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South Hills NOW Newsletter, September 2003

September South Hills NOW Chapter Meeting
   We met at 7:30pm at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of the South Hills at 1240 Washington Rd. (corner of Sunnyhill) on Thursday September 18th to discuss plans to try to encourage participation in "Love Your Body Day" (October 15th this year). See the Web page for more information, & call Jackie (412-594-5414) if you would like to help.

PA NOW State Convention
   This year's PA NOW state convention to elect a new executive committee slate will take place Sat Oct. 4 at the Best Western Center City in downtown Philadelphia. In addition there will be discussion of the NOW Drive for Equality, workshops, & bylaws changes. See for further information.

Disability Rights Forum
   The NOW Foundation & the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) jointly present "Women with Disabilities and Allies Forum: Linking Arms for Equality and Justice for All" (Fri-Sun) Oct. 17-19 at the Bethesda Hyatt Regency Hotel on Wisconsin Av. at One Bethesda Metro Center, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Court Temporarily Blocks Media Ownership Rules
   A federal appeals court temporarily blocked the FCC from imposing new rules that would dramatically loosen restrictions on media consolidation. Read more at

Pension "Reform" Bill Risks Spouses' Benefits
   H.R. 1776, the Pension Preservation and Savings Enhancement Act of 2003, sponsored by Reps. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), has been criticized as reducing corporate pension liabilities by billions of dollars over the next two years. Provisions in the legislation would allow many large companies to slash retirement benefits or drop their long-standing pension plans. Learn more about this bill at

Nominations for Chapter Offices: LAST CHANCE
   We will hold elections for 2004 officers for South Hills NOW at the October chapter meeting on Thursday, Oct.16th. We will also have a speaker about the races being contested in the Nov.4 public elections. If you would like to nominate someone for the chapter, please fill out the enclosed nomination form & return it in the enclosed envelope. You are encouraged to nominate yourself! Please note that if there are no new candidates for chapter offices, the Nov. meeting will be devoted to putting the chapter out of existence & the December meeting will be a going-away party.

Bush Tries to Expand Global Gag Rule
   George W. Bush announced that he intends to extend the global gag rule policy - which prohibits international family planning programs in other countries from using their own, private non-US funds to express a public abortion rights position or to provide any sort of abortion assistance to patients - to cover all State Department programs. Previously, the gag rule was applied only to programs for the US Agency for International Development (USAID) where the family planning program is funded at $446 million. The State Department's budget totals $8 billion. Read more at

Senate Tries to Restrict Class-Action Suits
   H.R. 1115/S. 274, the so-called Class Action Fairness Act, restricts class action litigation. The bill would remove most state court, state-law class actions into federal court; clog the federal courts with state law cases and make it more difficult to have federal civil rights cases heard; deter people from bringing class actions; and impose costly and unjustified burdens on settlement of class actions. The movement of these cases into federal courts where Republican-appointed judges hold sway would tip the balance in favor of corporate defendants.

"Unborn Victims of Violence Act" Awaits
   Both houses remain poised to deliberate over the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (H.R. 1997/S. 1019). It is uncertain at this time whether the Senate will bring the bill straight to the floor or follow traditional legislative procedures allowing the House to first adopt the legislation. A mark-up session on H.R. 1997 was held on July 15 in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. Santorum is a co-sponsor of S.1019. See

Say 'No' to Marriage Discrimination
   Contact your members of Congress and speak out against a proposed constitutional amendment that would deny lesbians and gays the right to marry. Act at

Estrada Withdraws, More Bad Judges Wait
   After his nomination failed repeatedly to cut off a Senate filibuster, Miguel Estrada withdrew. See Kim Gandy's press remarks. Be sure also to see the Web page to read about lots of other bad judges Bush is trying to try us with.

March for Freedom of Choice
   You asked for a march ... you've got one! The time is right for a pro-choice march of historic proportions. On April 25, 2004, join the march on Washington and stand up for a woman's right to safe, legal abortion. Learn more at

What Else has Bush Been Up To Lately?
   Be sure to read the two Web sites below regularly: and to find out!

Speak Out Against Abortion Ban
   Please contact the members of your Congressional delegation to express your disapproval of the so-called Partial-Birth Abortion Ban (H.R. 760/S.3) and urge them to at least support a provision, added by pro-choice Senators, stating that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided. This legislation would ban the safest and most common abortion procedures performed in the second trimester, not just abortions performed in the third trimester, and it fails to provide for the health of the woman. You can take action now on the Web at

Oppose the Teen Endangerment Act (H.R. 476)
   Also known as the Child Custody Protection Act, it would criminalize anyone other than a parent who accompanies a minor across state lines for an abortion if she has not complied with her home state's parental consent or notification law. A grandmother, older sister or religious counselor could face a year in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted of taking a teen to another state for an abortion. Take action now on the Web at
Civil Liberties - Then and Now
   The PA Labor History Society will hold its Annual Conference Oct 2-5 in Homestead, PA, with art events Thursday evening; tours, a reception & dinner, & an awards ceremony Friday; free speech talk & activities, a lunch & keynote program, a march & memorial dedications, & an evening concert (with Chris Chandler & Anne Feeney, Mike Stout & the Human Union, Joe Glazer, & more) Saturday; and cemetery tours & a church service Sunday. The dinner is $25, the lunch+keynote is $20, & the concert $10 (or all 3 for $50), but everything else is free. More information & registration may be found at or phone 412-782-0171, 724-357-4443, or 724-357-2645.

Women's Studies @ University of Pittsburgh
   noon Thur 10/16 "Performing Identity: Drag Shows as Political Protest; noon Fri 10/17 the 90-min film "The Brandon Teena Story" in 207 David Lawrence Hall; noon Wed 10/22 "Teaching an Introduction to Women's Studies" in 2E30 Posvar Hall; 4pm Thur 10/30 "Queer Rights, Human Rights: On the Politics of Inclusion" in 501 Cathedral of Learning. More detail & full schedule at

Negotiate for What You Want (& Need)
   Carnegie Mellon Univ. economist Linda Babcock & writer Sara Laschever have written Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, to be published in Oct by Princeton Univ Press. Her research shows men are 2 to 9 times more likely to negotiate for higher starting salaries, with a payoff of up to half a million dollars over a career. This documentation of one gender gap contributing to another has caught national media.

Legislative Update: Stopping Breast Cancer
   The National Breast Cancer Coalition lists the following bills as priorities in their Summer 2003 Call to Action newsletter: the Breast Cancer & Environmental Research Act (S.983/H.R.1746), the Access to Cancer Therapies Act (S.1037/H.R.1288), & the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination in Health Insurance and Employment Act (H.R.1910). The NBCC asks you to ask your members of Congress to support & vote for these bills. You can find out more about these bills at , the NBCC Web site, or at , the Library of Congess's Web site for legislation.

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