Friday, September 22, 1989
The Michigan Daily
Editor's note: The following description is
reprinted with permission from The New
Our Bodies Ourselves (pp. 293-5). Every
woman has the right to make an informed
choice about her own body and her own
life. To de-mystify the abortion process,
and to combat lies told by those who op-
pose women's rights, the following con-
cise description of the abortion procedure
as well as a check list of questions about
the procedure are being reprinted. To
demonstrate your support for every
women's right to control her own body
arid her reproductive life, join Sunday's
rally at the State Capitol in Lansing.
Carpools leave from the Cube, behind the
Michigan Union, at 9:30 a.m.
Women have always used abortion as a
means of fertility control. Unless women
ourselves can decide whether and when to
have children, we will never be able to
control our lives nor participate fully in
society. Legal, safe and affordable abor-
tions help to give us that control.
Women of various ages, races, reli-
gions, economic and marital status and
sexual preference choose abortions for
many reasons, including inadequate birth
control methods, information and access.
Since no birth control method is 100 per-
cent effective, abortion is necessary when
contraception fails. We may be pregnant,
want a child and not be able to afford it, or
decide that even a planned pregnancy is a
mistake after our economic or personal
circumstances change. We may find out
through amniocentesis that our fetus has a
serious genetic defect. We may become
pregnant against our will because of rape,
incest or other kinds of sexual coercion so
common in our society. Little or non-ex-
istent sex education leaves young vomen
vulnerable to sexual pressures.
Deciding whether or not to carry a preg-
nancy to term is always a serious choice.
Each woman has to decide what she be-
lieves is best for herself and the important
people in her life, depending on her needs,
resources, commitments and hopes.
We believe that compulsory pregnancy and
forced motherhood are morally wrong...
Medical Techniques for Abortion
When you are considering an abortion or
choosing where to have an abortion, you
have a right and a need to know the proce-
dures used at each stage of pregnancy, the
risks and possible complications and the
In pregnancy, a tiny ball of cells at-
taches itself to the lining of the uterus
about one week after conception. A mass
of tissue called the placenta develops in
the uterine lining to nourish the embryo.
By the end of the second month, the em-
bryo, now called a fetus, is surrounded by
a protective fluid-filled sac, the amniotic
In an abortion, the contents of the
uterus (embryo, or fetus, placenta and
built-up lining of the uterus) are removed.
Different methods are used, depending on
how large the pregnancy tissue has grown,
the training of the person performing the
abortion, the approaches favored by the lo-
cal medical community and the equipment
During an aspiration abortion...the con-
tents of the uterus are removed through a
strawlike tube that is passed through the
cervix into the uterus. The tube, called a
cannula, is attached to a source of gentle
suction - an electric or mechanical pump
or a syringe - which draws out the tissue.
Aspiration is now the most common abor-
tion technique. Of all the methods it car-
ries the least chance of complications and
considerably less risk than pregnancy, la-
bor and delivery. In fact, it is now the
safest of all operations, safer than tonsil-
lectomies or circumcisions.
It only takes a short time (five to fifteen
minutes). Aspiration abortions are now
available throughout the U.S., though
some women still have to travel many
hours to get to an abortion facility.THIS
KIND OF ABORTION IS THE SAFEST
AND LEAST DISRUPTIVE FOR A
WOMAN, BOTH PHYSICALLY AND
EMOTIONALLY. IT CAN BE DONE
ONLY DURING THE FIRST THREE
MONTHS OF PREGNANCY....
There are several variations of this
method. For over a decade women have
been working to create the safest, least
physically traumatic aspiration techniques.
A number of woman-owned and-controlled
feminist health centers have trained practi-
toners to use minimal dilation and small
flexible cannulas, which reduce the chance
of tearing or perforating the uterus or
cervix. (An eight-millimeter cannula can
be used for abortions through eleven to
twelve weeks of the last normal menstrual
Curettage, or scraping the inside of the
uterus with a metal loop called a curette,
is not routinely necessary. Experiences at
these clinics and others show that this ap-
proach is more comfortable for women
,than that of most conventionally trained
abortionists, who use larger, rigid plastic
amniotic s e attaches to vacuum
VACUUM SUCTION ABORTION
or metal cannulas (which require more di-
lation) and a curette after the suction.
What You Need to Know
Whether you have to search to find one
abortion service or you can choose among,
several facilities, ask questions beforehand.
Not only must you get an idea of what to
expect, but you can also prepare yourself
to negotiate for options that may not be
part of the standard procedures.
I. Cost? Must the fee be paid all at once?
Will Medicaid or health insurance cover
any of it? Is everything included or may
there be additional charges (for example,
for a Pap smear or for Rhogam)?
2. Are there age requirements or special
consent requirements? Do I have to tell
my parents or husband, get their consent
and/or bring proof of age?
3. How long should I expect to be at the
facility? Will everything be done in one
4. Will childcare be provided for my
5. What do I need to bring with me?
6. Is there anything in my medical history
that would interfere with my getting an
abortion at that facility?
7. Can I bring someone with me? Can
s/he stay with me throughout the counsel-
ing and the abortion procedure if that's
what I want?
8. Will there be a counselor or nurse with
me to provide information and support be-
fore, during and after the abortion?
9. Will there be staff people who speak
my native language? If not, will the facil-
ity provide an interpreter?
10. Can the facility accommodate any spe-
cial needs I have (for example, wheelchair
Ask about anything that concerns you.
Often the way the staff answers questions
indicates their attitude toward women com-
ing for abortions. Trust your feelings
about the way you are treated on the phone
as well as in person.
Edited and managed by students at The University of Mich'qan
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
By Rosalind Reaves and Kimberly Smith
The Baker-Mandela Center for Anti-Racist Education (BMC) is hosting a brown bag discussion on "Access
to Higher Education" at 12:00 noon today in Room #3, East Engineering. This is the beginning of a series of
brown bags at the Center, please contact 936-1809 for more information on specific topics of discussion.
Vol. C, No.12
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.
An anti-woman family
1ROPONENTS OF anti-choice contend
that the issue of abortion lies not with a
woman's body, but with the potential
life of the fetus. But feminists know
that women's social and political
position, as well as their very lives,
a4e at stake. The new right's "pro-
fhmily" and anti-women politics play
tpon real fears and real needs.
- Its invocation of an ideal family
based on the control of women's
sexuality and confinement to traditional
rbles may fly in the face of reality, but
it strikes a responsive chord when the
.4ternative is the insecurity and
disintegration of personal life and the
irlentless commodification of women's
sexuality in the mass media, in
advertising, in entertainment, and, for.
many women, in actual relationships.
The continuing depth of women's
qppression is shown by the vicious'
imeans used to keep women "in their
glace": violence in fact and image,
rape, battering, sexual harassment. The
anti-women, anti-abortion movement is
another form of harassment and
compounds the problems women face.
Anti-choice legislation continues to
affect not only abortion rights
specifically, but rights of women to
self-determination in a traditional
family structure and in the work place.
The five anti-choice bills currently
before the Michigan legislature further
curtail women's right to choose, in
areas ranging from funding issues to
parental consent. It is important that
women link the struggle to maintain
safe and legal abortion to an overall
assault by the judicial decisions.
The rally in Lansing reminds us to
focus upon women - and their lives.
The debate goes far beyond individual
freedoms; it concerns women's
fundamental right to control their
bodies and their lives.
This week Provost Charles Vest an-
nounced that this year's minority first year
student enrollment has decreased from pre-
vious years. He contrasted this statement
with a reaffirmation of the Univeristy's
commitment to creating a multi-cultural
and equitable University environment.
Inherent in these two statements is the
notion that the University is attempting to
improve the dismal representation of peo-
ple of color as students and faculty, but
the University maintains, we must be pa-
This attempt to pacify our anger and
quell our frustration brings to mind the
eloquent words of Dr. Martin Luther King
in 1963 when he explained "Why we can't
"tFor years now I have heard the word
'wait'. It rings in the ear of every Negro
with piercing familiarity. This wait' has
almost always meant "never". We must
come to see, with one of our distinguised
jurists, that "justice too long delayed is
justice denied". Perhaps it is easy for
those who have never felt the stinging
darts of segregation to say, 'wait'. But
when you have seen vicious mobs lynch
your mothers and fathers at will and drown
your sisters and brothers at whim; when
you have seen hate-filled police curse, kick
and kill your black brothers and sisters;
when your see the vast majority of your
twenty million Negro brothers smothering
in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst
of an affluent society...- then you will un-
derstand why we find it dificult to wait."
Martin Luther King, Jr. Why We Can't
Wait. (New York: Mentor Books, 1963),
In 1989, this story still rings true.
Perhaps it is easy for privileged adminis-
trators to make rhetorical promises and
suggest that we wait to see them come
true. But when denial of access to higher
education sentences our Black, Latino and
Asian brothers and sisters to a life of min-
imum wage slavery; when we see our bril-
liant brothers and sisters of color cleaning
toilets at this University rather than at-
tending classes; when Black working class
families struggle to pay state taxes only to
see their sons and daughters being denied
access to institutions such as the
University of Michigan; when more
money is spent to imprison Black men
and women than to educate them; when
drugs are more accessible to Black and
Latino youth than higher education; when
our lives continue to be determined by
tests that have predetermined that we are
inferior; when we see the access which
was denied to our parents, denied to our
brothers and sisters-then you understand
why we find it difficult to wait.
Each year that this and other universities
accept a few but deny admission to the
majority of people of color and poor
youth, it acts to maintain and perpetuate
the racist and elitist nature of this society.
Although we realize that change does not
come all at once, we also recognize that
change at this University is going in the
wrong direction. Access to education is the
topic of discussion at the brown bag at the
BMC today, please join us.
Rosalind Reaves is an LS&A Senior; Kim
Smith is a second-year medical student.
Middle of the Road to Peace
By Tony Silber
What happened to the old middle east
problems, the old conflicts and wars, the
old partisanships? What happened to
Israel, that tiny Jewish state, taking on the
hostile Arab continent surrounding it?
What happened to the view of Israel as the
righteous underdog, friend to the "good"
nations of the world. What happened to
the view of the Palestinians as ruthless
terrorists, born with an anti-Israeli
savagery? These are all myths of the past.
The middle east conflict has changed
dramatically in the last several years.
Since the optimistic, yet idealistic days of
the Camp David Peace Accords over ten
years ago when Israel and Egypt found
peace within their long past of hostility,
Israel has made several foreign policy deci-
sions (and internal policy decisions) which
have not been looked upon favorably by
all those old "good" friends Israel used to
have around the world.
Israel is not the nation it was ten years
ago. It has tried to grow up. Still a rela-
tively young county (41 years old), Israel
has tried to assert itself ideologically in a
eliminate the military and terrorist poten-
tial of the P.L.O. But in the long run, the
ramifications of this invasion and the mil-
itary occupation that ensued were quite un-
favorable to Israel. The P.L.O., its mili-
tary capabilities wiped out, finally figured
out that politics was the way to hurt
Israel. The organization has since become
an extremely powerful lobby tool for
Palestinian interests, especially for those
in the occupied territories of the West
Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian uprising, or Intifadah,
which began in December, 1987 was an-
other crucial development. This grass
roots uprising against the Israeli military
began a two-pronged attack against Israel.
In the streets, violent resistance against
Israeli tactics has won international public
support. On another front, P.L.O.
chairman Yasser Arafat has gone before
the world to renounce terrorism and
recognize the State of Israel for the first
time. This two-pronged resistance/political
pressure campaign used by the
Palestinians has been somewhat success-
ful. International support for the
proposal: To grant free elections in the ter-
ritories under a ten point plan with both
sides having to budge a little from their
hard line positions. Both sides have met
the plan with interest and skepticism. The
Israeli cabinet went so far as to send
Defense Minister Rabin to Cairo to dis-
cuss the plan with Mubarek, a surprising
move on their part.
Skeptics will say what they will, but
the plan is a step in the right direction. If
this leads to the proposed Israeli-
Palestinian peace talks moderated by
Egypt, then the "wheels of peace" may be
in motion as Rabin describes it. The vio-
lence must end in the territories. The
Israelis must put down their guns and the
Palestinians must put down their rocks. If
peace is ever to occur in the middle east,
both the Israelis and the Palestinians must
give a little to get a little. Neither side's
extremist demands are going to be met
tomorrow. They are both too stubborn and
idealistic for that.
Israel should negotiate land for peace and
the Palestinians should come up with
some sort of formal government structure
which is trnlv reconized as renresentative
V&A It - 11 r4.-lA