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South Hills NOW Newsletter, December 2003

  11 --South Hills NOW last chapter monthly meeting Luncheon noon-3pm, Peter's Place, US 50, Bridgeville, PA

November Chapter Meeting Results
   No new candidates for chapter offices appeared, so we voted to putting the chapter out of existence after April 2004, so we can try to help organize for the March for Freedom of Choice 4/25 & the PA primary elections 4/27. Our December luncheon will be a going-away party as well as a holiday party, as there will be no further chapter meetings. Enclosed with this newsletter is a sheet with information on the other chapters in the Pittsburgh area, in case you wish to transfer.

December South Hills NOW Chapter Meeting
   The December chapter meeting will be a luncheon party on the 2nd Thursday, Dec.11th, from noon-3:00pm at Peter's Place 1199 Washington Pike (US50) Bridgeville, PA, right at the light with Vanadium Rd, just a bit south from the Kirwan Heights interchange with I-79. Please note the different time & date & come join us.

March for Freedom of Choice
   Let us know you're coming to Washington DC on April 25th to march in support of abortion rights. Sign up today to receive email updates. Learn more at Connect with others in your area to plan for this March for Women's Lives at

NOW Creates Young Feminist Task Force
   The membership of NOW voted this summer to create a permanent task force of young feminists aged 30 and under. Their job: to advise the leaders of the organization and devise strategies for reaching out to younger women. Read more at

Continue to Fight for Overtime Pay Guarantees
   Urge your senators and representatives to stand firm in supporting overtime pay for workers who count on this important job protection. You can take action NOW at

NOW Blasts Federal Anti-marriage Amendment
   "The so-called Federal Marriage Amendment is a transparent election-year ploy to gain political profit by exploiting bigotry and hate," said NOW President Kim Gandy. Read more of her press release at

Most Women Lose under New Prescription Drug Bill
   Older women - who tend to use prescription medications more and, on average, have less retirement income - will face a new hardship when this legislation takes effect in 2006. Read more about why this is true at Also read NOW's news release at "It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have." James Baldwin

An ‘Urp’ from AARP?
   Until the AARP returns to doing the work promised in its mission statement, we'll continue to work with Congress for "real" Medicare reform and prescription drug coverage. Read more about the differences at

Women & Health Insurance
   While you’re thinking about health insurance, reflect that
12% of white women are uninsured
19% of Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders are uninsured
20% of African-American women are uninsured
27% of native-Americans/native-Alaskans are uninsured
35% of Hispanic-American women are uninsured
[Tillery, NC Peoples Health Clinic CCT News Notes]

Anti-abortion MD Takes Expected Stand on RU-486
   This week Dr. W. David Hager, a member (but, thanks to your efforts, not the chair) of the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee, endorsed a new review of mifepristone (RU-486), the pill used in medical abortions. Read more about why this is absurd:

Wooing the Single Women Vote
   Only 52% of eligible single women voted in 2000, compared to 68% of married women - and many races would have had a different outcome if single women (who are more likely to vote for progressive candidates) had voted at the higher rate! NOW's job: Find these women, register them and get them to the polls in 2004. You can help be part of this effort at

A Reverse Twist
   In gardens, arms twist bushes, but in Congress, Bush has been twisting arms. Not satisfied with the harm done to women last month by signing the "Partial-Birth Abortion Ban," Bush rammed through a Medicare bill that, despite its highly touted new prescription coverage, will cost women money, raise profits for HMOs & drug companies, & may ultimately cause the demise of Medicare as we've known it. As I type this on Dec.8 he is trying to force the Senate to pass an omnibus appropriations bill that includes unwanted vouchers for DC schools, under-funds the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act & the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program, allows unemployment compensation funding to run out, and eliminates Women's Educational Equity Act funds. Note that the DC voucher program totally lacks the accountability features of the NCLB program. The one bright spot was that even after >40 hours of Republican diatribes, the Senate refused to cut off debate on his 3 worst female judicial nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Carolyn Kuhl, & Priscilla Owen). Although the Senate passed the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" (S.146), the House version "Laci & Conner's Law" (HR 1997, chief sponsor Melissa Hart) won't be debated until January. Neither does anything substantive to reduce violence against women; both are intended to introduce fetal personhood. [A far more appropriate bill is the Motherhood Protection Act (HR 2247) which defines additional penalties if a crime injures a woman's pregnancy as well as the woman, but clearly defines the woman as the victim.] Bush has so far also maintained the cut-off of funding for the UN Family Planning Administration.

Plan Ahead for Women's History Month
   The Library of Congress maintains a wonderful page at that is a gateway to resources for the study of women's history & culture in the US & a great way to start your research.

College Gymnasts Win Court Ruling for Title IX
   By Julia M. Klein, Women's Enews November 24, 2003
Philadelphia - A federal judge has ordered West Chester University to reinstate its varsity women's gymnastics team, giving a boost to advocates of greater female participation in intercollegiate athletics. Attorneys for both sides said that US District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick's 31-page ruling in Barrett v. West Chester University, granting the gymnasts' request for a preliminary injunction, was important for affirming the right of private parties, including athletes, to sue under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. See

Kentucky Women's Commission Faces Ax
   12/08/03 By Karen Shugart WeNews correspondent The Kentucky Commission on Women is in danger of losing its funding with the appointment of a new governor and two bills pending in the state legislature. The commission has released a report on ways to improve the lives of women in Kentucky. For more see

Senegal Program Eradicating FGM
   12/07/03 By Ginger Adams Otis WeNews correspondent (WOMENSENEWS)--An innovative health and human rights program in Senegal is on the brink of eradicating a centuries-old custom that involves excising large parts of the female genitalia, a custom which can have a debilitating effect on women's reproductive and general health, as well as their overall quality of life. It's known to most as female genital mutilation, or FGM, and currently some 2 million women around the world are subjected to it every year. Molly Melching is founder and director of Tostan, a nongovernmental organization based in the capital city of Dakar that has played a crucial role in informing Senegalese about the dangers of genital mutilation. Soon, her innovative programs will be available to other health workers and community leaders. Melching's staff is putting the final touches on a new training center - scheduled to open in January or February - that will teach other organizations how to use Tostan's methodology in the fight against FGM. Their goal for the first year is to work with Gambia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, and Guinea. Many organizations in Africa are already asking for or have gotten help from Melching, including groups in Sudan. Recently the World Health Organization recognized the groundbreaking work of Tostan and called for its replication and dissemination throughout Africa. See
Court Victory on Contraceptive Coverage
   12/06/03 (WOMENSENEWS) The New York State Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit by the Catholic Church seeking to exempt some employers from having to include contraceptives as part of the package of prescription drugs they offer employees. The suit, filed by Catholic Charities of Albany, sought an exemption from the law Women's Health and Wellness Act. While the law is not imposed on churches or seminaries, affiliate organizations such as charities, are expected to comply with the act. In a ruling made public last week, the court said: "Plaintiffs' religious tenets with regard to contraception are entitled to respect. However, the exemption that Plaintiffs seek would impose their beliefs on their religiously diverse work force. The act legitimately operates to prevent that result." For more

Push for Worldwide Ban on Stem Cell Research
   Feminist Daily News Wire December 8, 2003 The US and Costa Rica are leading an effort to pass a United Nations treaty banning all forms of human cloning, including stem cell research that scientists believe has the potential to treat serious illnesses such as Parkinson's disease. Wired News reports a vote on the Costa Rican-introduced treaty failed by a vote of 80-79 in the UN legal committee on November 6. Instead UN members decided to pass a motion to postpone the issue for two years that was introduced by Iran on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Washington Post recounted. For more see

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