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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,

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

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/5/1998 - Human Rights Study Reports Worldwide Oppression of Women

The U.S. State Department's latest annual human rights study reported that women around the world are still being denied basic rights. The annual report on human rights covers 193 countries, and is used by the U.S. Congress to make decisions concerning foreign aid, military and trade preferences. During his first term, President Clinton required that the report devote a section to the status of women.

Despite continued advances in areas such as the prohibition of genital mutilation, and the criminalization of domestic violence, which can largely be attributed to the work of non-governmental organizations (NGO1s), many women continue to be denied their basic human rights. The abuses listed range from rape and forced prostitution to continued economic disparities in what are considered to be modern, democratic countries.

Algerian and Afghan women face the harshest conditions, according to the reports. Since the Taliban militia gained control over Afghanistan, women are systematically being stripped of basic rights they once enjoyed.

The study reported, "Women were beaten for violating increasingly restrictive Taliban dress codes, which require women to be covered from head to toe. Women were strictly prohibited from working outside the home, and women and girls were denied the right to an education. Women were forbidden from appearing outside the home unless accompanied by a male family. Beatings and death resulted from failure to observe these restrictions."

Women in Algeria are undergoing barbarous conditions as a result of fighting between Islamic militants and the military-backed government. The report stated, "Algerian women suffered extreme oppression and atrocities by militant groups this year, including rape, forced prostitution, 'temporary marriages,' and beatings and beheading for failure to wear head coverings," the report said.

The study also reported an increase of human rights abuses in countries that are in "transition" towards a democratic government. "In such situations," said the report, "women lack shelter, food, and the ability to provide for their children." Increased trafficking of women was also noticed, specifically in Eastern Europe, Indochina and the former Soviet Union.

Violence against women both inside and outside of the home runs rampant throughout the United States and "virtually every country."

Feminist News Stories on Afghanistan

2/5/1998 - Army Officer Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Misconduct Charges

Sgt. Maj. Gene C. McKinney pled not guilty to 19 charges, including sexual misconduct. McKinney, the Army1s former top enlisted soldier, has been accused by six women of sexual harassment and misconduct. McKinney faces charges of indecent assault, maltreatment of a subordinate, adultery and obstruction of justice.

Six officers, including four women and six command sergeants major were questioned for jury duty. Jury selection will be concluded today.

In military law, the jury can consist of a minimum of five members. Two-thirds are required to vote for a conviction, while three-fourths of the panel must vote for a sentence of ten years or more. McKinney, who filed papers requesting retirement with full benefits this summer, faces loss of rank and 55 years in prison if convicted.

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

2/5/1998 - Conservatives Stall Surgeon General Nomination

The nomination of Dr. David Satcher reached the Senate floor, and was stalled by objections from conservatives. Sen. John D. Ashcroft (R-MO), who is leading the opposition, criticized Satcher1s opposition to legislation that would ban D&X abortions, and for supporting needle exchange programs for drug addicts to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), the only medical doctor in the Senate, supported Satcher, claiming that he was highly qualified. Satcher has also received support from the Congressional Black Caucus, the American Medical Association and Conservative Rep. Tom Coburn.

Should Ashcroft decide to filibuster the nomination, 60 votes would confirm Satcher for the surgeon general post.

2/5/1998 - Maryland Considers Domestic Violence Divorce Law

A House of Maryland Delegates will vote on legislation that would allow married victims of domestic violence to obtain an immediate divorce. Currently, Maryland residents must endure a one-year waiting limit before filing for divorce.

The law "traps women in dangerous relationships .... We must remove every obstacle that prevents women from making a safe escape," said Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in a statement to Judiciary Committee members.

Domestic Violence Information Center

2/5/1998 - Women Rescued from Human Zoo

Karen women, known for their extended necks resulting from wearing heavy brass neck rings, were being exploited as tourist attractions and later rescued from four shops in northern Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thai social welfare officials liberated 39 women from the shops, after receiving complaints from tourists that the women were being "put on show like in a zoo."

The women were members of 2,000 Karen refugees who fled violence in their homeland.

2/4/1998 - Abortion Rights Advocates Warn of Increasing Violence

As abortion rights advocates gather in Birmingham, Alabama to offer their support to clinic workers after a deadly bombing, activists are warning that clinic violence is increasing. Ann Glazier, a researcher for Planned Parenthood Federation said, "it’s this idea: If you want to do violence, claim to be the Army of God no matter who you are .... Too many clinics are saying, "The Army of God is in Atlanta. What do we have to worry about in Montana?" said Glazier.

FBI investigators are still inspecting letters received by news agencies which claimed responsibility for the bombing by the Army of God. Authorities have made no arrests and are still searching for a 1989 gray Nissan pickup truck, registered to Eric Robert Rudolph, with North Carolina License plates, KND-1117.

Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/4/1998 - Army Sexual Misconduct Trial Suspended

The court-martial trial of Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney, the Army’s former top soldier, has been suspended while McKinney’s lawyers investigate a plaintiff who had been under witness protection since her allegations were made. Sgt. Christine Feltrow claimed that after filing charges of sexual misconduct against McKinney she was threatened. The Army agreed to place Feltrow under protection, and will not say where she is being held.

Six women accused McKinney of sexually assaulting or threatening them. McKinney, a 29-year Army veteran, faces 19 charges and 55 years in prison if convicted.

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

2/4/1998 - Conservative Rep. Supports Surgeon General Nomination

Conservative Rep. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has issued his support for surgeon general nominee, Dr. David Satcher. Coburn, also a medical doctor, sent a letter to Senator Ashcroft, R-MO, one of the strongest adversaries of Satcher’s appointment.

Ashcroft protests the nomination because of Satcher’s opposition to a proposed ban on late-term abortions, and Satcher’s support of international research studies on pregnant women with the AIDS virus. Rep. Coburn wrote, "While I can appreciate many of your concerns about his nomination, I believe it is imperative that the post of surgeon general be filled as soon as possible and that Dr. Satcher is by far the best candidate to be nominated by President Clinton." Coburn added, "He is extremely qualified ... and I firmly believe him to be a man of character and integrity."

Congressional Black Caucus member Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA, said that she respects the rights of Senate members to object to appointments, but "we do not believe that they have the right to prevent a man of extraordinary integrity and impeccable qualifications ... from serving his country."

The surgeon general’s post has been vacant since 1994, when Dr. Joycelyn Elders resigned after a controversy over her remarks supporting sex education. The Senate denied approval to Dr. Henry Foster, who was nominated by President Clinton in 1995. The Senate is expected to vote on Satcher’s nomination later this week.

2/4/1998 - Student Tenor Recast Because of Gender

A high school senior was recast in Gilbert and Sullivan’s musical, "The Lass That Loved a Sailor." Sara Zinzilieta, a strong tenor, originally won the lead as the sailor. After a flurry of controversy and a parent’s meeting during which some parents complained that keeping a girl in the part would send a "mixed message" to students, the school board recast Ms. Zinzilieta to a major soprano female role.

"It was pretty awful because I had tried out for the role and had gotten it, and then it was taken away from me because I’m female. There’s no love scenes. There’s not even a hug," said Zinzilieta.

Director of the high school’s drama program, Doug Hahn, quit after the board’s decision took effect. "There would be no Shakespeare if we didn’t have men and women playing different roles," said Hahn.

2/4/1998 - Vitamins Help Prevent Heart Disease in Women

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that women who consume folic acid and vitamin B6 have a decreased risk of heart attack. Researchers analyzed information from about 80,000 female nurses who had been filling out surveys every two years about their lifestyle, diet and health for fourteen years.

Investigators found that women who included either folic acid or B6 in their diet had less chance of developing heart disease than those women who consumed neither, while those who included both vitamins had an even smaller chance of attacks.

The study supports an old theory proposing that high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid found in the blood, can damage blood vessels. Vitamin B6 and folic acid are thought to decrease homocysteine levels.

While most of the women surveyed got their vitamin B6 and folic acid through multivitamins and cold cereals, the vitamins can also be found in orange juice, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, bananas, potatoes and whole grains.

2/4/1998 - U.S. Feminist Organizations and European Parliament Join Forces to End Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS -- Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal today joined Emma Bonino, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, other members of the European Parliament, international non-governmental organizations and women from Afghanistan in launching an international campaign, "A Flower for the Women of Kabul," to end gender apartheid in Afghanistan.

"Today, American feminists join with the European Parliament and the international feminist community in expressing our outrage at the situation of women in Afghanistan and in intensifying our campaign to compel the Taliban to cease and desist their abhorrent treatment of women. We cannot stand silently by as Afghan women become victims of inhumane gender apartheid. If this were happening to any other class of people around the world, there would be an international concerted government response. We must make sure human rights standards are applied when it is women and girls who are brutally treated. How can women be safe anywhere if some governments can carry out gender apartheid with impunity?" Smeal said.

"Over thirty national organizations in the United States -- including the YWCA, American Nurses Association, National Organization for Women, and the Council of Presidents which represents all major women's organizations -- and thousands of individuals have joined the Feminist Majority's campaign to stop gender apartheid in Afghanistan. We are demanding that neither the United Nations nor the United States recognize the Taliban government until the human rights of women and girls are restored," added Smeal.

"Moreover, U.S. women's groups are urging American oil and gas companies not to proceed with plans to build a multi-million dollar pipeline from the oil fields of Turmenkistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan until this outrageous gender apartheid is ended in Afghanistan. The price of a pipeline cannot be the enslavement women. Thus far, Unocal, a California-based company, with a 46.5% stake in the pipeline consortium has announced it will not move forward with the project until Afghanistan has an internationally recognized government. But women's groups, which have been credited with stalling the pipeline, must remain vigilant because rumors persist that the pipeline is going forward."

On September 27, 1996, the Taliban, a fundamentalist Islamic militia group, overthrew the government of Afghanistan and unilaterally declared an end to women's basic human rights. Women can now no longer work outside of the home. Afghan women have been prohibited from working and attending school. The Taliban has since increased restrictions on women, beating women who leave their homes without the required "burqa," a restrictive head-to-toe garment. Women can only leave their homes if they are accompanied by a close male relative. And windows in homes have been painted over so that women cannot be seen from the outside. Women are effectively under house arrest.

Additionally, women are often denied medical care, since they cannot be treated by male doctors. Tens of thousands of families have been thrown into destitution because thousands of Afghan women, widowed during decades of civil war, are prevented from earning a living. "We have heard reports from journalist Jan Goodwin, that girls at the state orphanage in Kabul, already living without a sewage system or adequate food, have not been allowed to go outside the building since September, 1996. Meanwhile, boys at the same orphanage go outside every day to attend school and to play," said Smeal.

Founded by Smeal in 1987, the mission of The Feminist Majority is to encourage feminists to take power and to win equal representation for women in decision-making in all arenas. Today, the Feminist Majority is one of the most prominent non-government organizations in the United States dedicated to the equality of women. The Feminist Majority's name is its message. Inspired by a 1986 Newsweek/Gallup poll, which showed tha

2/4/1998 - Arson Attempt in Texas Women's Clinic

A fire was set in the early morning at the Planned Parenthood of San Antonio Southeast Center family planning clinic. The front door was smashed and pamphlets were lit on fire. The fire burned briefly, but there was little damage and the clinic opened the next morning.

Vandals have shattered two windows and painted a Swastika on the side of the San Antonio clinic since October of 1996.

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/4/1998 - Public Mourns Clinic Bombing Victim’s Death

Hundreds of police officers assembled at the Homewood Church of Christ for the funeral of Birmingham Officer Robert Sanderson, the first casualty of abortion clinic bombings in the United States. Sanderson, an eight-year member of the Birmingham police department, worked off-duty as a clinic security guard. “When a police officer dies everyone suffers. We have to pull together,” said Birmingham police officer James Hickey.

Emily Lyons, the clinic’s head nurse and counselor, was also injured during the explosion of the nail and gunpowder-filled bomb. Lyons, who remains in the hospital, lost her left eye and suffered injuries to her face, legs and abdomen.

Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence

2/4/1998 - Christian Journal Article Supports Choice

An article advocating abortion rights for women throughout their pregnancies recently appeared in a Christian journal. The article, “Abortion and Public Policy,” appeared in the December 1997 issue of Christian Ethics Today and was written by retired United Methodist Church seminary professor, John M. Swomley. In the article Swomley writes, there “should be no legislation criminalizing or restricting abortion before the third trimester or the viability of the fetus.”

The article also argues that: the Bible teaches life does not commence until birth, rights of the individual should have priority over the rights of the unborn, banning abortion would result in “compulsory pregnancy ... a form of slavery,” prohibiting tax-funded abortions for the poor and requiring parental notification would compound violence against women, health care should be guaranteed by the government, contraceptives, including RU-486 should be developed, and sex education in public schools should be mandatory.

Professor Swomley has been an abortion-rights activist for more than 20 years. Swomley signed a letter supporting President Clinton’s veto of the Partial-birth Abortion Ban sent by the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights. He also serves on the board of directors of the ACLU and The Interfaith Alliance, and the advisory board of Planned Parenthood of Mid-Missouri and Eastern Kansas.

Femnist News Stories on Abortion

2/4/1998 - ABA Embryo Policy Voted Down

An American Bar Association policy which would have granted “possession and control,” of a frozen embryo to that parent willing to assume parental responsibilities was voted down. A majority of the 531 ABA delegates opposed the proposal, which had been supported by the ABA’s board of governors.

District of Columbia lawyer Estelle Rogers voiced her concern and claimed that the ABA’s first step into this new area “should not be a misstep.” Rogers voiced concerns over a hypothetical episode in which an abandoned woman loses rights over the embryo when her ex-husband decides to use the embryo to have children in a new marriage.

[Source: - February 2, 1998]