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1/19/1998 - Albright, Angelou Inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and poet Maya Angelou will be inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. Twenty-one new inductees will join 136 Americans previously honored in the hall for making contributions to society and to the progress and freedom of women.

Albright served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations before accepting the appointment as the first woman secretary of state in 1996. Maya Angelou is best known for her autobiographical novel, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and her poem, "On the Pulse of the Morning," which she read at the 1993 presidential inauguration.

New inductees also include astronaut Shannon Lucid, opera start Beverly Sills, nuclear scientist Chien-Shiung Wu and Bradley University founder Lydia Moss Bradley. Their induction slated for July 1998, will mark the 150th anniversary of the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.


1/19/1998 - First VMI Female Cadet Leaves Military School

The first woman to attend the Virginia Military Institute has left the school. Beth Ann Hogan became the first woman to enroll after 158 years of all-male membership in the public school. VMI was forced to grant entrance to women after a six year battle in the courts, which ended in a Supreme Court decision that VMI would admit women or turn private.

Of the 430 men and 30 women, 65 men and 5 women have voluntarily dropped out this year. A high rate of attrition is normal for a freshman class who are called rats and are required to endure six months of ritualized abuse and hazing by upperclassmen and superiors. The freshman graduate from the Rat Line in February after successful completion of an obstacle course accompanied with physical and mental abuse.


1/19/1998 - Republican National Committee Defeats "Litmus-Test" Resolution

The Republican National Committee defeated a resolution that would have denied party funds to candidates who do not oppose partial-birth abortion. The "litmus test" proposal was replaced by a resolution which maintained the Republican Party's opposition to partial-birth abortion and denounced President Clinton for vetoing laws which would have outlawed the procedure.

The "litmus test" resolution was anti-abortion activists' response to the Republican Party's decision to support New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Whitman, an abortion rights supporter, vetoed state legislation which would have banned partial-birth abortion and received more than $1.5 million in her reelection campaign funds from the Republican Party.

The partial-birth resolution was opposed by RNC chairman Jim Nicholson and key Republicans, Newt Gingrich and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde. Opposition leaders worried that a "litmus-test" ban would alienate women and minorities from the Republican Party. Despite the substitute resolution which reaffirmed the Republican Party's anti-abortion platform, Ann Stone, chairman of Republicans for Choice, said "pro-choice Republicans are welcome and are a key part of the Republican majority."


1/16/1998 - Study Suggests Women have More Years of Healthy Life

A new study suggests that not only do women outlive men, but they have more years of healthy life to look forward to. The survey, conducted by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, is based on telephone surveys of U.S. Adults. Health-risk behavior and preventive healthcare were among the topics discussed. Although men scored slightly higher on the quality-of-life index, women have an average of 2-3 more years of healthy life than men. The survey measured information related to sickness, disability and death.


1/16/1998 - First Female Homicide Detective Hired in San Francisco

Holly Pera became the first female homicide detective in the city of San Francisco, California on Monday. Pera joined the 149-year-old department after serving 18 years as a police officer. When Pera joined the SFPD in 1980 she was one of 20 women (.01%) in a force of 1,800. Almost twenty years later, there are 300+ women out of 2,000 police employees, or about 15%.

Pera, who was also the first woman in the department’s southern station and the first female inspector in the juvenile unit, said that things have changed, “but I still think it’s a man’s world.”


1/16/1998 - Dissension Reigns over Abortion Resolution in RNC

House Speaker Newt Gingrich opposes of the proposed “litmus test” resolution, which Republicans will vote on in the annual meeting of the Republican National Committee. Gingrich urged Republicans to allow for other views within their party. The “litmus test” resolution proposed by Tim Lambert would deny funding to any party candidates who do not publicly oppose partial-birth abortion. Other Republicans who oppose the measure include Party Chairman Jim Nicholson and three former party chairmen. Republican Party members worry that the RNC’s debate is emphasizing division among the party, and could contribute to the loss of women and minority party members.


1/16/1998 - Sexual Harassment Punishable in Thailand

Women in Thailand will soon be able to sue for sexual harassment in the workplace. The law prohibits employers and superiors from harassing women through words or actions. Violators will be fined $375. The new regulations are part of a labor protection law awaiting signature by the King. Although the wording is vague, allowing the courts to decide what constitutes sexual harassment, Thai women seem pleased. Sen. Saisuree Chutkul, a Thailand legislator, said, “This law warns men to be aware. We have dignity, we are also human beings. Sexual harassment is just not right.”


1/16/1998 - War of Attrition Targets Abortion Clinics Nationwide

Washington D.C.- Eleanor Smeal, national feminist leader and one of the nation's leading experts on anti-abortion terrorism, released the results of the Feminist Majority Foundation's annual National Clinic Violence Survey Report, the most comprehensive study of anti-abortion violence in the United States and its territories. The 1997 National Clinic Violence Survey also includes a five-year analysis of trends in anti-abortion violence.

The 1997 survey shows that in the first seven months of 1997, 24.8% of clinics experienced one or more forms of severe violence including blockades, invasions, bomb threats, and bombings, arson threats and arsons, chemical attacks, death threats, and stalking. This percentage is slightly down from 27.6% in 1996 and sharply down from its high mark 51.9% in 1994. Severe violence still plagues about 25% of clinics nationwide, and is becoming more concentrated.

Smeal explained, "Public opinion supporting legal abortion in the United States is solidly pro-choice. Anti-abortion extremists are trying to win in the streets a battle that they can not win in the political arena. The strategy of the violent wing of the anti-abortion movement is a stealth 'war of attrition' - extremists target one clinic, attempt to wipe it out or close it down, and then, move on to another. The fact that one-quarter of the women's health clinics in this country are battered day after day with violence, harassment, and intimidation is unconscionable. We must have zero tolerance for domestic terrorism."

Smeal continued, "We fear that neither the public nor the press fully comprehend the gravity of this war of attrition and will accept violence at abortion clinics as part of the normal landscape. In 1997 there were thirteen bombings or arsons at abortion clinics -- thirteen incidents of serious domestic terrorism including, for the first time, a second bomb aimed at law enforcement, which is a classic terrorism tactic. If this strategy wins on the abortion front, you bet these extremists will use it to attack the lesbian, gay, and civil rights communities and as we saw in Atlanta, the federal government itself."

The survey results also indicate that the percentage of clinics reporting "no violence" has nearly doubled from 33.3% of clinics in 1994 to 61.1% in 1997. The vigilance of the pro-choice community and the increased responsiveness of law enforcement coupled with the passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) has contributed to the dramatic decrease in levels of violence over the past five years.

Once again, the 1997 National Clinic Violence Survey found a strong correlation between lower levels of violence and better law enforcement response. Of clinics that reported law enforcement response as "excellent" in 1997, only 7.5% experienced high levels of violence, compared with 35.7% of clinics that characterized local law enforcement as "poor." Smeal explained, "We are encouraged by the impact of improved law enforcement response in reducing clinic violence. Working together, we have won major battles to protect clinics and have dramatically reduced the proportion of clinics that experience day to day violence and harassment. We call upon every law enforcement officer, every citizen, and every political organization to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards this stealth war of attrition, which is being waged against one quarter of our nation's abortion clinics."

Editor's Note: Copies of the Feminist Majority's 1997 National Clinic Violence Survey Report: A Five Year Analysis of Anti-Abortion Violence Trends are available by calling the Feminist Majority Foundation at 703-522-2214 or visiting the Feminist Majority Foundation Online at /research/cvsurveys/1997/cvsurv_index97.html. The Feminist Majority Foundation operates the National Clinic Access Project, the oldest clinic access project in the nation.


1/15/1998 - Breast Cancer Risk Ignored by Older Women

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported that half of all African-American women 65 or older do not have regular mammograms, despite findings African-American women constitute half the breat cancer deaths among women.

The study explored the breast cancer views of 253 women, including their basic knowledge, views on the benefits of mammography, barriers to getting screened and personal experiences.

Authors report a wide range of understanding concerning breast cancer, “In our sample, the majority of women (76%) knew that not all breast lumps are cancerous, but fewer than half (42%) knew that early breast cancer is not usually painful; 37% knew breast cancer does not necessarily lead to mastectomy,” the authors stated.

Researchers reported that telling women to get mammograms is not enough. Addressing fears and providing information need to be the first steps taken in combating this disease.


1/15/1998 - California Gay and Lesbian Domestic-Partner Benefits Bill Shot Down

A lesbian and gay rights bill that would require California employers to provide equal pay and benefits to workers with spouses or domestic partners was shot down by a state senate committee in a 4-2 vote. Four democrats opposed, abstained or did not attend the hearing. Supporters blame reelection fears.

Art Croney of the Committee on Moral Concerns commented, “Domestic partners are adult friends. They are nothing more than that. Domestic partners are not dependent on one another. They are free to find a better job.”


1/15/1998 - “Jane Roe” to Testify Against Abortion

Norma McCorvey, known as “Jane Roe” in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision to legalize abortion, will testify against abortion as a keynote speaker before the Senate Constitution Subcommittee. In 1995, McCorvey stated that she now believed abortion to be “murderously wrong,” and volunteered for the militant Pro-Life group Operation Rescue.

The hearing marks the 25th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and will also include the testimony of doctors and legal experts who will speak both for and against abortion.


1/15/1998 - War of Attrition Targets Abortion Clinics Nationwide

Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal Releases Fifth Annual National Clinic Violence Survey Results

Washington DC -- Eleanor Smeal, national feminist leader and one of the nation's leading experts on anti-abortion terrorism, released the results of the Feminist Majority Foundation's annual National Clinic Violence Survey Report, the most comprehensive study of anti-abortion violence in the United States and its territories. The 1997 National Clinic Violence Survey also includes a five-year analysis of trends in anti-abortion violence.
The 1997 survey shows that in the first seven months of 1997, 24.8% of clinics experienced one or more forms of severe violence including blockades, invasions, bomb threats, and bombings, arson threats and arsons, chemical attacks, death threats, and stalking. This percentage is slightly down from 27.6% in 1996 and sharply down from its high mark 51.9% in 1994. Severe violence still plagues about 25% of clinics nationwide, and is becoming more concentrated.

Smeal explained, "Public opinion supporting legal abortion in the United States is solidly pro-choice. Anti-abortion extremists are trying to win in the streets a battle that they can not win in the political arena. The strategy of the violent wing of the anti-abortion movement is a stealth 'war of attrition' - extremists target one clinic, attempt to wipe it out or close it down, and then, move on to another. The fact that one-quarter of the women's health clinics in this country are battered day after day with violence, harassment, and intimidation is unconscionable. We must have zero tolerance for domestic terrorism."

Smeal continued, "We fear that neither the public nor the press fully comprehend the gravity of this war of attrition and will accept violence at abortion clinics as part of the normal landscape. In 1997 there were thirteen bombings or arsons at abortion clinics -- thirteen incidents of serious domestic terrorism including, for the first time, a second bomb aimed at law enforcement, which is a classic terrorism tactic. If this strategy wins on the abortion front, you bet these extremists will use it to attack the lesbian, gay, and civil rights communities and as we saw in Atlanta, the federal government itself."

The survey results also indicate that the percentage of clinics reporting "no violence" has nearly doubled from 33.3% of clinics in 1994 to 61.1% in 1997. The vigilance of the pro-choice community and the increased responsiveness of law enforcement coupled with the passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) has contributed to the dramatic decrease in levels of violence over the past five years.

Once again, the 1997 National Clinic Violence Survey found a strong correlation between lower levels of violence and better law enforcement response. Of clinics that reported law enforcement response as "excellent" in 1997, only 7.5% experienced high levels of violence, compared with 35.7% of clinics that characterized local law enforcement as "poor."

Smeal explained, "We are encouraged by the impact of improved law enforcement response in reducing clinic violence. Working together, we have won major battles to protect clinics and have dramatically reduced the proportion of clinics that experience day to day violence and harassment. We call upon every law enforcement officer, every citizen, and every political organization to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards this stealth war of attrition, which is being waged against one quarter of our nation's abortion clinics."


1/14/1998 - Guardians of French Language Resist Feminist Progress

The French Academy, guardian of the French language, has submitted a request to French President Jacques Chirac to resolve a matter in which recognition of women cabinet members is resulting in an “attack on the French language.” Eight women ministers out of 26 in the government are being addressed as “Madame la ministre,” rather than the masculine “Madame le ministre.”

The letter addressed to the president stated, “it appears that decrees listing ministers’ duties do not include the right to change French grammar and usage of their own accord.” The president has not commented. Education Minister Segolene Royale suggested, “if certain words have no feminine its’ simply because for centuries there were no women holding down these jobs.”


1/14/1998 - Premiere DC Feminist Bookstore Seeks Partner

One of the nation’s largest feminist bookstores has issued a call for a business partner. Washington DC’s Lammas Women’s Bookstore owner Jane Troxell stated, “now that we have a high-profile location on 17th street, it’s time to maximize our assets. That takes money... A dynamic staff, loyal clientele, great reputation, and the chance to work with DC’s diverse progressive communities await the right investor.”

The bookstore has provided meeting grounds and resources for writers, scholars, activists and general readers for over 25 years.

Contact Jane Troxell for more information.
lammas@zzapp.org, (202) 775-8218


1/14/1998 - San Francisco Hires First Woman Cable Car Operator

Fannie Barnes will become the first woman ever to operate one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars since the service’s 1870’s inception. After months of weight-lifting and a written test the 52-year-old Barnes will become the first female cable car “grip (wo)man.” Barnes will pull the iron grip which attaches the eight-ton wooden and glass car to the underground cable, allowing the car to progress up and down San Francisco’s steep hills.

“A lot of men said some mean things to me and didn’t want to help train me, but I would like to thank the guys who were against me because they gave me even more inspiration to do it,” said Barnes.


1/14/1998 - NARAL Reports Abortion Endangered at State Level

Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) reported that abortion rights groups are losing ground in the war at the state level to keep abortion legal and accessible in the U.S., according to an annual survey. “We’re not losing the war but the other side’s gaining ground. The strategy of the anti-choice movement to shift from a broad public attempt to overturn Roe in favor of a more incremental approach is working,” said Michelman.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey, which called for a mandatory waiting period for women requesting abortion, 12 states have enforced a waiting period and 30 states now require parental consent for minors seeking abortion. The survey also found that 31 states have passed 55 anti-abortion measures in 1997, compared with 14 in 1996, while state legislators introduced a minimum of 405 anti-abortion measures in 97, an increase of 84 percent over the previous year.

“It is our hope that as we move into the new millennium, instead of enacting a proliferation of laws restricting abortion, lawmakers will turn their attention to addressing the crisis of unintended pregnancy and to reducing the need for abortion overall,” Michelman said.


1/14/1998 - Dow Chemical Guilty, 1,800 Women Can File Suit

A new ruling allows 1,800 women to file individual suits against the Dow Chemical Co. for illness caused by Dow Corning’s silicone breast implants. The suit states that Dow Chemical tested silicone compounds for Dow Corning, and withheld information concerning possible dangerous side-effects of the silicone.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Dawn Barrios said, “Each of these 1,800 women can walk into court with a verdict that says Dow chemical is guilty. They do not have to prove Dow’s conduct.” Dow Corning filed for bankruptcy in 1995 because of lawsuits related to the implants.


1/14/1998 - Religious Leaders Support Women’s Right to Choose

Religious leaders are launching a “Week of Faith in Choice” in commemoration of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing abortion 25 years ago. “Thousands of American clergy and millions of religious Americans believe in a woman’s right to choose when and whether to have children,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Gloria Feldt.

From January 16 to the 25th, clergy and congregations from a variety of faiths will hold ceremonies and demonstrations to support a woman’s right to choose. Theological discussions on the basis, ethics, and personal religious principles of choice are also expected. “‘A Week of Faith in Choice’ provides an opportunity for pro-choice religious Americans to gather as one and express their gratitude and support for a woman’s right to choose,” said Reverend Tom Davis, chair of the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board.

The Planned Parenthood Pro-Choice Religious Network, organizers of the “Week of Faith in Choice,” and clergy hope the event will remind the public that religious leaders have been supporters of the right to choose from the beginning. Clergy “have been long-time advocates for improved access to family planning services and for safe, legal abortion,” said Feldt.

In 1967 when abortion was illegal, clergy formed the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion to provide information and support to women who needed safe abortions. In 1970 New York City clergy opened the first abortion clinic.


1/14/1998 - Pregnant State Senator Will Work from Home

The Kentucky Senate voted 28-4 to allow Sen. Julie Rose, R-Louisville to work via interactive TV while she recuperates from a Cesarean section birth. The new rule will allow Rose to present bills, participate in discussions and vote in committee meetings, and applies to any senator with a short-term medical condition.


1/14/1998 - Women’s Groups Blow Whistle on Peruvian Sterilization Program

Women’s groups in Peru are blowing the whistle on an alleged conspiracy by the Peruvian government to sterilize women. A study by Flora Tristan Women’s Center found that poor women are offered free birth services in exchange for agreeing to a tubal ligation. News reports have stated that women are also being offered food and medical services in exchange for the irreversible procedure. Activists assert that quotas have been set by the health ministry requiring state doctors in poor areas to perform sterilizations.

State doctors performed 110,000 sterilizations in 1997. Five women died because of the operation, dozens suffer from problems incurred during the procedure, and several cases of women being sterilized during a Cesarean section without their knowledge have been reported.

“Poor women are not cattle to be sterilized by the thousands without telling them what is being done,” said health care worker Nela Julcarine. Members of the Peruvian government deny all allegations of a conspiracy, although two doctors have been fired and investigations are underway.


1/13/1998 - Mitsubishi Vice President Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Deception

Mitsubishi’s vice president and general manager of human resources, Arthur Zintek, resigned when he was asked to deceive the media about the company’s response to past sexual harassment claims. Zinteck was to comment on the progress of steps taken to remedy the environment of sexual harassment within the company. Zintek stated, “I have been coached to imply a degree of change within our organization based upon implementing the ‘Recommendations’ which doesn’t exist.” Zintek cited the best interests of the company, the morale of the employees and values for his decision not to participate in the “deception.”

The resignation letter will be included as evidence by the EEOC that the case should be tried as a “pattern and practice” lawsuit. This procedure allows the EEOC to sue on behalf of a class of women, rather than try each case separately.

The EEOC’s case against Mitsubishi, filed in April 1996, contends that more than 300 of the plants 4,000 employees have been harassed. Offensive behavior has encompassed everything from insulting remarks to threats of sexual assault and murder.


1/13/1998 - GOP Opposition to Abortion “Litmus Test” Increases

Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill, speaking on behalf of himself and Rep. Charles Canady, R-FL., sent a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman James Nicholson claiming that the proposed “litmus test” proposal would only amount to a “serious tactical error, and [be] very unhelpful to our cause.”

Hyde and Canady, both major anti-abortion supporters, stated that a ban on funds to candidates who support partial-birth abortions would impede the Republican Party’s ability to “convert” votes within the Senate on pro-life legislation. “In politics, you win by addition, and we need every Republican vote we can muster,” said Hyde.

Despite appeals from the RNC Chairmen and Capitol Hill, Gov. Frank Keating, vice chair of the Republican Governors Association, joined proponents of the “litmus test.” Arguments within the GOP grow more fierce as the Republican National Committee prepares to meet later this week in Palm Springs, CA.


1/13/1998 - More Clinics to Offer RU-486 Clone Abortion Pill

Montefiore Hospital in Bronx, NY and Dobbs Ferry clinic in Westchester County, NY recently began distributing the U.S. version of the French abortion pill RU-486. Other physicians and clinics providing access to this medical method of early abortion are located in NYC, Montana, San Francisco and Seattle. Abortion Rights Mobilization, which is conducing the trial through which the drug is available, released names and phone numbers of all the clinics and hospitals to family planning and women’s rights groups.

Sixteen hundred women have thus far been treated in the trials. ARM plans to treat at least 10,000 women in a FDA approved research project. A forthcoming study of 1,728 cases found a 97 percent success rate using a lower dosage than the pills used in Europe.


1/13/1998 - U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Gay and Lesbian Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a case brought by Robin Shahar, who was denied a job when her plan to wed another woman was discovered. An appeals court ruling that Shahar’s first Amendment rights were not violated was left in place by the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Former Georgia Attorney General Michael J. Bowers had offered Shahar a staff attorney post upon her completion of law school in 1991. When Bowers heard about the wedding, he retracted the offer, stating that, “inaction on my part would constitute tacit approval of this purported marriage and jeopardize the proper functioning of this office.” Bowers cited Georgia’s sodomy law as basis for his decision, despite his own confession that in 1997 he had participated in an adulterous affair, which is also illegal in Georgia.

Shahar’s lawyers also argued that the U.S. Constitution prevents government employees from firing a lesbian because she plans to hold a private religious ceremony.


1/13/1998 - Hormone Replacement Therapy Replaced by Soy

Italian researchers report that isolated soy proteins may soon replace Hormone Replacement Therapy. The study, published in Obstetrics and Gynecology reported a 45 percent decrease in hot flashes among women. However further testing is need to confirm the findings, given that women taking placebos reported a 30% reduction in hot flashes. Researchers also cite minimal hot flashes among Japanese women, who consume close to 200 milligrams per day of foods containing phytoestrogens, the soy ingredient which is thought to decrease negative menopausal affects.