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September 12, 1989 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-12

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OPINION

tPage 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Tuesday, September 12, 1989

Police

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Vol. C. NO. 1

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.
Teach sex education

;M ORE THAN one million U.S.
teenagers become pregnant each year,
and almost half of these choose abor-
tion.
Although the rate of teenage sexual
activity is similar throughout the in-
dustrialized world, the U.S. has the
highest rate of teenage pregnancy. The
U.S. has double the rate of England,
nearlyttriple the rate of Sweden, and
almost seven times the rate in the
Netherlands.
The cause of our higher rate of preg-
nancy? Lack of sexuality and birth
control information. The teens most
likely to become pregnant are those
from economically disadvantaged
backgrounds, those who can least af-
ford an unwanted child, those who are
poor, those who live with one parent,
or those who have low grades in
school. Pregnancy rates among teens
of color are twice those of white teens.
One of every four Black children is
born to a teen parent.
Unfortunately, federal, state. and lo-
-cal governments, bowing to the politi-
cal pressure of an anti-choice minority,
hesitate to increase sex education in the
,public school system. But how can
anyone take seriously the irrational
comments of anti-choice leaders like
Jimmy Swaggart, who argues that "sex
education in our public schools are
~promoting incest"? Or the anti-feminist
Phyllis Schlafly, who believes that
:"sex education classes are like in-home
*sales parties for abortion."
Reality proves that lack of birth con-
trol information and sexuality education
.will not keep teenagers from having
,sex. Instead, it will increase the likeli-
hood of pregnancy among teenage
women ignorant about their bodies and
about reproduction.
Comprehensive sex education pro-
grams in the public school systems,
beginning as early as first grade and
continuing through twelfth, would re-
duce teen pregnancy rates. Coupled
with accessible, inexpensive or free
birth control services, these programs
Would provide teenage women the sex-
Oaality and contraceptive information
that they need to gain control over their
reproductive lives.
Of course, even when sex education
Is well integrated into public school
curricula, and when teenage women -
and all women - have better birth
control devices than the ones currently
0

available, people will make mistakes,
contraception will fail, and abortion
will still be necessary as an option.
Today, twenty-five per cent of all
U.S. abortions are performed on*
teenage women. Approximately fifty to
sixty per cent of these women confide
in one or both parents. However, legis-
lation in more than half of all states
mandates parental consent.
A bill currently pending in the
Michigan Senate (SB 513) requires
such parental notification and consent
from both parents before abortion can
be performed on "unemancipated mi-
nors" - women under eighteen. Co-
sponsored by Republicans Jack
Welborn of Kalamazoo and Frederick
Dillingham of Fowlerville, this bill is
one of four anti-choice resolutions
facing the State legislature this session.
The most damaging of these include
Senate Joint Resolution H which, if
passed, would prohibit abortion cov-
erage to all state employees, and Senate
Bill 515, which attempts to amend the
"social welfare act," such that no public
funds could be used for either abortion
or abortion counseling.
Nationally, seventy-five per cent of
the U.S. public wrongly supports
parental consent laws - "squeal
rules." This support is based on
skewed perceptions: either that parents
possess the right to control their chil-
drens' lives or that all parents will un-
derstand and help.
But reality does not work this way.
Teenage women who do not confide in
their parents usually have good reasons
for keeping their decision secret. These
range from fear of parental rejection to
an abusive parental situation which
may involve incest.
The solution to teen pregnancy is not
to further restrict the information and
choices available to young women.
Teenage women - like all women -
must have the education and counseling
they need to choose contraception be-
fore intercourse and pregnancy, and to
choose abortion when this choice is
necessary and wanted.
Providing comprehensive sex educa-
tion and birth control clinics in schools
is an important step forward in the
struggle for women's liberation. While
reproductive control is certainly not all
that wohmen need, without it, women's
very lives, not to mention their social
and economic status, remain in jeop-
ardy.

By Sharon P. Holland
On Saturday, September 2I was arrested
by the Ann Arbor Police only one block
away from my apartment. I remember
pulling out of my driveway and noticing
that the police were stopped on the corner
near my house. It did occur to me at the
time that I should wait until they passed,
but I decided to ignore their power game.
Seconds after pulling out of my driveway
they pulled me over because the car I was
driving had expired plates. I was driving a
friend's car for the weekend.
While they checked the registration one
police person asked for my driver's license
and checked it with a flashlight a few
times to verify that I wasn't giving him a
fake I.D. They also kept the spotlight of
their car glaring into the back of my head
throughout the check.
I was angered that a car I had driven for
only 24 hours had had expired plates for a
month and the police hadn't found any rea-
son to stop my friend. But on second
thought it made perfect sense.
My friend is a white man and I am a
Black woman who looks about 16 years
old, and I was driving after 11:00 p.m. on
a Saturday night.
After about 15 minutes one officer ap-
proached my car with a flashlight and
asked me to step away from the vehicle.
He then moved me from my car to the po-
lice car asking me if I knew that there was
a warrant out for my arrest (I found out
later that it was an overdue ticket). At that
point he put me into the back of the po-
lice car and shut the door. He then began
to search my friend's car, checking under
the seats, the glove compartment and the
trunk. He came back to the police car with
my purse and began to go through it. I
asked the other officer what was going on.
I said, "Isn't he supposed to tell me some-
thing before he puts me in the back of a
police car?" He said, "Yeah, you're under
arrest."

power
At that point, the first officer held up a
check from my wallet and said, "You've
got a check here - do you have $55 dol-
lars?" The other officer smirked. They
were obviously having fun. I asked him
what he was doing in my purse; he re-
sponded that he could do it if he wanted. I
then told him that the check was no good
anymore, that's why it was folded in my
wallet and not in my checkbooks with my
other checks. I then asked them what
would happen if I couldn't pay. They re-
sponded that I'd be in County Jail until
Tuesday morning since Monday was a hol-
iday. I was speechless and I still didn't
know exactly what the warrant was for.

The Michigan Daily
games
were escorting me in the other officer said
he would go upstairs and pull some
strings so I wouldn't have to go to jail for
the weekend. They came back and started
to make conversation about my studies,
etc. One officer even let me see the war-
rant for my arrest. It was because of an
overdue ticket on a motorcycle violation.
I was so angry that I began to be treated
like a human being only after they learned
that I was a student that I started to cry si-
lently right there. I was even more humils-
iated.
After about five minutes of pulling
strings that were obviously short, they let
me go on my own personal bond, with

A

'I said, "Isn't he supposed to tell me something before he puts.
me in the back of a police car?" He said, "Yeah, you're under,
arrest."'

Finally, the tow truck arrived and the
police officers got in the car with me in
the back, my purse in their possession and
made a left turn into the police station
(they arrested me across the street from
City Hall). It was a ridiculous scene and
I'm sure it was designed to intimidate and
silence me.
It wasn't until I was driven into the
back of the Police Station that things
changed. I was in a dark garage with room
for only one police car. The doors were
bolted in front and behind. I began to feel
unsafe alone with these two white men.
No one I knew knew where I was or what
had happened to me. I was not given the
option of a phone call.
The officer asked me some more ques-
tions. When he asked for my social secu-
rity number, I told him that my
University I.D. number was the same, just
with an extra zero. His attitude changed
immediately. One officer began to explain
why they had searched my purse. As they

words like, "good luck in school."
The whole ordeal took about 45 min-
utes, but everything I experienced points
toward the blatant racism, sexism and
class biases of the Ann Arbor Police
Department. I have to wonder what would
have happened if I had exercised my right
to not get into the police car, if I hadn't
been dressed for a party, if I were as young
as I look, if; had forgotten my wallet at
home or if IWeren't a University student..
Ironically, when my friends went to
pick up their towed car, the officer at the
lock-up asked them why it had been
towed. They explained and the officer re-
sponded, "That's unusual."
But I don't think it is unusual. I was
alone, I was Black and a woman, I was out
after midnight in a car that wasn't mine,
and I was subsequently arrested. There's
nothing unusual about that kind of treat.
ment anywhere in this country, and that
includes Ann Arbor.
Sharon P. Holland is a former Associate
Opinion page editor.

Stop

rainforest slaughter

By Laura Harger
When rainforests are discussed, images
of lush growth and a hot climate come to
mind. Now close your eyes, and imagine
this rainforest. It is cold and misty. Vast
trees reach for the sky, some older than
human memory. It is rich, ancient, and
threatened. This forest is not located in
Brazil or the Congo. It is an American
rainforest.
Temperate rainforests are the most di-
verse forests in the cooler regions of the
world. They are host to pine, hemlock,
spruce, and magnificent giants like the
redwood. Old-growth forests such as those
found in the northwestern U.S. boast
pines 1,000 years old. As in tropical rain-
forests, animal life is very diverse, and
many species remain undiscovered.
Temperate forests, like tropical, play a key
role in preventing the greenhouse warming
of the planet.
The two ecosystems are different in a

community as a solution to the trade gap.
Recently the cutting increased as a result
of bidding wars over the forest by foreign
companies. Before the forests are bought
by someone else, American loggers rea-
son, we will strip them of their most
valuable products.
Despite the fact that most U.S. rain-
forests are in the national forest system,
only about one-fifth of the forest is actu-
ally off-limits to timbering. The rest,
while presumably held in trust for the
people of the U.S., is on the auction
block. In violation of national law, the
USFS sells off northwestern timber at 25
percent above the sustainable-yield level.
"Smokey the Bear," states a recent New
York Times article, "has become Smokey
the Lumberjack."
As in tropical forests, the logging ben-
efits only a few. Logging jobs have
dropped 20% in the past five years, as vir-
gin forest become scarce and automated,
large-scale logging becomes prevalent.

In twenty years, there will be no American
rainforests left.
Against the enormous clout of the tim-
ber industry, little action seems worth-
while. Yet solutions remain possible.
Bans on foreign companies' access to U.S
forests are under consideration by
Congress. Recently, the Tongass Timber
Reform Act passed the House and is now
awaiting Senate approval. The act sets
aside 1.8 million acres of the Alaskan
rainforest for preservation, ends two lum
ber sales, and ends the USFS' annual for?
est sales in the area.
Currently, a battle is being waged be,
tween loggers and environmentalists over
the U.S. rainforests. Small victories, such
as the short ban on some Northwesteri
timbering on behalf of the endangered
spotted owl, have been met with outrage
by the timber companies. An amendment
to the Fiscal 1990 Spending Bill for the
Interior Department, written by Senator
Mark Hatfield of Oregon, calls for the
opening of 1.2 billion acres of Northwest
forest to loggers, and forces environmental 4
groups into accepting his terms: if they do
not give their stamp of approval, an addi
tional 500 million acres will be razed. Is
addition, the amendment prohibits envi
ronmental groups from filing injunction$
to stop logging for the next two years
The amendment is constitutionally quest
tionable and is obvious extortion, yet the
Appropriations Committee has passed it.
Hatfield and the timber companies seen
determined to continue their myopic pure
suit of profits over the preservation of the
U.S.'s richest ecosystems. It is ironic to
note that the home of the U.S. national
bird, the bald eagle, is being destroyed ii$
favor of that other U.S. symbol, the dollat
sign.

Facts on teen pregnancy
. 40% of young Black women become pregnant at least once
before the age of 20.
" Of Black teens, 24.6 per 1,000 become pregnant. 21 % of these teens
ha.e.abortions.
* Black teen-agers tend to wait an average of 1 year between initiating
sexual intercourse and first use of a prescription method of contracep-
tion.>
- 80% of teen pregnancies are unintended.
- 80% of pregnant teenagers become high school dropouts.
" Less than 10% of teenage mothers increase their annual earnings after
age 16.
- A recent study conducted at Attica State Prison in New York found that
90% of the inmates were born to teenage mothers.
' 50% of illegal abortion deaths were Black women in New York before
the legalization of abortion.
- In 1969,75% of the women who died from illegal abortions were women
of color.
- Over 60% of Blacks polled by the Washington Post
support a woman's right to choose abortion.
- 20% of all abortions in America were obtained by Black women, 10% by
other women of color, while the majority 70% are obtained by white
women.
$ource: NationalBlack Women's Health Project on Teen-Aged Women

'Many of us think that Brazil's wholesale slaughter of the
Amazon is shortsighted. Yet do we realize that the United
States has been committing the same crime for decades?'

multitude of ways, but focusing attention
on the plight of temperate rainforests as
well as tropical ones reminds Americans
that responsibility for preservation starts
in our own backyard. Many of us think
that Brazil's wholesale slaughter of the
Amazon is shortsighted. Yet do we realize
that the United States has been commit-
ting the same crime for decades?
The belt of American rainforest is
presently a tenth of its original size.
While tropical forests often fall victim to
peasants allowed no other source of farm-
land, American forests are being razed
mainly for timber. Much of the wood now
cut is destined for Japan. Japanese timber
sales are encouraged by the U. S. financial

Despite timber companies' attempts to
paint the issue as one of jobs versus trees,
logging of the old-growth forests mainly
benefits the company elite.
When a tropical forest is stripped, per-
manently barren earth is left behind.
Temperate rainforests do regrow -- if left
alone for centuries. The plantation-style
forests logging companies put in as
panaceas, however, are a one-species, bio-
logical desert. In some areas, the devasta-
tion is so complete that no forest will ever
grow again. Temperate rainforest logging
is an almost laughably short-sighted en-
terprise: the conversion of an ecosystem
centuries old into a few years' worth of
profit.
The result is a very simple bottom line.

Laura Harger is a member of the Ani
Arbor Rainforest Action Movement
(RAM). The article is reprinted from the
June edition of Tropical Echoes, the RAM
newsletter.

0

k
Opinion Page Letter Policy
Due to the volume of mail the Daily cannot print all the let
ters and columns it receives, although an effort is made to
print the majority of material on a wide range of views. The
Tbnily rnitt latfr anA n1u.. r a.. . :.. L.t.#- -: .:

Daily
ignores

have not been able to
understand the opinion staffers'
fascination with Israel and the
Arab-Israeli conflict. Aren't
thArA AthAr thingso eninw onin

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