Washington – “In the best Orwellian tradition, the Bush administration is trying to convince us that left is right, up is down, war is peace and that its so-called Commission on Opportunity in Athletics actually cares about women’s equal participation in sports,” said National Organization for Women (NOW) Membership Vice President Terry O’Neill.

George W. Bush has mounted a double-barreled assault on Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the law that requires federally funded schools and colleges to provide equal educational opportunities to girls and women, O’Neill charged, adding, “The recommendations adopted on Jan. 30 by the group appointed to ‘review’ Title IX were not moderate, as some news reports suggested – they were an outright attack on Title IX.”

As the Reagan administration did in the 1980s, the Bush administration is now trying to reverse Title IX’s major progress for women and girls in athletics and education, O’Neill said. “But Bush knows that the vast majority of people in this country – 70 percent of adults familiar with Title IX – want it to be better enforced or left alone, and certainly not weakened, as this commission is trying to do.”

The majority leaders on Bush’s commission, “are being disingenuous about their real goal,” O’Neill said. “They say they’re for Title IX while doing everything they can to demolish it. Then they gag the minority, refusing to allow a minority report to be released. But the voices of the majority of this country will not be silenced. We call on the commission to respect the right of the minority to have its say. What are they so afraid of anyway?”

“We also deplore the unfair process by which the commission desperately tried to project an image of broad and deep support for undermining Title IX,” O’Neill said. “Such support doesn’t exist, and stacking the commission with opponents of equality, who in turn stacked their own hearings with like-minded right-wing idealogues, can’t change the fact that the people of this country want equality for women and girls in sports.”

“The National Organization for Women stands with other women’s rights groups to put the Bush Administration on notice that we won’t go back to the days women and girls were told they couldn’t play sports because it wasn’t ladylike,” O’Neill said. “My twelve-year-old daughter and her friends won’t stand for this and neither will their parents.”