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March 27, 1991 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-03-27

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Page 4--The Michigan Daily-Wednesday, March 27,1991
Wbe Midjichgau aiI

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
Edited and Managed
by Students at the
University of Michigan

ANDREW K. GOTTESMAN
Editor in Chief
STEPHEN HENDERSON
DANIEL POUX
Opinion Editors

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board.
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.
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Parental consent

Loophole in state law provides
T he new parental consent law in Michigan will
make it much more difficult for minors to
obtain abortions. It requires that they obtain their
parents' consent, orlthe permission of a judge who
feels that they are mature enough to make the
decision.
However, a bypass within the law requires
public school students from sixth to 12th grade to
be given the information instructing them how to
obtain a judge's permission.
Pro-life activists and school administrations are
concerned. The former feel that this is endorsing
children to go beyond their parents'judgment, and
encouraging those childrento get abortions. School
boards are uncomfortable about coming between
parents and children in this deeply emotional issue.
However, such a provision is at least a candle-
light on the darkening future of abortion rights in
this state. Pro-life activists have been trying for a
long time to cut down on the freedom of informa-
tion available about abortion. The Supreme Court
decision in Rust vs. Sullivan prevents state-funded
clinics from even mentioning the option of abor-
tion to their patients, even if an abortion is the best
medical alternative. Such a decision is absurd, for
it prevents doctors from fully executing their job
-- to ensure the health and welfare of their patients
by informing them of all their options.
E u acce
Supreme Court provides equal
L ast week the Supreme Court unanimously
overturned a lower court's approval of an
industry policy barring fertile women jobs in dan-
gerous environments that could harm developing
fetuses.
In the decision of UAW vs. Johnson Controls,
the Court ruled that the Johnson's "fetal protec-
tion" policy clearly violated the Civil Rights Act of
1964 prohibiting employment discrimination based
on sex.
The Johnson policy excluded all fertile women
under age 70 from potentially dangerous jobs,
claiming that if a worker ever became pregnant,
her fetus could be harmed by these workplace
- risks.
Thus, under the guise of concern for fetal well-
being, the company forced women to choose be-
tween sterilization and lower-paying jobs in order
to protect itself from future lawsuits involving
deformed fetuses.
This decision effects nearly 20 million female
workers who work in risky jobs involving danger-
ous chemicals or radiation.
This ruling is indeed a victory in the battle for

alternative for pregnant teens
The problem with preventing minors from un-
derstanding how to get a waiver lies in the nature
of the topic of abortion. Children will not tell their
parents that they are pregnant, let alone inform
them of their consideration of an abortion. Their
parents might feel abortion is wrong, or scorn the
children for getting pregnant.
Not telling children about abortion options does
not erase the idea of teenage sex or pregnancies. In
fact, giving more information to children at a
younger age might even prevent some from en-
gaging in sexual activity early on. Moreover, it
might encourage them to use birth control if they
do decide to have sex.
Right-to-lifers may think that they are saving
children from the evils of abortion, but by shield-
ing them from the facts, they are condemning our
youth to a life of shame, pregnancy, and other adult
worries.
The provision in the parental consent law should
be accepted and remain in place (despite Michigan
Right to Life's desire to see it removed).
All people have a freedom to know all the
options before them, whether it be someone con-
sidering surgery, a pregnant woman visiting a
clinic, or a pregnant child wondering how to get an
abortion without incurring the wrath or disapproval
of their parents.

UAC, Daily, LSA-SG distorted issue

opportunity -to unsafe jobs
women's rights. Through its discriminatory regu-
lation, Johnson Controls was effectively barring
women from higher-paying jobs and upward mo-
bility. Such employment barriers lock women out
of future high level and executive jobs, and rein-
force the "invisible ceiling" that keeps women's
incomes 30 percent below men's salaries through-
out this country.
But a larger issue we must not ignore is that no
worker - woman or man - should be subjected
to such dangerous workplace conditions. The
courts' focus should not be the welfare of a potential
fetus; it should be workers' rights to a safe envi-
ronment. To single-out fertile women and decide
whether they can be exposed to toxic and potentially
dangerous conditions is unfairly arbitrary; no one
should have to endanger their health to keep their
job. Such conditions abuse all worker's basic rights.
While this courtroom decision is critical to the
rights of working women, it is shameful that any
worker must fight in the courts for equal access to
an unsafe job. As the battle for women's equality in
the workplace continues, so must the fight for
every worker's right to a safe environment.

To the Daily:
The recent controversy
concerning the UAC Student
Soapbox Viewpoint Lecture
on abortion and the Women's
Studies Department's refusal
to sponsor the event raises a
number of questions about
how the issue of abortion is
represented.
UAC, LSA-SG and the
media have distorted a
complicated situation and
have failed to look at all of the
facts.
The Daily quotes
Women's Studies Director
Abby Stewart as saying
"Abortion is a very complex
social, ethical, and legal
problem.-We would have
created a very different forum
for this type of issue...We
didn't want to polarize an
already polarized issue. There
was no planning to include the
voices of women of color in
the forum. That seemed to us
a a very serious omission."
Nowhere in this statement
does Stewart even address the
issue of Phyllis Schlafly's
appearance or right to speak.
Somewhere along the line,
UAC and the Daily turned this
into a Women's Studies
versus Phyllis Schlafly
contention, obscuring the way
in which UAC Soapbox's cat
fight, posed as an open debate,
ignores the real issues

0

surrounding
abortion.
The experi-
ences of working-
class women and
women of color
in their decisions
to seek abortions 9
or carry pregnan-
cies to term are
completely
glossed over in
the "face-off' (to
use UAC's
words) between
Schlafly and
Sarah
Weddington.
.The Women's
Studies Depart-
ment was not
involved in the
planning of
UAC's spectacle.
It was simply
expected to
endorse the
debate based
upon UAC's The "
interpretation of teDc
the issues surrounding the Di
abortion.
The sexism implicit in
UAC's arrogance in not
expecting any difference of
opinion from Women's
Studies is further emphasized
by the fact that the co-
coordinators of the debate are
men who once again find it

BRIAN UANT I/Diiaily
Student Soapbox" shanty stands on
ag.
necessary to represent "the
women's side."
Women are quite capable
of speaking for themselves
and there is no singular
"woman's side."
Cindy Colen
LSA senior

Real jobs?
To the Daily:
English Professor Leo
McNamara (3/20/91) suggested
that it would be better for Mike
Fischer, teaching assistant and
GEO member, "to get a good-
paying real job."
I assume he means that this
would be better than being a
teaching assistant.
If McNamara's "good-paying
real" is not meant to be redundant,
then he is suggesting that being a

teaching assistant is not a real job
in some non-monetary sense of
"real." What sense is that? Not
professional? Not part of the "real
world?"
I challenge McNamara, or
anyone else, to prove that a TA's
responsibilities in educating
undergraduates do not satisfy -
or in some cases - exceed all the
non-monetary criteria for a "real
job." If lecturing, grading,
discussing and generally educat-
ing are not real jobs, then very
few people at the University have

real jobs.
It is precisely that mistaken
perception - that TA-ing is not a
real job - that the University has
exploited over the years to justify
hugely unequal salaries for TAs
compared to other employees who
have "real jobs."
It is this illusion against which
people like Mike Fischer and
other members of GEO have been
fighting for years.
Don Demetriades
Philosophy graduate student

jobsno
Washington's attitude toward unemployed a national disgrace
TL ast week, the U.S. Labor Department ac- and Reagan launched a vicious offensive against
knowledged that the number of Americans working people, which George Bush has been
receiving unemployment compensation had more than willing to continue. And the states
climbed to its highest level since 1983, when the chipped in: during the same time period, 31 of
country was mired in its deepest recession since them increased the number of weeks one must
the 1930s. work and the amount of money a worker must
But while these numbers confirm economists' make in order to collect; 20states changed formulas
increasingly dire predictions of a recession which to yield lower benefits. Today, the average benefit
could make 1983 look like a picnic, both Washing- package amounts to a measly $159 a week.
ton and the states are actually slashing unemploy- The returning soldiers Americans claim to
ment benefits and tightening eligibility require- support face even worse predicaments. Though
ments. Bush has won approval to spend $458 million for
Both moves underscore the callous indiffer- 500 new Patriot missiles - more than twice the
ence and wanton cruelty at the core of the "new number the Pentagon actually used in the Gulf-
world order." unemployment benefits for returning troops are set
In yet another example of the victim blaming at a maximum of only 13 weeks.
that increasingly permeates American political It is bad enough that American civilians in
discourse, the jobless themselves are blamed for a general receive so little support while unemployed.
situation which has much more to do with the way Bush's current refusalto atleast allow the returning
America's cynical cowboy capitalists have lever- troops equally meager benefits constitutes an es-
aged the economy - and gutted its industries to pecially stunning example of his characteristic
pay the bill. hypocrisy.
As recently as 1977, jobless ._workers in the The president is clearly not going to offer re-
United States could collect up to 65 weeks of turning soldiers more than a ribbon and a parade.
benefits; more than 70 percent of the unemployed The remainder of the country's unemployed will
were eligible for those benefits. Today, workers get even less - unless they fight for it.
receive amaximum ofonly26 weeks of benefits- America's working people didn't create this
the lowest level in two decades. And less than one recession; they should surely not be forced to pay
third of all workers can actually collect benefits. for it either.
In the intervening 14 years, Presidents Carter

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{{r,"J
The inconsistencies of choice

0

Lately, it seems as if Americans
have become less tolerant of others
- from "thought police" at the
University to flag-burning laws in
the federal government. Freedom
of choice is
fast becom-
ing endan- Brad
geredandI, Bernatek
for one, am B rn ek
extremely
distressed.
Fortu-
nately, I
happened to
hear of a
group call-
ing itself k
pro-choice. ;:-r
How re-
lieved I was to discover a group
dedicated to choice and I immedi-
ately sought its company. Coinci-
dentally, one of its pre-eminent
leaders and most probably a great
lover of freedom spoke at last week's
Universitv Activities Center

of Appeals, which nullified a state-
wide referendum involving abor-
tion. By a 2-1 vote, Michigan citi-
zens decided to ban the use of their
tax dollars to fund abortions. Since
the pro-choice speaker, Sarah
Weddington, seemed so staunchly
pro-choice -even invoking Barry
Goldwater's proto-Libertarian
views - I assumed she would be
appalled by the Appeals Court's
anti-choice stance.
Confident thata straight-forward
answer would follow, I solicited
her viewpoint and was shocked.
Before I could explain that the courts
had overturned the referendum, she
declared that any such referendum
should be overturned. Needless to
say, I was puzzled. Soon after, I
discovered that most pro-choicers
were like Weddington. They were
all so happy that the court overturned
the referendum and proclaimed
justice had been done.
Confused, I researched the pro-
choice movement and its view-

Surprisingly, the referendum
deals with property rights as well,
and assumes that the state govern-
ment belongs to the people. It is
supported by their tax-dollars. They
can decide, by their representatives
or state-wide referendum,how their
money will be spent. The referen-
dum, it seems, in no way outlaws
abortion, instead the voters chose not
to fund abortions with their tax-
dollars. One may still choose to
obtain an abortion and, at the same
time, the citizens' choice not to pay
for abortions is upheld. Choice is
retained in both instances - and
yet, pro-choicers aren't satisfied.
Right then, like a ton of bricks, it
hit me; pro-choicers ain't pro-
choice. It is a misnomer, a ruse, a
falsehood. It is a flashy name meant
to attract you, grab you, and in-
doctrinate you - all before your
senses return. In truth, pro-choice is
no more for choice than those they
chastise as anti-choice (pro-life).
Well, while they banter on about

Nuts and Bolts
IIWELL, BOY'S, WHY O ON'r W.E~
HELP THE I& e$Wi7 H

N NN. WAS ON .THtS
Ca5 iIiMOM

LdAT5r h1.

by Judd Winick
I com'mas
L*,ME'T'lt 4

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