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September 06, 1990 - Image 32

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-09-06

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 6, 1990

CONSENT
Continued from page 4'
with these restrictions are greatest
for poor and working-class young
women. The teens most likely to
feel that they have little choice but
to carry an unwanted pregnancy to
term are also those who face the
greatest risks involved in adolescent
pregnancy, childbearing, and rearing.
While abortion is safer than ei-
ther tonsillectomy or a shot of peni-
cillin, teen pregnancy and childbirth
carry great personal, social and
health risks. Teens are 24 times
more likely to die from pregnancy
and childbirth than from abortion.
Even a study commissioned by the
Reagan administration and conducted
by the anti-choice Surgeon General
C. Everett Koop was an embarrass-
ing rebuttal to anti-choice claims
about the danger of abortion.
According to the National.
Academy of Sciences, teens who be-
come parents are at "serious risk of
health and nutritional deficiencies,
dropping out of school, unemploy-
ment, single parenthood, poverty and
long-term welfare dependence. Their
children have a high probability of
physical, social and cognitive prob-
lems and deficiencies."
While it is clear that parental
consent laws are not consistent with
a concern for the well-being of a
child, it is consistent with a belief in
absolute parental rights. Yet, what is
the value of parental rights if those

"rights" are construed broadly
enough to include actions by the
parent that would endanger a child?
Is our interest in parental rights
greater than our interest in our chil-
dren's well-being?
Ask this of Karen and William
Bell, whose 17-year old daughter
Becky died in 1988 from the illegal
abortion that seemed less a threat to
her than her parent's disappointment
or the judgement of a black-robed
stranger.
Many states realize the wisdom
in allowing youth to obtain certain
kinds of confidential treatment with-
out a parent's knowledge. This in-
cludes treatment and services related
to mental health, contraception, and
sexually transmitted diseases. Abor-
tion is clearly in such a category,
and attempts by the anti-choice to
draw comparisons between consent
for abortion and consent for ear-
piercing are ludicrous.
Conspicuously absent from the
argument of those who support
parental consent is the fact that these
laws establish a logical and legal
precedent for forced termination of
pregnancy as well as forced continua-
tion of pregnancy. Parents seeking
to act in the best interests of their
child in accordance with their
parental rights and responsibilities
could just as easily opt for forced
abortion as for forced pregnancy.
This points to another problem
that lies in the issue of force: force
in itself may constitute an action

that is not in the best interests of the
child, especially when one considers
the peculiarly sensitive, intimate and
life-shaping nature of pregnancy and
childbirth.
Given the adverse effects that
parental consent and notification
laws have upon teenage women, it's
not surprising that child and family
advocates do not comprise the lobby
that supports this legislation. On the
contrary, these groups denounce
these restrictions as dangerous and
misguided.
It is only the anti-abortion lobby
that supports parental consent and
notification laws and other restric-
tions on a woman's ability to con-
trol her own body. They do so be-
cause they believe such legislation
has the power to stop abortions that
women would otherwise have been
able to obtain. (According to the Na-
tional Academy of Sciences, there is
no evidence that parental notification
or consent laws reduce unwanted teen
pregnancies. ) Young and poor
women, the most vulnerable women
in this country, have been the targets
of these successful anti-choice cam-
paigns to restrict abortion.
Teenage women in this society
are not perceived as having a right to
self-determination and control over
their bodies. The hypocrisy which
surrounds this issue is astounding.
Young women's sexuality is vi-
ciously exploited by men through
pornography, prostitution, advertis-
ing and media. Young men are

taught that to be a "man," they must
"score." Yet a heterosexually active
young woman still faces a double
standard for her behavior. Parental
consent laws are a case in point.
They punish the young woman
while the young man escapes cen-
sure and responsibility. After all, he
doesn't need to notify his parents
about his role in the pregnancy.
In the context of a society already
hostile to the basic needs of women,
children and people of color, parental
consent and notification laws be-
come another weapon - another
barrier - to those seeking a better
life. Why is it that the same state
that claims to have a compelling in-
terest in protecting potential human
life - at the expense of the real
human life of the woman - has no
interest in developing a supportive
social system that would provide for
that life?
The false and romanticized image
of the supportive patriarchal family
upon which proponents of parental
consent rely only draws attention
away from these deeper issues.
Parental consent laws and other re-
strictions on abortion must be chal-
lenged as a serious threat not only to
the women that they most directly
affect - but to all women.
Cecelia E. Ober is a medical as-
sistant at the Ann Arbor Planned
Parenthood and a member of the
Feminist Women's Union, which
meets every Sunday at 7 p.m. in the
Michigan Union.

EarthDayKENNETH SMOLLERDaiDy
The University of Michigan was the site of the initial Earth Day
Movement 21 years ago. Today, environmentally active campus groups
are experiencing a resurgence in popularity.

+' l

LASC
Continued from page 6
the last 11 years. The boycott is part
of a national effort to force the Sal-
vadoran government to stop killing
its political opponents, and negotiate
an end to the civil war. In Ann Ar-
bor, more than 30 stores have al-
ready agreed not to sell Folgers, and
the boycott is growing rapidly.
LASC is for everyone who be-
lieves in the right of all nations to
self-determination. Meetings are ev-

ery Wednesday in the Michigan
Union, at 8 p.m.- just stop at the
information desk for the room num-
ber, or call 665-8438. All decisions
are made by the weekly meeting, and
new members are always welcome.
Meetings begin with a wrap-up and
critique of the week's news on Latin
America. So join us. To paraphrase
a famous 19th century philosopher:
you can talk about the world in your
classes; the point, however, is to
change it.

GEO
Continued from page 3
minimal control over hiring poli-
cies, working conditions, the cur-
riculum, and other basic University
policies.
We need to be aware of who
makes the decisions at this Univer-
sity and why. Most of the money
spent at this University is not for
the benefit of undergraduates or of
graduate students. We'd like to see
that change. It will not change,
though, until we have a better under-
standing of who benefits from the
University's current policies and
why the administration is so resis-
tant to change.
The University administration is
terrified of student control, especially
over course content. In a 1972

memo, President Fleming wrote
about a contract achieved by graduate
students at the University of Wis-
consin, "this document represents
largely a victory for the University
in bargaining against original advo-
cates who wanted to control course
content."
Our struggle is not an easy one.
Over the years, in the course of their
efforts to break the Union, Univer-
sity administrators have resorted to
violating our basic civil liberties.
Files from the Office of Academic
Affairs U-M archives show that in
the 1970s, University administrators
planted "sources" at membership
meetings and had in their possession
minutes from GEO meetings as
soon as a day after the meeting.
The Union is continuously
threatened by the Administration in

more overt ways as well. The Union
only achieved its first contract with
the administration after a month-
long strike in 1975 and was forced to
fight with the University for six
years before an Administrative Law
Judge and the Michigan Employ-
ment Relations Commission to ob-
tain a second contract. As recently as
1988, the University again raised the
issue of whether GSAs were em-
ployees and whether they were enti-
tled to bargain collectively.
There is more than one way to
break the Union. Since the Univer-
sity has not been able to do it
through the courts, they are going
through another process to violate
the integrity of the bargaining unit.
Engineering departments have begun
to hire undergraduates to be
"Instruction Assistants"(IAs). Ap-

parently, departments can hire three
instructional assistants for the price
of one TA.
At the same time, the Electrical
Engineering and Computer Science
department have informed GEO that
they have cut TA positions by 20%
because of budgetary limitations.
GEO does not know to what extent
such practices are going on in other
departments. We'd like our member-
ship to report to us about this.
Newly active members this fall
will have an opportunity to influ-
ence GEO's strategies and priorities
and gain some real organizing expe-
rience. There are many crucial issues
that need to be addressed at the Uni-
versity and GEO is uniquely placed
to have a real impact. Contact GEO
at 995-0221 or write 802 Monroe
Street; Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104.

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