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March 10, 1992 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-10

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Page 4--The Michigan Daily- Tuesday, March 10,1992
[ditior in ChIief

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48 109
764 - 0552

Opinion Editors

Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

Unsigned editorials represent a majority ref the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Iformed consent
In the future a woman in Michigan who
seeks an abortion may be patronized and told to
"take some time and think about it." Last Thursday
the Michigan House passed a bill which requires
women seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours after
getting information about abortion risks and alter-
natives to make their decision.
The version of the bill most recently passed is a
supposed "victory" for abortion rights advocates
because it does not require women to view magni-
fied pictures of a developing fetus, as mandated by
an earlier version of the bill. The House version of
the bill, in addition to mandating the 24-hour
waiting period, would require private doctors to
give women seeking abortions a brochure from the
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecolo-
gists. The brochure contains no pictures.
However, this version of the bill is no cause for
celebration. This detail, though seemingly minor,
fundamentally infringes on women's rights. The
assumption behind this piece of legislation is that
women are incapable of making informed, rational
decisions: they need outside help or influence
when deciding whether to have an abortion.
Proponents of the measure claim that it is nec-
essary on grounds that abortion is "stressful." But
the state does not require waiting periods for other,
far more dangerous medical procedures. They don't

or paternalism?
really mean that abortion is stressful, they mean
that abortion is wrong. The bill masquerades as
benevolent paternalism - which is insulting
enough - when it is actually another attempt to
intimidate women into adopting their position on
Additionally, this legislation would apply only
to private physicians. Public clinics are already
barred from even discussing abortions. It does not
just discriminate against poor women, it discrimi-
nates against all women equally. It further intrudes
into the doctor-patient relationship, and falsely
assumes doctors normally would not explain the
The bill is more pointed at the decision-making
process of abortion than at abortion itself. Some
pro-choice legislators say it merely constitutes
informed consent. This paternalistic notion of in-
formed consent seems to be more accepted in this
context only because it is directed at women.
The real issue involving abortion is a question
of independence. Can women be freely allowed to
make a decision about their lives and their bodies
completely free from coercion?
This bill in effect says no; women alone cannot
make a informed, responsible decisions. With or
without pictures, the assumptions about women in
this bill are overtly insulting.

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Homosexuality isn't a question of morality

Castrating the Eighth Amendment

'Fast Friday, a Texas State District Court judge
X.LJgranted Steve Allen Butler his request that he
be surgically castrated rather than serve a life
sentence for the aggravated sexual assault of a 13-
year-old girl. The decision, handed down by Judge
Michael McSpadden, is ludicrous and dangerous,
and warrants immediate reversal.
The obvious faultiness of the ruling is two-fold.
First, surgical amputation of the testicles is clearly
cruel andunusual punishment, andis prohibited by
the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution. Sec-
ondly, this punishment embraces an excessively
simplistic interpretation of rape by treating it as an
act of sex, rather than an act of violence, power and
Our Constitution forbids cruel and unusual pun-
ishment, which includes all forms of corporal
punishment. Many would argue that this is a fair
punishment because Allen consented to receive a
corporal punishment. To the contrary, because
Allen opted for castration rather than a life sen-
tence in prison, he was effectively coerced into
accepting castration. Being coerced into a cruel
and unusual punishment is equally unconstitu-
tional as being sentenced to a cruel and unusual
The other glaring problem with Judge
McSpadden's ruling is that it treats the complex
social problem of rape as a simple biological
disorder. Sexual assault and battery stems from our
society, which tacitly endorses male domination of

women. Rape is not caused simply by male testes,
as this ruling suggests.
Conversely, removing a man's testicles does
not prevent him from raping someone. Rapists
regularly employ a variety of their different body
parts to violate their victims. Moreover, in some
circumstances it is possible for a man to achieve an
erection even after castration.
Punishing a rapist with castration is analogous
to punishing a murderer by taking away his or her
gun. While castration may have complicated physi-
cal and psychological effects, it does not necessar-
ily punish the heart and mind of the person who
committed the crime.
Judge McSpadden says that he advocates cas-
tration because he does not believe that jail sen-
tences reform rapists. While McSpadden may be
correct in this analysis, he has overlooked the
possibility of instituting legitimate programs of
criminal rehabilitation for rapists in the prison
Besides the obvious legal problems with the
ruling in the Allen case, castration raises important
questions about state sponsored eugenics. In the
past, states have sterilized mentally retarded people
and felons convicted of crimes involving "moral
turpitude."'Generally, the SupremeCourthas over-
ruled such policies. If necessary, the court should
be called upon to overturn McSpadden's decision,
since the government has no right to interfere with
the genetic makeup of the population.

To the Daily:
This is in response to the two
letters from Tuesday, March 3
("Human morality," by Howard
Scully and "Animal's don't prove
morality," by Charis Hunt). Both
are perpetuating the myth that
being gay is a decision or a
choice. That leads you into the
argument that it is either moral or
amoral. It is none of the three. No
one chooses to be gay. They are
born that way. It isn't good. It
isn't bad - it just is. While I
didn't choose to be gay, I am not
ashamed of it and am quite
comfortable with myself and my
What the letters you were
It's not hard to recycle
To the Daily:
A few days ago, I was eating
lunch in the MUG with a friend.
There were a lot of paper bags
and cups and dirty napkins at the
table from the people who were
there before us. There were also
some newspapers. A few minutes
after we sat down, a MUG
employee asked us to hand over
all the newspapers, which he
promptly tossed in his basket.
Not ten feet away was located a
newspaper recycling bin. I asked
if he was throwing them away;
when he said he was, I asked for
them back and told him that I
would recycle them.
Just about anything can be
recycled; call Recycle Ann Arbor
at 971-9676 for more information.
I have four messages:
To those who already recycle:
good job!
To those organizations with
money on campus: please install
more containers like the ones in
the lobby of the MUG (near the
ticket office) that collect trash,
glass, paper and newspapers.
To those who want to recycle
but feel it takes too much time:
you can do it ... after awhile, it
becomes second nature and you
won't want to throw things away.
To those who absolutely
refuse to recycle: I hope all your
tombstones are built on landfills.
Lee Bowbeer
LSA senior

responding to and what huge
amounts of research indicate, is
that homosexuality is natural and
normal, even though only a
minority of the population is gay.
It is not a disease or a mental
disorder. Homosexuality has been
documented throughout all of
history and in every nation in the
world. Scientists are now
discovering that there are
biological causes behind being
gay. By pointing out that homo-
sexuality occurs in species other
than man these scientists are not
trying to put people's sexuality
on an animal level. They are
trying to prove that it is natural
and normal. This is not a moral or

socio-political agenda. It is a
biological one.
This leads to the argument that
it is all a part of your Creator's
natural order.
For all of the quoting of the
Bible that your have done you
seem to have left something out.
Doesn't the Bible claim that God
created humans in his own image?
If that is the case, then some
portion of your God is gay.
Also, be careful how closely
you accept "God's word," after all
it was set down by human hands
- hands sometimes prone to
Kevin Cardani
Rackham graduate student

Many concerned by alcoholism

To the Daily:
As members of the Alcohol
and Other Drug Peer Education
Program, we feel compelled to
respond to your editorial ("MSA
Unaware of Alcohol Realities," 2/
It is unfortunate that you have
chosen to trivialize this important
issue in order to bolster a political
campaign against the Conserva-
tive Coalition. While it is cer-
tainly true that there are those
who advocate legal and moral
sanctions in response to public
health problems, to imply that
anyone who promotes discussion
about such health issues is
attempting to "dictate their
puritanical morality on the rest of
camupus" is inappropriate and
In truth, many students on
campus are negatively impacted
by the abuse of alcohol and other
substances. By a two-to-one
margin, students identify alcohol
abuse as the single most signifi-
cant student health problem,
followed by sexually transmitted
In a survey conducted by the
University Health Service in
1991, over 55 percent of the
respondents felt that the abuse of
alcohol was a major problem on
campus; 55 percent said that their
own or others' use of alcohol/
other substances had negatively
impacted their family relation-

ships; 23 percent said that their
use of alcohol had interfered with
their academic performance; 16
percent felt that they were at risk
for developing a problem with
alcohol or other substances. It is
well-documented that alcohol is a
co-factor in almost all sexual
assaults and other acts of violence
that occur on college campuses.
Editorials like the one printed
by the Daily on Feb. 11 under-
mine efforts to recognize and
discuss the effects of excessive
use of alcohol on the lives of
thousands of students. Education
around this issue does not have to
be preachy, prohibitionist or
sanction-oriented. Rather than
limit students' civil liverties, the
Alcohol and Other Drug Peer
Education Program attempts to
increase personal freedom by
providing information and
generating honest discussion. We
invite Daily staff members who
write about alcohol and other
substances to attend one of our
peer education programs in order
to gain some insight into the
issues as they are trulyviewed by
Liz Tannec
Kathryn Foley
Carolyn Brandt
Chung Ha
Lonnie Bennett
Alcohol and Other Drug Pee
Education Program

Bush ignores human rights, again

T ast Wednesday, President Bush once again
.LUdemonstrated his narrow, irrational policy
toward China. He vetoed legislation that would put
restrictions on China's most-favored nation-trad-
ing (MFN) status. The House is expected to over-
ride the veto, but the Senate is likely to fall short of
the needed two-thirds majority. To date, Bush
maintains a perfect record of 25 vetoes without an
The current bill would require the president to
certify improvement in China's record on human
rights, trade disputes, and arms proliferation to
restore MFN. China has shown disregard for the
public outcry against its policies concerning these
issues, causing President Bush's China policy to
lose support in Congress. China's MFN status will
be up for renewal in June.
China's use of criminal slave-labor camps to
produce their exports provides a clear example in
favor of such restrictions. Accepting China's ac-
tions is not in the best interest of the United States
for reasons of morality in addition to international
The Chinese government opened fire on hun-
dreds of unarmed students and civilians in
Tiananmen Square in June of 1989. Since then,
China has not improved its human rights record.
Many pro-democracy supporters remain impris-

oned and have not been tried. Economically, the
United States has a substantial trade deficit with
China and many charge them with unfair trade
Recent intelligence reports discovered Chi-
nese violations of international nuclear arms pro-
liferation agreements. They have reportedly sold
large amounts chemicals needed for nuclear-mis-
sile productions to developing countries in the
Middle East and Southeast Asia. Bush also sup-
ports lifting sanctions on U.S. technology. They
were imposed against China for their reckless
proliferation policy which obviously has not
In fact, Bush has tacitly supported China's
action in every instance. He refused to grant Chi-
nese students studying in the United States- an
extension of their visas following the 1989 crack-
In January, he met with Li Peng, the "butcher of
Beijing," which strengthened his footing on the
world stage.
President Bush has had the opportunity to enact
his policies toward China, despite a Democratic
Congress. Still, China has made no effort to com-
ply with U.S. concerns. If President Bush cared at
all about human-rights issues, he would realize his
policies are not working.

. .......*................ti...rJ.. . ."J.J:r. ""
Diego Rivera meets John Engler

"Irony" is one of those words
that's hard to pin down. To my
immense frustration, when I try to
define irony, I find myself using
the word "ironic" within my
definition. While I may have a

hard time
defining irony, I
know when I've
encountered it.
A few weeks
ago I realized
something very
I drove from
Ann Arbor to
Detroit via
route 94. You

by Matt


the Detroit Institute of Arts.
My favorite thing at the
Institute of Arts is the Detroit
Industry frescoes, by Diego
Rivera. Rivera, a Mexican
Communist, painted the grandi-
ose murals in 1932. The paintings
cover all four walls of a sun-lit
court at the heart of the museum.
To stand in the court is to
stand inside Rivera's mind; inside
his perception of Detroit in the
1930s. Rivera captures both the
beauty and the horror of the
American auto industry in its
prime. This is a Marxist's view of
quintessential corporatism and
manifest capitalism.
The main features of the court
are the two enormous murals on
the north and south walls. The
machinery and the technology
portrayed in these murals is
poignantly sensual. The factory
workers appear to be moving

economic and social structure.
Hazy, soaring lines draw the links
between automotive manufactur-
ing and industries such as agricul-
ture, chemistry, medicine, and
arms production. The obvious
interdependence is essentially a
warning. It's a warning from
Rivera that as remarkable as the
American auto industry may
seem, if a single leak should ever
open, the whole damn will tumble
down. If Rivera were alive today,
he'd probably say that loosing our
competitive edge to Japan was the
leak that broke the damn.
So here we are in the present.
In hindsight, Rivera could not
have been more right. As any
unemployed person in Michigan
can tell you, there is a huge danger
in making an entire state's
economy dependent on one
And what's so ironic about all

Nuts and Bolts
'RE Wtt.R' t 1L~ttEY.
71. TT N emy

by Judd Winick

can learn a lot about the state of
Michigan just by making this trip.
The highway itself is a minefield
of potholes. Each crater stands as
a perverse monument to the
state's decrepit economy and
shrinking tax base. Alongside the


I.~LAX? ' IM&1S 56iN@
DOWM ~, ~ 3I'M
I NAr vJA1~D~ _ AA


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