Hillary and the Clitoridectomy hoax
9/18/2002 12:00:00 AM - Michelle Malkin
Being a feminist means never having to say you're sorry. Witness
The Great Clitoridectomy Hoax -- brought to you by the unapologetic,
estrogen-fueled brigade of Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts and Hillary
In 1997, a West African woman calling herself "Adelaide
Abankwah" entered the U.S. illegally. She was a perfect, politically correct
poster child for the American feminist cause. Too perfect.
"Abankwah" landed on our shores from Ghana. She told immigration
authorities at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City that
she was the daughter of the dead "Queen Mother" of a Ghanaian tribe, the
"Nkumssa," which allegedly practiced female genital mutilation. The young
"Princess Abankwah" said she feared she would be involuntarily subjected to
a cutting ritual, known as a clitoridectomy, if tribal members discovered
she had engaged in premarital sex.
"If the elders find out I am not a virgin, they will never
forgive me and they will cut my clitoris," "Abankwah" told The New York
When the Immigration and Naturalization Service challenged
"Abankwah's" story and detained her, women's groups, churches and Marie
Claire magazine rallied to the alleged princess' side. Steinem, Roberts, New
York Democrats Charles Schumer and Carolyn Maloney, and then-first lady
Hillary Clinton soon joined the campaign to "Free Adelaide" -- and to open
the floodgates to every illegal alien claiming fear of female genital
A lower federal court rejected "Abankwah's" asylum claim, saying
her personal fear did not constitute societal persecution. But the 2nd
Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan reversed the ruling in the summer of
1999 and set the "queen" free.
At a triumphal press conference, Steinem lambasted "Abankwah's"
doubters and praised her new cause celebre as a "wonderful woman who we
should be grateful to have as a citizen." But INS investigators had gathered
overwhelming evidence that this royal highness was a royal joker. "Adelaide
Abankwah" was actually Regina Norman Danson, a Ghanaian hotel worker whom
the INS concluded had stolen the real Abankwah's identity and cooked up her
persecution story to increase her chances of gaining asylum.
According to sworn INS affidavits and evidence, Danson's mother
was alive and well when Danson made her asylum claim; she and her mom had
never been members of the Nkumssa tribe; and there was no tradition of
female genital mutilation in the region where Danson had lived and worked in
Ghana. Although The Washington Post exposed the hoax in 2000 and Danson
admitted falsifying her identity, no effort was made to deport Danson or
charge her with fraud -- reportedly because of pressure from Hillary
Clinton, who "was very helpful" to Danson's cause, according to the bogus
royal's feminist cheerleaders.
The Danson case languished until last week, when federal
prosecutors filed fraud charges against her in the last days before the
statute of limitations expired. Her lawyer, Kenneth Montgomery, told me that
Danson will fight the charges and that she stands by her unbelievable story.
Yet, Montgomery himself was not sure whether Danson's mother was dead or
alive -- and he declined to say whether he knew if Danson was ever a member
of the Nkumssa tribe.
Montgomery argues that even if Danson wasn't a member of the
razor-wielding Nkumssa tribe, "it would not be dispositive" (that's lawyer
talk for "Who cares about the facts?"). Meanwhile, the feminist groups who
championed Danson have now disappeared. A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton
would only comment that it would be "upsetting" if the fraud charges stand.
According to the real Adelaide Abankwah's lawyer, I. Jay
Fredman, whom I interviewed in my book, "Invasion: How America Still
Welcomes Terrorists, Criminals, and Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores":
"Danson ruined my client's life, embarrassed her family, and ruined the
credibility of all bona fide asylum seekers. Everybody -- Hillary Clinton,
Gloria Steinem, Chuck Schumer -- got sucked in. They saw a good story and it
didn't matter whether it was true."
Female truth mutilation is, of course, nothing new. The outrage
is that we continue to allow our asylum policies to be exploited by liars,
cheats, terrorists and political opportunists at the expense of the truly