Two Feminist PACs Endorse Carol Mosley Braun for President

The National Organization for Women’s Political Action Committee and the National Women’s Political Caucus both endorsed Carol Moseley Braun’s candidacy for president in a move that really underscores where both groups are.

First, Braun is largely a symbolic candidate who was recruited to run for office in large part to try to peel away minority voters from the Rev. Al Sharpton. Second, like the two groups endorsing here, Braun’s vision of feminism is a creature of the far Left.

NOW president Kim Gandy summed up the current state of the sort of feminism that her group represents, saying,

We are particularly please that out of a field of strong progressive candidates, the strongest feminist candidate turns out to be a woman.

Yes, Braun is such a strong candidate that in a Labor Day weekend poll, she garnered the support of a whopping 2 percent of registered Democrats.

The only genuine surprise here is that neither group wanted to wait to see if Sen. Hillary Clinton might jump into the race.


2 feminist groups back Moseley Braun. Julia Malone, Cox News Service, August 26, 2003.

Poll: Many voters unable to name Democratic candidates. Greg Wahl-Stephens, Associated Press, September 1, 2003.

Feminists Against Silicone Breast Implants

An interesting example of the hypocrisy of groups like the National Organization for Women is its recent public opposition to the possible re-introduction of silicone breast implants. NOW argues that there is not enough long term data to justify saying that silicone breast implants are safe, but NOW’s real objection seems to be that silicone breast implants are not politically correct enough.

There are plenty of long-term studies of the effects of silicone breast implants in women who had them before the FDA’s temporary ban on the implants — almost all of which found that there simply were no adverse health risks associated with implants. The concerns that implants increased the risk of breast cancer or contributed to chronic diseases of the early 1990s turned out to be simple hysteria.

But nonetheless, NOW President Kim Gandy complaints that the FDA is only reviewing two years wroth of data and, “Two years of data is not going to give you any valid information so that women will know what’s going into their bodies.”

Nonsense. In this case NOW has simply stooped to the level of its anti-abortion opponents who used and continue to use exactly this argument against both oral contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs such as RU-486. In fact when the FDA dragged its feet on approving RU-486, it was Gandy who was whining about excessive bureaucracy and overblown concerns about a drug that had proven safe through decades of use elsewhere in the world. As Gandy put it in a NOW press release,

It’s all too typical that our U.S. bureaucracy would take this important medical advancement for women and make it as difficult as possible for us to take advantage of its full potential.

If only makers of silicone breast implants could find a way to make them have some sort of contraceptive or abortion abilities as well, perhaps they would be politically correct enough for NOW to stop its ridiculous attempt to prevent women from making their own private health choices about implants.


Groups oppose allowing silicone breast implants. Lisa Richwine, Reuters, July 21, 2003.

NOW Members Call for FDA Approval of Mifepristone (RU-486) for Abortion, Cancer and Other Treatments. Press Release, National Organization for Women, Summer 2000.

Sky High Malpractice Insurance Closing Obstetrics Wards

In June the American Hospital Association released a troubling survey of hospitals and health care organizations around the country. Fully 20 percent of the institutions surveyed had cut back on services and 6 percent had eliminated some units outright as a response to the increasing cost of medical malpractice insurance.

The malpractice issue has especially hit obstetrics wards and obstetricians hard. Obstetrics is a marginal money maker at best, and the incredibly high cost of insurance is leading some hospitals to curtail or outright close their obstetrics units.

The New York Times report on the survey notes that at least 6 hospitals around the country closed their obstetrics wards this summer. Some rural clinics have gone out of business altogether.

How expensive is medical malpractice insurance? According to The Times, the worst places for obstetricians is currently Florida. In Fort Lauderdale and Miami, the cost of insurance for obstetricians run as high as $200,000 per year.

Hospitals now pay massive bills for medical malpractice insurance. Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital was hit with a $32 million bill this year for its insurance. It responded by closing the maternity unit at a South Philadelphia hospital it operates.

And what is truly shocking is that most of the larger feminist organizations are silent on the topic. The National Organization for Women, for example, spends a lot of time and money defending abortion providers, but has done nothing to highlight the problems faced by obstetricians from medical malpractice lawsuits.

In fact, the only time the issue of malpractice insurance reform is mentioned on NOW’s web site is to ridicule a statement by George W. Bush’s about his medical malpractice reform efforts while he was governor of Texas.

It’s a shame that NOW and other feminist organizations can’t make women’s access to obstetricians as high a priority as women’s access to abortion providers.


Rise in insurance forces hospitals to shutter wards. Joseph B. Treaster, The New York Times, August 25, 2002.

Bushisms. National Organization for Women, Accessed: September 10, 2002.

NOW Continues to Defend Yates, Avoid the Real Issues

After trying to distance itself from the Andrea Yates trial, National Organization for Women was back in the spotlight after the jury’s verdict (which this writer wholeheartedly agreed with) as Deborah Bell defended Yates and attacked the jury in the case.

According to an Associated Press story shortly after the verdict was announced,

But Bell, president of the Texas chapter of the National Organization for Women, said she was stunned at the conviction in light of so much evidence of mental illness.

She said Yates was “persecuted, not prosecuted,” and the verdict unveiled a need for public education, understanding and compassion about mental illness.

Leave it to NOW to want a reeducation campaign to make Americans better understand a woman who murdered her vie children and repeatedly said she knew what she was doing was wrong.

Bell is correct, however, about the need for a public education campaign, but that campaign needs to be about child and infant murderers.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta released a report in early March noting that homicide was the 15th-leading cause of infant deaths in the United States. Children have a greater risk of being murdered during their first year of life than at anytime until they reach the age of 17.

Oddly enough, unlike Yates, murderers of infants rarely spend much time in jail. Typical of such killers is Melissa Drexler. On June 6, 1997, she gave birth to a baby boy in the ladies room of a catering hall where her high school prom was being held. She suffocated the newborn infant, threw the body in a trash can and returned to the prom. Drexler was released after serving just barely over 3 years in jail.

Such short sentences for killing infants are typical. Were the fathers of these infants responsible for the vast majority of them, you can be sure that NOW would have a special campaign to crack down on such a lenient court system. But the reality is that 89 percent of the known killers of infants under one year of age were females — usually the mother. Which, of course, means NOW and other groups are simply uninterested.

The jury that convicted Yates did an important service by sending the message that as a society we will not tolerate the murder of children. The next step is to have an equally strong response to people who murder the most vulnerable members of society, infants. A woman who suffocates her newborn son and then goes to the prom should not be able to walk out of prison after only two to three years.


CDC: First year of life a dangerous one. Associated Press, March 8, 2002.

Verdict sparks passionate reactions. Associated Press, March 12, 2002.

NOW Hypocrisy on Rape Testing

The National Organization for Women sent out a press release last week asking for funding of DNA testing of rape evidence. Just for a second I thought maybe NOW had gotten its head out of its rear end and was going to call for judicial reform to make sure men convicted of rape who claim their innocent get a chance at clearing their name with DNA testing. But, of course not. Instead NOW wants $250 million to process a backlog of rape kits stored by police around the country.

According to NOW, there are thousands of rape kits sitting in police evidence lockers that have never had a basic DNA analysis conducted. Why? Because it costs $1,500 and those silly police seem to think that the best time to do a DNA test is when there is a suspect in hand to compare the DNA to. NOW, on the other hand, seems to think that women’s will be helped by a $250 million effort to make sure that DNA test results sit in evidence lockers until a suspect is in hand (and without some sort of national DNA database, that’s what will happen with almost all of these results).

On the other hand, NOW has yet to call for any sort of funding to allow convicted rapists who claim they are innocent to avail themselves of DNA testing. In many cases, they cannot afford such testing and even if they can, in some cases inmates long ago exhausted all appeals and courts are wary of taking another look at the case, even just to examine DNA evidence.

But when it comes to justice, the NOW is satisfied to remain an girls-only club.


NOW urges funds for DNA testing of rape evidence. NOW Press Office, March 13, 2002.

NOW Celebrates Abortion Doctor’s Release

Dr. James Pendergraft is about to be released from prison, and the National Organization for Women is celebrating the release of the man it says was wrongfully imprisoned. Why doesn’t NOW speak up about other men who have been released after their convicitons were overturned?

Pendergraft was convicted as part of a bizarre case in which he was accused and convicted of extortion. The case is complicated, but it boils down to this — Pendergraft was angry that police in Marion County, Florida apparently refused to allow their officers to moonlight as security guards at his abortion clinic after hours. In a meeting, Pendergraft threatened to sue the city claiming he would bankrupt it if they did not meet his demands.

Prosecutors construed that as attempted extortion and managed to convict the abortion provider in May 2001. Pendergraft’s sentence was overturned on February 27, 2002, however, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ordered him to be released immediately.

NOW sent out a press release a couple days later saying, among other things, that,

The charges against him were based on the flimsiest of evidence and appear to be just another attempt to limit reproductive health services in the state. …

Both the imprisonment and release of Dr. Pendergraft underscore the need for fair judges and prosecutors at every level of the judicial system. NOW’s Judicial Justice Project is keeping a close eye on Bush’s nominees to the federal courts. We’re also mobilizing activists to demand that their senators only vote to confirm nominees who will rule with fairness and to firmly oppose those who seek to promote their ultraconservative agendas.

This is a bit odd. With the advent of sophisticated DNA testing, more than 100 convicted criminals have been released from jail after it turned out that they could not have committed the crime that they were charged with. A significant number of those cases involves men who served often very long jail terms for rapes that they did not committ. Moreover, looking back at many of those cases it is apparent that, like Pendegraft, those men were convicted on the flimsiest of evidence in trials whose fairness was questionable at best.

And yet I do not recall NOW sending out a press release in any of those instances to decry the systemtic injustices in the system. In fact, NOW has generally supported such injustices.

Oliver Jovanovic was originally convicted of rape based on an absurd interpretation of rape shield laws by a New York judge. Jovanovic claimed his sexual encounter with a young woman was consensual, while his accuser said it was rape. On the stand, his accuser testified that she had never told Jovanovic that she was interested in sadomasochistic sex, but, in fact, she sent him numerous e-mails before their meeting describing in detail her sadomasochistic fantasies and experiences. A judge ruled those e-mails inadmissable based on New York’s rape shield laws, and Jovanovic was convicted.

Eventually his conviction was overturned. Did NOW celebrate the righting of such an injustice? Are you kidding? A man serving time for a rape he did not committ? That sort of injustice isn’t even on NOW’s radar.


NOW President Applauds Release of Wrongfully Imprisoned Abortion Provider, Says Case Underscores The Need For Judicial Justice. Rebecca Farmer, National Organization for Women, Press Release, March 1, 2002.