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NATIONAL POLITICS & POLICY | Terry O'Neill Elected New NOW President

NATIONAL POLITICS & POLICY | Terry O'Neill Elected New NOW President
[June 22, 2009]

The National Organization for Women on Saturday during its annual conference elected Terry O'Neill as the group's new president, the Indianapolis Star reports. O'Neill succeeds Kim Gandy, who has served two four-year terms as NOW president. The group has grown to include about 500,000 advocate members since its founding in 1966.

During the conference, participants discussed a number of women's rights issues, including same-sex marriage, equal pay and health insurance affordability. O'Neill raised the issue of "conscience" clauses, which allow health care workers to refuse to provide information or services on moral or religious grounds. O'Neill said, "Conscience clauses, where pharmacists refuse birth control sales because it's against their conscience, must go. Guess what? Women have a constitutional right to birth control," adding, "There is no constitutional right to be a pharmacist" (Jacobs, Indianapolis Star, 6/21).

O'Neill served as NOW's vice president for membership from 2001 to 2005. She most recently served as chief of staff for a county council member in Montgomery County, Md. O'Neill in a prepared statement said that she is "honored and eager" to lead NOW (AP/Google.com, 6/21).