Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, January 16, 2009

Test Tube Families - new book

Cahn Family Law Prof Naomi Cahn of George Washington has a new book from NYU Press: TEST TUBE FAMILIES.

Here's a bit from the publisher's materials:

Incorporating real-life stories to illustrate her arguments, Cahn provides specific suggestions for legal reforms. The book sets out a series of controversial proposals, including an end to donor anonymity and a plea for states to clarify parentage decisions. She also calls for the federal government to regulate ART processes to ensure that donors are adequately protected against exploitation, that recipients receive the gametes they have been promised, and that the market functions ethically as well as efficiently.

It certainly looks like a book worth reading.  And for Family Law Profs teaching courses with a writing component, it seems a great book for a student essay-review. 


January 16, 2009 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

British conference on Family Law/Bioethics


The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: New Directions in Biolaw and Bioethics
A CentreLGS Workshop on Monday 30 March 2009 @ Keele University

Confirmed speakers include:

Emily Jackson, London School of Economics; and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Julie McCandless, Oxford Brookes University and Sally Sheldon, University of Kent

Derek Morgan, University of Sheffield

Jackie Scully, University of Newcastle

Aleardo Zanghellini, Marquarie University Sydney, Australia

Following a lengthy review and consultation process the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act finally received Royal Assent on 14 November 2008.  The new legislation makes important changes to the law governing issues such as reproductive cloning, the creation of hybrid embryos for use in research, the circumstances in which ‘saviour siblings’ may be created, and how parenthood is defined.

This CentreLGS workshop aims to provide an informed analysis of some of the key and most controversial features of the new legislation, focusing particularly on provisions governing the use and manipulation of embryos for research and reproductive purposes and revisions to definitions and understandings of legal parenthood. Leading commentators will explore these topics in the light of concepts and tropes underpinning the legislation, including reproductive choice and autonomy, dignity, human rights, the natural/unnatural dichotomy. In addition to constructive critique of the new provisions, the workshop will also provide a platform from which to consider directions for future academic research on the governance of reproductive technologies.

Please keep an eye on our website for updates on speakers and a programme (soon available):

For further information about this workshop, please contact Marie Fox (

For registration, payment or other administrative queries, or if you a legal or health care professional interested in claiming CPD points, please contact Helen Farrell.

Places are limited and should be booked by 10th March 2009 at the latest. Please return the completed form to:

Helen Farrell, RI Law, Politics and Justice, CM1.12 Moser Research Centre, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG.

Tel:  01782 733641
Fax: 01782  734592


January 15, 2009 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Kidney as marital asset?

Images In a case from NY that sounds like an examination question, the legal issue might be expressed as whether a kidney is a marital asset. 
According to the BBC,

He said he had not only given his heart to his wife, Dawnell, but donated his kidney to save her life.

But divorce lawyers say a donated organ is not a marital asset to be divided.

Dr Batista married Dawnell in 1990 and donated the kidney to her in 2001. She filed for divorce in 2005 and a settlement has still not been reached.

CBS has some videos here, as well as an analysis of how valuable the kidney might be (she had other relatives who might have donated a kidney).  More coverage (local) by Newsday here, which will be the site to watch for updates.


January 14, 2009 in Property Division | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kinship Care vs. Foster Care

In the current issue of Families In Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, see "Matched Comparison of Children in Kinship Care and Foster Care on Child Welfare Outcomes," by Winokur, Crawford, Longobardi, and Valentine:

"The documented growth of kinship care has boldly thrust this topic into the forefront of child welfare practice. This study compares the permanency, safety, and stability outcomes for a matched group of children placed in kinship care and foster care. After controlling for demographic and placement characteristics, children in kinship care had significantly fewer placements than did children in foster care, and they were less likely to still be in care, have a new allegation of institutional abuse or neglect, be involved with the juvenile justice system, and achieve reunification. These findings call for a greater commitment by child welfare professionals, policy makers, and researchers to make kinship care a viable out-of-home placement option for children and families."

(MIF 01-13-2009)

January 13, 2009 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mothering, Sarah Palin & CFP

Call for Papers

Images_2 The Palin Factor:
Political Mothers and Public Motherhood in the 21st Century

Editors: Andrea O’Reilly and Deirdre M. Condit

The nomination of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican party Vice Presidential nominee in the 2008 U.S. president election has initiated a public conversation about the meaning and depiction of  Sarah Palin  and her role as a publicly elected, working “hockey mom.” Despite Palin’s active embrace of her “hockey mom” image, her public motherhood remains enigmatic. Palin’s national candidacy offers an opportunity for public and academic discourse about what it means to be an elected, and thus public, representative of other women and wage earning mothers. This edited collection seeks to inaugurate a timely, interdisciplinary, theoretical and critical discussion of the Palin phenomenon as an iconic representation of public motherhood.

Topics include but are not limited to:

Media representations, interpretations or responses to Palin’s motherhood; Public discourse on Palin balancing her work as Governor or Vice Presidential candidate and  being a mother; Her role as a public mother of a child with disabilities; The impact of  her as a wage working mother on voters; Her status as a policy making mother on disability policy; Palin as an icon for conservative, Christian-identified non-wage working mothers; The evident conflict between Palin’s self-identification as a Christian Conservative, whose values include “traditional gender roles,” and the juxtaposition of her evident work and family life style;  The sexualization  of Palin among white, conservative, working men and its impact on their discourses about mothers and motherhood; Her transformational role as the “head of the family,” and her husband’s public transformation as the “little man” at home; Discussions of public or party rhetoric about “working mothers”; The conflicting responses among liberal women’s groups concerning Palin’s status as a working-mother feminist; The commodification of the “hockey” mom identity in politics; Palin’s public/private mothering conflicts; Public displays and deployment of the motherhood trope; Racialized responses to Palin’s mothering style and messages; Public life and the possibilities of “intensive mothering”; Palin and political motherhood and the politics of Motherhood; The transparency of public mothering; in the Palin case; Feminist discourse on Palin; Sexism, Mother Blame in Politics; Mothers in Politics/Mothers as Politicians; Public representation of and responses to Palin as the mother of a teen mom; Political tokenism and mothers; Sexuality, motherhood and politics; Gendered responses to Palin as mother and as politician; Progressive versus conservative positioning of mother politicians; The Republican deployment, use and misuses of Palin (Palin as a sacrificial lamb); Palin and Mothers’ Rights; (Mis) readings of Palin as Pro-Mother; Palin and the (new?) conservative/religious right feminism; Hillary Clinton and Sara Palin.
Please submit a 250 word abstract and 50 word  bio February 1, 2009 to
(Accepted chapters (of 15-18 pages in length) due July 1 2009)


January 13, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Proposition 8 - Two Panels at AALS

The AALS Conference on Friday featured two panels discussing California's controversial Proposition 8 (limiting marriages to those between a man and a woman) passed last November and being challenged before the California Supreme Court.   I've posted a synopsis of the panels on Constitutional Law Professors Blog here.


January 11, 2009 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)