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October 24, 1996 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-24

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 24, 1996


Protesters react
to abortion law

Los Angeles Times
WARSAW, Poland - Maria Wilk
has lived through turbulent times in
Poland over the past two decades, but
the demonstration outside All Saints
Roman Catholic Church here yesterday
was the first to draw her into the streets.
"l had to come for my own con-
science, and I had to come for the sake
of my children,"said the mother of four,
kneeling on the cold pavement in
prayer. "I've always considered the
commandment, 'Thou shall not kill,'
something that cannot be interpreted in
any other way.:
Wilk was among the tens of thousands
of Poles who came to the capital yester-
day to protest parliamentary plans to lib-
eralize the country's 3-year-old abortion
law, the most restrictive among former
East Bloc countries and second in all of
Europe in its stringency only to Ireland.
The Polish parliament is expected to
vote on the proposed amendments
today, and yesterday's demonstration
was the latest in a series of highly
charged protests that have attracted
hundreds of thousands of ordinary
Poles over the past two months.
The crux of the abortion dispute is
about competing claims of a woman's
right to choose and society's right to
protect its unborn. In Poland, the debate

has also become a lightning rod for one
of the country's major unresolved
issues since the end of communism:
How Roman Catholic do Poles want
their new country to be?
"The time has come for Catholics in
Poland to rethink their attitudes," said
Wilk, 38, who deemed the rally yester-
day so important that she pulled three of
her children out of school and brought
her toddler along as well. "I want my
children to see a different Poland."
Since the fall of communism seven
years ago, abortion has been among the
hottest, most divisive issues in Poland,
where more than 90 percent of the peo-
ple are nominally Catholic and most reg-
ularly attend Sunday mass. Passage of
the present law - which permits abor-
tions only in rare cases such as rape,
incest and danger to the life of the moth-
er - was a key achievement of the
Solidarity governments that ruled until
1993, reversing a Communist-era law
that made abortions freely available.
But the debate has taken on unprece-
dented virulence and urgency since the
election last year of President
Aleksander Kwasniewski, a former
Communist who has had a rocky rela-
tionship with church officials. Unlike
Lech Walesa, his devout Catholic pre-
decessor, Kwasniewski has made it

Some 40,000 Poles marched through downtown Warsaw yesterday to protest the
liberalization of the country's strict anti-abortion law.

clear he will not veto abortion-rights
legislation or oppose secularization of
Polish laws, including a new constitu-
tion that some want to be free of any
reference to a supreme being.
"The current law has caused much
social harm and human suffering,"
said Izabella Sierakowska, a
Kwasniewski ally speaking yesterday
in parliament. "We cannot pretend
that there is no problem, no 'abortion
tourism' (to neighboring countries)
or underground, that there are no
abandoned infants."
The bill would allow pregnancies to
be terminated by women "who find
themselves in difficult living conditions
or where they have other important per-

sonal reasons," but only after undergo-
ing counseling and waiting three days
to reconsider. It would also step up sex
education in schools and lower the price
of contraceptives.
As a testament to the groundswell of
anti-abortion opposition, a vote that a
few weeks ago was seen as a sure win
for abortion-rights supporters is now
considered a close call, even though
public opinion polls have consistently
shown a majority of Poles favor liberal-
izing the law.
Abortion-rights activists have
tried to respond with counter-demon-
strations, but there is no tradition for
such activism and many women are
still reluctant to do so publicly.

A mayor who is respected
within the city and university
communities for her involvement
with social service organizations.


'nS ' .4i


The Washington Post
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Nothing
better illustrates the upside down world
of the 1996 campaign than the sched-
uled appearances in Alabama today of
President Clinton and Republican Bob
Alabama hasn't voted for a
Democratic nominee since support-
ing fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter
in 1976, and before that you have to
go back to John F. Kennedy's victory
here in 1960. By
this time in a nor
mal presidential .:
year, the
Democratic candi-
date has given up
the state for lost
and the
Republican nomi
nee has stoppinga
worrying about it
So it is hard to Clinton
know which is
more remarkable, that Clinton has
decided to tempt fate and stop here
to help boost the chances of
Democratic congressional candi-
dates, or that Dole suddenly felt the
need to schedule a quick visit of his
own to make sure he doesn't lost
Alabama two weeks from now.
But there's more than Alabama to
this year's unconventional script. The
electoral map has been rewritten,
Clinton has captured what normally
are Republican issues and now
there's even talk of reverse presiden-
tial coattails.
A decade ago, Republicans built
their majorities by locking down
three of the biggest states in the
country - California, Texas and
Florida - worth 111 electoral votes
and then swinging out of that
Sunbelt base to the Rocky
Mountains for their core support.
That left the Midwest as the princi-
pal battleground and gave the
Republicans plenty of options on
where to force the Democrats to
This year Clinton has created a
map that began with his own trio of
megastates -- California, Illinois
and traditionally Democratic New
York - which together account for
109 electoral votes and that have
appeared solidly in the president's
column all fall. Beyond that, Clinton
has managed to keep a variety of
Southern states in play to the very
end of the election, something no
kills 24 in
Plane strikes church,
sets neighboring
homes on fire
QUITO, Ecuador (AP) - A Boeing
707 cargo plane crashed shortly afteri
takeoff Tuesday night in the downtowni
section of an Ecuadoran port, killing
the crew of four and at least 20 others

on the ground, according to local radio
Witnesses said the plane struck the
bell tower of the La Dolorosa church {
and broke up in flames, setting fire
to surrounding houses in Manta, a
town of 150,000 people that is about
160 miles southwest of Quito on the
Pacific coast.
A correspondent on the scene for
e e

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1 redraws.
Democrat since Carter in his first
campaign 20 years ago has been able
to do.
Dole's schedule this week tells th*
tale of the Southern states that
remain competitive. In addition to
Alabama, he is campaigning in
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and
Texas, and of those only Texas
appears a near certainty to support
the Republican nominee, with
Alabama also likely for Dole.
Clinton also has broken up for
now, at least, the Republican domi-
nance of the Rocky Mountain state*
Dole will stop in Arizona this week,
a state that hasn't supported a
Democratic presidential nominee
since 1948. And he has created a
solid wall of his own in the
But geography is only part of the
story. Clinton and his advisers made
no secret earlier this year about their
intention to steal Republican themes
and issues, and the degree to whic@
that has been successful can be told
in part by the advertising both sides
are now airing.
Who would have guessed, one White
House aide said yesterday, that in the
final weeks of a presidential campaign,
the Democratic nominee would be run-
ning more crime ads than the
Republican nominee?
Dole is running one ad critical of
Clinton on rising drug use, but th
president is running two spots
both controversial - on crime,
including one featuring James
Brady, the Republican who was press
secretary to President Reagan before
being shot in the assassination
attempt on Reagan.
The other Clinton crime ad is a
testimonial from the father of the
12-year-old murder victim Polly
Here in Alabama on today, thy'
president is expected to talk about
welfare and values, two other issues
that he has successfully coopted
from the GOP.
In contrast, Dole's effort to make tax
cuts the centerpiece of his campaign
message has fallen flat, the victim of
public skepticism that he can fulfill his
twin promises to cut taxes and balance
the budget. Dole's effort to strip a page.
from the campaign plan of Reagan an
other Republicans from the late 1970s
and 1980s has run into the reality of the
1990s and the heightened interest in the
ne cras
Radio Quito said 20 bodies were in
the town morgue, burned to death
following the 10:40 p.m. (11:40 p.m.
Ann Arbor) crash. It was feared the
toll could go higher because the

homes in the area of the crash are
tightly grouped and made of flimsy.
Leonardo Cedeno, head of the
Manta hospital, said 20 others were
being treated for various injuries.
The last major crash in Ecuador was
May 4, 1995, when a private jet went
down in the Andes Mountains near
Quito, killing all eight aboard, includ-
ing Argentine oil executive Jose
In Ecuador's worst recent crash, 4
DC-8 cargo plane crashed in Quito
on Sept. 22, 1984, killing 75 people.
s a sWomen

Mayor Ingrid Sheldon delivering keynote address
at 1996 U-M School of Social Work graduation.
Paid for by the ingrid Sheldon for Mayor Commitnee
Doug F .iesemer. Treasurer. 122 S. Masir. Ann Arbror 48101

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