October 17, 2005
Political Divide: Marriages and Births
"When it comes to marriage and babies, the red states really are different from the blue states, according to a new Census Bureau analysis of marriage, fertility and socioeconomic characteristics. People in the Northeast marry later and are more likely to live together without marriage and less likely to become teenage mothers than are people in the South.The bureau's analysis, based on a sample of more than three million households from the American Community Survey data of 2000-3, is the first to examine the data by state.
"There are marked regional differences, said Jane Dye, the bureau researcher who did the study, with Tallese Johnson. Generally, men and women in the Northeast marry later than those in the Midwest, West or South. In New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, for example, the median age of first marriage is about 29 for men and 26 or 27 for women, about four years later than in Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Utah. And tracking the red state-blue state divide, those in California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin follow the Northeast patterns, not those of their region.
Nationally, the age of first marriage has been rising since 1970. But because this is the first state-by-state analysis the Census Bureau has done, the authors of the study said, it is impossible to say whether the early-marrying states are moving in the same direction, and at the same pace, as the later-marrying ones. . . .
Generally, the study found, states in the Northeast and the West had a higher percentage of unmarried-partner households than those in the South, In Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, unmarried couples made up more than 7 percent of all coupled households, about the twice the proportion of such households in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.
On teenage births, the same differences become clear. In New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, about 5 percent of babies are born to teenage mothers, while in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming, 10 percent or more of all births are to teenage mothers. The study also found that the percentage of births to unmarried mothers was highest in the South." By Tamar Lewin, New York Times Link to Article (last visited 10-16-05 NVS)
October 16, 2005
Two States Open Joint Child Support Collection Office
DES MOINES, IA - Iowa and Illinois have opened a joint office Friday to help people collect child support from out-of-state parents. The office in Rock Island, Illionis, will speed collection of child support when one parent lives in Iowa and the other in Illinois. It will also make it more difficult for parents to elude payments by moving to other states. A similar office opened in 2004 to streamline cases between Iowa and Nebraska. States are becoming better at getting child support payments within a state, "but there are frustrating delays when cases cross state lines," said Kevin Concannon, director of Iowa's Department of Human Services. About 23 percent of DHS child support cases involve parents living in another state, but these cases comprise about 35 percent of the debt, Concannon said. ource: Associated Press, GazatteOnline, crgazette.com. For more information, click here (last visited October 16, 2005, reo).
Will Supreme Court Review Prison Abortion Order Requirement?
The United States Supreme Court late Friday temporarily blocked a federal judge's ruling that ordered Missouri prison officials to drive the woman to a clinic on Saturday for an abortion. Justice Clarence Thomas, acting alone, granted the temporary stay pending a further decision by himself or the full court. Missouri state law forbids spending tax dollars to facilitate an abortion. On Thursday, Federal District court Judge Dean Whipple had ruled that the prison system was blocking the woman from exercising her right to an abortion and ordered that the woman be taken to the clinic Saturday. Judge Whipple also refused to delay his order until the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals could hear the state's appeal of his original ruling. Having issued the temporary order, Justice Thomas now has two options: he can review the case himself or refer it to the full Supreme Court. There is no time limit on the decision. The action by Justice Thomas raises the question of whether the full Court will review the law regarding the right of prison officials to require that a female prisoner seek a court order before seeking an abortion. It is an important, unsettled issue for American courts. Please click here for additional news (last visited October 16, 2005, reo).
Just two months ago, an Arizona Superior court judge in Doe v. Arpaio, ruled that officials of Maricopa County could not deny inmates access to abortion services without first obtaining a court order. The judge observed that the Maricopa County jail already transported inmates without a court order for medical needs other than abortion, including prenatal care and childbirth. In the ruling, the judge relied on a 1987 decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Monmouth County Correctional Institutional Inmates v. Lanzaro. In that case, the Third Circuit ruled that the requirement that New Jersey inmates secure court ordered releases to obtain abortion was unconstitutional. It also ruled that to the extent that the regulation required inmates to obtain their own financing for abortion impinged upon an inmate's right to make abortion choice, the regulation was unconstitutional.
In a 2004 ruling, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Victoria W. v. Larpenter, rejected a civil rights suit that challenged a Louisiana prison regulation requiring a obtain court order in order to receive elective abortion. It said that in determining whether a prison regulation impinges on an inmates' constitutional rights and is "reasonably related to legitimate penological interest" it would weigh the following: (1) whether regulation has valid, rational connection to legitimate government interest; (2) whether alternative means are open to inmates to exercise asserted right; (3) what impact accommodation of right would have on guards and inmates and prison resources; and (4) whether there are ready alternatives to regulation. It found that the legitimate government interests that supported the issuance of a court order included: (a) the transfers placed the prisoner in a less-secure environment and increased the chance of escape. (b) The transfers required prison officials to escort the prisoner to the medical facility, some of which are an hour away in New Orleans, reducing prison resources and decreasing internal security. (c) Under Louisiana law, the Parish is exposed to liability claims arising from the acts of escaped prisoners. The Circuit found that the risks posed by non-emergency off-site transfers, there is nothing unreasonable in the Parish's insistence upon judicial approval. According to this Circuit Court ruling, the policy places an unbiased judge between the prison officials and inmates seeking off-site transport for purely elective procedures.