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December 05, 1979 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1979-12-05

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Page 4-Wednesday, December 5, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom

Rational analysis needed to
settle the abortion dispute


Vol. LXXXX, No. 74

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan


Abortion. The very word conjures up a
flurry of emotional activity which renders
rational consideration of the issue virtually
impossible. Yet rational deliberation is
precisely what our society needs to resolve
the long-standing abortion question. In years
past, abortion was comparatively rare and
never discussed; today, however, it prevades
every level of American society: encom-
passing every class, race, and religion. In
1976, the city of Washington, D.C. reported
more abortions than live births. The
prodigious increase in abortions is accom-
panied by the ever-deepening conflict of the
moral and legal implications of the question.
The divisiveness the issue breeds is over-
Far from reaching a resolution, the years of
debate have produced even greater polarity
of the opposing views on abortion. Therein
lies the problem: we have been arguing with
passion instead of reason, emotion instead of
logic. A plethora of unfounded accusations
from those on both sides of the issue has ob-
fuscated the crucial fact that abortion is
nothing more than murder. Ultimately, this
must be the central contention the truth of
which anti-abortionists must prove and
against which pro-abortionists must suc-
cessfully argue.
NEITHER SIDE HAS been true to its
responsibility. It seems both are obsessed
with acquiring the presumed psychological
advantage of advocacy. Fearing to be iden-
tified as the "anti" group, abortion advocates
refer to themselves as "Pro-Choice,"
espousing the "Right to Choice," while anti-
abortionists prefer to be called "Pro-Life"
and the "Right to Life" movement. These at-
tempts, in reality, are little more than
meaningless games of nomenclature.
Still, the prevalence of irrational treatment
of the issue by the pro-choice group goes
largely unnoticed. The periodic undue and
unconstructive emotionalism of the pro-life
movement has been well-documented by pro-
arbortionists; the sensationalized and at
times the irresponsible accusations by pro-
arbortionists, however, have not been
adequately subjected to publicscrutiny.
Viewed apart from these dangerously extrin-
sic claims, the unjustifiable immorality of
abortion can be seen clearly.
The contentions of pro-abortionists have
mired the issue in confusion in three primary
areas: confusing the point at which life
begins, insisting abortion is necessary as a
contraceptive measure, and, finally, warning
against an "imposed morality of the
LIFE BEINGS AT the moment of concep-
tion. Neither an egg nor sperm cell by itself is
human life. But the moment they form a
zygote, human life is present (completely)
and growing toward its potential maturity. To
destroy this life"is murder. "No," pro-
abortionists argue, "it is not murder because
life does not begin at conception. It begins at
birth . . . or it begins in the sixth month of

By John A. Schall
pregnancy, or the third month, or the
eighteenth week, or ..." Pro-abortionists are
simply drawing arbitrary lines.
Even in their arbitrariness, pro-
abortionists argue rather illogically. It would
be understandable to link a definition of life to
the definition of death. Since the state defines
the point of death as the cessation of brain-
wave activity, the state would be consistent in
definiing life as the commencement of brain-
wave activity (usually about the fifth week of
pregnancy). The human heartbeat could be
used in much the same way. But the pro-
choice group rejects even this approach,
choosing instead to draw the line randomly
wherever it will.
Consistent in their absurdity at least, abor-
tionists insist human life is not present during.
pregnancy because the fetus depends on its
mother for survival; removed from the
womb, the fetus will perish. Of course this is

Finally, the pro-choice arguments serve to
obfuscate the entire issue by impassionedly
warning against an "imposed morality of the
minority." We need not be naive: this is
merely a thinly-veiled attack on the Roman
Catholic Church. Flaws plague this reasoning
in many of its aspects. First, it assumes anti-
abortionists are the minority. This is not
nearly as evident as the pro-choice movement
would like to believe. Only once-in 1972-did
every voter in the state of Michigan possess
the opportunity to express his opinion on the
question: In a referendum on that year'sQ
ballot asking whether abortion should be
legal, 61 per cent of the populace said no.
IT IS HERE that the arguments per-
petrated by the abortionists leave the realm
of mere confusion and enter the realm of
outright irresponsibility. It is irrational to ac-
cuse the Cathoic Church of attempting to im-
pose its morality on society. Any serious
Catholic (indeed, any Christian) knows that
"imposed morality" is a contradiction in
terms. Morality is necessarily rooted in free

The contentions of pro-abortionists have mired the
issue in confusion in three primary areas: confusing the
point at which life begins, insisting abortion is necessary
as a contraceptive measure, and, finally, warning against
at.'imposed morality of the minority.'

A ,81ow C1
FIVE MONTHS ago, it was a crisis.
The sense of urgency surroun-
ding the nation's legislative branch af-
ter Jimmy Carter's dramatic energy
speech July 15 gave the impression
that Congress, after months of inac-
tion, was finally ready to confront the
energy catastrophe.
These hopes, shared by both the ad-
ministration and the populace, have
quickly evaporated. One of the
president's main legislative proposals
was the establishment of a windfall
profits tax on the oil industry.
Five months later, the Senate has
still not installed a tax.
When Carter announced his energy
package this summer, many skeptics
predicted a long and difficult battle for
its rpassage in both chambers of
Congress. After all, representatives
from the big oil states and other sup-
porters would provide stiff opposition
to the president's plan. No one expec-
ted an easy ride.
But what was supposed to be .an j
uneasy voyage has now become a
disturbingly slow trip through the
nation's elite in Washington. It has +
developed so, slowly that it's quite +
possible that America may enter the
1980s without this essential part of thel
nation's fight against the energy
Soon after he released the program, E

the president embarked on a public
crusade to force Congress to pass his
energy package. Behind the scenes, his
chief aides courted the influential
members of the Senate and House to
pass the program as soon as possible.
Signs coming from Capitol Hill were
quite encouraging during the early
part of the fall. After some bickering,
the Energy Mobilization Board was.
approved, and though it was watered
down some, the gas rationing plan
finally passed.
But the windfall profits tax has been
a much tougher struggle since the
beginning. Oil industry executives
argued the tax would strain their
ability to explore and develop domestic
sources of oil. On the other side, many
countered that the remarkable profits
made annually by the various oil com-
panies was proof that they could spare
more resources to find their own oil.
Last month, their contention was fur-
ther reinforced when the latest profit
figures came out; the oil companies
are making a bundle.
If America is to ever lessen its
dependence on foreign oil - even more
crucial in the wake of the Iranian and
Libyan crises - Congress will have to
pass the windfall profits tax. More ex-
ploration and development will only be
a start to insuring a mere secure
energy future.

true: denied the nutritional environment
naturally provided by the mother, the child
will surely die. But this in no way denies the
presence of life. A six-month old child will just
as surely perish if isolated from the nutrition
the mothef provides. Will pro-abortionists
deny the existence 'of human life six months-
after birth for this same reason?
SECONDLY, THE pro-choice movement
confuses the abortion question by insisting on
the necessity of abortion as contraception.
Literally speaking, of course, abortion cannot
be a contraceptive measure: conception has
already occurred. Undaunted by this, abor-
tionists contend abortion is necessary to
prevent an "unwanted child." To this it can
only be argued that a waiting period of two
years for a couple to adopt a child in the state
of Michigan is not uncommon. Children are
"wanted" throughout the nation. Pro-
abortionists then retreat, automatically it
seems, into the argument for abortion 'in
cases of rape or incest. In such instances,
perhaps, abortion is justifiable. But such
cases are relatively scarce and cannot
reasonably be used to excuse the millions of
murderous abortions our society witnesses.
In espousing abortion as contraception, the
pro-choice movement inevitably begins to
voice the desirability of preventing the birth
of mentally and physically handicapped
children. The eugenic element in their
thinking here is so frightening it defies ar-

will. Lack of choice is amoral. Speaking doe-
trinally, the Church is the literal "pro-choice"
The notion of "imposed morality" gives bir-
th to accusations which are nothing less than
lies. In an article appearing in The Daily on
October 27, Amy Perrone stated that anti-
abortionists "have called for a constitutional
convention that would make all abortions
legal. (This is sometimes done under- the
guise of calling for a convention to balance
the federal budget.)" Ms. Perrone apparently
never bothered to read the Hyde Amendment
to which she refers. It would permit abortion
in special cases. Moreover, it is ludicrous to
image a covert effort to call a convention to
balance the budget for the purpose of
prohibiting abortion. Ms. Perrone went on to
associate the pro-life movement with certain
acts of violence against abortion clinics. To
imply that that the Right of Life movement in
any way sanctions these acts which are
tantamount to complete disregard for human
life is perhaps the greatest irresponsibility.
Pro-abortionists are guilty of gross distor-
tions of the abortion issue. Anti-abortionists
share in this culpability. We must approach
this question from a forum dominated by
reason rather than emotionalism to recognize
the evil of abortion and eradaicate it. Only
then will we be able to loose the deathly grip
of divisiveness that abortion holds upon our
John A. Schall is an LSA sophomore.

Letters to the Daily'

To the Daily:
What has become of political
ethics in the LSA-SG elections? I
am appalled at the way voters
were accosted Monday evening
at the polls in East Quad by can-
didates trying to drum up voted
for themselves. It seemed as if
some hadn't bothered to cam-
paign until the election commit-
tee began collecting ballots.
Undoubtedly, throwing a can-
didate's name in front of a per-
son's eyes just seconds before he
or she votes is a highly effective
way of tipping an election to one's
advantage. It seems, however,
that this is grosslytunfair to those
who did not have the opportunity
to coerce students to vote for
them. A gentleman who handed
out flyers urging people to "Vote
for David Michel" explained that
"it's better to campaign during
the balloting than after." Can-
didate Beth Lori, after ascer-
taining the fact that I had not
voted yet, handed me a leaflet
and a monologue on why I should
vote for her party.
This type of election cam-
paigning, within perhaps twenty
feet of the polls, is equivalent to
stuffing the ballot box with the
names of certain candidates. Ac-
cording to the two people conduc-
ting the election in East Quad,
"Campaigning is not perhitted
within fifteen feet of the polling
area_" This apparently useless
rule should be altered in future
elections to read, "No cam-
paigning will be permitted on the
day of the election." Such a
regulation is common practice in
most free elections.
Furthermore, I believe that if
the election is a close one, which
is quite possible with forty-one
candidates, and similar unethical
campaigning practices occurred
at other ballot boxes, then the
vote should be taken again.

look beyond his own self-
righteous hipness at the music
and associated phenomena that
are the Dead, perhaps his
opinions would be tempered.
First of all, better music critics
than he actually enjoy the music
produced by the Dead. They have
enjoyed it for over ten years, and
will probably continue to enjoy it
as long as the Dead continue to
play. I have never seen the
Dead's music characterized as
"drippy." I'm not saying that
your opinion of music stinks,
R.J., I'm just saying that in order
to effectively critique music, one
must listen. I think that you are
too busy listening to yourself to
listen to any music.
Secondly, you have charac-
terized Dead Heads as being a
rather burnt out, shiftless lot,
who would rather take LSD than
face their problems. While this
may be true of a certain minority
of Dead fans, it is also true of
many other bands which came
out of the late 1960's. After all,
what is music but a method of
escape? What purpose is there in
blaming the Grateful Dead for
the drug-taking activity of their
loyal fans? To present a more
unbiased view, Dead fans come
from all phases of life. I am
presently a Ph.D. candidate, and
at the concert, I sat with several
lawyers, law students, and
various other well-respected
professionals.- While most of us
have taken drugs on occasion, we
can hardly be characterized as
teeny boppers.
I would suggest that the next
time the Michigan Daily cover
the Grateful Dead that they send
someone along who is not so
biased that he or she can neither
look nor listen objectively to a
band who some, myself included,
consider to be the -1960's greatest
contribution to rock music.
-a nspVasftt

1 transigence of the U.S. gover-
nment in refusing to make a
disposition on the Shah, a known
criminal against the Iranian
people, and the aggressive
posture that it has taken in recent
days, e.g. that retaliatory
measures be taken even if the
safe return of the hostages is
secured, are not in the best in-
terests _of the safety of the
hostages and are a threat to
world peace. 1
It is important for all of us to
understand that Iranians are
legitimately outraged at past
U.S. interference in Iranian af-
fairs, beginning with a CIA spon-
sored coup upsetting a
democratically elected gover-
nment and returning the Shah to
the throne in 1953, and continuing
with backing for his military and
police state until the revolution.
We urge that the government
take up the question of the Shah's
violation of human rights and
work constructively for a
resolution of the conflict, the
question of national honor being
irrelevant as well as hypocritical.
We further urge that the gover-
nment cease its harassment of
Iranian students in the U.S.,
which it has done through an ex-
tremely dubious manipulation of
immigration law..
-The RCAC (Residential
College Action
To the Daily:
This is the first letter to the
Daily that I have written in the
five years I've been a student

here. I suppose it is a sad com-
mentary on myself that the issue
that finally moves me to express
my thoughts is the presence of
cheerleaders at Michigan
basketball games.
I want it to be known that I love
Michigan basketball. Nothing
will ever come close to the ex-
citement of seeing Keith Smith's
no-time-left free-throw beat
Michigan State last year; no, not
even a John Wangler bomb to An-
thony Carter with 6 seconds left.
Even though Michigan will not see
the likes of their '76-'77 team for
some time, we ardent and loyal
fans will still be there screaming
and cheering as John Garris stuf-
fs the hell out of U. Mass., time
and again. Through thick and
thin, lose or win, we will support
our team ; but could someone
please explain to me why those
inane cheerleaders have to be on
the court? It's not that, I don't like
looking -at mildly attractive
women shaking their buttocks
and breats; after all, I have been
known to watch Charlie's Angels
(with the sound off).
I'm not sure what it is that I ob-
ject to about those cheerleaders.
Perhaps, it is because they serve
no damn purpose. We don't need
them to lead us in cheering. We
know when the game is exciting
and when it i§ dull. And during
those time-outs and inter-
missions, the pep band is great.
All I have to say is "M-Go Blue!
Cheerleaders-Go Home!"
-Steve Mendelsohn

Sue Warner............ ..............EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Richard Berke,. Julie Rovner..........MANAGING EDITORS
Michael Arkush, Keith Richburg..... EDITORIAL DIRECTORS
Brian Blanchard ..................UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Judy Rakowsky................ .... . ....CITY EDITOR
Shelley Wolson................... PERSONNEL DIRECTOR
A..,,, FF A'ITR DI ITOfl

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