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South Hills NOW Newsletter, June 2003

  14--PA NOW State Board Meeting: call 412-882-3965 about location & ride possibility
  15 --Father's Day
  19 --South Hills NOW chapter monthly meeting 7:30pm Unitarian-Univ. Church, 1240 Washington Rd. Mt. Lebanon

  11-13 -: NOW National Conference, DoubleTree Hotel Crystal City, Arlington, VA

Keep Your Addresses Up to Date - PLEASE!
   If you change your postal address, your email address, or your phone #, PLEASE let Jerry (412-882-3965 or or Jane (724-942-8388 or know ASAP so we don't lose touch with you. Thank you!

Lobby to Support the IMAA
   The Instructional Materials Accessibility Act, US House Bill HR490, already has 99 co-sponsors, but it could use more to be sure it gets passed. It would improve access to printed instructional materials used by blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools, especially by helping states & school districts work together to produce texts in braille faster & cheaper. It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Education Reform in the US House.

Support the NOW Foundation
   Are you a Working Assets Long Distance customer? Please help support the public education and outreach work of the NOW Foundation! Between now and June 30, any Working Assets customer can nominate an organization to be a part of the national donations program for 2004. Learn how you can nominate the NOW Foundation through this program at the Web site

Tell Senators NO on S.146
   The "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" S.146 has been referred to the US Senate Judiciary Committee. Tell Specter & Santorum to vote NO on it, please, as it really is an attempt to outlaw abortion.

Taking "Merchant of Shame" into Wal-Mart
   NOW's Women Friendly Workforce campaign named Wal-Mart a "Merchant of Shame" last June in response to the company's well-documented unfair labor practices. Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the United States and has been charged in the largest employment discrimination lawsuit in history. The next step in the campaign begins this summer, as NOW chapters and activists take the "Wal-Mart ALWAYS discriminates" message directly into local stores. * Women employed at Wal-Mart make an average of $1.16 per hour LESS than men, and are promoted at a much slower rate than men. * Women sales associates make an average of $15,000 per year - at least $1.00 per hour less than the retail industry average. * More than three out of five Wal-Mart workers cannot afford the company's health insurance. As part of the "Adopt a Wal-Mart Store" initiative, activists will distribute flyers, notecards and buttons inside and outside of stores in an effort to get the facts directly to customers. Ac tivists will also request meetings with store managers to discuss issues concerning women employees and customers. Participating in the campaign with NOW are the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Coalition of Labor Union Women.

Keep Carolyn Kuhl off the 9th Circuit Court
   On May 8, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted (10-9) along party-lines to send the nomination of Judge Carolyn Kuhl, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to the full senate despite the absence of blue-slips (approval forms) signed by both her state's senators. The senators on the Committee received thousands of calls from their constituents urging them to vote against the Kuhl nomination. In particular, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received a high volume of calls from her constituents and residents from the Ninth Circuit states (Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, and the N. Marina Islands). Following her hearing, and after careful consideration of her record, NOW opposed Kuhl's nomination because of her documented history of hostility in the areas of reproductive choice, sexual harassment protections, and equal educational opportunities for women. Read more about her at /nominees/kuhl.html
New FCC Rules Threaten To Shut Out Women
   NOW strongly opposes the 6/2 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to re-write the rules governing media ownership. In a 3-2 vote, the FCC instituted "the most sweeping and destructive rollback of consumer protection rules in the history of American broadcasting," according to Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein, who voted against the de-regulation. Of the six rules under review, the Republican members of the FCC voted to maintain one rule, slightly modify another and significantly relax four more. Most notably, a new version of the cross-ownership rules will allow a single corporation to own, in one city, up to three TV stations, one newspaper, eight radio stations, the cable TV system and numerous cable stations. Also, a national TV network may now acquire enough local stations to control up to 90 percent of the national TV audience.

NOW's First Annual Intrepid Awards Gala
   Please join us in Washington, D.C. at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Thursday, July 10, to honor fearless, bold and courageous women, including legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas: &

Supreme Court Upholds Family Leave
   In a victory for women, workers and families across the US, the Supreme Court yesterday rejected an attempt to undermine the federal law guaranteeing 12 weeks of family leave and upheld the right of state employees to take time off from work to care for children or ailing relatives. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ruled that Congress was within its rights to require states to give state workers the same 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave the federal law grants to employees in the private sector.

Women with Disabilities and Their Allies Forum
   The NOW Foundation and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) will hold a joint forum on disability and women's rights in Bethesda, MD on Oct. 17-19, 2003. Read more about this forum at

MRI Tests More Effective than Mammograms?
   By Raja Mishra, Boston Globe Staff, Chicago, 6/3/03 MRI tests detect early-stage breast cancer tumors more effectively than mammograms, according to three new studies that may be especially helpful for women who have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer. Women who carry a mutant form of the "breast cancer genes," BRCA1 or BRCA2, face about a 90 percent lifetime breast cancer risk, requiring them to undergo regular mammograms much earlier than most women, often beginning before age 30. Because conventional mammograms sometimes miss very small tumors, however, some make the painful choice to have their breasts removed as a precaution. Regular MRI screening, the new studies indicate, are more accurate than mammograms, and may give some high-risk women confidence in postponing mastectomies. The most conclusive of the studies involved 462 high-risk German women. MRIs caught 96 percent of the breast cancers that developed in the women, while mammograms only detected 43 percent. "MRIs have the highest certainty to detec t small cancers," said the University of Bonn's Dr. Christiane K. Kuhl, who led the study. There are drawbacks to MRIs, however. MRIs are expensive and uncomfortable, requiring women to lie flat in a cramped chamber for 45 minutes. In addition, two of the studies found that the test leads to more false positives than mammography, meaning radiologists more often mistakenly concluded spots on the MRIs were cancerous. A tissue sample will usually reveal there is no cancer, but the experience can cause considerable short-term emotional upheaval for patients. As a result, cancer specialists gathered at the American Society of Clinical Oncology said MRIs would not replace mammograms for non-high-risk patients any time soon. But some cancer centers have already started to use MRIs to supplement mammography testing in high-risk patients. This story ran on page D2 of the Boston Globe on 6/3/2003. (c) Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

2003 NOW National Conference
   You won't want to miss the 2003 National NOW Conference; find out more about it at the Web site It will be in the Washington, D.C. area on July 11-13! Register online at

We Stopped the "Family Time Flexibility Act"
   Despite the sugar-coated name, this legislation was about increasing profits and control over employees, and not at all about providing "family values" solutions to struggling families. House Republican leaders, fearing lack of support, decided not to bring the bogus "Comp Time" bill (H.R. 1119) to the House floor for a vote on Thursday 6/5.

Congress Endangers Military Women's Health
   At a time when accolades are being extended to U.S. military men and women serving in Iraq and other countries, Congress has chosen to continue the unfair and dangerous ban on abortions at overseas military bases. Both houses rejected amendments to the $400 billion defense spending bill that would have repealed that ban - an action that has been repeated virtually every year since 1996 when anti-abortion extremists took majority control of Congress. The amendments - offered in the House by Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and in the Senate by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) - were rejected on May 22 with votes of 201 to 227 and 48 to 51, respectively. Read more at

Twelve Million Children Left Behind
   Shortly before signing the Jobs and Growth Reconciliation Tax Act of 2003 (H.R. 1054, H.R. 2) into law, George W. Bush stated, "It is good for American workers, it is good for American families, it is good for American investors and it's good for American entrepreneurs." Despite his claims, just how good is the $350 billion tax cut plan for American families? While households making over $1 million a year will receive an average tax cut of $93,500, 53% of American families will receive $100 or less in refunds and 36% of households will not receive any tax cut at all. In addition, a last-minute conference revision will deny millions of minimum wage families the $400 child tax credit increase. NOW Action VP Olga Vives described the deletion of the child credit provision "as just one more indication of how little Congressional leaders and the administration cares for low-income working families and their needs." Read more about this at hild.html

"Partial-Birth Abortion" Ban Bill Passed
   On Wed. 6/4, the U.S. House passed the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003" (S 3/ H.R. 760), which bans so-called "partial-birth" abortion. The bill, introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH), is vague in its description of which medical procedures it would ban. Legal experts and abortion providers alike believe this bill would ban most or all second trimester abortions and even some first trimester abortions. Doctors who perform some of these medical procedures could face fines and prison sentences of up to two years. This bill provides the most severe restriction on abortion enacted since Roe v. Wade & is in direct conflict with the constitutional protections provided under Roe v. Wade. Further, the bill is in conflict with the US Supreme Court ruling in Stenberg v. Carhart (2000), since it does not include a health exception for the woman. (In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that a Nebraska ban on partial-birth abortion was unconstitutional because it did not sufficient ly define the banned procedure and did not contain a health exception for the mother.) President Bush has already signed this ban into law. In March, the U.S. Senate passed (64-33) the bill (S 3). However, the Senate did vote in favor (52-46) of attaching to the bill a "nonbinding" resolution reaffirming the Senate's support for Roe v. Wade. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), expresses that the Senate believes Roe v. Wade was appropriate and says the ruling should not be overturned.

Condom Programs Do Not Promote School Sex
   Washington (Reuters) 05/27/03 - Making condoms available to high school students does not make them more likely to have sex, US researchers reported in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Contrary to some arguments, students at schools where condoms were available were less likely to have sex, said the researchers, who studied students in Massachusetts. Condom availability was not associated with greater sexual activity among adolescents but was associated with greater condom use among those who were already sexually active, a highly positive result. About half of all teens in grades nine through 12 reported they had sex, with nearly 60 percent saying they used a condom the last time. Blake and colleagues analyzed data from the 1995 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey of more than 4,000 students. About 20% went to schools that had condom programs. Condom use did not seem to prevent pregnancy. Blake and colleagues found no differences in the pregnancy rate between girls in schools with condom availability programs and those without.

New "Use Your Voice" Available
   Duquense Light Co. has for years produced the brochure "Use Your Voice" as a public service. The latest update, with color-coded maps & listings of office addresses & phones is now available online & will soon be available in print. If you have access to the Web it is available at If you don't, phone 412-393-6060 & ask for the print.

The OWL Powerline
   The Older Women's League, the only national grassroots membership organization to focus solely on issues unique to women as they age, maintains a telephone line that provides weekly updates on public policy, at 1-202-783-6686 or 1-800-825-3695. Recent updates have pointed out the need to oppose the bankruptcy bill (H.R. 975), because it would make it harder for women hit by job loss or medical bills to recover, & harder to collect child support from men who file for bankruptcy, & to push for real prescription drug benefits under Medicare. The OWL Powerline is updated every Friday afternoon.

What the Well-Read Feminist is Reading Lately:
   The Book of Sarahs by Catherine E. McKinley: A bi-racial orphan, she was adopted by Scotch-Irish atheists. After years of searching, she found a half-sister & learned of her birth parents & Black, WASP, Jewish, Choctaw heritage. 304pp, $24 hard, $16 soft.
   Lucky by Alice Sebold: In this memoir the author of #1 best-seller The Lovely Bones recounts her long, confusing, painful & inspiring journey back to herself after being raped at 18. 256pp $12
   The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw: author of the best-selling The Hungry Ocean, which described her experiences as a swordfish captain, she went home to tiny Isle au Haut off the Maine coast to fish lobster, & to write this story of her further adventures. 256pp $23
   Woman of Color, Daughter of Privilege by Kent Anderson Leslie: hailed by Publishers Weekly as an "excellent social history" & soon to be a Showtime movie, Leslie's biography chronicles the life of Amanda Dickenson, daughter of a wealthy white planter & a slave in antebellum GA. Shielded by her family from the area's strict racial codes, Amanda inherited most of her father's vast estate, a tribute to family ties amid slavery's degradation.
   Bachelor Girl by Betsy Israel: journalist Israel traces the ever-evolving life of single women in America over the last 150 years, drawing on copious primary sources; she looks at flappers in the 20s, what happened to "women's work" in the 40s, & the inroads of career gals in the 60s. 304pp, $25 hard, $16.50 soft
   The Bitch in the House edited by Cathi Hanauer: a passionate collection of what really matters to women today from 26 perspectives. 304pp $24 hard, $16 soft
  Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose: Prose offers engaging biographical sketches of 9 of history's most famous muses & the men they inspired. 432pp $26
   Odd Girl Out - The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons: shattering the myth that girls don't bully, Simmons unravels the surprising, and sometimes devastating, ways girls express aggression. 304pp
   Women of the Third Reich by Anna Maria Sigmund: a fascinating account of the lives of 8 women in German high society, including Eva Braun & Magda Goebels. 236pp $23 hard $16 soft
   Rosalind Franklin - The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox: Watson & Crick discovered the double-helix structure of DNA in 1953 in large part due to the efforts of British crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, a headstrong, fiercely intelligent woman who overcame huge obstacles but earned little more than a grudging footnote. 400pp $30 hard $18 soft
   Zora Neale Hurston by Carla Kaplan: missives by the author of These Eyes Were Watching God reveal juicy bits about Hurston's romantic links, her feud with Langston Hughes, & her struggle to live as a writer. 896pp $40 hard $22 soft
   Frida - A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera: a vivid biography of an extraordinary artist & woman, with the bus crash that scarred her, her marriage to Diego Rivera, & her affair with Leon Trotsky. 528pp $25 hard $15 soft

Important NOW Web Sites to Know About
>> Support NOW's Work for Equal Rights financially at
>> Become an active member of NOW: join at
>> Shop Online at
>> Learn about your Member Benefits at
>> All about NOW at
>> The Truth About George W at
>> NOW News Releases at
>> Get Involved at
>> Legislative Action Center at
>> Find Your Nearest Chapter at
>> Tell a Friend at

South Hills NOW Newsletter is compiled and distributed by Gerald Blum, and Carl Howe, Chapter co-President & Newsletter Editor