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November 02, 1995 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-02

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 2, 1995 -5A

my cause
of foo
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON-The world's abil-
ity to match its population growth with
more bountiful grain harvests has fi-
nally come to an end, ushering in a new
age of scarcity in which food prices
could soar to record levels while food
supplies fall to record lows, the
Wordwatch Institute said yesterday.
The nonprofit institute, which moni-
tors global environmental trends, says
the initial signs of shortage are already
evident, with world grain consumption
having exceeded production for three
consecutive years and grain stocks fall-
ing to their lowest levels in two de-
"The evidence that we are moving
into a new era is close to overwhelm-
ing," said Worldwatch President Lester
R. Brown.
Most international commodities trad-
ers and government economic special-
ists have failed to see the looming short-
ages, Brown said, because their fore-
casts fail to take into account critical
changes in international population, land
use, water supply, fertilizer effective-
ness and fishing capacity, Brown said.
"We are looking at afuture so differ-
ent, it is hard to imagine," he said.
International grain production has
seen no growth since the bumper crop
of 1990, when 1.78 billion tons ofgrain
were harvested, Brown said. In 1995,
that number decreased to 1.69 billion
tons. During the same tie period,
Worldwatch noted, the world popula-
tion has grown by 440 million people;
meaning less grain per person each year.
The problem of more mouths and
less food is compounded by the fact that
farmers around the world are losing
land to global industrialization and
squandering precious water, Brown
said. At the same time, oceanic fisher-
ies have hit their limits, with the sea-
food catch per person declining 8 per-
cent since 1989, according to
For years, farmers have been able to
increase crop yields even as land sup-
plies dwindled, by increasing fertilizer
use - a solution that stopped working
in 1990, Brown said. After 40 years of
escalation, global fertilization started
declining in 1989.
"I do not think that national political
leaders have realized that the old for-
mula for boosting grain production is
no longer working, and there is no new
formula," said Brown, whose article in
the upcoming issue of World Watch
magazine describes as an impending
etisis in the world's food supply.

High court may snuff out
efforts to limit tobacco ads

preme Court tackled a free-speech dis-
pute yesterday that could halt President
Clinton's efforts to limit cigarette ad-
As the court considered a challenge
to Rhode Island's ban on liquor-price
advertising, several justices voiced con-
cern overwhat upholding the ban might
mean for government's regulatory
power over other potentially harmful
"Is your product special?" Breyer
asked Rhode Island's lawyer, Rebecca
Partington. "Is there a stopping
Courtroom hypotheticals included
mentions ofred meat, high-cholesterol
foods, guns, bullets and foods that
cause cancer when ingested in great
amounts by lab animals, but not ciga-
Yet the court's decision, expected by
July, could clarify the federal
government's authority over cigarette
advertising. That authority already is
being questioned mightily by the to-
bacco industry.
Clinton and the Food and Drug Ad-
ministration have proposed rules that
would forbid cigarette brand advertis-
ing at sports events and on T-shirts and
other goods. Proposed rules would ban
tobacco billboards within 1,000 feet of
schools and playgrounds and limit the
use of pictures and colors in cigarette

But the power
to ban speech
about something
you're not banning
Is ..different"f
-- Rebecca Partington
Rhode Island's lawyer
Rhode Island law allows advertising
for alcoholic beverages but requires
publishers to exclude any mention of
prices, or even the word "sale."
Partington said the state expected its
advertising ban, which dates to 1956, to
keep prices higher than if advertising
were allowed. The goal, she said, is
"promotion of temperance."
She argued that state control over
alcohol is "unique" because of the
Constitution's 21st Amendment, which
ended Prohibition but gave states the
power to control liquor sales within
their borders.
"A total advertising ban (on liquor)
would be constitutional," Partington
Evan Lawson, a Boston lawyer rep-
resenting the liquor stores that chal-
lenged the ban, agreed that Rhode Is-
land could ban all liquor advertising or,

indeed, ban all sales of liquor within the
"But the power to ban speech about
something you're not banning is ... dif-
ferent," he argued.
Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and
Antonin Scalia seemed particularly
skeptical about the 21st Amendment's
effect on a state's power to interfere
with commercial speech.
Scalia at one point called the 21st
Amendment "entirely irrelevant" to the
ad-ban dispute. M
Ifthe court finds no special relevance
in a state's special powers under the
21st Amendment, its ruling probably
will be written more broadly - affect-
ing other potentially harmful products
or activities as well.
Questioning from the justices im-
plied that they will rely on two past
decisions in weighing the validity of
Rhode Island's law.
A 1980 high court ruling said com-
mercial speech that is truthful, not
misleading and concerns a legal'ac-
tivity may be limited only if govern-
ment has a substantial interest, "the
limitation directly advances that in-
terest and is no more extensive than
A 1986 decision, which the court
seemingly has moved away from since,
said government may prohibit advertis-
ing that promotes an activity it could
prohibit altogether.

A picture worth 25,000 rubles
A Russian photographer and his bear wait for tourists and passers-by to have their
pictures taken on Moscow's Arbat pedestrian street yesterday. An instant
photograph with the bear costs 25,000 rubies, the equivalent of $6.

House votes to make late-term abortion procedure illegal

Anti-abortion strategy
shift gets 288-139
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The House voted
by a large margin yesterday to make a
rarely used technique to end pregnancies
in their late stages a crime, the first at-
tempt by Congress to limit abortion pro-
cedures since the Supreme Court legal-
ized them more than two decades ago.
Lawmakers on both sides of the issue
said the 288-139 vote marked a shift in
the anti-abortion forces' strategy in the
wrenching battle over abortion.
"This is the first time that we have had
a vote on the legalization" of an abortion
procedure, said Rep. Christopher H.
Smith (R-N.J.), a leading House abor-
tion opponent. He said anti-abortion law-
makers would "begin to focus on the
methods and declare them to be illegal."
"Today's vote is just the beginning
of a series of gruesome debates this
House will see on abortion," predicted
Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.).


Indeed, the vote was one of a string of
abortion-related matters before the
House this week. The confluence of the
votes has made many House Republi-
cans who support abortion rights un-
easy about how their party was portray-
ing itself. "It's a mistake politically,"
said Rep. James C. Greenwood(R-Pa.).
A similar bill, introduced by Sen.
Robert C. Smith (R-N.H.) is pending in
in the Senate. "I suspect there is a sig-
nificant degree of support for it here,
too," Senate Minority Leader Thomas
A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said.
Aided by graphic drawings depicting
the procedure, which anti-abortion forces
call a "partial birth abortion," supporters
ofthe legislation went into great detail to
describe it in yesterday's debate: A
woman's cervix is widened and the fetus
is removed feet-first until only the head
remains in the woman's uterus. A doctor
may crush the fetus's skull or suck out
the brain in order to allow the head to
pass through the cervix.
The measure would subject doctors
who perform the procedure to fines orup

$Today's vote is just the beginningof
a series of gruesome debates this
House will see on abortion."
- Rep. Patricia Schroeder

to two years in prison and to civil suits.
Physicians could escapepenalties ifthey
prove they "reasonably believed" the
technique was necessary to save the
woman's life and "no other procedure
would suffice for that purpose."
Only two physicians, one in Ohio
and the other in California, routinely
perform the procedure, according to the
National Abortion Federation, which
represents doctors, nurses and centers
that provide abortion services. Of the
1.5 million abortions done each year,
the group estimated only about 450 are
done in this manner.
Abortion-rights advocates said the
method is used only in cases when se-

vere birth defects - such as anenceph-
aly, the absence ofbrain development-
or conditions threatening the woman's
life are discovered too late in pregnancy
to use most other techniques. Supporters
of the legislation, including the National
Right to Life Committee and the Chris-
tian Coalition, argue that the procedure
is used to perform elective abortions.
Pregnancy lasts 40 weeks and is di-
vided into thirds, called "trimesters."
The most common procedure for sec-
ond-trimester abortions, those done af-
ter the 13th week of pregnancy, is called
dilation and evacuation. In this tech-
nique, the cervix is dilated and a doctor
uses instruments to break up the fetus

and remove the parts.
Fewer than I percent ofU.S. abortions
are done after the 20th week of preg-
nancy, said David A. Grimes, professor
of obstetrics and gynecology at the Uni-
versity of California at San Francisco. At
this stage, the alternative to the "partial
birth" technique is for doctors to induce
labor by administering hormones or in-
jecting saline solution into the uterus, he
said. He said that method is more expen-
sive and more psychologically traumatic
for the woman.
Reflecting the issue itself, yesterday's
House debate was emotional. Opponents
repeatedly described the procedure in
graphic terms. "You wouldn't take acoy-
ote, a mangy raccoon and treat an animal
this way," said House Judiciary Commit-
tee Chairman Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.).
Arguing that the fetus would be a
protected life if its head was outside its
mother's body, Rep. Charles T. Cahady
(R-Fla.), the bill's prime sponsor, said:
"The difference between the partial bjrth
abortion procedure and homicide is a
mere three inches."

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. bori't u~

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