist Majority's Vice President.

In addition to being considered an influential founder and leader of the feminist movement, Ms. Carabillo became known as the "historian" of the movement. Ms. Carabillo co-authored with Judith Meuli The Feminization of Power and The Feminist Chronicles, 1953-1993. At the time of her death she was completing a new book, The Feminist Chronicles of the 20th Century, which will be completed by her co-authors Judith Meuli and Eleanor Smeal.

Professionally, Ms. Carabillo was a writer and graphic designer. She earned her A.B. degree from Middlebury College, Vermont, and an M.A. from Columbia University. In 1969, she co-founded the Women's Heritage Corporation, a publishing company that produced the Women's Heritage Calendar and Almanac and a series of paperbacks on such figures as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone. In 1970, she formed a graphic arts firm with Judith Meuli in Los Angeles.

As a feminist advocate, Ms. Carabillo appeared on both national and local television and radio. She authored many Op-Ed articles, a number of which were nationally syndicated. Her biography appears in Who's Who in America and Who's Who of American Women.

Ms. Carabillo was diagnosed with Lymphoma and lung cancer in 1990. She died at home on October 28, 1997, in her sleep, in Los Angeles. Beside her throughout the illness and at her death was her life partner of 30 years, Judith Meuli.

Private services will be held on November 11, 1997 in Los Angeles. A public reception will follow at the L.A. office of the Feminist Majority. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Feminist Majority Foundation.


10/28/1997 - Women's Groups Urge Nike to Put Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

The Feminist Majority joined the National Organization for Women and other women's organizations in deploring Nike's use of overseas sweatshops which exploit women workers, paying them as little as 20 cents per hour or $1.60 a day in Vietnam - hardly enough to eat on, let alone pay rent, clothing, health care and more. Nike women's empowerment ads aimed at the US market are in sharp contrast to the treatment of women workers in these sweatshops. Eighty to ninety percent of the workers in these sweatshops of Vietnam, Indonesia, and China are women.

Women's groups have applauded the women's empowerment messages of Nike ads. However, young women in Nike subcontracted factories in Southeast Asia also have a right both to self-empowerment and a decent wage.

"The message in Nike's women's empowerment ads are strong," said Feminist Majority President, Eleanor Smeal, "but there's a disconnect between that message and the way Nike pays and treats its workers, especially its women workers. Sweatshops, which all of us thought were a thing of the past, are back again. And just like the feminists at the turn of the century fought sweatshops, it's incumbent on us to do the same."

Just 10% of Nike's annual $978 million a year advertising budget would lift Nike's subcontracted workers' wages to a livable level. "The treatment and pay of women workers in Southeast Asia must be higher on Nike's priority list," said Smeal. "Like the economy is global, the women's movement is global. Women in the United States must leverage our consumer power for these exploited women. We cannot tolerate inhumane wages or sexual harassment in the United States or abroad."

Women's groups are calling for an increase in wages for Nike subcontracted workers and for local independent monitors to ensure compliance with local labor laws and Nike's code of conduct. The Feminist Majority, a non-profit organization, works toward achieving political, social, and economic equality for all women. The Feminist Majority is in the forefront of creating innovative feminist research, education, and training programs for women's equality and empowerment both in the United States and abroad.


10/28/1997 - Backlash On Britain's 30th Anniversary of Legalized Abortion

In 1967, Britain passed the Abortion Act, making it the first country in the world to legalize abortion. Other countries quickly followed Britain's lead, but conservative religious forces still threaten abortion rights.

British anti-abortion protesters marked the 30th anniversary of the Abortion Act by forming human chains in cities and towns and carried signs that read "Abortion Kills Children." A right-wing paper published a poll on Sunday that claimed 60% of British women want their right to abortion restricted, but similar polls show that two-thirds of the public favor keeping abortion legal.

Pro-choice Britons are concerned about the growing anti-abortion movement. In 1996, groups such as the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child campaigned against the destruction of thousands of frozen embryos that had passed their expiration date. In another high-profile case, a woman who took fertility drugs and became pregnant with eight babies refused to abort any of them in order to improve the chances of the others surviving. She lost all of the fetuses as a result. In yet another case, a man took his estranged wife to court to prevent her from having an abortion. Although he lost, she was forced by the legal proceedings to delay her abortion until later in her pregnancy.

Despite claims of increasing anti-abortion sentiment in Britain made by conservative groups, the number of abortions actually rose 8.3% last year, the first increase in five years.


10/28/1997 - NY Panel Orders Removal of Sexist, Racist Judge

The Commission on Judicial Conduct in New York ordered on Friday that Judge Lorin M. Duckman be removed, citing years of misconduct.

The panel found evidence that Duckman had abused his powers, purposely misapplied the law, and made insensitive remarks for the past several years. Commission Counsel Gerald Stern stated that Duckman had told a prosecutor that he liked her in short skirts, and another that she had nice legs. In addition, he called a prosecutor "Mr. Nuisance," mocked a blind lawyer by waving some papers in his face, and said that domestic violence should not be a crime.

The impetus for Duckman's removal was his decision on a domestic violence case in which an ex-convict was released and murdered his ex-girlfriend. Benito Oliver, who committed suicide after shooting Galina Komar, had past convictions for rape, drugs and weapons charges. Transcripts of the hearing showed that Duckman focused his attention on Oliver's dog, and doubted Komar's claim that she had been beaten repeatedly at knifepoint by Oliver. "There is no actual physical injury, is there, other than some bruising? I am not suggesting bruising is nice, but there is no disfigurement. There are no broken bones," he said to Komar. Duckman lowered Oliver's bail, and he was released soon after. He then shot Komar at her workplace and later shot himself.

When Komar's mother learned of the commission's recommendation, she cheered. "I'm glad! I'm glad! He put my daughter in the grave. How many people has he put in the grave?"


10/28/1997 - One NY Man Responsible for Dozens of AIDS Infections, Police Say

Police in rural Chautauqua County, NY, have charged Nushawn Williams, 20, with having sex with young women and girls, knowing he had AIDS.

The case came to light when the partner of a female who had sex with Williams became infected with HIV. Nine cases of direct infection through Williams have already been documented, six of whom were infected after he knew he had the HIV virus.

Police speculate Williams may have traded drugs for sex. He hung out in parks and near schools looking for teenage girls. He has 28 known sex partners in the region, ranging from age 13 to 24. Because he traveled frequently, he may have infected many more in other areas. Chautauqua County has issued a warrant for his arrest, charging statutory rape. Williams is currently jailed in New York City on drug charges. District Attorney James Subjack said he will charge Williams with reckless endangerment and first-degree assault for every person he infected. "It takes an individual with no regard for human life to do something like this," he said.