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July 08, 1992 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1992-07-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

4- The Michigan Daily Summer Weekly - Wednesday, July 8,1992

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EDITOR IN CHIEF Unsigned editorials represent the opinion bo Mihigan 48109
ANDREW M. LEVY of a majority of the Daily's editorial 764552
OPINION EDiTORS board All other cartoons, signed articles'
OPINON DITRS oardAllothr crtons, ignd aticesEdited and Managed by
GIL RENBERG and letters do not necessarily reflect the Students at the
DAVID SHEPARDSON opinion of the Daily. University of Michigan
Abortion battle moves out of the courts

Second of two editorials
Last week, Justice Harry Blackmun, in con-
curring with the Supreme Court's majority
as they reaffirmed the right of a woman to
receive an abortion, said, "I am 83 years old. I
cannot remain on this Court forever, and when
I do step down the confirmation process for my
successor may well focus upon the issue before
us today."His words serve toremindus that Roe
vs. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision in which
the Courtruled that abortion should be legal, is
hanging on by one vote-and thatan additional
appointmentby President Bush to the Supreme
Court would likely provide the necessaryimpe-
tus to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
Governor Bill Clinton is astrong pro-choice
candidate-despite the fact that asGovernor of
Arkansas he signed a parental notification bill.
He has promised to nominate candidates for the
high court that respect the right to privacy and
acknowledge the fundamental right of women
to terminate their pregnancies. While candi-
dates for the Court should not face alitmus test,
they should have a judicial philosophy that
encompasses a respect for civil liberties rather

Congress and the voters must take decisive action in
response to the Court's decision on abortion case

than a moral aversion to them.
There are important steps that need to be
taken by the peopleinorder to guarantee that the
fundamental right of a woman to control her
body is not abrogated. Planned Parenthood vs.
Casey, the Pennsylvania case recently upheld
by the Court, places severe restrictions on the
rights of women and summarily grants states
sweeping new powers to subject women to
painful restrictions.
In order to prevent other states from follow-
ing suit, Congress should pass House Resolu-
tion 25 -the Freedom of Choice Act. This bill
haspassedthe House Judiciary Committeepend-
ing action by the full House, but the Senate has
yet to act on this critical measure. Congress
cannot shirk its historic opportunity to guaran-
tee a "fundamental liberty" - as the Supreme
Court defined the right to abortion in the Penn-
sylvania case - even though Bush has prom-
ised to veto thislegislation.Itmust act swiftly to

codify Roe into statutory law to prevent future
Supreme Courtjustices from reversing abortion
rights and reverting to the 1950s status quo.
In addition to H.R. 25, Congress must act on
ahost of issues that relate to the right to have an
abortion, such as restoring federal money to
Washington, D.C., to allow for funding of abor-
tions for poor women - a measure that is
supported by over 75% of District residents. It
must pass legislation to overturn Rust vs.
Sullivan, the recent case that upheld the "gag
rule" preventing physicians from discussing
abortion in federally funded clinics. Congress
should overturn Bush's ban on fetal tissue re-
search - failure to do so will set back critical
force military hospitals to perform abortions on
servicewomen; for those women who are sta-
tioned abroad, the alternative is usually a primi-
tive medical facility. Legislators should also
overturn the prohibition on funding United Na-

lions programs that incorporate abortion into
family planning. These issues are the direct
result of 12 years of anti-choice ideologues in
the White House. It is time for Congress to act.
IfPresidentBush is reelected,action must be
taken to preventareversalof Roe vs. Wade. The
best way of doing this would be to make an
amendmentto the Constitution that would guar-
antee the same rights that the Supreme Court
heldtrue20yearsagoin Roevs.Wade.Afterall,
it will be impossible for the Court to rule that
abortion is unconstitutionalif there is aconstitu-
tional amendment permitting it.
But the popular action needed to sustain the
rights of women does not end with voting for a
pro-choice president or lobbying a member of
whoareillegally tauntedandintimidatedas they
try to enter clinics to obtain abortions -as is the
case currently in Wisconsin. Demonstrations
are still necessary to oppose the intolerance of
the"pro-life"movement.Pro-choice forcesmust
remain mobilized on campuses -as they are at
the University - and in communities to fight
for a right that is under constant attack.


Misdirected approach
In trying to halt the spread of AIDS, Michigan is
reaching out to the wrong people - newlyweds
M ichigan has decided to allocate precious are somehow guilty, the instructor agreed. The
resources slated for AIDS prevention to class did provide an accurate description ofhow
provide education about AIDS and other sexu- to avoid contracting AIDS; however, details
ally-transmitted diseases(STDs) to a group that about how to avoid other STDs were sparse at
for some reason itconsiders an important audi- best.
ence for such information - couples applying Michigan and the nation as a whole have
for marriage licenses. Requiring those who are failed to provide necessary information about
about to marry to attend classes on these dis- AIDS and other STDs to certain groups that
eases does little to stem the transmission of desperately need such teaching. If the state
AIDS inthegroupsinwhichitisnow spreading insists on enlightening prospective married
most rapidly -young, single women and intra- couples instead of more warranted approaches
venous drug users. Of course, marriage is no to educating the public, it must monitor the
guarantee against infidelity or STDs; but still, class's content more strictly in order to ensure
married people represent a group much less at thatatleastthislimited group is provided correct
risk for AIDS than many other segments of the and in-depth information.
population who would be better targets for simi- In order to transmit information about AIDS
lar mandatory AIDS education. tand other STDs to as many people as possible,
While battles wage in every school district perhaps it would be far better to make this class
over the content of sex education classes and arequirement for citizens applying for renewal
condoms in the classroom, there has been little of their driver's licenses or state identification
public discussion of this program. More amaz- cards. A captive audience would be guaranteed,
ing than the fact that such classes actually exist as most adults in Michigan carry one of these
isthat there appears to be little oversightof their forms of identification. The fee for operation of
content or conductors. In a session of the class the class could be tacked on to the price of a
held last month in Ypsilanti, one of the instruc- license renewal,ijust as it is now added onto the
tors commented that, "A while ago we used to price of obtaining a marriage license. This pro-
think that if you got herpes your life was over, gram would only have to bein operation for four
now we know that it is just a minor inconve- years before virtually all Michigan residents
nience." Actually, researchers have been find- would have received a basic education on the
ing herpes to be a much more serious disease prevention of the transmission of AIDS and
than ever imagined. There are long term impli- other STDseitherinsecondaryschoolorthrough
cations for the infectee's health and well-being a mandatory class.
due to the way the virus lies dormant for years. AIDS is currently one of our most pressing
Whenone class attendeeaskedifherpes was public health concerns. If Michigan is truly
the same as impetigo, a skin rash common in committed to stemming the spreadof AIDS, the
children, the instructor replied that she had no only solution is wide-reaching education. Most
idea. The instructor was also unable to answer married people run less of a risk of contracting
basic questions about the transmission of hepa- AIDS than other groups; furthermore, people
titis. There was a discussion of "innocent vic- with-AIDS who are married do not spread the
tims of AIDS," littlebabies who get the disease disease as much as those who have many sex
fromtheirmothers.When some members of the partners. The narrow focus of Michigan's cur-
class made similar comments with the implica- rent apprach to AIDS awarenesswiglsave few
tionthatthose who may contract AIDS fromek' if any lives. "' . '1 , 'J

A mora necessity
Although the fighting in Yugoslavia is a European
problem, the U.S. must play a humanitarian role
A s civil war persists in what once was Yugo- less a needed humanitarian gesture. The assis-
slavia, Serbian leaders have brazenly dis- tance of the U.S. should be applauded and
played their disregard for human life despite supported.
widespread international indignation. The call Itis encouraging that the U.S.has decided to
for "ethnic cleansing" of a country has horrifi- actin conjunction with the U.N. Security Coun-
cally reminded the international community of cil, instead of diving head-first into another
past European intolerance. Despite reprimands foreign conflict. In the past, the United States
from the United Nations and numerous failed has become a victim of circumstance by such
attempts to observe cease-fires, Serbian leaders actions as involvement in Vietnam. More re-
and their military forces have continued the cently,marines whowerepartofaU.N."peace-
merciless killing oftheBosnianand Herzegovian keeping" contingent in Lebanon fell victim to a
people.Realizing that witheach passing day the terrorist bombing. Last year, the United States
suffering in the war-ravaged region increases, pressured the United Nations to fall into step
the Bush administration has finally decided that with the administration's belligerent plans for
unenforced economic sanctions and diplomatic opposing Iraqi aggression.
pressure are not enough to ensure that innocent Although there are two U.S. task forces and
civilians receive the humanitarian aid they des- thousands of marines in the Mediterranean re-
perately need to survive. gion presently, the United States strongly de-
Last week, President Bush instructed U.S. fined its position as a humanitarian effort and
military forces stationed in Europe to assist the nothing more. President Bush and Secretary
humanitarianeffortsoftheUnitedNations.There Baker strongly oppose U.S. military interven-
is now a significant U.S. naval presence in the tion to determine the struggle, especially if it is
Adriatic Sea and, since last Wednesday, U.S. notpartof ajointoperation underU.N.auspices.
military cargo planes have been taking part in Thisnightmare for400,000 Sarajevansdoes
the airlift into the beleaguered land. These ac- not appear to be near resolution. For now, all
tions follow the fine example set by the French, that the United States should do is to give
British,andCanadiangovernments, whichmust assistancewherenecessary.Ultimately, the situ-
be commended for their more immediate re- ationinSarajevomayleadtotheU.N.aiding one
sponse to the situation. Their troops, represent- side militarily. However, steps must be taken to
ing the majority of U.N. forces in the region, see that a Serbian attack is not instigated by the
have secured the airport at Sarajevo for the U.S. military or any of the other U.N. forces.
humanitarian airlift mandated by the Security All humanitarian efforts must be applied to
Council. The administrationsaid Monday thatit the fullest extent possible, but it is imperative
is willing to use force to ensure that aid gets that the United States remain in line with the
through Serbian forces. other nations during these operations and not
The administration has been slow to act or stick its head out too far. U.S. involvement in
comment on the situation in Yugoslavia while it military intervention could cxacerbate the situ-
continues to see the situation as an internal ation by threatening Serbs. The U.S. shouldurot
conflict and is loathe to be drawn into such a attempt direct military intervention. The Presi-
struggle;however, theUnitedStateshas amoral dent should keep in mind the Japanese proverb
obligation toactwhenufellow humans are suffer- that thenail that stands out gets hammered first.
ng so greatly. Although the response by the Military intervention might seem a quick solu-
.United States was long overdue itis neverthe- }Lion, but it may not prove so easy to get out of.


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