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February 06, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-06

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OPINION
Monday, February 6, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Daily

Challeng

By Camille Colatosti
This is the second in a two part series.
Unlike feminists of the early twentieth
century, activists of the second wave of
the U.S. women's movement did not
hesitate to support the legalization of
abortion, but they did unfortunately, per-
petuate some of the racist strategies of the
movement's predecessors. Even at their
strongest, feminists did not correlate the
demand for legal abortions with the de-

mand to end sterilization abuse. Though
many doctors still hesitate to administer
abortions to white middle and upper-mid-
dle class women, they frequently engage in
the sterilization of poor women, especially
of Puerto Rican and Native American
women.
In the 1970s, the percentage of
sterilizations performed by U.S. hospitals
increased threefold, while the growth in
abortion services occurred not in hospitals
but primarily in abortion clinics. Today
less than half of all obstetricians and gy-
necologists perform abortions; and only
eighty per cent of public hospitals, and
sixty per cent of private hospitals
administer abortions (Petchesky 157).
While medicaid funding for abortions is
denied poor women, sterilizations of these
women increase. Routine in teaching hos-
pitals are so-called "elective hysterec-
tomies" on poor, minority women. Such
hospitals frequently require that abortion
be performed only on consent of steriliza-
tion (the "package plan"). Sterilization
patients often are not informed fully about
the release forms they are made to sign;
many women do not understand the irre-
versibility of the operation.
I do not mean to suggest that the con-
nections between sexual and population
control policies stem solely from the
racism of a few feminists. Rather, these
contradictions are inherent to the institu-
tions of a patriarchal society, and have not
yet been analyzed sufficiently by the dom-
Camille Colatosti is a doctoral candidate
in English and a member of Solidarity

inant feminist organizations in the U.S.,
including the National Organization for
Women (NOW). Planned Parenthood, for
example, an institution promoting safe,
inexpensive abortion and health care ser-
vices in this country, engages in abusive
sterilization practices in the third world;
the International Planned Parenthood Fed-
eration is largely responsible for the dis-
tribution of Depo-Provera, a dangerous
drug that keeps women sterile for six
months, and that was banned in the U.S.
in 1978 because it was linked to breast
cancer in dogs and endometrial cancer in
monkeys. Foreign aid to third world
countries frequently depends on their par-
ticipation in "family planning programs"
that require the use of Depo-Provera and
forced sterilization.
U.S. concern about overpopulation is
not a benevolent one.
Reproductive rights activists must re-
member that it is not abortion that is the
disturbing idea - it is feminism. In the
late 1970s, not long after the Row v.
Wade decision, sexual control again arose
as a more pressing domestic policy than
population control. The strength of the
women's movement forced social changes
that threatened male domination. Though
the victory of Roe v. Wade had significant
feminist consequences, the motivation be-
hind the Supreme Court decision was not
a feminist one. The Roe v. Wade decision
came as a response to the militancy of the
feminist movement, and not as a result of
the feminist or liberationist beliefs and
practices of Supreme Court judges.
Even before Roe v. Wade, abortion was
a safe practice in communities with strong
women's structures. In the 1960s, the
Chicago Women's Liberation union, for
example, originated a number of clinics,
named Jane, where paramedic volunteers
provided safe and inexpensive abortions,
charging women only fifty dollars for the
procedure and never turning away a woman
who could not pay. Likewise, abortion and
birth control were prevalent in the U.S.
during the 1940s, when the nation was at
war and women had power in the society
at home.
The media often give the Supreme
Court more credit for the women's move-
ment, and for the Civil Rights movement,
than the activists involved in the day-to-
day struggles. But the Supreme Court le-
galization of abortion was not the final
feminist victory; in many ways it was
simply one of several gains feminists
fought for and women need before we will
achieve equality in this society.

res to
Women must once again organize -
organize for the sake of organizing, even if
we do not immediately win concessions
- in order for us to unify and build alter-
native institutions, such as women's
health clinics and cooperative child care
facilities. We must realize that reproduc-
tive rights include access to safe, free
abortions as well as the end of sterilization
abuse. We need to detangle the ideology of
population control from that of sexual
control and birth control.

feminism

The issue of abortion is in itself not
nearly so significant as the issue of who
controls the social relations involved in
abortion, that is, who determines when,
where and how women get abortions, who
performs the procedure, and, finally, who
profits from it.
Abortion is a social and political issue,
not a moral one. The battle over who
controls the abortion decision is a fight
over who controls women.
Yet the issue is not only abortion. It is

feminism. In the 1970s, abortion became
a symbol of the liberated woman, a
woman more concerned with her education
and career than with marriage and
childrearing, a woman deliberately and
loudly pronouncing her feminism. Today,
women must fight the media images
telling us that we live in a postfeminist
age. Women, still earning 63 percent of
what men earn, must fight as feminists
and activists in this society if we are ever
to gain control over our lives.

Questionable motives

By Jeff Gearhart and Mark
Weinstein
Earth First! (EF!), a direct-action envi-
ronmental group, has been active and suc-
cessful in attempting to halt the environ-
mental destruction which is being waged
by civilization and in challenging the
bureaucratization of traditional environ-
mental groups. However, the words of
certain EF! dignitaries, such as Dave
Foreman, former editor of EF! Journal,
have led many to question the motives
behind their actions.
For example, Foreman's comments re-
garding the so-called "overpopulation
problem" often sound more like the ideas
of racist, imperialistic social planners like
Garret Hardin than a radical
environmentalist. According to Foreman
the solution to the overpopulation and
poverty in Ethiopia and Latin America is
to let nature take its course. "...[T]he best
thing would be to just let nature seek its
own balance, to let the people there just
starve...and likewise, letting the USA be
an overflow valve for the problems of
Latin America is not solving a thing. Its
just putting more pressure on the re-
sources that we have in the USA...and it
isn't helping the problem in Latin Amer-
ica."
Foreman further elaborates his grand
plan by conceding that turned away immi-
grants would have to go back to
Jeff Gearhart is a graduate student in the
school of Natural Resources. Mark Wein-
stein isan activist for gay rights.

"...unfortunate and, in some cases, bloody
fates..." but that is OK because this would
help build the "...anger and the rage..."
necessary for change in Latin America.
While some EF!ers have defended Foreman
as a seeker and guardian of the truth many
people both within and outside of the
movement have challenged the racism in
Foreman's ideas.
Not only is closing off the borders
unrealistic, it implies an alliance with the
rich, white power brokers of this country
who are largely responsible for the condi-
tions in Latin America today. The
"unfortunate" fates that Foreman is refer-
ring to are none less then U.S. financed
death squad murders. The ideas Foreman is
advocating play well with racist hysteria
of those in the Southwest who seek to
protect their wealth and status.
Foreman has repeatedly advocated the
same human genocide which industrialism
has been carrying out for hundreds of years
as solutions to the ecological and social
problems which face the world. They have
tended to simplify these problems to one
main cause, overpopulation, with one
main solution, a mass die off of up to 80
percentof the human population. While it
is true that population pressures have had
significant effects in many parts of the
world, it is more of a symptom than a
cause. However, most of the problems
that are blamed on overpopulation -
poverty, environmental destruction, etc.-
have their root causes in the denial of
women's right to control their bodies, un-
just and unsustainable land distribution,
and authoritarian political structures.
The most shocking expression of these
ideas was an anonymous article which ap-

peared in the March, 1987 edition of the
Earth First! Journal which discussed the
merits of the AIDS virus. According to
the article ."...the AIDS epidemic, rather
than being a scourge, is a welcome devel-
opment in the inevitable reduction of hu-
man population..." While it's probable
that Jerry Falwefl did not write this article,
it would certainly sit well with the funda-
mentalists in this country.
Yet, people within E! are increasingly
challenging the centralization and the ideas
which Foreman represents. According to
Mikal Jakubal of the Washington EF! "As
EF! has evolved over the last 9 years a
split personality has emerged whose two
faces are best described by their dominant
characteristics - one centralized, the other
federative." The centralized tendency pri-
marily includes the EF! Journal and those
around it, including Foreman. Jakubal
points out that the movement has not
stood idle in the face of Foreman's com-
ments and that there is a "...growing an-
tagonism towards the activities of the
centralized EF!..." including a
"considerable radicalization" of people in
the grassroots movement.
Jakubal's comments from within EF! are a
welcome contribution to a deep critique of
Dave Foreman's politics. According to
Jakubal, "Much change for the better, is
happening. Soon EF! will likely be
unrecognizable from what it was just a
few years ago, if it isn't already so.
Movements, as the name implies, move
- and those who fail to keep up must in-
evitably be left behind."
Foreman and David Brower, founder of
Earth Island Institute will speak tonight at
7:00 PM at the Rackham Auditorium.

0

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. IC, No. 90 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.

Keep

landlords

out

A PROPOSED NEW privacy ordinance
for city tenants, including students, will
be reviewed this month by Ann
Arbor's City Council. The ordinance
offers valuable and necessary new
protections for tenants at risk of having
their rights abused by landlords.
In most rental situations landlords
hold all the cards. When tenants are
unfamiliar with their rights or landlords
choose to violate them, it is the tenant
who stands to lose. Repeated instances
of privacy violations which include
sexual harassment and threats have un-
derscored the need for such a law.
People need to be safe in their own
homes, and when that safety is threat-
erled they need legal recourse.
Currently, landlords are required to
give "reasonable" notice before entering
an apartment or sending a repairperson.
Landlords too often interpret this to
mean that knocking before entering an
apartment is sufficient notice. Tenants
deserve better. When landlords com-
plain about increased beauracracy, they
need to reconsider the nature of their
business. Respecting someone's right
to privacy at home is not an imposition
on landlords; it is essential protection
for tenants.

aware of the threats they face. Some
leases include clauses which in them-
selves are violations of privacy, and
and tenants need a formal legal escape
route.
Inexperienced renters - often stu-
dents - are especially at risk. Land-
lords' power over their tenants is often
accepted as inherent to the renting
situation, and landlords have no incen-
tive to correct this misperception. On
the contrary, many landlords see the
financial value of tenants who don't
understand the law, and choose to ig-
nore their obligation to encourage in-
formed tenants.
The opposition is formidable. Land-
lords carry weight beyond their own
financial strength. They tend to have
links to the construction industry and,
therefore, influence the health of the
local economy. They often use this in-
fluence to introduce scare tactics
against legislation that infringes on
their "territory."
In the case of protecting renter pri-
vacy, these threats are unfounded. The
law will not create any sort of hardship
for landlords who respect tenants
rights. But the City Council will need
to be .persuadeI that such a law has
enough public support to justify an-

By Lisa Russ and Christine
Fulton
Does your landlord have the right to en-
ter your apartment without notice? Many
tenants accept a landlord's entrance as an
ordinary aspect of life in rental housing,
and current law is unclear about what a
landlord can do. Common occurrences in-
clude landlords walking in to do repairs or
at odd hours for no apparent reason and
cases of verbal and sexual harassment.
Privacy invasions from landlords occur
while the tenants are showering or sleep-
ing, or when they are not home. Some
landlords include this "right"-to entry in
their leases.
A privacy invasion places you in an ex-
tremely vulnerable position. Having a
landlord walk into your apartment while
you are in the shower is obviously
disconcerting, and the knowledge that this,
or worse, can happen is frightening. Often
landlords do not respect the basic rights of
tenants. Landlords enter the agreement
with an advantage: it is at theirdiscretion
to make repairs or improvements, and they
have a key to your home. Many times this
last factor - the key - is used by land-
lords astanother way to assert power, or to
blatantly disregard the rights of tenants.
Landlords have the power to enter at any
time and can use this power to intimidate
or harass tenants and make them feel as if
the right to their apartment is based on the
landlord's whim. Because landlords so of-
ten make tenants feel powerless, tenants
are afraid to protest if repairs go undone,
or conditions of the lease are not met.
Landlords may enter unannounced because
it is their house and they want you to
remember that. You are living there by
their good graces, and at great expense and
heart-ache to them. They remind you,
through invading your home and with
threats of eviction, just how dependent
you are, and how your "cooperation" is
integral to insuring your continued

tenants
lords use these invasions to make you feel
powerless and dependent; you need to have
a way to respond.
Currently the City-produced housing
booklet, "Tenants Rights- and
Responsibilities," says that landlords need
to provide tenants with "reasonable notice"
before entering their apartment.
"Reasonable" is never defined, however,
and there is no recourse for the tenant in
case his or her privacy is invaded. Under
current law, a tenant who is suffering even
severe privacy violations does not have the
explicit right to break his or her lease.
A coalition of housing groups and
women's organizations have written a
Privacv Ordinance which takes imnortant

a. at.',y p n ua'x'i w"' "'N privacy.
steps toward insuring your right to pri- Landlords claim that privacyinvasions
vacy. We feel it is important to empower are not a problem, but tenants know that
tenants to assert their right to privacy in it is a sros u TePacy Ordi-
their homes. The Privacy Ordinance it is a serious issue. The Privacy Ordi-
written so that tenants would have clearly nance will be read by City Council on
defnedrihts an epliit ousesofac- February 23. A public hearing will likely
defined rights, and explicit courses ofac follow at which people can speak or pre-
tion if their right to privacy is violated.
How the Privacy Ordinance sent informal written testimonies. We en-
works: courage you to write letters to your coun-
" Landlords are required to give tenants cil-members. If you are interested in help-
three days written notice and to get tenant ing out, or would like more information
permission before they or a repairperson or advice on a privacy problem, call us:
comes in to make repairs, except in the Tenants Union 763-6876, or Sexual
come into mke epais, xcep inthe Assault Prevention and Awareness Center
case of an emergency. Also, a landlord and 763-5865.
tenant can agree to a notice period of less Please clip this out and send it to your
feresthan withree dayswtenant's comforto city council members. You can find out
fere wih te teants cmfor. wichward you are in by calling the City
- Tenants have the right to require iden- Clerk 994-2725.
tification of any person seeking to enter Ward 1: Larry Hunter 801 Barton
their home and deny entry to persons Drive; Ann Marie Coleman 16-1
without proper identification. Pontiac
- Landlords and repair people must re- Ward 2: Ingrid Sheldon 1416
spect tenants' personal possessions. The Folkstone Ct.; Terry Martin 1565
landlord or repairperson does not have the Roxbury
right to look through tenants' drawers or Ward 3: Liz Brater 1507 Wells; Jett
cabinets and should only be in the area(s) Epton 1501 Shadford
specified in the entry notice. Ward 4: Jerry Schleicher 2906 Logan
* Tenants have the right to be free from Ct; Mark Oiumet 1382 Esch Ct
landlord sexual harassment. Requests or Ward 5 Kathy Edgren 606 Linda Vista;
demands that the tenant perform or permit Tom Richardson 209 Bona Vista
sexual activities are an invasion of the Mayor: Jerry Jernigan 2700 Gladstone
pinminm---in-----m--mm- "" mm"""-----------"mm mm- mmm

9 1 "
rigahts
right to privacy.
-nTenants who experience privacy viola-
tions from a landlord (or a landlord's
agent) may claim rent money back or ter-
minate the lease in addition to other relief
provided by current law.
Landlords object to the ordinance be-
cause they say it creates more paperwork
for them, and "giving all that notice is
impossible." However, three days notice is
not at all unreasonable, but considerate,
and that the extra work for the landlord is
minimal. Landlords owe tenants respect.
For conscientious landlords, the ordinance
would mean little change in the way they
work. The ordinance would effect landlords
who are now violating tenants' rights to

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