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September 19, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 19, 2006

OPINION

f e i t t tti1

DONN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
EMILYBEAM JEFFREY BLOOMER
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK MEFFREn EdOOMR
Editorial Page Editors Managing Editor
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
413 E. HURON
ANN ARBOR, MI 48104
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

Contraception legalized
Non-prescription Plan B a victory for women
The Food and Drug Administra- political pressure, but it is difficult
tion's long-awaited approval of to find any other explanation for the
Plan B emergency contraceptives delays. In an unprecedented move, the
over the summer for non-prescription FDA chose to ignore the advice of two
use came as welcome news to scien- FDA panels of scientists that voted in
tists and feminists alike. The "morn- favor of making Plan B available for
ing-after" pill will now be available to non-prescription use. What should
women over the age of 18 without a pre- have been a relatively straightforward
scription. Though this is a significant approval dragged on for years, and
step toward preventing unplanned preg- those under 18 are still denied unre-
nancies, it is unclear why exactly this stricted access.
decision needed to take so long. The The role of the FDA is to represent
Plan B approval process was caught up the interests of the American people
in political meddling, and although the by ensuring that food and medicine are
outcome was positive, it may have come safe for consumption. It is worrisome
at the cost of the FDA's reputation. that a regulatory body with a history of
The proposal to make Plan B avail- independence from political influence
able without a prescription was first would now risk damaging that reputa-
brought before the FDA in 2003. tion. The politically motivated delay
Despite a recommendation from mem- in approving Plan B not only let down
bers of the Nonprescription Drugs consumers whom the FDA serves, but
Advisory Committee and the Advisory also damaged the FDA's credibility in
Committee for Reproductive Health, the eyes of the American public.
the FDA found excuse after excuse to The increased availability of Plan B
delay Plan B's approval, from concerns is still an important victory for wom-
that taking it would be too confusing en's health, but. one that took far too
to young adolescents to worries about long to achieve. The FDA has already
package labeling. seen effects within its ranks with the
The approval is a victory for most resignation of Susan Wood, the for-
women, but those under the age of 18 mer director of women's health for the
will still be unable to obtain Plan B over FDA, who stepped down in protest of
the counter. Girls still in high school the delays.
are arguably those with the greatest From a medical perspective, the
interest in preventing an unwanted FDA's hesitancy to approve emergency
pregnancy, as the burden of raising a contraception in the face of political
child is dramatically greater when the pressure could ultimately jeopardize;
mother is 16 as opposed to 26. When future drug research and funding. The
access to emergency contraception development of certain treatments and
requires a prescription, visiting a doc- medicines are more politically sensi-
tor or health clinic and then picking tive than others, and if the FDA's judg-
up a prescription may be impossible in ment can be influenced by the political
the narrow 72-hour window in which debates of the day, medical research
the pill is most effective. itself could eventually be stifled - an
The FDA denies bowing to any outcome no one should want to see.
VIEWPOINT
A public service announcement

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
They don't have hot flashes.
They have power surges."
-Amos Williams, the Democratic nominee for state attorney general, summing up his
experience with Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
at a rally on campus, as reported yesterday by The Michigan Daily.
What victory lap?
JAMES DAVID DICKSON
his the catching-up process that never else's future. What's worse, some
year, seems to take more than a few min- people feel justified and don't feel out
some utes between true friends. That part of place in airing their assumptions
of the people was awesome. I'll miss that. vocally. The problem here is not
who've brought But before long, the dreaded ques- that anyone's expectations are, per
the biggest tions came rolling in, and the best se, unrealistic or lofty - who cares
smiles to my week of the year had me wishing what they think, reallybecause what
face are people for April rather than truly enjoy- do they know - it's that such com-
to whom I've ing the "victory lap" of a fifth year. ments don't reflect that everyone has
never said a Before long, I was answering the his or her own time table. Everyone
word. They're my fellow fifth-year questions you expect to be asked as matures differently and discovers
seniors, most of whom I remember a fifth-year, but don't feel you should their interests at different points.
from living at Markley. For whatever have to explain because anyone who This takes some of us five years.
reason, we're still around. Whether needs to ask wasn't told for a reason. Today most people's parents know
finishing master's programs or engi- I thought you graduated? Why aren't better than to plan out their child's
neering degrees, tying up loose ends you in New York/Chicago/D.C.? Are course, and trust their offspring to
or writing for The Michigan Daily you gonna be here forever, or what? make the right decisions for them-
- we're still around. Within seconds, happy-to-see-you selves, since their offspring are the
Identifying a fellow super-senior becomes nice-seeing-you, and you ones who must live with them. But
is gratifying for largely selfish rea- make your move, preferring meeting the Well-Meaning Interrogators of
sons - chief among them my joy new people to being second-guessed. the world - relying on little more
that there are others of my creed at The typical Welcome Week wel- than a random assortment of facts
which to direct the obnoxious ques- come-back/good-to-see-you conver- and truisms about what "people
tioning us fifth-years are subject to, sation left me looking for the nearest your age" should be doing - not
but gratifying nonetheless. When exit or suddenly in need of a refill, only have your life tracked out.
they say that college is the best four Prepared as I was to face such They actually expect answers as
years ofyourlifethey aren't kidding. queries, I was nonetheless shocked to what you're doing here and why
You really start to realize this around by their sheer volume and the pushi- you're not there - "there" meaning
your fifth year at the University. ness of those asking them. Worse wherever it is someone who gradu-
Your first lesson comes during than the questions themselves ated high school in 2002 should be
Welcome Week, that magical period - which are often innocent if not - yet. The nerve.
between arriving in town and start- well-meaning at their base - are the But take heart, fellow superse-
ing class. Welcome Week 2006, rampant assumptions behind them: niors. The carping we confront
my last as an undergraduate, was that returning for a fifth year is some daily, which will hopefully subside
bittersweet, more bitter than sweet sign of failure, of poor planning, of a once the novelty of the new school
- the kind of week that made me Peter Pan-like desire to never grow year wears offoften has much more
glad to have more promising pros- up and of one's inability to leave col- to do with the person carping than
pects than the house party scene. Of lege life for the Real World. with us. You talk to alumni and a lot
course there were the great moments While it's a boost to the ego to of them wish they could come back,
synonymous with Welcome Week: know that at some level people have and would if they could. Enjoy your
cocktails with friends who've been high expectations for you, it does victory lap.
gone to New York or D.C. rounding make one wonder why people who
out their resumes all summer, the know so little feel completely justi- Dickson can be reached at
telling of tall tales that ensues, and fied in presuming to know someone davidjam@umich.edu.
VIEWPOINT
MSA just wants more politics
By BRYAN KELLY But in an interview with Stallings thing to bring enlightenment about
in the Fall 2006 issue of Spectrum arguments for the other side, without
Which Michigan Student Assem- magazine, she promised "to use guaranteeing anything resembling a
bly do you prefer? If you've been (MSAs) resources to encourage stu- fair fight.
following what MSA has been prom- dents at large to engage in (MCRI's) I know I don't feel how most of
ising regarding its efforts to educate defeat" MSA feels; I know I feel that discrim-
the University's student body on the Huh. I really can't see how those inating against anyone on the basis of
Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, two promises can be reconciled, race, gender, creed or national origin
you're probably a little confused as unless Stallings is talking about is immoral and wrong. And yet, I
to which student government will be resources from a different MSA - already feel that I've been spoken for.
leading campus this coming fall. one that is notunder federal tax code, This not only makes me want
MCRI, or Proposal 2, is a ballot arguably prohibited from taking an to win the fight against racial and
proposal that would ban affirmative official stance on MCRI. gender preferences that much more;
action programs in Michigan that use It's bad enough that Stallings it also makes me want to call the
racial or gender preferences in public vows in the Daily to seek a term not Internal Revenue Service, to see if
contracting, public employment and so politically driven as her predeces- it can convince me, and itself, that
public education. sors' while simultaneously promising the members of MSA and Stallings
In the Daily last week, MSA Peace to support resolutions endorsing the in particular are not politicizing,
and Justice Commission co-chair University's policy of using race and not lying, and not - as leaders who
Art Reyes promised "an educational gender preferences in order to achieve should Do Their Job and keep their
setting where no particular party or "diversity" on this campus - though political statements to themselves
vantage point has precedence over I would call this type of diversity, - stabbing me and the rest of the
another to make sure students are which is nothing more than state- students in the back.
informed before they make a deci- sponsored bigotry, a sham. In short, I'd like to see if MSA
sion (on MCRI) in November." MSA But it is even worse when, with ought to be dissolved.
President Nicole Stallings says that Stallings speaking from the bully
currently in MSA, "the culture is pulpit, MSA blatantly disregards its Kelly is an LSA junior and a

different. We're a lot less politically "nonprofit educational organization" member of the Daily's editorial
minded." (MSA wants more action, status and politicizes MCRI from the board. He can be reached
less politics,09/14/2006). year's outset - without doing any- at kellybry@umich.edu.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Send all letters to the editor to tothedaily@michigandaily.com.

A

i

BY LAUREL CHARTOW
I am writing to the larger University com-
munity in the attempt to get everyone to wear
helmets.
All you have to do is wear helmets and every-
thing will be all right. If you don't, then you
risk your life walking to class, avoiding people
on the Diag, going to the bar - anywhere you
can think of, you are unsafe. Trust me. I know.
This past weekend, I decided it was a good
idea to ride my bike without a helmet. I am now
severely injured, jacked on pain medication,
socially inept and - the worst part above all
- I have incredibly bad breath. I haven't been
able to open my swollen mouth to brush my
teeth. Oh, and by the way, my two front teeth
are knocked out, gone, left on a grassy knoll
somewhere on Oakland Street.
Wear helmets. They're as fashionable as they
are safe, coming in colors like black and gray.
Sometimes, if you're lucky, they almost look
aerodynamic and have fancy perks like sweat
holes and ponytail openings. The best thing
about helmets is that you can wear them during
class and feel the Styrofoam padding against
your hair. It's exhilarating.
Though this past weekend's injury was partly
the result of a steep hill, a curb in the way and
copious amounts of gin, it was also a result of not
wearing a helmet. Had I been wearing my helmet
to that party, I would have known that I looked so
much cooler wearing an aerodynamic pink bike
helmet than slamming into a curb, flying off the
front of the bike and landing smack on my face in
front of a porch full of people. It's a weird feel-
ing to not have front teeth anymore and to look at

your own hands, covered in your own blood.
Oh, and you know what else is severely uncool?
Being in the ER and having that up-too-late
nurse make snarky comments about the projec-
tile blood-and-wine vomit you've just released all
over her. "Looks like someone's been drinking
strawberry daiquiris ..."
Let me finish the cold tomato soup I'm eating,
and then I'll continue. I'm sucking it through a
straw, because, you know, my teeth are gone, my
lips are all cut up and swollen, and I might even
grow nasty cold sores too.
I want a sandwich right now, but my blender
isn't working. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a shake
from Tios. Peanut butter. Yes.
And oh, I forgot to mention this earlier, regard-
ing their stylishness: American Apparel is releas-
ing its own line of helmets. They'll come in solid
colors and, in a few select locations, striped too.
If my PSA cry doesn't spark the trend, good old
American Apparel will.
Last thing. Wearing helmets everywhere and
all the time is the only way to prevent another
terrorist attack. If Osama bin Laden catches wind
of a nationwide helmet-wearing trend, American
Apparel or otherwise, he'll get the point.
So in brief, people, people, people, please.
Wear helmets. Be safe. They'll make you a big-
ger deal than you already are. They'll get you
laid. They provide yet another thing to focus on
in class besides the words from your professor's
mouth. They're patriotic.
Oh, and they might prevent severe injuries,
from time to time. But who knows? They're only
helmets.
Chartow is an LSA senior.

Stiglichs can't tefl
uninsured from ilega l
TO THE DAILY:
Self-proclaimed proud conser-
vatives may not be xenophobic (it's
up for debate), but they're blatantly
willing to "muddle this important
debate" with unfounded stereo-
types when convenient. While
grumbling about illegal immigra-
tion, John Stiglich (Labeling liber-
als, 09/18/2006) points out that Los
Angeles County's public health
infrastructure is crumbling under
the weight of the uninsured. He
even drops powerful names and
cites a top-notch newspaper to lend
weight to his claims.
But while Stiglich concludes "the
most salient effect illegal aliens
have on public services is the use
of emergency care," that's not what
ERIN RUSSELL JOY

his sources, or even his viewpoint,
are reporting. Read what he wrote
carefully: "The crippling cost of
the hospital footing the bill for the
medically uninsured was a major
factor in these closings."
The uninsured. Not the illegal.
Indeed, UCLA researchers esti-
mate that illegal immigrants account
for - at most - 20 percent of the
uninsured patients showing up in LA
County emergency rooms. Twenty
percent.
It's not uncommon for people to
assume a wide range of things about
the uninsured: They're unemployed
or poor, members of a disadvantaged
class, here illegally, lazy. But with 48
million individuals uninsured, the
uninsured outnumber the illegal by
at least 36 million. And a huge por-
tion - 67 percent - come from
families where one member is work-

ing full-time. Many are white. More
than 40 percent of working-age indi-
viduals making between $20,000 and
$40,000 annually - far, far above
minimum wage - were uninsured
for part of 2005.
The crisis of the uninsured is far
more than a side effect of illegal
immigration. There's a crisis because
various (largely conservative) inter-
ests continue to ensure no serious
conversation about broadening access
to care will ever happen.
If Stiglich were truly concerned
with America's dying system of safe-
ty-net hospitals - though something
tells me he's not - he wouldn't be
using it as a bat to whack atan unre-
lated concern.
Suhael Momin
Class of 2006
The letter writer is aformer Daily
editorial page editor.

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4

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