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October 27, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-27

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01

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, October 27, 1989

The Michigan Daily

SIw £icbigau ailg
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol C, No. 38 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.
Bush's war on women

PRESIDENT BUSH'S new "war on
drugs" places women - especially
those who are young and poor - un-
der attack, as lawmakers attempt to
sanction through criminal proceedings
the behavior of women during preg-
nancy. In California, Florida and Illi-
nois, district attorneys have attempted
to prosecute women who gave birth to
infants who tested positive for the
presence of illegal substances.
In each instance, the prosecutors
sought to apply in unprecedented ways
existing laws concerning child abuse or
drug trafficking in order to criminalize
the behavior of women during preg-
nancy. In two of these cases the
women were frustrated in their efforts
to locate drug treatment facilities that
would accept them. Nevertheless, they
were subjected to criminal prosecutions
on account of their drug use during
pregnancy. In another case, a woman
was prosecuted for allegedly failing to
furnish necessary care for her "pre-
born" child. Her doctor attributed her
son's stillbirth not only to the woman's
amphetamine use, but also to her sup-
posedly deliberate "refusal" to follow
physician's advice and "stay off her
feet."
The woman, a mother and a primary
caretaker of two small children, lacked
the funds to pay for childcare for the
duration of her pregnancy. Complying
with the doctor's recommendation that
she stay off her feet during pregnancy
would have required her to neglect her
already living children.
While the problems of maternal drug
use and drug-affected infants are not
class-specific, the proposed "remedies"
discriminate against alleged criminals
on the basis on race, sex and class.
Government programs for detecting
drug exposure in infants target women
who rely on public health facilities.
Lacking private health insurance and
access to other funds, women of color
are disproportionately dependent upon
government subsidized programs to
address their health care needs. While
women in government subsidized fa-
cilities are routinely subjected to inva-
sive drug tests, women who can afford
private health care are not tested under
similar circumstances. Not only does
this system violate the privacy of nu-
merous women- the vast majority of
whom are not drug users - it also un-
fairly exposes poor women to tests,
and possible prosecution, that affluent
women need not fear.
Efforts to take punitive measures
against women on the basis of their
conduct during pregnancy offer a my-
opic response to a crucial health issue.
They dismiss important civil rights,
and they sacrifice reproductive rights
while simultaneously undermining the

most promising solutions to the prob-
lem - accessible, funded pre-natal
health care and, where medically ap-
propriate, drug treatment tailored to the
particular needs of pregnant and post-
partum women.
A survey conducted in New York
City by Dr. Wendy Chavkin, professor
at the Columbia University School of
Public Health, revealed that over half
of the drug treatment centers in the city
refused to treat pregnant women under
any circumstances. Dr. Chavkin also
found that nearly 90 percent of the
city's drug treatment programs refuse
Medicaid recipients who are addicted to
crack. The National Institute for Drug
Abuse recognized over a decade ago
that the inability to obtain child care
prevents many women from participat-
ing in drug treatment programs. Still,
only two of the 87 drug treatment pro-
grams in New York City provide child
care for parents.
While lawmakers focus excessively
on matemal drug use, they give little
attention to the more serious and
widespread problem of inadequate pre-
natal care. As Dr. Maxie Collier,
Commissioner of Health in Baltimore,
argued at the American Civil Liberties
Union Biennial Convention, "Poverty
is one of the single most important
factors that influences
health....Problems of race discrimina-
tion have gravely affected socio-eco-
nomic status and health status..." The
maternal drug problem must be viewed
as a public health concern, one which
cannot be examined in isolation from
the economic and racial oppression that
frequently compound it.
The same is true of the problem of
infant mortality. With the exception of
South Africa, the U.S. has the highest
infant mortality rate in the industrialized
world. Black infants are twice as likely
as their white counterparts to die before
their first year of life; in some cities,
this ratio is three to one (Children's De-
fense Fund, 1986). The lack of acces-
sible and affordable prenatal health care
- not illegal drug use - remains the
greatest threat to infant health. The in-
fants most likely to die tend to be born
prematurely; their mothers are often in
their teens, and they tend to have had
little or no prenatal care.
Clearly, punitive measures against
pregnant women will not address these
real problems. People who are truly
concerned about children and about
human life must demand increases in
prenatal, neonatal, postpartum and pe-
diatric health care programs. While
such programs are certainly not all that
is needed to end the problem of poverty
in this country, without them, the sit-
uation will never improve.

Feast on
By Tamara Nedell
Fearless Friday has nothing to do with
ghosts, goblins, or even Halloween. It is,
however, the highlight of Eating Disorders
Awareness Week, which is taking place all
across the nation from October 23 through
October 29. The goal of Fearless Friday is
simple: it is a day free from all diets, re-
gardless of the person's weight or personal
feelings associated with body image. To-
day, people are being encouraged to eat
healthy meals and a "forbidden food." It is
hoped that people will consume food
without feeling guilty or "bad" about
themselves.
This may sound easy, but for some
people - particularly women - Fearless
Friday may be a challenging experience.
Many women are forever "on a diet." The
mere thought of indulging in a scoop of
rocky road ice cream, a second helping of
spaghetti, a real Coke, or even eating three
meals in a day can produce feelings of
guilt, anxiety, and sometimes fear.
It is estimated that 15 to 30 percent of
all college women suffer from eating dis-
orders. Anorexia Nervosa is a complex
emotional disorder characterized by severe
weight loss. Victims of Anorexia have
iron determination to become thin, in addi-
tion to an irrational fear of becoming fat.

'It is estimated that 15 to 30 percent of all college women
suffer from eating disorders. Anorexia Nervosa is a

Fearless
Both of these feelings heighten as more
weight is lost. There are many symptoms
of Anorexia and, while they vary according
to the degree to which the person is af-
fected, they include distorted perception of
weight and body image, prolonged exercise
despite fatigue and weakness, peculiar pat-
terns in handling food, perfectionism ac-
companied by a profound sense of ineffec-
tiveness, and social withdrawal. Anorexia
Nervosa can also cause an unusual sensi-

Friday
shape and a preoccupation with becoming
thin. The physical repercussions are dental
problems, frequent weight fluctuations,
edema, swelling of the parotid glands, and
problems with the throat, esophagus,
stomach, and colon.
Fearless Friday is just one of the many
events that are taking place nationwide in
recognition of Eating Disorders Awareness
Week. It is being sponsored by mental
health professionals, physicians, nutrition-

complex emotional disorder
weight loss.'

characterized by severe

*

tivity to cold, abnormal function of repro-
ductive organs, thinning of the hair and
nails, and, in extreme cases, death.
Bulimia is an emotional disorder which
consists of episodes of "binge" eating. A
binge is the consumption of large
amounts of food during a relatively short
amount of time. The bulimic then follows
the binge with self-induced vomiting, diet
pills, laxatives, or a combination of these
methods to lose weight. Additional charac-
teristics of bulimia are deep-seated feelings
of depression, recurrent mood swings,
emotional instability and impulsiveness,
in addition to dissatisfactions with body

ists, dieticians, educators, coaches, ath-
letes, and, most importantly, the media.
For one day, resist the word "diet" and all
its negative connotations. Celebrate Fear-
less Friday today!
Support and self-help organizations such
as the Center for Eating Disorders, 408
North First Street in Ann Arbor, are active
participants in Eating Disorders Awareness
Week; they provide support and referrals
year round. If you need help or are inter-
ested in volunteering at the Center, please
call 668-8585. A bagel sale will be held in
the Fishbowl today to raise money for the
Center.

Clearing the air for

MSA

By Don Blome

I find my name mentioned prominently
in a recent Michigan Daily article referring
to this summer's joint PSC/MSA delega-
tion to the Occupied Territories. Although
I explained what I considered my role in
the delegation at least three weeks ago to
an MSA committee assigned to the mat-
ter, statements in the Daily article as well
as a recent Michigan Review article show
that inter-MSA communications move
slowly, and some confusion still exists.
Regrettably, neither the Daily nor the Re-
view attempted to contact me regarding
their stories. But most remarkable is the
fact that neither Aaron Williams nor Ori
Lev, the two MSA members who have

ad announcing a joint PSC/MSA
delegation to the Occupied Territories. I
understood that MSA had appropriated
some funds to the trip, and that PSC was
supplying the remainder. I applied with
the PSC, an organization I knew little
about, and I was interviewed by two PSC
members. I got a call from the PSC
telling me I had been chosen to go. At no
time was I informed, by PSC or MSA,
that I was the "MSA delegate." Rather,
my impression of the project was a unified
delegation of five people, supported in part
by MSA. Similarly, I was never informed,
by either group, of a requirement of a re-
port to MSA of any specific kind,
although I would have been glad to give
one, if anyone had asked me.

gave us a chance to meet a wide variety of
Palestinians as well as Israelis involved in
the peace movement. From beginning to
end, the delegation traveled as a single
group. This unity is probably where the
confusion between the designations
"MSA" or "PSC" delegation lies. I learn
now that an MSA committee of two peo-
ple, including MSA rep. Ori Lev, took
part in choosing my application. So, I
guess I'm the "MSA delegation," and the
four university students who accompanied
me are the "PSC delegation." Fine.
MSA's good name is untarnished. It
seems remarkable to me that MSA and
PSC have not discussed the issue between
themselves before throwing around accusa-
tions and "restrainment orders" (whatever
those are).
Whether MSA should fund these types
of student trips is an appropriate topic of
discussion. However, MSA has funded
this trip, and we should not let semantic
games overshadow the important job of
educating ourselves about the realities of
the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and assess-
ing whether it is really in our best inter-
ests, as U.S. citizens, to continue to sup-
port the denial of political and civil rights
to the Palestinian people.

'...MSA has funded this trip, and we should not let semantic
games overshadow the important job of educating ourselves
about the realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict...'

loudly embraced the issue, have tried to
reach me either.
The issue, it seems, is whether we had
an "MSA" delegation or a "PSC"
delegation. My answer since the beginning
of the venture would have been both. In
February or March, I responded to a Daily

If there was a specific agreement be-
tween PSC and MSA on the structure of
the delegation, I should have been in-
formed. However, if I criticize PSC's han-
dling of the matter, I also believe they
worked quite hard to organize an intensive
three-week trip to the territories which

In the aftermath of the San Francisco earthuak
Homeless are still

The End oi fid

Wa OfOFfd/
1 ..

I

By the Pacific News Service
While media focus on the plight of Ma.
rina residents newly displaced by last
week's earthquake, housing officials and
social workers struggle to meet the needs
of year round homeless left stranded across
the city.
The earthquake dealt housing here a
double blow. Images of badly damaged res-
idences in the picturesque Marina district
have dramatized the quake's impact around
the world. Far less noted, says Bradford
Paul, deputy mayor of housing and neigh-
borhoods, has been the loss of up to 1,000
low-income units in other areas, including
five major hotels sheltering the homeless.
The contrasts have shown up in other
ways as well.
At the Marina shelter, some 500 dis-
placed residents lined up last week to get
information on property insurance, while
womenacirculated with "more food than
they could get rid of," according to one
observer. Army personnel from the nearby
Presidio Base chauffeured residents from
place to place while the press circulated
continually, seeking stories of what it was
like to suddenly be displaced.
At the downtown Moscone Center, run
by the Red Cross, nearly 1,000 homeless
- including evacuees from the damaged
hotels - lined up for information on re-
ceiving welfare checks when they have no
address. When they lined up for food, their

ne surveyed the scene. "This is like the
twilight zone here," he said. "It's surreal."
Some officials hope the quake will fi-
nally get the city moving on the homeless
issue. But others fear the needs of the year
round homeless are already being over-
shadowed by those of the newly displaced.
"Homelessness is difficult enough when
the city is healthy," says Julia Lopez,
general manager of the city's Department
of Social Services (DSS). "But with five
of our major shelters out of commission,
these people are truly victims of the
earthquake, even if the Marina people are
getting all the media attention."
In addition to the newly evacuated
homeless, case workers are concerned
about the thousands of homeless who
haven't yet arrived for shelter or counsel-
ing. Those evacuated from low-income ho-
tels are in touch with city and state assis-

ignored
hotels, who have received a week's tempo-
rary lodging, eligible for disaster relief
housing. In addition, Paul hopes to gain
access to unused federal buildings in San
Francisco, and to receive other states' un-
spent HUD funds for homeless relief.
The homeless hope he's right. Ina Car-
penter left her home in the Hunter's Point
project to live in the Franciscan Hotel in
Bay View after her husband began taking
drugs. Today, she's on welfare, has a dis-
placed hip, and suffers from multiple scle-
rosis.
Carpenter came to the Moscone Center,
with seven members of her family soon
after the earthquake seeking food and shel-
ter. "I hope they don't prioritize the dis-
placed first, and the homeless second," she.
said. "This will give the homeless a
chance to get put somewhere. Somebody's:
going to help us... Somebody."

'Some officials hope the quake will finally get the city
moving on the homeless issue. But others fear the needs of
the year round homeless are already being overshadowed
by those of the newly displaced.'

tance programs. But hundreds of other
long term homeless may have mental
health severe enough to keep them from
aid, even in the midst of disaster.
"We're trying to find and identify as
many homeless as possible," Lopez said.
"Reports from staff indicate they're react-
ing just as the rest of us are. As we get

Willie Burnett, a former postal service;
worker now at Moscone who lost job -
and his home - after he had a hernia op-
eration, feels compassion for the newly:
displaced. "Even the rich are homeless in
their hearts now," he says, gesturing to-,
ward his heart. "They may have a lot'
elsewhere - but right now, they're just

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