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November 04, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-11-04

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0

OPINION
Friday, November 4, 1988

,*-

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

EieanensaUdenlg
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Health school opposes 'A'

Vol. IC, No. 42

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Nuclear weapons plants are harming the people around them;
Toughen regulations

LAST MONTH, THE Department of
Energy admitted that the government
was aware of industrial accidents and
safety violations at many of the na-
tion's nuclear weapons plants. These
plants, which are owned by the
government, are run by private
companies with very little govern-
mental oversight. These plants are not
regulated by the same standards that
apply to nuclear power plants within
the private sector and generally escape
even minimal government scrutiny. By
allowing these weakened standards, the
government's skewed priorities have
victimized its own citizens and the
environment.
The government's emphasis on
production rather than health or safety
can be seen in the biannual evaluations
of the plants. Only 10 percent of the
evaluation encompasses a plant's level
of environmental contamination, health
standards, or the overall safety of the
weapons plant. Up to 50 percent of the
evaluation depends upon the plant's
ability to meet production goals. It is
possible to attain a rating of "excellent"
with an abysmal environmental and
safety record.
Plants that receive a rating of
"excellent" receive monetary rewards
from the Department of Energy. This
system rewards high production levels
while it devalues the importance of
health and safety standards.
This state of affairs directly contra-
dicts with what Marlin Fitzwater, the
President's spokesperson, stated in re-
gards to the government's nuclear
weapons plants. Fitzwater asserted that
"safety is the first consideration when it
comes to operating these [nuclear
weapons] plants; production is the sec-
.ond priority." This is clearly not the
case, as actions refute the words the
government has spoken.
Three of these nuclear weapons
plants have been closed down since
August. The Savannah River plant in
South Carolina and the Rocky Flats
Plant in Colorado were closed due to
technical and safety problems. Inspired
by mounting public concern, the work-
ers of the Feed Materials Production
Center in Ohio went on strike for better
safety conditions, as well as wages.
They succeeded in shutting the plant
down.

The government let the situation de-
teriorate until people's lives were in
danger, instead of taking the proper
safety precautions. This was a direct
result of the government's policy of
rewarding production instead of safety;
yet, the government has chosen to deny
culpability.
In 1986 an environmental group suc-
cessfully obtained 19,000 pages of
government documentation of ra-
dioactive emissions from past and pre-
sent nuclear weapons plants. These
documents revealed that plant managers
and government officials permitted
poor health and safety conditions to
continue because they believed the na-
tion's security was more important than
the public health hazard the plants cre-
ated. For some reason, the notion that
continued production and safety could
go hand in hand escaped government
officials.
The federal government has consis-
tently denied the fact that the health of
people working at or living near
weapons plants has been negatively
affected by radiation or poor safety
standards.
According to B.J. Cooper, a White
House spokesperson, problems with
leaking nuclear weapons plants are not
seen as a "policy" issue, but rather a
"management" issue to be handled by
the Energy Department. By belittling
the issue and its importance, the White
House is trying to deny responsibility.
While the Reagan administration takes
credit for the heroic rebuilding of the
nation's defenses, it refuses to
acknowledge its responsibility to deal
with problems that were created when
the power plants increased production.
C. Anson Franklin, chief spokes-
person for the Energy Department said,
"We have known that this was a public
crisis waiting to happen...[and we]
could see there was going to be a day
we had to face up to conditions in the
weapons complex."
The government can no longer deny
its responsibility to deal effectively and
swiftly with the health and safety
problems it has created and ignored.
Perhaps one day the government will
take preventative measures instead of
relying ' on its ability to hide the
mistakes it has made. -

By The Public Health Student
Association Executive
Committee
The Public Health Student Association
of the University of Michigan joins the
Michigan Public Health Association in
opposition to Proposal A. This proposal,
which advocates the elimination ofmedi-
caid funded abortions, controls the avail-
ability of vital medical resources on the
basis of ability to pay. We believe that
this is unacceptable for a society in which
75% of the population favors universal
access to health care.
The emotion surrounding abortion often
obscures the issue. We, as officers of the
Public Health Student Association, do not
purport to speak for every student in the
School of Public Health. We do, how-
ever, feel justified in our strong stance in
opposition to Proposal A. A referendum
held in the School of Public Health two
weeks ago resulted in a three to one
margin of support for the People's Cam-
paign for Choice (the organization which
represents opposition to A). This support
will be demonstrated by a monetary contri-
The members of PHSA's executive
committee are: Gayle Haberman, Carolyn
Paden, Genevieve Stewart, Luis Vazquez.

bution to PCC and with the appearance of
our name in an advertisement in the Ann
Arbor News.
As health care professionals, we are
concerned about low-income women
obtaining abortions later in their preg-
nancies because they will need to spend
several months gathering funds for costly
abortions in private clinics. Risk of
complications increases for women who
delay an abortion until the second tri-
mester of pregnancy. We worry about the
health of the approximately 5000 women
who will be forced to give birth to
unwanted children in the event that Pro-
posal A passes. Statistics show that econ-
omic hardship increases the health risks
faced by unwanted children of low-income
women.
The fact is that abortion is legal in the
United States. Therefore, it is a medical
service which must be available to all
women, regardless of their economic
status. Proposal A will not be the end of
assaults on the right of women to obtain
abortions. The next step will involve
attempted abortion bans in health insur-
ance plans for state and local employees.
Then private insurance plans will come
under attack. It is all too easy to ignore
the needs of low-income women by not
voting or by voting yes on Proposal A.

By the time the anti-choice organizers
begin to deny abortions to middle-income,
women, it may be too late to protest. Vie
must recognize the strategy of those wh
support Proposal A. They won't stop until'
their objective has been achieved, until
safe, legal abortion is no longer an option
for anyone.
We criticize proponentshofProposal A
for their hypocrisy. We have noted Ad
attempts on the part of the Committee tO
End Tax-Funded Abortions and various s -
called "pro-life" groups to increase the
availability of birth control or prenat'ai
care. Neither do we see proposals which
advocate day care for working women. We
do not hear these groups call for increased
spending for education, which would ins
crease the standard of living of low-income
people. In fact, limiting access to health
care, as advocated by Proposal A, would
have an extremely negative impact on the
health of low-income people.
The 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision by the
U.S. Supreme Court guarantees women
the right to choose abortion as an
alternative to pregnancy. If Proposal 'A
passes, that right would be denied to lo'-
income women because of their inability,
to pay. Therefore, a commitment to uni-
versal access to health care dictates a NA
vote on Proposal A.

L

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..Letters to the editor

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'SPA'
wants
salary, too
To the Daily:
As members of the Student
Policy Advisory Committee
(SPAC-The School of Natural
Resources' Student Govern-
ment), we are greatly interested
in Mike Phillips' $1000 per
semester salary proposal for all
officers of MSA (Daily,
10/28/88). We would just like
to say that we voted last night,
and all SPAC members present
agreed that we, too, would like
$1000 per semester. All of us
at last night's meeting hold
jobs. This time commitment
greatly limits the amount of
time we can devote to repre-
senting our student body. Not
only would $1000 per semester
allow us to quit our jobs and
work toward better representa-
tion of the School, but it
would also give us more time
to hug trees (thus gaining that
all-so-important work experi-
ence without working).
We realize that Phillips may
feel that only assemblies
(MSA) are entitled to a salary,
so we agreed that since there is
already an "A" in "SPAC," we
would become "SPA" (chang-
ing "advisory" to "assembly").
"SPA" sounds much more
natural resourcey than
"SPAC," anyway.
When you write our check
for this term, you will need to
know how many members need
checks. Well, every student in
the School is automatically a
member and the role of presi-
dent is rotated each week. That
means every student in the
School is president. We sug-
gest you contact Dean Harrison
Morton for the exact student
enrollment number.
Thank you again, Mike, for
this, perhaps your best pro-
posal so far. You have the en-
tire SNR (that's slang for
School of Natural Resources)
behind you. After all, how can
we all remain president if we
hold other jobs?
-SPA
(formally SPAC)
Jim Bull, President
Mike Faricy, President
Kate Jensen, President
Joan Klassen, President
Sandra Madison, Presi-
dent

the Middle East comes from
those who advocate cutting ties
with America's most reliable
ally, Israel. Such people do
not understand the strategic
importance a true ally in the
Middle East holds for the
United States.
America's prestige is fre-
quently undermined by its con-
fidence in the stability and
reliability of Arab govern-
ments. Iran's holding of
American hostages following
the Iranian revolution was ex-
tremely humiliating. Kuwait's
threat to invite the Soviet
Union to oversee commerce
through the Persian Gulf if the
U.S. refused to protect Kuwaiti
ships, was nothing less than
hostile blackmail. The refusal
of "moderate" Arab states (such
as Saudi Arabia) to grant the
U.S. landing rights at their air
bases while the U.S. was en-
suring the unimpeded passage
of the Arabs' oil through the
Gulf, and the Iraqi attack on the
U.S.S. Stark, further illustrate
the precarious nature of diplo-
macy with Arab autocracies,
many of which are ruled by fa-
natical dictators. Unlike the
Arab states, however, Israel has
never refused American requests
for assistance, or acted to in-
creasesthe difficulty of crucial
American objectives.
The main reason the U.S.
maintains strong ties with Is-
rael, however, is because as
long as Israel is strong, Amer-
ica does not need to become
militarily involved in opposing
Soviet, or Chinese-backed ex-
pansionism in the Middle East.
Every Israeli man and woman
must serve three years in active
military service, followed by
thirty to forty-five days in the
reserves, annually, until the
age of fifty-five. American
economic and military aid to
Israel is not given so that Is-
raelis are released from the re-
sponsibility of defending their
country, it is given so that Is-
rael can defend itself from hos-
tile Arab nations, and in doing
so, protect American interests.
As Frank C. Carlucci, the
American Secretary of Defense
recently wrote, "The origins of
our alliances are strategic--not
philanthropic. We do not
maintain alliances as a favor to
our allies--we do so because it
is in our interest" (Defense '88,
July/August, 1988).
-William R. Horwitz
October 2
Headline

diag were specifically speaking
against Proposal A and speak-
ing for women's rights to tax-
funded Medicaid abortions.
The wording of this proposal
is awkward which creates con-
fusion for voters. It is the
media's responsibility to in-
form the public of the facts,
not perpetuate this confusion.
After making such a grave
mistake that affects the deci-
sions of many voters, the
Daily has a responsibility to
re-inform the public with the
correct information. The cor-
rection that ran the following
Monday was difficult to find
even when specifically searched
for. Readers of newspapers
notice headlines, not small
corrections hidden within a
newspaper. Furthermore, the
lasting impression of an article
is the headline, not a minor
correction run three days later.
I am personally offended at
your meager attempt to remedy
this careless and harmful error.
-Judy Greene
November 3
Don't label
Federalists
To the Daily:
The level of left-wing igno-
rance and intolerance on this
campus never ceases to astound
me.
In a recent letter to the
Daily, Julie Stein whined
about the University's "host-
ing" this year's Federalist
Society National Symposium..
She hurled numerous epithets
at the Federalists, calling us
"ultra, ultra-conservatives,"
"apologists for racism," "right-
wing demagogues," and
"Reagan-Bush-Noriega pup-
pets." She said that the whole
situation made her "damn
sick."
First, neither the University
nor the Law School had any

role in bringing the Federalist
Convention to campus. It laas
been organized solely by laW
students.
Second, your characteristics
are laughable. The Federalist
Society is an organization of
conservative law students
whose goal is not the
composition of a political add
legal agenda on the student
body, but the promotion of
open forums and debates on
salient issues in the legal
world. Our aim is not the sti-
fling of diversity, but the very
opposite: In a law school
where the overwhelming ma-
jority of students consider
themselves "liberal" or "verI
liberal," the presentation :Q1
conservative ideas advances tl
goal of diversity.
Past Federalist speakers haye
included not only conservatives
like Justice Scalia, Judge Bork,
and Ed Meese, but also un-
abashed liberals like Abner
Mikva, Alan Dershowitz, Nat
Hentoff, and Laurence Tribe. Ir)
the past year, the Michigan
Federalists have sponsored dis
cussions featuring Frederick
Schauer (a non-conservative,
Robert Sedler (an ACLU
member), and Sallyanne Pay
ton, who is not only a non
conservative, but also - are
you sitting down, Ms. Stein?
- a woman of color.
-Todd Ehlman
October 26
The Daily welcome;
letters from its readers.
Bringing in letters on Ap-
ple Macintosh disk is the
fastest way to publish a
letter in the Daily. Readers
should include their name
and phone number for
verification. Questions call
the opinion page editors or
staff at 747-2815.
FI

A~

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