August 06, 2003
Full-text Articles


Our August/September newsletter is complete and wonderful!

Often we have to edit lengthly articles to fit into the newsletter, but I'm pleased to have this opportunity to post these informative full-text articles:

Support and Enjoy Women’s Sports
Safe Abortion Procedures Ban Bill
Joy Johnson's Pre-War Visit to Iraq


Support and Enjoy Women’s Sports
Our “Feminist Friday” June event was a Carolina Courage soccer game in Cary. We all loved it, including my 4 year old daughter. The level of play was impressive, and we were very lucky to see soccer star Mia Hamm, playing on the visiting team.

After the game, the team stayed and signed autographs for small (and large!) kids. Autograph Alley, as they call it, is a regular feature at the Courage games! We had a great time, and enjoyed the opportunity to support women in sports.

Unfortunately, just as women are gaining ground in amateur and professional sports, a collection of coaches, athletes, celebrities, and politicians are all taking aim at Title IX, the law that struck down sexual discrimination in education, as well as in collegiate athletics.

There are many articles on the subject of Title IX on NOW’s web site. Please take a look – this fight affects our future and the future of our children. Go to, click on the Issues tab at the top, and select Title IX.

According to study by the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, "Title IX at 30," the purpose of the law isn't to build professional athletes. "The quest for equal opportunity in sports has always been about the physiological, sociological, and psychological benefits of sports and physical activity participation," the group wrote. "Olympic medals and professional sports contracts are not what Title IX is all about."

-Gailya Paliga and Kathy Ruffner-Linn

Safe Abortion Procedures Ban Bill
On May 30th, 2003, National NOW sent emails to activists about the Safe Abortion Procedures Ban Bill, HR 760. This bill, sponsored by an arch-abortion rights opponent, Rep Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), would ban most abortion procedures performed at any time during pregnancy, not just abortions performed in the third trimester. On June 4, 2003, the House of Representatives passed the Safe Abortion Procedures Ban; the bill now moves to a House-Senate conference to work out the differences between HR 760 and S 3. The Senate had passed its version of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban, tracked as bill S3, in March 2003. It is widely expected that the major difference between the two bills, Senator Harkin's non-binding resolution affirming support for the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, will be removed during the conference process.

This and many other issues require quick responses from pro-choice constituents. Please hook in and help.

What You Need to Know about the Partial Birth Abortion Ban

"Partial birth abortion" is a non-medical term that abortion foes claim refers to a particular abortion procedure known as intact dilatation and extraction (intact D&X, or D&X), a rare variant of a more common midterm abortion procedure know as dilatation and evacuation (D&E).

The bill that passed the House in June 2003 is so broadly worded that, like many of the bans that have been struck down throughout the country, it makes it a crime for doctors to perform the safest and most common abortion procedures used after the first trimester. Likewise, it fails to include an exception that would allow these procedures when the health of the woman is endangered. House members rejected by a vote of 256 to 165 an amendment that would have added a health exception to the ban. Because bill H.R. 760 does not limit the abortion ban to procedures conducted after the fetus is viable, the ban could apply to abortions performed any time after 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The ban would be one of the most significant restrictions on abortion since the 1973 Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision recognizing abortion rights. Many organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Medical Association and the American Medical Women's Association continue to oppose state or federal legislation known as so-called "partial birth abortion" bans.

President Bush has made it clear that he will sign the bill into law. Bush had urged Congress in his State of the Union address in January to give him a bill he could sign.

The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, said the House measure is effectively no different from a Nebraska law invalidated by the United States Supreme Court just three years ago. In that case, the Court struck down Nebraska’s ban because it was written so broadly that it criminalized a range of abortion procedures, including the procedure used to perform the overwhelming majority of abortions after the first trimester, and because it failed to include a health exception.

In addition to Nebraska, 30 other states have tried, since 1995, to enact similar bans. In every state where the bans have been challenged, the courts have declared the laws unconstitutional and blocked enforcement.

Under this legislation, doctors could face criminal penalties for doing what their experience and professional training tells them is best for their patients. Health care providers should not have to choose between exercising their best medical judgment and going to jail. Because physicians would face a stiff fine and jail sentence, some (and perhaps many) physicians will simply stop performing abortions.

Politicians who are not trained in medicine and who cannot possibly know or understand the intricacies of each individual situation have no place interfering with the doctor/patient relationship.

"This legislation has nothing to do with the best interests of medicine or women's health. In fact, this ban does not even include a constitutionally required exception to preserve the health of the woman," Kim Gandy, President of NOW, said.

The essay at is very informative and includes how many pregnancies end as well as specifics about the D&X procedure. has many articles on the ‘Partial-birth Abortion’ ban and issues.

A women’s enews article at is particularly relevant.

Joy Johnson's Pre-War Visit to Iraq
Raleigh NOW Presents…Our new meeting format, Presentations in addition to Business, has been a success. We’ve heard interesting talks and had some interesting discussions among ourselves!

At the July meeting, Joy Johnson told us all about her visit to Iraq with the Iraq Peace Team (IPT). Joy went to Iraq for 2 weeks, before the U.S. attacked. Their mission is to witness, understand and expose the situations of the civilian population of Iraq and highlight the importance of facilities that are critical to daily life. Her group of 10 people met with people from Unicef, the United Nations, and the Dean of an Iraqi medical school, among others. Joy said that the group found the Iraqi people very hospitable.

She told us something about the history of Iraq, the humanitarian effects of the sanctions that were imposed during the Gulf War and legacy of war-related problems that continue today. She brought an album full of pictures of her experience.

Before the Gulf War, Iraq had the best education system and healthcare of all of the Arab Countries the Middle East. [Editor note: It was the best of all of the Arab Countries in the Middle East and possibly of all of the Muslim countries, according to a friend of mine who is a professor of the Middle East History]. Women held positions of power and respect. Since the Gulf War, there are major health problems that were not seen on this scale before the war. The leukemia rate in children has increased by 300%. There are many birth defects. Many men were made sterile.

The problems are made worse because many medicines are not allowed in Iraq due to sanctions imposed on Iraq during the Gulf War in 1991. Malnutrition and anemia are rampant. Joy said that sanctions are against any items that could be used put to military as well as civilian uses, including blood clotting medicines, vaccines and cancer treatment drugs. The cancer, birth defects and sterility are blamed on the depleted uranium and chemical stew left over from the uranium used to reinforce the metal in the missiles to allow them to pierce buildings. Joy also touched on the history of the U.S. government’s role in Iraq.

Joy said she liked the Iraqis and would return if it were possible. She worries about the fate of the people she met there.

It was a very interesting report and it inspired this author to dig deeper into the history of Iraq. The most informative article about the situation of women in Iraq is at

Please join us at the August 5 meeting when the topic will be facts about partial birth abortions.

-Gailya Paliga and Kathy Ruffner-Linn

Posted by Admin at August 06, 2003 06:51 PM