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November 16, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-16

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 16, 1995

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

-,

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

JuDITH KAKA TE Frye Piuvr
Aborirn foes deploy a new
insidious logic to rob us ofnghs

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily 's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Maaiinda's rihths
Appeals decision affirms the working mother

ressured by governmental reductions in
aid to single mothers, Jennifer Ireland
undertook the twin tasks of college course-
r work and the rigors of child care in an effort
to raise her daughter independently. Ireland
was punished for her attempts at bettering her
life and the life of her daughter Maranda in a
1994 court decision. Despite being the pri-
mary parent throughout the life of her now 4-
year-old daughter, Ireland was denied cus-
Stody because she is a student and relies on
day care 22 hours a week for Maranda. This
decision - based on the flimsy argument
'that student life and day care are detrimental
to child rearing -thankfully was overturned
in a Michigan Court of Appeals ruling last
week.
In ruling to deny Ireland custody of
,Maranda, the Macomb Circuit Court argued
that Steven Smith, the father, could provide
Maranda a more stable living environment.
That assumption ignores the fact that Smith
himself is a student and has never been the
sole caregiver for his daughter. Asserting
that his supportive family is better equipped
to care for their child than Ireland is insulting
and false. Furthermore, basing custody on
the availability of continuous care at a par-
ticular point of life is shortsighted. Since the
June 27, 1994 decision, Maranda has been
living with Ireland through a stay granted to
her by the appeals court. Throughout this
whole ordeal, an indelible bond between
them has formed, magnifying the Macomb
court's failure to recognize that by removing

her from her mother, the court would shatter
the only stable relationship Maranda has
known. The previous decision was not a
King Solomon-inspired solution - the in-
terests of Maranda were ignored.
The case, spanning two years now, has
been a grueling journey that warped the defi-
nition of the single mother in American soci-
ety. While the government expects her to be
self supporting, the American single mother,
according to the earlier ruling, is also charged
with the responsibility of raising her child
without the assistance of outside child care.
The roles ofmother and worker are estranged
in American society, virtually negating the
importance of motherhood.
National trends toward slashing welfare
and aid to single mothers coupled with
workfare before motherhood force women to
depend on day care. No woman should be
punished for seeking a better life for her
child. No child should be tossed between
parents based on the availability of home
care. Unfortunately in this case, both have
occurred. Reinstating Ireland's custody over
her daughter is the first step toward the ac-
ceptance of a more realistic vision of a single
mother. Juggling the roles of mom and em-
ployee alone requires the concentration of an
air-traffic controller, the agility of an acro-
bat, the lifestyle of an insomniac and the
patience of a judge. Jennifer Ireland and all
working single mothers deserve all the aid,
respect and admiration their perseverance
and efforts merit.

A few weeks ago, a New York State
Supreme Courtjustice ruled that a Long
Island landlord had the right to evict a clinic
that performs abortions from its building,
because anti-abortion protesters posed a
threat to the building's other tenants.
Not only did this ruling place blame on
the victim, it encouraged anti-abortion groups
to continue their terrorist tactics, since it was
explicitly their death threats that led to the
clinic's eviction.
Meanwhile, the U.S. House passed a bill
banning a rarely used and highly specialized
method ofabortion. The procedure -termed
"partial births" by those who support the bill
- is only used to terminate late-term preg-
nancies, and thus applies to fewer than 10
percent of abortions performed annually in
the United States. Even for late-term abor-
tions, the method is rarely used. Yet it is a
viable - and sometimes the only - option
for doctors and pregnant women making
decisions about such abortions.
The bill makes performing what is medi-
cally known as intact dilation and evacua-
tion abortions a crime punishable with up to
two years in prison and $250,000 in fines. A
doctor charged with this crime would be
allowed to use as a defense that the woman's
life was in danger and that the outlawed
method was the only one that would suffice
-but note that the burden of proof would be
placed neatly on the shoulders of the de-
fense.
A similar bill, unable to pass an immedi-
ate vote on the floor as Majority Leader Bob
Dole had anticipated, is now being consid-
ered in the Senate Judiciary Committee and
is expected to reappear some time early next
month.

What the New York court's decision and
the House bill have in common is obvious:
They both infringe upon the constitutional
rights of U.S. citizens, and they both do so by
limiting access to abortion.
Of course, by limiting the rights of some,
measures and rulings such as these pave the
way for the government to limit the rights of
others. If a landlord can evict a clinic that
performs abortions because it is the victim
of violent threats, than perhaps racial mi-
norities, homosexuals and Jews who are
targeted by skin-heads, neo-Nazis and the
Klan can be evicted as well.
If Congress can pass a law banning one
aspect of a woman's constitutional right to
abortion, then really nothing prevents it from
restricting other constitutional rights.
Additionally, Congress' intrusion into
the decision-making process ofmedical pro-
fessionals can only compromise their judg-
ment. Instead of their patients' best inter-
ests, doctors will be forced to consider how
they will fare in criminal court, and if they
really want to risk the potential loss of time,
money and reputation - not to mention the
possibility of going to jail - for performing
certain medical procedures.
Yet while it is always important to keep
in mind the far-reaching repercussions of
precedent-setting legislation and court deci-
sions, it is also essential to recognize that
what is clearly under attack is a woman's
right to abortion.
While that right remains guaranteed un-
der the Constitution (and was upheld as such
by the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade), the
New York court's ruling and the House bill
aim to slowly chip away at its foundation.
It is no surprise that the first anti-abor-

tion bill to pass a chamber of Congress
attacks a rarely used method - one that
most people never even consider andone
that lends itself to the use of graphic posters
in demonstrating its immorality. Aftet all,
the bill says nothing about banning all abor-
tions, not even all late-term abortions, merely
this single method, which the bill's support-
ers view as brutal because the fetus itspar-
tially extracted before its skull is collapsed
and brain suctioned out.
But anti-abortion activists will noistop
with this bill, nor will the elected offcials
who rely, or believe they rely, upontheir
votes. This bill is merely one in what'they
hope will be many, and pretty soon it won't
just be specialized, irregular methods of
abortion being banned.
This time, at least as far as the bill goes,
I think those on the side of constitutional
rights will win out. Anti-abortion Repobli-
cans will have far more difficulty passng ii
in the Senate, and even if they weie to
succeed, Clinton would veto it.
The New York court decision is being
appealed, and should, it would seem, be
eventually overturned. Yet there are noguar-
antees.
Battles like these, fought over a wonan's
right to choose (something that our genera-
tion often and erroneously takes for granted)
will continually be waged until the Freedom
of Choice Act, which essentially prevent5
the banning of any abortions under any cir-
cumstances, becomes law. Our current Con-
gress will undoubtedly never pass such an
act. Here's hoping that the elections in 1996
bring us one that will.
- Judith Kafka can be reached over e-
mail atjkakfa@umich.edu.

MATT WIMSATT

MOOKE' S DILEMMiA

,.-1-
- -
~moo*

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'I'm sick and
tired of this. We
look like babies,
and the president
is scoring points.'
-An unnamed GOP
senator, commenting on
the budget imbroglio
between Presideni
Clinton and con gres
sional Republicans

Political blackmail
Federal default stems from Congress' ploys

H ouse Speaker Newt Gingrich and Sen-
ate Majority Leader Bob Dole shame-
lessly sent bills for the Debt Limit Extension
and Continuing Resolution to President
Clinton earlier this week fully aware that
their actions would shut down the govern-
ment. By tying unreasonable restrictions to
these bills -the passage ofwhich the contin-
ued functioning of the U.S. government is
contingent upon - the Republican-led Con-
gress has resorted to political blackmail.
The Continuing Resolution is a spending
stopgap that would fund government activi-
ties until Dec. 1; in the meantime, Congress
could pass the 13 appropriations bills. Con-
gress passed a Continuing Resolution bill
earlier this week with a provision that would
raise Medicare premiums. Based on this stipu-
lation, Clinton vetoed the bill. By attaching a
provision to the resolution that Congress
knew the president was firmly opposed to,
Congress allowed for a government shut-
down which led to the temporary layoffs of
800,000 "non-essential" federal employees.
The failure to pass a Continuing Resolu-
tion not only erodes the public trust in the
ability of our officials to govern, it also
creates an unnecessary loss of services. Visi-
tors will be turned back at the doors of many
of Washington's museums, New York's
Statue of Liberty and countless other govern-
ment-run facilities. Although people will
continue to receive welfare and Social Secu-
rity, new applicants will be turned away due
to the absence of government employees.
By law, the government is only allowed a
finite debt level. The annual extension ofthis
ceiling is necessary for the government to
continue functioning. Although the White
House can use few stopgap measures to avoid
debt default, these are only temporary. If the
HOW TO CONTACT THEM

government were to default, it would be
renege on its promise to pay off Treasury
Bonds, which could wreak great havoc with
the markets. Many believe that default on
U.S. Treasury Bonds would cause a great
loss of faith, which might cause investors to
flee and put their money in other countries.
Anticipating Clinton's veto, Congress at-
tached the following stipulations to the pas-
sage of a debt limit extension: a promise for
a balanced budget by 2002, a strict limit on
death row appeals, and new requirements to
hamstring the government's power to issue
health, safety and environmental regulations.
When Republicans linked the Contract with
America to the extension of the debt ceiling,
they were playing politics at the expense of
the American people.
Gingrich admitted that the attachment of
these provisions to the debt ceiling was part
ofan effort to show the American people that
he wants a balanced budget more than the
president. The Speaker should not be using
America's financial solvency as a pawn in
his political chess game. The tactics of the
Republican-led Congress disgracefully al-
low them to force their Contract with America
on the president through the back door.
Clinton made the right decision by veto-
ing both the Debt Limit and Continuing Reso-
lution bills that were sent to him by Con-
gress. Agreeing to a balanced budget in seven
years would cause painful cuts in education,
Medicare and Medicaid. President Clinton
has offered a budget that would cut the bud-
get over a longer period of time and thereby
minimize the pain of such drastic cuts. To
agree to Congress' provisions would effec-
tively be capitulating to blackmail. The
American public should be disgusted with
Congress for this disgrace.

VIEWPOINT
Affirmative action: Death of meritocrac),

By Avi Ebenstein
I believe in fair representation
of all groups in every field. If a
certain ethnic or racial group is
not represented in a field by a fair
proportion of the total popula-
tion, the government and other
institutions of authority must do
all that is in their power to bring
about a more representative ratio.
There are some glaring examples
of underrepresentation that must
be addressed. For instance, why
are there so few women on Death
Row? This must be the result of
prejudice. Also, how can there be
so few Caucasian NBA players?
Caucasians must be the victims
of prejudice by NBA coaches.
Now,1, as a human being with
Ebenstein is an LSA first-year
student and Daily sports writer.

the power to reason, realize that
the source of this disparity might
not be prejudice; rather, perhaps
women generally do not kill as
many people as men and whites
are possibly less skilled on aver-
age at basketball than African
Americans. But affirmative ac-
tion does not investigate circum-
stances, it makesjudgments based
solely on someone's skin color or
sex. So, affirmative action would
force courts to convict more
women of murder and require
NBA teams to field a minimum
of eight white players, no matter
how uncoordinated they were. I
do not pretend to think that the
issue is as simplistic as my anal-
ogy, but one cannot ignore that
affirmative action stretches the
bounds of reason.
This country should be a

meritocracy. When someone ap-
plies to college or a job, that per-
son should not apply as a black, a
white, a Jew or a Christian; he or
she should apply as a qualified
individual. If someone is quali-
fied for a position, race should
not stand in his or her way. While
I believe racism is not dead, this
is no justification for discrimina-
tory hiring practices. Should
someone's skin color allow him
or her to get a job he or she does
not deserve? The idea of affirma-
tive action sounds scarily similar
to horror stories of the pre-civil
rights movement- advancement
on the basis of skin color. One
must be very creative to prove
that prejudice to meet minority
quotas makes more sense than
hiring white males because of the
way they look.

I do not believe that there is
huge gap between white and bla
students at colleges, but the fa
that universities consider sk'
color as a factor in admissio
will create some disparity: I ha
a quite wealthy and quite brig
African American friend who w
offered a full scholarship
Michigan. Though he was d
serving, plenty of poor 'whit
were just as qualified as myfrien
but did not merit a scholarsh'
since they did not have the "bes
skin color.
I realize that many raci
whites are in positions of adtho
ity and this is a problem."
must address this by defendi
standards of equality as well
we can. But, affirmative action
a simple, racist attempt tosolve
much more complicated problen
lenge anyone on campus to es
plain why when tuition rises I
percent a year, students 'shoul
care about a campus policy the
won't even indirectly affectthen
People who attempt to compar
certain administrators to Saddar
Hussein need not respond. war
clear and relevant arguments, n
nonsense.
While Mr. Neubecker,didn
address how the Code suppresse
democracy, he wrapped himse
in the glory of the Constitutior
asking readers to establish th
connection. I for one donut for
see the Code impeding anyon
from voting in elections. His
the same self-serving tactic I d
...Apt M~C ,A Anridtp fry nra

LETTERS

Daily ignores
swim squad
To the Daily:
C'mon! Where's the cover-
age for men's swimming? On our
first meet against Cal-Berkeley,
there was only a small article
about us. Cal-Berkeley is one of
the top 10 teams in the country. It
seems that you take for granted
our team. On Nov. 6, there was no
article about the men's team. We
had a meet against Wisconsin and
Minnesota. Minnesota is also in
the top 10. Don't forget, we were
national champions last year!
Ryan Papa

tion. First, our Clean Water Act
was weakened and then funding
was cut from the EPA, curtailing
their ability to enforce regula-
tions. Now it's time to reautho-
rize our Safe Drinking Water Act.
Again, Congress is up to no good.
Under existing law, nearly 1
million people get sick and 900
die each year from drinking con-
taminated water. In 1993, 100
Milwaukee residents died from
traces of cryptosporidium found
in their tap water. Often times,
those most affected are the young,
the old and the sick.
The new Safe Drinking Water
"reform" bill is inadequate. The
bill introduced by Sens. Baucus

now fight to retain this situation?
In 1994, all D.C. residents had to
boil their water before drinking,
politicians included. For our
health and the health of the mil-
lion Americans who are exposed
to poor drinking water, let us all
voice our concern to Congress
that this country should put pub-
lic health as a priority.
Michael S. Olinik
SNRE sophomore
Code debate
is distracting
To the Daily:
I am writing in response to

Sen. Carl Levin (D)
459 Russell Senate Office Building

Sen. Spencer Abraham (R)
B40 Dirksen Senate Office Building

4

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