4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 10, 2005
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SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX
EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor
Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
figures wouldn't be a
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce Presi-
dent Tom Donahue; commenting on income
potential for departing Cabinet members, as
reported yesterday by The Associated Press.
r am issu tq a formal
report on fine taunt
ballot tampering in Ohio.
Congressman, what about
the many reports of voter
disenfranchisement in you
own home town of Detroit
r ? here?
- -.41mat - I-, - -- L j
Pro-choice and hating it
DANIEL ADAMS HORSESHOES AND HAN3GRENADES
Smith announced that he
would be seeking felony
charges against an indi-
vidual accused of killing
a fetus. Granted, fetuses
are legally terminated in
abortion clinics across the
country. Every day. Depending on the age of
the pregnancy, doctors in white lab coats can
suck, pry or poison a fetus out of a mother.
Most often, the fetus is then disposed of like
What makes this case exceptional? When
"doctor" becomes "scared teenage boy-
friend," the law suddenly cares what happens
to an unborn child - particularly when said
abortion is performed via the repeated dull
blows of a 22-inch souvenir baseball bat to the
mother's abdomen. The only reason prosecu-
tors learned of the incident was an indiscreet
moment on the part of the 16-year-old mother,
who, while at a high school leadership con-
ference of all places, divulged details of the
event to individuals who alerted the authori-
ties. Police found the dead fetus buried in a
Apparently the law can see a difference
between the legal practice of sucking the
unborn child out of the mother with a surgical-
grade vacuum and the apparently illegal act of
beating it out of the mother with a mini-bat.
I, however, cannot - a problematic realiza-
tion for me as a pro-choice individual. Like
millions in this country, I am anti-abortion.
But for years the Republicans have polar-
ized this debate, abandoning common-sense
abortion reforms and forcing moderates like
myself to choose sides. When Clinton was
forced to veto the bill that would have ended
the disturbing practice because congressional
Republicans refused to insert language that
would have created exceptions in case of rape,
incest or when the mother's life was in jeop-
ardy, I chose a side.
They want it all or nothing? Fine.
We won the battle. Abortion is legal, and
short of a dramatic roster change on the
U.S. Supreme Court, will likely remain so.
But wrapped up in the political battle, we've
avoided a necessary confrontation with the
devil that we've been defending. We have con-
veniently ignored the disturbing procedures
that we defend. Most of all, we overlook the
undeniable humanity and human potential of a
fetus - qualities that make a fetus undeniably
distinct from the other sorts of tissues that find
themselves cast aside as medical waste.
Potential does matter.
It matters when a pregnant woman is mur-
dered in California, and we all intuitively feel
a little bit of extra grief for her unborn son.
It matters when a woman in Kansas is mur-
dered, and her 8-month-old fetus is cut out of
the womb and, now apparently worthy of such
legal status, "kidnapped" by her murderer.
It matters when a scared couple in Michi-
gan decides to abort a pregnancy by hitting
the mother repeatedly in the stomach with a
toy bat, because, suddenly, killing a fetus is
Potential does matter.
It's difficult to justify the idea that we're to
prosecute the boyfriend for doing what doc-
tors do almost routinely every day in abortion
clinics nationwide, with practices that are no
more or no less grotesque than death via blunt
trauma. Then again, it's hard to justify the idea
of letting actions such as these go unpunished.
I hope I don't go too far out on a limb here
when I say that beating a fetus to death while
inside the mother should never be okay.
There has got to be a middle ground on
this issue. Just after Thanksgiving, Newsweek
reported the former Democratic Presidential
candidate nominee Sen. John Kerry appeared
at a closed-door meeting of party loyalists to
thank them for their support and field their
questions concerning the uncertain future of
the Democratic Party. While there, Kerry spe-
cifically singled out abortion as critical to the
future of the party. He said the party needed to
soften its image and its message on abortion.
Most importantly, he noted the party needs to
convince red America it doesn't support abor-
tion enthusiastically, but grudgingly.
According to the Newsweek article, there
was a gasp in the room. But Kerry is right
- we all need to take a big step towards the
center on this one. With pro-life Democrats
like former Rep. Tim Roemer (Indiana), one
of the possible replacements for departing
Democratic National Committee chair Terry
McAuliffe, and Senate Democratic leader
Harry Reid (Nevada) taking increasingly
prominent roles in the party, its entirely pos-
sible that a desperate Democratic party might
make the first move.
The Republicans would do well to fol-
low - lest this debate continues as an all-
or-nothing proposition. What a tragedy that
Adams can be reached at
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Daily textbook shopping
suggestions are 'dead on'
TO THE DAILY:
The Daily's editorial (Buying books, 01/07/2005)
was dead on. The University offers many much-
needed, non-academic services to its students like
Student Legal Services and AirBus - but in the
important task of textbook purchasing, the Uni-
versity leaves students out in the cold - literally;
the line of chilly students outside Shaman Drum
Those shivering students deserve a better text-
book purchasing system - one that continues to
encourage patronage of local businesses like Sha-
man Drum, Ulrichs and Michigan Book & Supply,
because these businesses use enormous amounts
of capital to purchase hundreds of thousands of
dollars of books each year. Students should not,
however, be bound to these businesses and should
be able to purchase books from any seller they
choose - particularly online booksellers.
Information is key to this approach. Textbook
information can be integrated into the Literature,
Science & Arts course guide so that students can
take book costs into consideration when choosing
classes. A separate, stand alone website could also
prove useful by enabling departments to submit
textbook information whenever it's available.
Placing the burden on private textbook sell-
ers and students is not the answer. Textbooks are
essential items for instruction, and it is the Univer-
sity's responsibility to institutionalize the distri-
bution process. The current, antiquated system is
simply unacceptable. It relies on poor information
and high-cost, and it results in major aggravation
Texcas fan compliments 'U''
To THE DAILY:
As a Texas fan who attended the Rose Bowl
game, I want to tell you how impressed I am with
the Michigan presence there. As we had never
before played Michigan, I had not attended one of
your games. Of course, I acknowledge the excel-
lence of your football team. But in addition, your
fans are great, your band is great; the classic fight
song - your stadium cheer, and all of the other
Michigan traditions are impressive. It was wonder-
ful to see these two great universities and football
traditions wage one of the all-time great bowl.
games in the "Granddaddy of 'em all."
As Texas coach Mack Brown said during the
awards ceremony, it is too bad that one of these
teams had to lose.
Congratulations on a great game, a great time,
and a great university.
James P. Goodnight
WED4E$DAY, JAI. IZ
AT 6 P.M.
4ZO MAYNAMW Sr.
Addressing Ann Arbor's tenant problems
BY JESSE LEVINE
Reports of black mold, leaks in the ceiling
and other plumbing problems have become
all too common for many Ann Arbor ten-
ants, threatening their health and well being.
Additionally, joint and several responsibility
clauses, unlawfully high security deposits
and unexplainable cleaning fees have unfair-
ly hit students' wallets hard. Over the past
semester, the Michigan Student Assembly
has taken a strong role in educating the Uni-
versity community of these problems and in
advocating for a better living environment
for student tenants.
To prevent the high occurrence of legal
troubles among University students, I have
made it a priority, along with the external
relations committee, to inform student ten-
ants of their rights. Over the course of the
fall semester, we organized three different
"Know Your Rights" discussions, two of
which focused on lease signing, featuring
ly, the attorneys there do not have the time to
track patterns among troublesome landlords
because they're too busy litigating. If repre-
sentatives started chalking the streets about
the existence of SLS, the organization would
not be able to handle the influx of students.
Too many students on this campus are bur-
dened with landlord-related problems, rang-
ing from unsanitary living conditions to the
loss of interest that could be gained on their
security deposit. To address this widespread
campus dilemma and to better serve students,
Lewis intends to revive an old position of SLS
called the Housing Legal Reform Project. The
HLRP would consist of one lawyer devoted to
performing research, lobbying City Council
and litigating large-scale problems affecting
Ann Arbor tenants (like mini class-action
suits). This lawyer could also organize tenants
to negotiate with landlords to find a solution
to the feeding frenzy to find housing so early
in the semester.
When students sign leases almost a year
in advance, they are in a sense forfeiting the
ited ardent commitment to housing issues.
The board provides invaluable student input
to decisions that effect SLS. On Nov. 5 2004,
the board revealed issues of student concern
to Lewis, and unanimously supported bring-
ing back the HLRP or a system similar to it.
Implementing the HLRP may take some
time, but I have already begun advocating
for the program to administrators to secure
eventual funding from the University Board
of Regents. Vice president of Student Affairs
E. Royster Harper has expressed support for
the HLRP, and I am meeting with Dean of
Students Sue Ecklund on Wednesday. One
point of contention has been that the SLS
office in the Michigan Union has no space
to hold a new employee. To fix this prob-
lem, MSA will offer our archives office to
be used as a permanent home for an HLRP
As a student who has lived in both on -
and off-campus housing, these issues have
become a priority based upon my personal
experiences. It is important that student ten-