Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Friday, May 6, 2016

Marriage in England and Wales Becoming Less Popular

From Daily Mail:

Fewer people are getting married and the number of religious weddings have dropped significantly, the latest official figures revealed this morning.

The number of people tying the knot fell for the first time in four years, with civil ceremonies making up more than seven in ten marriages.

But the figures for marriages in England and Wales show that pensioners are bucking the trend, with a steady increase in the marriage rate among those aged over 65.

This trend is driven in particular by female pensioners, with the marriage rate among women aged over 65 rising by a third over the last decade.

The latest published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) covers marriages that took place in 2013.

Statisticians said the fall in the number of marriages could be due to couples choosing to postpone their marriage to avoid the number 13 – perceived as unlucky by many different cultures.

The average age at marriage increased slightly for men and women. The average age was 36.7 years for men – up from 36.5 in 2012 and for women it was 34.3 years – up from 34 in 2012.  

ONS statistician Elizabeth McLaren said: 'The fall could indicate the continuation of the long-term decline in marriages since 1972 or could be due to couples choosing to postpone their marriage to avoid the number 13 which is perceived as unlucky by many cultures.' 

She added: 'When you have the freedom to choose there are probably certain dates you might avoid, like Friday 13th and that sort of thing.

'It is going to be interesting to see whether this is part of a long-term decline or if it will change again.' 

The number of religious ceremonies fell by 14 per cent compared to 2012 - continuing the downward trend since 1990, while civil ceremonies fell by 6 per cent compared with 2012. 

Read more here.

May 6, 2016 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Real-World Readiness Conference

This conference will take place at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, from June 9-11, 2016.

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning 2016 summer conference will address the many ways that law schools are preparing students to enter the real world of law practice. With the rising demands for "practice-ready" lawyers, this topic has taken on increased urgency in recent years. How are law schools and law professors taking on the challenge of graduating students who are ready to join the real world of practicing attorneys? Can we be doing more?

Workshops will address real-world readiness in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, or academic support teaching. Workshops will present innovative teaching materials, course designs, and curricular or program designs. Each workshop will also include materials that participants can use during the workshop and also when they return to their campuses.

Schedule of Events

Washburn University School of Law will host a welcome reception on the evening of Thursday, June 9, and the conference workshops will take place at the law school all day on Friday, June 10, and until the early afternoon on Saturday, June 11.

For more information, please contact any of the Institute co-directors:

Professor Emily Grant
emily.grant@washburn.edu

Associate Dean Sandra Simpson
ssimpson@lawschool.gonzaga.edu

Professor Kelly Terry
ksterry@ualr.edu

 

Download Full Schedule Here

May 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Georgia Governor OKs State Funds for Anti-Abortion Centers

From ABC News:

Georgia can give state money to "pregnancy resource centers" that offer medical and other services to pregnant women while discouraging them from getting abortions, under legislation signed Tuesday by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

The measure's sponsor, Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford, described her bill as a "positive" response to videos released this summer by abortion opponents showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing procedures for obtaining tissue from aborted fetuses for research.

A Texas grand jury later cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

Deal signed the bill in a private ceremony and didn't issue a public statement.

Georgia now joins at least 10 other states that specifically dedicate funding to anti-abortion efforts, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports legal access to abortion. Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the organization, said the practice began in some states decades ago.

Opponents of the grants say the centers use deceptive advertising to bring pregnant women in but won't discuss all legal options. They also argue that the state could still contribute financially toward lowering abortion numbers, through sex education or counseling programs.

"The state should be ensuring women are getting the best, most accurate and relevant information," Nash said. She added that bill Deal signed "allows state funds to go to organizations providing women with incomplete information or outright misinformation."

Emily Matson, executive director of the anti-abortion organization Georgia Life Alliance, said about 70 facilities in Georgia could qualify for the grant. About 40 of those centers are licensed to provide medical care, she said, while the rest provide other services including clothing and other supplies.

Matson said the organization hopes more funding for the centers will reduce the number of abortions. State records show about 27,500 abortions were performed in Georgia in 2013, the latest year available.

"When you're facing an abortion total of more than 27,000 babies being terminated each year, you're going to look closer at what we can do to ensure women truly are making choices and not just being caught in a for-profit business scheme," Matson said.

Read more here.

 

May 5, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Germany Expresses Regret Over Failure to Stop Child Abuse at Nazi Nurse's Commune

From NBC News:

Germany's foreign ministry acknowledged Tuesday that its diplomats "looked away" and failed to prevent child abuse at a commune founded by a Nazi pedophile in Chile.

Paul Schaefer — a Nazi nurse who became a preacher — set up the secretive Colonia Dignidad commune in Chile after fleeing Germany for South America in 1961.

He died in a Chilean prison in 2010 at the age of 89 while serving a 20-year sentence for child abuse, arms possession and human-rights violations.

Children who lived at the Colonia Dignidad commune testified at trials of colony leaders about being sexually abused, enslaved and separated from their parents.

On Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier publicly expressed regret over any role his ministry had in the decades-long scandal.

"Over the course of many years, from the 60s to the 80s, German diplomats at best looked away," Steinmeier said.

He said it was "no glorious chapter" for Germany's embassy in Chile, adding that envoys "clearly did too little for the protection of their fellow citizens in this colony."

At its height in the 70s and 80s, Colonia Dignidad had some 300 Chilean and German residents. Most worked as farmers at the commune, which was guarded by barbed wire and watchtowers.

Women had to wear braided pigtails and colorful dirndls — a traditional German outfit — while men often were seen in lederhosen, the male equivalent.

The German parliament in 2008 released funds for projects supporting former commune members' reintegration into society.

Read more here.

May 4, 2016 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Abortion in Europe

From NBC News:

Graphic pictures of aborted fetuses, prayer vigils and protesters. It's no coincidence that the anti-abortion movement looks the same from London to Dublin to Warsaw.

It's mostly Gregg Cunningham. The California-based activist has been farming out his imagery and strategies to like-minded groups in Europe for more than five years.

It started with the trained lawyer building a collection of thousands of photos.

"Aborted baby pictures didn't really exist on any sort of commercial scale in the U.S. until we began to compile the archive that we use," Cunningham explained.

He won't say how or where the images were shot but takes pride in their professional lighting.

"We invented the genre of aborted baby photos that were shot by commercial photographers," Cunningham said. "We pioneered the use of that material here in the United States first."

The Republican former two-term member of Pennsylvania's House of Representatives regularly travels to Europe and shares his pictures — plus notes, advice and strategy.

Pro-abortion activists, providers and seekers in Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, England and beyond have been confronted with the same photos of dismembered fetuses as American women from Austin to Buffalo.Some have had holy water thrown on them. Others are called "murderous whores" and are filmed.

Read more here.

May 3, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 2, 2016

The State of Facebook and Family Law

From California Lawyer:

Facebook is ubiquitous now, right? What “You’ve Got Mail!” was to the 90s, “Like” buttons and status updates are to today’s Internet users. And while I was one of the first college students to use Facebook, and I watched it grow from a college kids’ message board to the social network, I knew it had really gone mainstream when a barely literate relative who has trouble operating a flip-phone “liked” one of my photos. If he can figure it out, all lawyers need to be able to do so as well, because Facebook’s ubiquity means it is a primary form of communication—on par with email and postal mail.

Not sold yet? What if I told you that a court had allowed service of process in a divorce case through Facebook? Or that two people recently found themselves in contempt of court for Facebooking a protected party? What if I told you a bunch of cool stories about opposing parties ruining their cases by broadcasting the finer details of their lifestyle to their online friends?

Maybe then you’d add a Facebook warning for your clients, and regular Facebook checks for opposing clients, to your typical case preparation strategy. If not, perhaps an ethics rule requiring familiarity with social media would be enough to get you on the bandwagon—Facebook isn’t new, but an ethical duty to know how to use it certainly would be.

This is a general roundup of the state of Facebook and family law: from cases on the frontier, to stalking opposing clients, to a wave of new ethics rules regarding proficiency with technology.

Read more here.

 

 

May 2, 2016 in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

8 Steps to Rebuild Your Financial Life After Divorce

From MarketWatch:

If you’ve gone through it, you don’t need me to tell you how financially devastating divorce can be. Many people lose half (or more) of everything they’ve saved over their lives. This includes their home, retirement, business and investments. If that isn’t bad enough, divorced people often see their income wither while their expenses explode. No doubt about it, divorce is bad news financially.

Having said that, all is not lost. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your situation significantly. Specifically, if you’ve gone through divorce recently, here are eight things you can do now to help yourself get back on track as quickly as possible.

1. Do Not Panic Or Waste Energy

This is much easier said than done I realize, but you need every ounce of energy you can muster to rebuild your financial life. Don’t waste time worrying – it won’t help. Also, please know that you are not powerless. There are plenty of steps you can take that will help turn things around quickly (which I’ll share in a minute). Don’t worry. You have many choices, and as bad as it may seem, you probably aren’t going to be out in the street. Don’t waste energy worrying because it serves no purpose and saps you of the energy you need to get things back on track. (A divorce survival guide may be helpful too.)

2. Inventory Your Financial Life

You may or may not understand how finances and investments work right now, but that doesn’t matter. In time, you will improve your knowledge.

At this moment, it’s time to account for where you are and that means putting together an inventory of your financial life; income, expenses, assets and liabilities. I suggest you create a little spreadsheet or loose leaf binder. Make a separate sheet for income, another for expenses, another for assets and the last sheet for liabilities.

On each sheet, make a line item entry with the type of account, amount, who owns the account, what the rate is and the contact information at each institution.

It’s astonishing how empowering it is just to have one place to go to in order to get an overview of your finances. Knowledge is power, friend — take advantage of it.

Read more here.

May 1, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Minnesota's 5-Day Wait For Marriage License Could End

From MPRNews:

Minnesota's five-day wait for a marriage license, a law which dates back to the Great Depression, could soon be a thing of the past.

The state is only one of two that make couples wait so long between applying for a license and receiving one. The only way to avoid the wait in Minnesota is to get a judge to sign a waiver.

Hennepin County auditor and treasurer Mark Chapin said the law first appeared in Minnesota in 1931, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

"During the Great Depression, there was a lot of concern about whether people could support each other and support their children," Chapin said. The wait may have given the engaged enough pause to confirm that support.

Supporters of the change contend the five-day wait is inconvenient for couples, counties and the judiciary. They point out that it doesn't take counties five days to prepare the license, and that the waiting period means couples either return to the licensing office five days later to pick up their marriage license or have it mailed to them, which requires extra staff time.

"We believe the waiting period is burdensome," Chapin told state senators in late March.

Most couples asking for a waiver in Hennepin County did not know about the wait or did not want to wait, Chapin said. The judges always sign off on the waiver.

Read more here.

April 30, 2016 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 29, 2016

Breger: "Healing Sex-Trafficked Children: A Domestic Family Law Approach to an International Epidemic"

Melissa L. Breger has recently posted to SSRN her article Healing Sex-Trafficked Children: A Domestic Family Law Approach to an International Epidemic, 118 W. Va. L. Rev. 1131 (2016).   Here is the abstract:

Children who have been trafficked into and within the United States for commercial sexual exploitation endure significant psychological and physical trauma. Because there is a salient nexus between the inherent violence of trafficking and that of family violence and childhood sexual abuse, this Article explores how the United States might assist victimized children by utilizing governmental systems that are already in existence. Specifically, the therapeutic foster care (“TFC”) model is an established model of care that is flexible enough to meet the numerous and complicated issues associated with the reintegration and treatment needs of child sex-trafficking survivors. This Article recommends that TFC be adapted and expanded to heal sex-trafficked children in a safe, nurturing, and culturally competent manner. Particularly in tandem with specialized programs or non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), the TFC model may be another avenue in healing the sex-trafficked children within our borders.

April 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Conservative on Divorce

From the Washington Post:

Contrary to popular belief, marriage isn’t dead. It’s not even dying.

The institution is probably more respected and admired than ever before — just not in a way that encourages millennials to partake in it.

You can see this in national survey data, recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about Americans’ views of various family arrangements.

At first glance the report suggests that Americans may indeed be less devoted to the sacrosanctity of marriage — or at least that we’ve become more tolerant of once-stigmatized non-marital sexual behaviors . In 2002, for example, slightly more than 6 in 10 Americans said they thought it was okay for a young couple to live together without being married. By 2011-2013, the period of the most recent survey, the share had jumped to more than 7 in 10.

Similarly, the report finds that Americans have gotten more accepting of women who bear and raise children out of wedlock, of unmarried 18-year-old couples who decide to have sex and of same-sex couples who adopt children.

On these and other familial and procreative arrangements, Americans have become measurably more liberal. But on one crucial measure, they have become much more conservative.

That measure is divorce.

Read more here.

April 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Position Announcement: Executive Director of the Family and Youth Law Center

Position Announcement: Executive Director of the Family and Youth Law Center
 
The Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University Law School seeks a dynamic and forward-looking individual to lead the Center's array of child welfare and juvenile justice programming. 
 
The Family and Youth Law Center at Capital University Law School (FYLaw) works within child welfare, adoption, and juvenile justice systems to support positive outcomes for children, youth, and families.  Established in 1998 as the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy, FYLaw  partners with local, state, and national agencies and organizations in collaborations aimed at improving the laws, policies, and practices associated with child protection, adoption, and juvenile justice systems. 
 
Over the past few years, FYLaw has expanded the services it provides beyond advocacy, training, and education to include direct representation of systems-involved youth. FYLaw launched the Foster Youth Advocacy Center (FYAC) to provide civil legal services to young adults transitioning out of the child welfare system.  This year, FYAC expanded its operation to offer these services to families at risk of systems involvement. 
 
In each of these initiatives, FYLaw partners with Capital University and Capital University Law School to help provide experiential and service learning opportunities to law and social work students interested in working in child welfare and other related fields. FYLaw's student-oriented programming includes a national moot court competition, a fellowship program, externships, and pro bono opportunities.   
 
Qualifications for the position include a law degree; Ohio bar admission is strongly preferred. The ideal candidate will have 8-10 years of child welfare and/or juvenile law experience, with both practice and administrative experience strongly preferred. Applications will be accepted until May 16, 2016.  The position start date is July 1, 2016.  For additional information on the position and how to apply, please visit the Human Resource website.

 

April 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Australian Mother Released on Bail in Lebanon After Being Caught in Child Custody Battle

From Fox News:

An Australian mother and TV crew caught up in a high-profile child custody battle and detained in Beirut amid a botched attempt to take the woman's two children from their Lebanese father were released on bail on Wednesday.

Ali al-Amin, the father of the two children, ages 3 and 5, said he dropped attempted kidnapping charges against his estranged Australian wife Sally Faulkner and the Channel 9 TV crew, because he "didn't want the kids to think I was keeping their mother in jail."

Faulkner and the four-person TV crew, led by prominent Australian TV journalist Tara Brown, hugged each other outside a jail in Baabda, a Beirut suburb, before they were driven off in a white minivan. They were escorted by an Australian Embassy vehicle.

The release of the five was a climax in a family drama — complete with the involvement of a prominent television crew — that has gripped headlines both in Australia and the Middle East.

The five Australians are implicated in the operation to seize the two children from Al-Amin two weeks ago. Two Britons and two Lebanese have also been charged in the case but they remain in jail.

Faulkner surrendered any custody claims to the two children in Lebanon as part of a deal struck with al-Amin in front of a judge Wednesday, her lawyer said.

"She will accept that the children will stay with their father," said the attorney, Ghassan Moughabhab, who acknowledged that al-Amin had received a judgment earlier in his favor from a Lebanese religious court. "Taking into consideration the Lebanese law, he's in the right."

Read more here.

April 27, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Todres: "Can Mandatory Reporting Laws Help Child Survivors of Human Trafficking?"

 Jonathan Todres (Georgia State University College of Law) has posted on SSRN his article Can Mandatory Reporting Laws Help Child Survivors of Human Trafficking?,  2016 Wisconsin Law Review Forward 69-78 (2016).  Here is the abstract:

Once thought of as primarily a criminal justice issue, human trafficking is now recognized an issue that implicates all sectors of society. Trafficked individuals have been identified in a breadth of industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, construction, mining, fisheries, forestry, health care, hospitality and tourism, domestic service, restaurants, forced-begging operations, and the sex industry. Preventing exploitation across so many sectors requires a comprehensive, coordinated response. In addition to the criminal justice system, social services, health care professionals, educators, businesses, media, and others all have a role to play in addressing human trafficking and its attendant forms of exploitation. As part of the recent push to broaden engagement in anti-trafficking efforts, policymakers and advocates have identified mandatory child abuse reporting statutes as a vehicle for engaging health care providers, educators, and others professionals who work with children to help identify children at risk of or exploited by human trafficking. This article examines the potential impact of mandatory reporting laws on efforts to address child trafficking. In the past several years, roughly one-quarter of the states have amended their mandatory reporting laws to cover some or all forms of human trafficking. This article argues that these measures, while well-intentioned, might not have the intended impact without further action. The article examines the potential for mandatory reporting to address both sex trafficking and labor trafficking and then discusses how to make mandatory reporting a more effective tool for addressing the trafficking of children.

April 27, 2016 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Although Few Americans Approve of Divorce, Their Beliefs on Cohabitation are Softening

From Deseret News:

The number of Americans who find cohabitating acceptable has been growing, but fewer adults say they approve of divorce, according to a recent National Health Statistics report.

It's a continuation of a half-century of dramatic change in American family life, according to authors Jill Daugherty and Casey Copen, both Ph.Ds in the Center for Disease Control's Division of Vital Statistics. Their report outlines great change in family life: People marry for the first time later than in the past, divorce rates that shot up are now dropping, the fertility rate is lower, more people are cohabitating, a smaller share of new babies are being born to married parents and more of first births are to older mothers.

The report is based on data from the 2002, 2006-2010, and 2011-2013 editions of the National Survey of Family Growth.

"Living together before marriage may help prevent divorce," was agreed to by 60 percent of women and 67 percent of men in the 2011-2013 group. Those numbers are similar to findings in the previous survey as well. But the number who agreed "divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can't seem to work out their marriage problems" dropped from 46.7 percent of women and 44.3 percent of men in 2002 to 38 percent of women and 39.3 percent of men in the 2011-2013 group.

Similarly, support for the opinion that "a young couple should not live together unless they are married" dropped between 2002 and 2011-2013 — among women from 34.7 percent to 28 percent, and among men from 32 percent to 24.8 percent.

Read more here.

April 26, 2016 in Cohabitation (live-ins) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 25, 2016

UK Internet Charity Finds Fourfold Increase in Child Abuse Imagery

From Yahoo News:

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), an online child sex abuse charity, said on Thursday that the number of reports of images and videos containing child abuse had increased by 417 percent over the last two years.

In its annual report, the IWF said 68,092 reports had been positively identified as containing illegal child sexual abuse imagery and taken down.

That represented a 118 percent increase over the previous year, it said.

Prime Minister David Cameron gave his approval for the IWF to start proactively searching for online child sexual abuse imagery in April 2014.

From that time, IWF analysts could themselves search for child abuse imagery rather than just acting upon reports they received, prompting a dramatic increase in the number of images identified.

"By being allowed to actively search for these hideous images of children, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the sheer number of illegal images and videos that we’ve been able to remove from the internet," IWF CEO Susie Hargreaves said in a statement.

Of the images discovered in 2015, 69 percent were of children aged 10 or under and 34 per cent were Category A which involves the rape or sexual torture of children, the IWF said.

Hargreaves said the IWF planned to increase the number of its analysts to 17 from 12.

 

Read more here.

April 25, 2016 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Papers

Dear colleagues:

 

Please visit this call for panels and papers for the 2016 Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) Teaching Conference

Proposals are due by June 15, 2016.  We look forward to seeing you in Chicago this fall!

 

Friday and Saturday, September 30 and October 1, 2016 

The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois

April 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Save the Date

SAVE THE DATE: Central States Law Schools Scholarship Conference
The Central States Law Schools Association 2016 Scholarship Conference will be held on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24 at the University of North Dakota School of Law in Grand Forks, ND.  
CSLSA is an organization of law schools dedicated to providing a forum for conversation and collaboration among law school academics. The CSLSA Annual Conference is an opportunity for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work. Scholars from member and nonmember schools are invited to attend. 
Registration will formally open in July. Hotel rooms are already available, and more information about the CSLSA conference can be found on our website at www.cslsa.us.

April 25, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Abortion Procedure Challenged as "Torture" in Alabama

From ABC News:

A commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure would be illegal under a new bill debated in the Alabama legislature on Wednesday.

The House Health Committee held a public hearing on a bill that supporters say would prohibit a medical procedure called dilation and evacuation, or "D&E." The bill would allow the procedure, which it describes as "dismemberment abortion," in the event of a "serious health risk to the mother."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a similar bill into law last week, while West Virginia lawmakers overrode their governor's veto in March to pass a similar law. D&E bans in Kansas and Oklahoma have been struck down by state courts.

Supporters of the bill on Wednesday compared D&E procedures to torture and medieval forms of punishment.

"I don't see how a civilized society could support these barbaric procedures," said the bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Mack Butler.

Elizabeth Potter Graham, an attorney who spoke against the bill, said it is a woman's "fundamental right" to choose the procedure.

D&Es, or surgical abortions, are used in the majority of second-trimester procedures, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Butler's bill does not target medical abortions, which are induced by medication and have higher complication rates than surgical abortions in the second trimester, according to the ACOG.

Read more here.

 

April 24, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Abortion Reversal" Laws Gain Steam, Despite Scant Scientific Evidence

From STAT:

South Dakota will soon require doctors to tell women that they can change their minds after taking the abortion pill and potentially halt an abortion in progress. Arizona and Arkansas passed similar laws last year. And an antiabortion group is promoting model legislation to inform women they can “reverse” medication abortions.

Yet that claim has no solid science behind it — just an anecdotal case report written by a physician who invented a protocol and arranged to have it tested on a half-dozen patients who regretted swallowing the abortion pill.

That’s raised alarms among mainstream medical groups.

“As physicians, we can’t just experiment on patients willy-nilly,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco. Doctors offering to undo medical abortions are “essentially testing an unproven, experimental protocol on pregnant women,” he said.

The new laws target the growing popularity of the abortion pill at a time when states have forced many surgical abortion clinics out of business with tight regulation.

About 2 million women have taken the pill since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000; it is now responsible for 40 to 50 percent of pregnancy terminations in some states. The FDA recently took steps to expand access to medication abortions by approving their use through 10 weeks of pregnancy, up from the previous limit of seven weeks.

To push back, antiabortion groups have been urging states to restrict access to abortion pills — for instance, by mandating that they be dispensed only after a face-to-face examination by a doctor, rather than a video consultation. More recently, Americans United for Life has been circulating a model bill which would require doctors to advise all women taking the pill that they might be able to reverse the abortion, “but that time is of the essence.”

Read more here.

April 23, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Using Data to Predict Child Abuse

From Marketplace.org:

Doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth are used to treating cases of abuse. Dyann Daley, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Cook Children’s, remembers a tiny toddler who had been kicked by his father in the stomach. “We didn’t know exactly what the injury was when he came into the operating room," she said. "But he had come into the hospital awake.”

Although doctors tried to keep him alive, the injury just wasn't survivable. He bled to death during surgery. "It was an emotional time because of the type of injury he had and how close he was in age to my own children,” Daley said.

In 2013, more than 1,500 American children died from abuse and neglect. That's the most recent national info available. Last year in Texas, the Department of Family and Protective Services announced 170 children died. Tarrant County, which includes the city of Fort Worth, has one of the highest rates of abuse in the state. Dyann Daley, who runs Cook Children's Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment,  says no one really knows why.

 "Some people say we’re better at catching it or better at reporting it," she said. "I’ve worked in a number of children’s hospitals in Texas and also in other places in the United States. And I’ve never seen as much physical abuse as I see here.”

 Daley has been on a mission to train doctors and nurses to recognize the signs of abuse early – like suspicious bruises or marks. But detecting abuse is hard. Especially for infants who may not interact with teachers or nurses familiar with the clues.

 What they’d really like to do is prevent it. So they're experimenting with “big data” technology that could help predict neighborhoods where kids are most likely to be abused.

 It's known as predictive analytics. “This technology has been used to predict where shootings would occur and other types of violent crimes, but no one had applied it to domestic violence, like child maltreatment before,” Daley said.

Read more here.

April 22, 2016 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)