It may be perfectly legal to pay a doctor to dismember an unborn child, but trying to kill one by taking Tylenol can lead to a murder charge. In California, police arrested a pregnant woman after she drank two-thirds of a bottle of liquid Tylenol with codeine, apparently in an attempt to kill the child in her womb. The charge: suspicion of attempted murder. In California, attempted murder is defined as trying to kill a human being, "or a fetus," with malice aforethought. Police say the 21-year-old woman wanted to abort her child, at 18-weeks gestation, but her parents intervened. The child survived the overdose of Tylenol, apparently unharmed. Elsewhere in California, a judge ruled that a man does not have to provide financial support for his baby because she's not actually his. In 1994, John Buzzanca and his now ex-wife hired a surrogate mother to bear a child for them, using anonymous egg and sperm donations. Mr. Buzzanca argued that he should not have to pay his former wife $386 a month to support the girl. The judge not only agreed, but also ruled that the girl, now two years old, has no legal parents.
William Saturday, the gym teacher accused of molesting a junior-high-school student in suburban Chicago over an 18-month period, pleaded guilty last week to four counts of criminal sexual abuse of a child, one count of child pornography, and one count of official misconduct. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. WORLD reported last month that the molestation was in effect aided by the county health department, which administered several shots of the controversial birth-control drug Depo Provera to the girl, who was 13 at the time. The attorney for "Betty Doe" (not her real name), James Nagle of Wheaton, said the family is relieved that the girl won't have to endure a trial. Betty is back in school now as a high-school sophomore. Meanwhile, an effort in the House to change the rules of the federal Title X funding, to require clinics to notify parents before providing birth control to children, ended last week in failure. The Istook-Manzullo amendment was defeated in a procedural maneuver by liberal Republican John Porter (R-Ill.), 220-201, Republicans providing the margin of defeat. Mr. Porter offered a substitute amendment "encouraging" clinics to notify parents but providing no recourse for clinics that refuse. This is, in effect, the current rule, under which Betty's prolonged molestation occurred. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.), who coauthored the amendment, says the fight isn't over. "This [the Porter wording] is the status quo, and that's the real threat," Rep. Manzullo told WORLD. "When we come back with this, the debate will have to be framed in a way that will show that a vote for the status quo is a vote to protect pedophiles."
Documents spoke louder than denials during testimony last week before the Senate committee investigating campaign-fundraising abuses. And while memory lapses plagued former Democratic National Committee chairman Don Fowler, one of his most vivid certainties was that Vice President Gore did not know "about the fundraising aspects" of a Buddhist temple fundraiser in 1996. The week began with committee Republicans paving a paper trail that traced Mr. Fowler's intervention with the CIA on behalf of a generous DNC donor who had been blackballed at the White House because of his "shady and untrustworthy reputation." Shady or not, oil entrepreneur Roger Tamraz was a trustworthy DNC benefactor, giving a total of $95,000 in 1995. The Washington Post on Sept. 9 reported that DNC finance director Richard Sullivan received a copy of an anti-Tamraz White House memo that led to his being dropped from an official White House guest list. Two days later, he and finance chairman Marvin Rosen met over dinner with Mr. Tamraz and promised to "clear things up." According to CIA records, Mr. Fowler then went to work to secure meetings with the president and vice president for Mr. Tamraz, who needed political support for a Caspian Sea-region oil pipeline he wanted to build. About two weeks after the Tamraz dinner with the finance chiefs, Mr. Fowler called the CIA with questions about the agency's reports on Mr. Tamraz and how they might portray him to White House officials. About that same time, Mr. Fowler successfully tapped Mr. Tamraz for a $75,000 contribution to the Virginia Democratic Party. In December, according to the CIA, Mr. Fowler again contacted the agency, seeking "a letter ... to clear Tamraz's name with the president." Subsequently, Mr. Tamraz was admitted to four White House events, including dinner with the president, during which Mr. Tamraz discussed his pipeline dream. Under oath Sept. 9, Mr. Fowler claimed he had "no memory of any conversations with the CIA." Mr. Fowler's own handwritten notes, turned over to the committee, from a meeting with Mr. Tamraz contained the phrase "go to CIA," but that did not help his memory. Mr. Fowler knew enough to contend that all his work on behalf of DNC donors was "fully appropriate." The next day, DNC general counsel Joseph E. Sandler took the committee hot seat. That morning, The Washington Post dropped another bombshell: that attorneys for Mr. Gore and the DNC have known for at least three months about the "hard money" deposits of money raised by the vice president's White House fundraising calls. News of those deposits prompted Attorney General Janet Reno to take the first step in the appointment of an independent counsel to probe Mr. Gore. ("Hard money," specifically for individual candidates, falls under strict federal regulations; "soft money," specifically for political party-building activities, does not.) The Post story asked: If that information was available to the lawyers and to the Senate committee, why did the Justice Department not know about it? Why did it take a newspaper story to inspire Miss Reno to act? Senators asked Mr. Sandler about documents that showed Mr. Gore himself knew the DNC was spending hard money out of the same political advertising accounts for which he was raising money. Republicans pointed to a February 1996 DNC memo to the White House stamped "the president has seen this" that clearly spelled out the difference between hard (federal) and soft (non-federal) money: "Federal money is the first $20,000 given by an individual ($40,000 from a married couple). Any amount over this $20,000 amount from an individual is considered non-federal." Under oath, Mr. Sandler dispensed with the hard/soft distinction and asserted under oath that Mr. Gore's fundraising efforts were "entirely legal" because the donors were "not in any federal building when the solicitation [was] made." At the White House, officials repeated the line that Mr. Gore "understood the telephone calls ... to be for ... 'soft money.'" Meanwhile, all the talk about hard and soft money has caused Mr. Gore's poll numbers to soften. A USA Today/CNN/ Gallup poll released Sept. 9 found Mr. Gore viewed by 64 percent of respondents as "honest and trustworthy." The survey was done Sept. 6 and 7. A Sept. 10 ABC poll, however, found less than half of respondents, 49 percent, attributing "honesty and integrity" to the vice president. Forty-four percent, according to the ABC poll, now view Mr. Gore as no more honest than President Clinton.
Sexual harassment-of both women and men-is pervasive in the Army. That conclusion, from a special Army panel, came after a nine-month investigation in which the panel visited 59 Army facilities and surveyed 30,000 troops. The bottom line: 62 percent of Army women and 38 percent of Army men said they had been on the receiving end of unwanted sexual attention or coercion. Although conceding that sexual harassment is a widespread problem, Army Secretary Togo West Jr. pointed to the panel's finding that sexual assault is relatively rare (7 percent of Army females said they had been assaulted). On the whole, Mr. West insisted, the Army "is a wholesome and safe place." In an attempt to make it even safer and more wholesome, basic training for recruits henceforth will include "professionally facilitated sensitivity training," plus a focus on "ethics" and "Army values." The panel's report warned that the Army's sexual harrassment problems have created a breach of trust between leaders and troops that could affect battlefield readiness. "Soldiers do not uniformly have trust and confidence in their leaders," the report said.
Known for making waves, flamboyant preacher Al Sharpton remained true to form Sept. 9, shocking Democratic Party officials by forcing their candidate of choice into a primary runoff in the New York City mayor's race. The Democratic establishment expected Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger to win outright. Instead, she won only 39 percent of the vote, to Mr. Sharpton's 32 percent, in a primary with record low turnout. The winner of the Sept. 23 runoff will face incumbent Republican Mayor Rudolph Guiliani in November. In San Francisco, tens of thousands of commuters went nowhere fast, as the Bay Area suffered days of traffic bottlenecks due to a strike by area transit system workers. Meanwhile, the information superhighway will be a bit less crowded. In a complicated, three-way deal, two major cyber companies agreed to take over and carve up one-time industry leader CompuServe. America Online and WorldCom will pay $1.2 billion for CompuServe Corp., owned by H&R Block. AOL, which will inherit CompuServe's 2.5 million subscribers, promised to operate CompuServe as a separate unit and to make no immediate changes in content and services.
Show me the apology
Weekend stories by the AP that broke the news, citing anonymous sources, of Paula Jones's lawyers leaving her case were datelined "Edgarton, Mass.", the same dateline for the wire service's reporting on the president's Martha's Vineyard vacation, which was then just ending. The lawyers, Gil Davis and Joseph Cammarata, were "hellbent on settling" with $700,000 in cash and a lukewarm presidential apology that did not admit any sexual misconduct, Mrs. Jones's aggressive new spokesman Susan Carpenter-McMillan said. Clinton backers spun the meltdown as good news for the president. It may not be: Mrs. Jones's two lawyers weren't the only ones quitting the case; Mr. Clinton's two insurers-who've paid $1.5 million in legal fees thus far-are now backing out. The insurers got out of the case because of an Aug. 22 ruling by federal judge Susan Weber Wright that dismissed Mrs. Jones's defamation claim, against which Mr. Clinton was insured. He is not covered for sexual-harassment claims. With Mr. Davis, Mr. Cammarata, and State Farm now out of the picture, the door is almost certainly closed to a money settlement. State Farm could pay the reported $700,000 settlement offer; Mr. Clinton's legal defense fund is virtually depleted. But the issue for Mrs. Jones, says Mrs. Carpenter-McMillan, is a forthright apology, not money. (In fact, with the defamation claim tossed out, the most she could win at trial is $525,000. The last settlement offer was for $175,000 more than Mrs. Jones's best-case trial scenario.) The snag, said Mrs. Carpenter-McMillan, was the president's "vanilla language" statement of regret about the alleged incident, "which can be spun any way they want." Trial is still slated for May 27.
All's Weld that ends Weld
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Jesse Helms faced down a mini-rebellion within the GOP and showed that he will not give in to demands from Republican Sen. Richard Lugar and Democrat Joseph Biden that he consider liberal former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld for the post of U.S. ambassador to Mexico. As chairman, Mr. Helms has refused to act on Mr. Weld's nomination. Mr. Lugar, Mr. Biden, and two other members of Mr. Helms's committee sent a letter demanding a special meeting Sept. 12, which Mr. Helms was obliged to grant. But since the chairman sets the agenda for all committee meetings, Mr. Helms kept Mr. Weld's nomination off-limits. Instead, he used the meeting to point out that 154 nominations sent to the Senate during the past decade were returned to the president without hearings. Forty-four nominations were quashed by Mr. Biden when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee; also on his list was the name of one nominee kept bottled up in the agriculture committee chaired by Mr. Lugar.
Love your children
Confirming the obvious, the largest study ever of American adolescents found that the more a teenager feels loved by his or her parents, the less likely the teen is to attempt suicide, do drugs, commit violence, or become sexually active at an early age. The study, involving more than 12,000 seventh- through 12th-graders, and their parents, also found a lower incidence of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use among teens who have at least one parent at home during "key times" of the day-such as before and after school, and at dinner and bedtime. Parental expectations also are important. Researchers, who reported their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, discovered that if parents expect their child to get good grades and refrain from sex, those expectations continue to influence the child's behavior powerfully all through high school, regardless of race, single- or dual-parent status, or family income. Said researcher Michael Resnick, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota: "Adolescents are often very effective at convincing us [parents] that what we say is irrelevant to their lives; the mistake we make as adults is that ... we believe it." Another survey, this one focusing on drug use, reported that more than 40 percent of public high school students have witnessed drug deals at school. The survey, done for the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, also found that many teachers have a permissive attitude toward marijuana use among teens and adolescents-as long as the students are lighting up on weekends and off school grounds. Fifty-one percent of high-school teachers and 41 percent of middle-school teachers believe students can toke on the weekends if they want to without affecting their grades.