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September 14, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 14, 2005


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Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor



To the extent
that the
federal government
didn't fully do its
job right, I take
- President Bush, accepting
responsibility for the federal government's
unpreparedness prior to Hurricane Katrina,
as reported yesterday by nytimes.com.


Wt S SSA T45s.w ON
tog) TA ~AICi61 o O




The debate that just won't die

Know why noth-
ing gets, done
in Congress,
why children shoot up
their schools and why
half of marriages end in
divorce? Birth control.
Before legalization of
the pill, women felt the
true weight of having
sex - hefting it around
for a good nine months before shoving it
out from between their legs. But these days,
women are free of the screaming, drooling
consequences that nature once bequeathed
them and can have all the sex they like. And
oh, how they do. Hard-working men like the
boys up in Washington can't do their jobs
because they are too exhausted from trying to
please their wives' and girlfriends' insatiable
desire for sex. With the total abandonment
of sexual restraint among women, we have
loosened the tethers on all sorts of immoral
behavior. Our children see sex on television
and shoot their friends, and marriage never
stands a chance when men are forced to marry
deflowered women.
Or at least that's what it seems Wisconsin
Rep. Dan LeMahieu (R) must be thinking in
his anachronistic assault on women's repro-
ductive rights. Arguing against birth control
made sense - in the 1950s - when a wom-
an's place was under her husband, patiently
waiting for it to be over. Since then, women
have taken control of their bodies, and you
know what? History has since disproved all
those fears about rampant promiscuity and
the end of American values that LeMahieu
has managed to retain. Why has this become
an issue again?
This is the guy who erroneously declared
emergency contraception to be "chemical
abortion" and asserted that birth control and
emergency contraception encourage promis-

cuity among women. By sponsoring a bill that
would prohibit the University of Wisconsin or'
anyone on university property from "advertis-
ing, prescribing or dispensing" birth control,
LeMahieu has taken on the burden of ensur-
ing that parents can send their daughters off
to college with the confidence that public uni-
versities keep them safe from the weaknesses
of the flesh. No birth control, no sex. That's
how it works, isn't it?
Unbelievably enough, a majority of the
Wisconsin state Assembly actually listened
to LeMahieu, and the bill passed last June
with a 49-41 vote. The legislation specifi-
cally targets emergency contraception, but
months before it passed, Wisconsin Attor-
ney General Peggy Lautenschlager made it
quite clear that the language is vague enough
to be extended to "cover other forms of oral
and hormonal contraception." Fortunately,
the legislation poses little direct threat to the
women of Wisconsin's universities - even
if the bill survives the state Senate, Wiscon-
sin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) has promised to veto
it. What is frightening, however, is how the
bill opens up new avenues to restrict wom-
en's rights and rekindles a debate supposed-
ly settled decades ago, halting any progress
toward reducing gender inequality.
When we read about some states making
EC available over the counter, it would seem
that women are making progress. But that's
only if we ignore the heaps of legislation that
are doing just the opposite. Take Wisconsin,
for instance: There's the bill approved by the
state Assembly last June that allows doctors
to withhold information about treatments they
morally oppose, even if it endangers the life
of a patient. Tomorrow, state legislators will
hear a bill allowing pharmacists to refuse to
dispense birth control based on moral objec-
tions. And don't forget legislation proposed
by Wisconsin state Sen. Neal Kedzie (R)
that allows a doctor to lie about prenatal test

results if he suspects it will lead to an abor-
tion. For women, these are scary times.
Wisconsin is hardly alone. Moral opposi-
tion to contraception throughout the United
States is emerging with a fervor that belongs
to our grandparents' generation. Hippocratic
oath-violating "conscience clauses" are pop-
ping up nationwide, and four states have
already passed laws to allow pharmacists
to deny women perfectly legal prescription
medication on moral grounds.
Despite LeMahieu's underestimation of
the female population's ability to keep its
pants buttoned, the legalization of the pill
and introduction of emergency contracep-
tion didn't induce women to start opening
their legs for any man that came their way.
Instead, birth control gave women the oppor-
tunity to pursue their own interests, even
careers, before settling down and starting
a family. Empowered with their innocuous
pack of pills, the playing field has become
just a little more even for women, and birth
control has proven to be a pretty good way
to reduce abortion rates and to prevent, not
promote, teen pregnancy.
The Wisconsin bill should be seen exactly
for what it is - a direct attack on women's
rights. Whether it is pharmacists, doctors or
universities denying women access to birth
control, such denial is blatant discrimina-
tion against women. Although our own gen-
eration has no memory of a time before the
pill or Roe vs. Wade, lawmakers armed with
inflammatory cries of forsaken morality are
threatening to change that. Conservative
legislators like LeMahieu have exposed one
more place to chip away at women's rights,
one that we once thought safe. But then
again, who are we to complain? They're only
trying to protect us.


Beam can be reached at

Ann Arbor's new downtown


P eter Calthorpe
changed my life. It
was Winter term
2004 and the Taubman
College of Architecture
and Urban Planning held
a series of debates about
urban design - The
Michigan Debates on
Urbanism. The only rea-
son I went to the debate
about New Urbanism is because my Architecture
212 GSI was offering extra credit for attendance.
The only reason I was even in Architecture 212
was because of a childhood desire to design the
next Tiger Stadium, and even though I had missed
that opportunity, I decided I might as well see
what this architecture stuff was about.
The first presenter of the evening was Peter
Calthorpe, an urban designer from California.
During his presentation, he talked about some of
the basic ideas behind New Urbanism: the need
for mixed-use development, walkability, not con-
ceding to the car as the only form of transportation
and humane, people-oriented design. Something
about his presentation was enchanting and by the
end of the night, I was basically opposed to the
suburb in all forms. I always felt weird about build-
ing subdivisions on what used to be cornfields, but
Calthorpe's lecture on New Urbanism as a move-
ment gave me the ammunition to express my dis-
comfort with suburbia as I knew it.
As a nationwide movement, New Urbanism
is picking up significant steam. Inspired by the
likes of Jane Jacobs, author of "Death and Life
of American Cities," and the failures of many cit-
ies to deal with their loss of population and the

growth of their surrounding suburbs, New Urban-
ism makes the pedestrian its focus. The Congress
For the New Urbanism gives out annual awards
to the architecture and design projects around the
world that best represent the goals of New Urban-
ism. The Michigan Land Use Institute's ideas for
smart growth are based loosely on concepts of
New Urbanism. At some point, the city of Ann
Arbor started to pay attention to New Urbanism
and hired Calthorpe's firm to make recommen-
dations for increasing residential density in the
downtown/campus area.
In late July 2005,I attended the first public plan-
ning workshop that is a part of Calthorpe Asso-
ciates' process. Held in the ballroom of a senior
citizen building downtown, I was the only black
person in the room and one of about 20 of more
than 200 who was under 25 years of age. There
was a tangible sense in the building that people
wanted downtown to stay as is. One person in my
group during the workshop was wholly opposed
to high-rise buildings of any kind. Even when the
room reached a consensus that a high rise building
for this exercise was only 4-8 stories tall, hardly a
skyscraper, she was still so upset that she decided
to protest the validity of the entire activity.
Whether people like it or not, Ann Arbor
and the surrounding communities will grow. To
accommodate that growth, the area will either
have to build out or build up. Based on the fact that
there is significant opposition to building out (The
Greenbelt is proof of this.) and opposition to build-
ing up downtown (as mentioned ab ove), it would
be safe to assume that Ann Arbor is at an impasse.
Well, that assumption would be wrong.
The solution to Ann Arbor's downtown density
concerns is to create a second satellite downtown,

specifically the area around Briarwood Mall. Cur-
rently, the intersection of State and Eisenhower is
the epitome of a concession to the automobile.
Surrounded by office buildings separated from
the street by large grass berms and surface park-
ing, State and Eisenhower is a painfully misused
area. Right now there is a mini boom in office
construction in the area, but the lack of respect for
the pedestrian will only exacerbate the horrendous
traffic flow.
Wolverine Tower, the University-owned build-
ing on the Southwest corner of the State and
Eisenhower intersection, is a five- to 10-minute
walk from Briarwood Mall - easily walking dis-
tance. However, people would be considered out
of their minds to cross State Street to get from one
destination to the other. If residential development
were to be introduced immediately surrounding a
reconstituted, Town Center-style Briarwood Mall,
the area could be turned into a district that fea-
tured shopping, dining, employment and living.
By increasing pedestrian access to the surround-
ing amenities, it could decrease auto-dependent
living and give young people a reason to want to
stay in the region as opposed to leaving the state
for places like New York and Chicago.
The City of Ann Arbor should not be pay-
ing Calthorpe Associates $200,000 just to plan
downtown Ann Arbor. While there is a need to use
sound judgment when considering adding build-
ings downtown, there is also a need to increase
residential density elsewhere in town. Ann Arbor
needs to make plans to make Briarwood Mall its
second downtown.

Betts can be reached at


Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Amanda Burns, Whitney Dibo,
Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Eric Jackson, Brian Kelly, Theresa Kennelly,
R aD.' rahl.oir 1 Ar. -t r[ R ns DRsell. Dan Skowrnnski Brian Slace, nren

Writer misrepresents
conservative beliefs

crazy. I found it strange that Manthey says,
"So yes, let's allow the people to decide." But
then immediatelv he one into hvnothetical

liberals that state legislatures will agree with
the Blackmun majority?" This means that the
neonle of each state would decide on abortion.


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