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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
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Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 5. February 1979. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 7, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6002.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1979). Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 5. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6002

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, February 1979 - Page 5, February 1979, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 7, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6029/show/6002.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, February 1979
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1979
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
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Title Page 5
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File Name femin_201109_547ae.jpg
Transcript Bill Narum COMMENTARIES by Nikki van hiqhiou/ER Does Anti-abortion Equal Pro-life? Monday, January 22, was the anniversary of the 1972 Supreme Court decision giving women the right to choose abortion. On Saturday, January 20, the Greater Houston Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sponsored a Pro-Choice Anniversary Workshop in celebration of the decision. Most of the arguments for a woman's right to choose I had heard many times before, but there was a very poignant and challenging question put forward by an Episcopalian priest, Father Jim Tucker, of Houston. He pointed out that tremendous technological strides have been made in the medical area. "Test-tube babies" are a reality. It is not at all incongruous that that technology could be extended to preserve the aborted embryos, allowing for their development outside the mother's womb. Father Tucker asked if the preservation of all of these embryos would satisfy the "Right-to-Lifers"? Would they be willing to care for these lives that they insist be preserved? Somehow I cannot help but believe that the answer would be a resounding no. Evidence for that conclusion comes from the fact that there are now young people on earth who remain unwanted wards of the state. There is no one who is willing to assume responsibility for their care. Such a technological breakthrough would allow for almost one million additions to our population each year. (Nationwide, women had roughly one legal abortion for every three live births in 1975.) We have little grounds for believing that those demanding an end to a woman's right to choose abortion would assume the responsibility for caring for the lives of those who developed outside the womb. Regardless of how we look at it, the abortion issue is still the last ditch stand over the right of women to control their own destinies. The battle is over the preservation of the myth that for women, "biology is destiny," or as John Paul II told schoolgirls in Rome, "maternity is women's eternal vocation." These are the premises on which the whole structure of sex discrimination is based. It is getting tougher and tougher to make a face-value defense of the biology-is-des- tiny argument. The abortion issue has provided a convenient end run around the whole matter. If women can be deprived of the right to choose abortion, they will, in many cases lose control over their life's decisions and then. . .Presto! BIOLOGY IS DESTINY! It would be interesting to see what reaction would ensue if the hypothetical situation of embryo preservation were to come to pass. I think that we would soon find that "anti-abortion" does not, by any stretch of the imagination, equal "pro-life." The Independent School Board I'm beginning to think we should drop "Houston" from the title of an HISD schoolboard member and change their name to the Independent School Board. The most recent matter that led me to this suggestion was the appointment of Bobby Peiffer to the HISD School Board, replacing William Harwell, who recently resigned. The selection was made within the minimum legal time and with no community input. When complaints to this effect were made by members of the League of Women Voters and the Hispanic community, who have a special interest in the selection, Ray Morrison, Board President, responded by saying that the selection was an "internal thing" for the board and none of the community's business. An internal thing? Imagine that! This board has become so removed from the rest of us out here that they think that their policies are none of our business any more. This "internal" matter is of particular concern to the community because although the district which Peiffer will represent is 24 percent Mexican-American, they have no representation on the board. Newly appointed Board Member Bobby Peiffer says she can represent the concerns of all parents, whether they are black, white or brown. As a woman I cringe every time that claim is made because I have heard it so often coming from men in public office who have shown their callousness to women's concerns and needs. What I hear in Peiffer's statement is, "I know what's best for you." To dramatize his opposition to the appointment of a woman as an HISD high school principal two years ago, School Board member William Holland noted: "Anybody knows that a man's better at certain jobs than a lady. . .The only thing a woman can beat a man doing is being a woman." And he undoubtedly felt he was adequately representing women. I am sure Bobby Peiffer is quite sincere in her feeling that she can adequately represent all members of the community. However, if she had the sensitivity she claims to have she would realize that people who have been socially segregated must be allowed to speak for themselves if our institutions are ever going to be able to deal effectively with their needs. The resignation of William Harwell offered a perfect opportunity to break a historical tradition of exclusion of Hispanics from the HISD School Board, but the board blew it. A Tribute to a Volunteer Activist / wrote the following which was aired over KTRH radio last October following the awards luncheon sponsored by Houston's Voluntary Action Center (VAC). Joan Hanlon, director of VAC, was, of course, an active participant in the luncheon. I remember looking at her that day as she sat at one of the head tables and feeling a sense of admiration for what she had done with the Voluntary Action Center. Joan's philosophy of volunteer involvement was very much in accord with feminist philosophy and it was with both philosophies in mind that I wrote the commentary. Joan Hanlon died on January 21. (See p. 28) Last week I attended an awards luncheon honoring volunteer activists for their work in the Houston community. Most of the several hundred people there were involved in volunteer work. The majority were women, although there were some men attending. I couldn't help but marvel at the energy in that room. Volunteerism means exactly what it says. People give time to the community in addition to the time they give to their families, jobs and homes. The work is directed toward improving lives, without receiving compensation. That is not to say that there are no rewards for volunteer work. There obviously are, or few people would be involved. Martyrs just aren't that plentiful. No, people get a return on their time in various ways. For some, volunteer work enhances their social lives. For others, it is a chance to do something that is personally meaningful to them. It expresses the idea that there is more to them than what can be paid for, that money does not rule their lives, that motivation also comes from within. For others, volunteer work offers an opportunity to have an impact on the community. Change in the status quo often comes out of volunteer activity because it allows the freedom to speak out without being threatened by loss of income. Finally, volunteer work can provide training for the development of new skills. Volunteer activity gives life and refreshment to a community. It is a badly needed reminder that there is more to human society than the economic system; that industry, creativeness, and social interaction are not always tied to the dollar; that there are people who still think about giving back, rather than just taking from their communities. All in all, volunteerism is the good, free, and giving side of the community. It symbolizes our concern for one another as human beings and the community we share. Buddy, Can You Spare $20,000? Speaking of rape, the "boys" down at city hall seem to be getting a little bit piqued at City Controller Kathy Whitmire publicizing their ravishing of our tax money. This is why they don't want women around. Women have just never learned how to play the game. They don't understand the buddy system, sometimes disparagingly referred to as conflict of interest. The recent flack started when Controller Whitmire held up certification of funds for a $16.9 million contract under which several firms would certify the city's tax roll. Whitmire claimed that some of the work could be done by city employees, thus saving the taxpayers some money. Whitmire was informed by Mayor McConn that saving the city money was no concern of hers. It was not listed in her job description. She was then threatened in a letter from City Attorney Robert Collie stating that if she did not certify the funds, she would be sued by the Mayor's office. It just so happens that Robert Collie's father is a partner in one of the firms, Turner, Collie & Braden, Inc., that was scheduled to receive part of this nice, fat contract. That contract was awarded to Turner, Collie & Braden with no bidding process whatsoever. Next, the Houston City Council with the encouragement of Frank Mann unanimously accepted the second lowest bid for work on the Sims Bayou sewer project. This cost the city an additional $65,000 to get the work done. Jalco, Inc., who submitted the winning bid, was a big campaign contributor to both Mann and McConn. Remembering friends is at the heart of every "good old boy system." Surely Controller Whitmire could understand that. Whitmire once again came under attack with former City Treasurer Henry Kriegel taking the shots. You see, the city government generously pays all its employees, including top executives, for the sick time that they did not use when they terminate their employment. Such a policy of paying for unused sick time is common in private industry as an incentive for lower echelon employees to stay on the job when they are not really sick. But does the city treasurer need such an incentive? Kriegel has already been paid approximately $40,000 for accrued sick time, but he is back demanding another $20,000 or more that he claims the city owes him. Recently citizens elected Kriegel to the job of county treasurer. Maybe we get what we deserve. We still have one ray of hope. Her name is Katherine Whitmire. I would like to believe that she is more indicative of what the citizens of Houston really deserve. February, 1979 Houston Breakthrough