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February 13, 1989 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-13

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OPINION
Monday, February 13, 1989

''Poge 4
Unity

The Michigan

Daily

critical

to saving

abortion rights

By Dawn Chalker, Carolyn
Paden, and Molly Henry
On Saturday, January 21, women's
rights supporters won a significant victory
in defending a woman's right to control
her own body. In Detroit on that day, ap-
proximately 80 abortion rights demon-
strators succeeded in keeping the East
GYN Clinic on Eight Mile Road open,
despite the presence of 150 anti-choice
protestors. The anti-choice forces,
Lt'4 ... .. .. .. .... .. ..
mnobilized as part of the national Operation
Rescue (OR) campaign, unsuccessfully
attempted to close a Detroit women's
health clinic through civil disobedience-
type tactics. Clients had appointments not
only for abortions but also for contracep-
tive counseling and gynecological health
care. Many women, accompanied by pro-
choice escorts from the Committee to De-
fend Abortion Rights (CDAR), bravely
decided to walk past the harassment of
,Dawn Chalker and Carolyn Paden are
members of CDAR, Molly Henry is a
member of Ann Arbor NOW.
-'I

anti-choice fanatics and the intrusion of
television cameras in order to keep their
appointments.
A key reason for the success of the
clinic defense was that a number of Detroit
abortion rights demonstrators arrived be-
fore OR showed up and were able to secure
the front doors. Pro-choice demonstrators
were forcibly pushed away from the back
door by police, while anti-choice
protesters were allowed to sit in front. As
in Livonia, where a successful clinic de-
fense took place on November 12, the po-
lice were especially hostile to pro-choice
activists.
In Livonia, police took nearly three
hours to begin arresting the anti-choice
blockaders. The police also told clients the
clinic was closed. They only began arrest-
ing OR people after pro-choice demon-
strators attempted to pull them away from
the door because the police refused to act.
One pro-choice woman was unjustly
arrested while attempting to defend the
clinic against OR's assault. When the
doctor almost succeeded in entering the
clinic the officers threatened to arrest him
unless he turned back! In both Livonia and
Detroit it was clear to pro-choice
protesters that the police would have al-
lowed the OR fanatics to illegally close
the facilities had there not been a strong
and determined presence of pro-choice ac-
tivists.
Now is the time to begin building a
vigorous movement to defend a woman's

right to choose abortion. This is ex-
tremely critical since the Supreme Court
has decided to review Roe v. Wade, the
decision that recognized a woman's right
to abortion. This decision may be over-
turned sometime this year when the court
hears a Missouri case. The recent denial of
Medicaid funding for abortion in Michi-
gan, the emergence of Operation Rescue,
and the continuation of clinic bombings
point to the urgency of building a strong
grassroots movement in order to protect
reproductive choice.
The movement for abortion rights has
the dynamism and the capacity to reinvig-
orate the struggle for women's rights in
this country, a struggle that has been un-
der increasing attack since the 1970s.
Within this movement, it is natural and
healthy that debate take place over ideol-
ogy and tactics. For this reason, we feel
we must respond to statements made by
the Michigan National Organization for
Women (NOW) concerning the defense ef-
forts by the Detroit and Ann Arbor
CDARs.
At a rally in Lansing on January 21,
NOW put out a press release denouncing
the clinic defense actions. At a clinic
defense in Detroit the same day, a woman
who presented herself as a NOW leader,
Carol King, publicly stated that the anti-
Operation Rescue demonstrators were
engaging in "vigilante" activity and were
as much a part of the problem as OR. She
also stated that Committee to Defend

would have been wiser to leave the
business of stopping OR to the police.
Further, she claimed that CDAR was not a
legitimate part of the women's movement.
In fact, what took place on Eight Mile
Road and Livonia were victories for the
women's movement in protecting a

woman's right to obtain an abortion. The
success of activists in keeping the clinic
open benefitted the women seeking coun-
seling or abortions. It was also clear that
the police would not have interfered with
OR if the pro-choice demonstrators had
not been present. Had there been more pro-
choice activists there early to secure the
doors, OR would never have gotten near
the clinic and the defense would have been
even more orderly and peaceful.
NOW's primary strategy has been to
lobby and pressure the legislature to secure
women's rights. But legislators, both
Democrat and Republican, have shown
time and again that they are willing to cut
Medicaid funding and are now moving
ahead to ban state employees from using
their health insurance for abortions. While
statewide demonstrations in Lansing are
important, direct actions such as clinic de-
fenses show the real potential for mass
struggle, struggle which government lead-
ers may be unwilling to provoke.
Activists in CDAR seek the support of
members of NOW and anyone else who
wants to fight for all forms of reproductive
rights. CDAR and the Washtenaw County
NOW chapter have begun friendly discus-
sions about how we can work more effec-
tively together. Within our movement we
can agree to disagree as long as there is
unity in action. This unity is critical to
maintain the rights guaranteed in Roe v.
Wade.

6

Police confront pro-choice and anti-
abortion protesters outside an abor-
tion clinic in Detroit on January 21.
'Pro-choice demonstrators were
forcibly pushed away from the back
door by police, while anti-choice
protesters were allowed to sit in
front...'

6

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

POWER

calls

' '

out

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. IC, No. 95

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.

a"
Porn
;:SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S (SI) 25th
.,anniversary swimsuit issue hit news-
;:.stands this week, continuing SI's tra-
dition of degrading, objectifying and
exploiting women under the guise of
sport.
Pornography is the media of violence
against women. Though most Ameri-
cans usually conceive of pornography
"in its more extreme form - peep
shows, massage parlors and S&M
magazines, pornography is also a
:;system of representation which pro-
motes women's bodies as a tool to sell
.anything from automobiles to hard
'liquor. The emphasis in these adver-
tisements is not upon the woman as a
person, but on the selling/promotion of
a product. SI is pornography. Since the
'inception of the issue in 1964, other
sports magazines have eagerly imitated
OSI; February issues of both Inside
Sports and Sport each feature bikini-
clad female models on their covers.
The swimsuit edition of SI is partic-
ularly insidious because it is accepted
Zand incorporated into the mainstream of
,magazine publications. Because the
magazine focuses on just one issue for
;its "pornography," it can continue to
;count itself as outside that industry.
Time Inc. stands to make a staggering
'$30 million from the SI issue, includ-
ming calendar and video sales. While
pperpetuating the selling of women's
bodies as a socially acceptable business
ploy, distributors also argue that pro-
fessional models are paid for this
"work," thus skirting the central issue.
'The key irony in this business ar-
x rangement is that women are used as
,-billboards for a particular advertising
.;company, while the real profits and
gains are gleaned by the roster of own-
ers of Time, Inc. and those advertisers
.benefitting from the swimsuit issue.
SI has also been criticized for its lack
of coverage of women's athletic ac-
complishments. The only women to
receive significant attention are those
professional models displayed for men.

lustrated
Dehumanizing photographs send a
powerful message: women are not to
be regarded as complete human beings,
but rather as objects whose purpose is
to sell goods and to serve men's sexual
interest.
This year's SI documents the extent
to which its degrading portrayal of
women is is accepted - even cele-
brated - in a four-page spread on
college students whose bedroom walls
are covered with photos from past
swimsuit issues, including three Uni-
versity of Michigan students. One stu-
dent actually "considered placing geo-
metric mats over the pictures to high-
light the models' faces and body
parts."
These images and attitudes are man-
ifested as violence against women.
Although these magazines are purport-
edly selling swimwear, the expressions
and poses of the models clearly illus-
trate what is really being sold. And the
nature of the accompanying captions -
"Don't just sit there!" - perpetuate the
myth of women as sexual objects who
need - and want - to be conquered.
In other words, women are to sit
passively and be acted upon.
In order for people to begin to per-
ceive of pornography as a pervasive
system of institutionalized sexism
which promotes violence against
women, it must be viewed as an active
facilitator of that violence, rather than
as an ineffectual mode of entertainment.
There is a very specific message
which pornography promotes for a
very specific purpose. It defines
women as inherently and naturally un-
equal to men in our culture. This sub-
ordination of women makes it possible
to objectify and commodify women's
bodies. SI' s swimsuit issue not only
marginalizes women's contributions to
the magazine as a whole, but also
minimizes women's experience.
If the swimsuit issue did not make
money, it would not exist. Boycott
Sports Illustrated. Do not participate in
the corporate exploitation of women!

By Sharon Holland, Pam
Kisch, Andrea Densham,
Kristin Pope, Sue Baker, and
Liz Paige
On January 3rd four men - all Univer-
sity varsity hockey players - chased and
shouted threats of rape at two women as
they walked home on North University.
Their threats included "Are you ready for
us?" and "Where's your mace?" As the
women walked toward the Diag the men
blocked them from the path with their car
while continuing to verbally threaten
them. In an effort to escape, the women
ran onto the Diag. But when they emerged
from the Diag the men in the car were
there, parked outside Stop-n-Go on East
University. As the women approached the
store, the men drove their car straight at
the women with their brights on, stopping
just short of hitting them.
In an "apology" published in the Daily
and the Ann Arbor News these men have
since claimed to be merely "young and
impulsive," that they were sorry they had
caused any undue embarrassment to the
two women, and that they hadn't intended
to harass anyone. The players were well
aware of the women's fear of rape and they
used in their threats. What could be more
intentional?
Though the players were sentenced and
fined by the city of Ann Arbor, the Uni-
versity has neither taken an action against
them nor made a statement condemning
the incident. In fact, hockey coach Red
Berenson responded by saying that he's
"been through these kind of things before"
and that he's not going to "wash [the
team's] laundry" in a public forum.
Clearly, the Athletic Department has
encountered incidents like the one which
occurred on January 3 before, and have
chosen to deal with them behind closed
doors. However, the privatization of pub-
lic issues exacerbates the very problem it
claims to solve. Sexual harassment will
Sharon Holland, Pam Kisch, Andrea
Densham, Kristin Pope, Sae Baker, and
Liz Paige are members of People Orga-
nized for Women, Equality and Rights.

continue until it is publicly recognized and
dealt with as unacceptable behavior at and
by the University.
Last week it was reported that two of
the four men might sit out for a game, but
Berenson insisted that any connection to
the events on January 3 and this action
would be "pure speculation." If this is
true, then perhaps Berenson should specu-
late some more as to why he refused to
punish the players at all. If, on the other
hand, this represents Berenson's method of
"private" punishment perhaps he should
ask himself what he hopes to accomplish
by refusing to openly confront

President James Duderstadt promised to
make a public statement about this issue
two weeks ago, but has not done so. If the
University administration intends to foster
an atmosphere on this campus that is
comfortable for everyone, then it must re-
spond to this incident. Its relative silence
continues to be an indicator of their par-
tial, if not total agreement with sexist be-
havior on the part of students on this
campus. People Organized for Women,
Equality and Rights (POWER) demand
that Duderstadt, Athletic Director Bo
Schembechler, and Berenson adhere to the
following demands:

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POWER protests the University administration's non-response to sexual
harassment at the Michigan hockey game on February 3.

i

institutionalized sexism. Adequate re-
sponse is especially important since it
might serve as a likely deterrent to future
incidents of sexual harassment on and off
the team.
There needs to be a public acknowl-
edgement of why these men have been
suspended - if in fact they are. The Uni-
versity community needs to be told about
the January 3 incident and its specific
connection to player suspension. As long
as there is silence around this issue, the
policies toward sexist language and abu-
sive behavior remain undefined and unclear
at this University.
Speaking of going public, University

-We demand a public statement from the
University condemning the actions of the
four students enforcing this statement
with punitive measures.
-We demand that the four players be
suspended from the hockey team - ha-
rassers should not be the representatives
for our University.
'We demand that the rules of conduct for
University hockey players and all athletes
include strict and clear guidelines
condemning sexual harassment and assault
as unacceptable behavior in every instance.
These rules of conduct should be published
and available to the public.

6

tt~e.............

Other
trees
destroyed
To the Daily:
In response to Andrew Ka-
plan's article of January 24,
entitled "Groups Unite for Is-

this case some of Israel's sup-
porters, continue to discrimi-
nate between Palestinians and
Israelis. If they don't even re-
alize that trees are trees,
regardless of whether they be-
long to Israelis or Palestinians,
how can we expect them to re-
alize that Palestinianshareenti-
tled to the same rights as Is-

it is these types of actions that
can either hinder or facilitate
peace in the Middle East.
-Tahani Abboushi
February 6
Arms of
oppression

like to inform the University
community that a showcase on
the ground floor of the Michi-
gan Union will be exhibited for
one week starting today, Mon-
day the 13th. The showcase
will present various forms of
ammunition used by the Israeli
military forces against Pales-
tinian civilians during the

.... ... ...................,..............,... ...
.............. ......

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