Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cahn and Carbone on "Red Families" and "Blue Families"

Naomi Cahn (George Washington University Law School) and June Carbone (UMKC School of Law) recently had a piece appear in the Christian Science Monitor in which they discuss research on the relation between divorce and teen pregnancy rates and residence in a conservative or liberal state, and make suggestions for reform.

Ask most people about the differences between families who live in “red” (conservative) states and “blue” (liberal) states, and you’ll hear a common refrain: Massachusetts and California are hotbeds of divorce and teen pregnancy, while Nebraska and Texas are havens of virtue and stability.

The reality is quite different. And the evidence should force all of us – conservative and liberal alike – to think carefully about the policies we set to help American families thrive in the 21st century.

According to a new federal study, women with a college education are much more likely to be married than are women who have never graduated from high school. And men and women who married after the age of 25 have lower divorce rates than couples who were married at younger ages.

We could have predicted these results. The US family system, which once differed little by class or region, has become a marker of race, culture, and religion. A new “blue” family paradigm has handsomely rewarded those who invest in women’s as well as men’s education and defer childbearing until the couple is better established. These families, concentrated in urban areas and the coasts, have seen their divorce rates fall back to the level of the 1960s, incomes rise, and nonmarital births remain rare. With later marriage has also come greater stability and less divorce.

Difficulties in the “red” world, meanwhile, have grown worse. Traditionalists continue to advocate abstinence until marriage and bans on abortion. They’ve said an emphatic “no” to the practices that have made the new “blue” system workable.

Yet, paradoxically, as sociologist Brad Wilcox reports, evangelical Protestant teens have sex at slightly earlier ages on average than their nonevangelical peers (respectively, 16.38 years old versus 16.52 years old), evangelical Protestant couples are also slightly more likely to divorce than nonevangelical couples, and evangelical mothers are actually more likely to work full time outside the home than their nonevangelical peers.

While the devout who make traditional marriages work have happy stable lives, economic circumstances have made it harder to find matches that support gendered family roles and to get marginal couples through family tensions.

Sociologist Paul Amato concludes that among the marriages least likely to last are those in which women who would prefer homemaking roles end up working outside of the home much more than they expected because of the husband’s inability to support the family.

These factors reflect class and cultural differences, but all of our research suggests that the great recession is likely to make things worse. The hallmark of what we have termed the blue family paradigm is training for autonomy.

The full op ed piece can be found here.

The authors have also just released a book, "Red Families vs. Blue Families, Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture," with Oxford University Press.  Read more about that text here.


March 19, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Suk: “The Trajectory of Trauma: Bodies and Minds of Abortion Discourse”

Jeannie Suk (Harvard Law School) has posted The Trajectory of Trauma: Bodies and Minds of Abortion Discourse, 110 Columbia L. Rev.__ (forthcoming 2010).  Here is the abstract:

What is the legal import of emotional pain following a traumatic event? The idea of women traumatized by abortion has recently acquired a constitutional foothold. The present Article is about this new frontier of trauma. I argue that the legal discourse of abortion trauma grows out of ideas about psychological trauma that have become pervasively familiar in the law through the rise of feminism. The Supreme Court’s statement in Gonzales v. Carhart, that some women who have abortions feel “regret” resulting in “severe depression and loss of esteem,” has provoked searing criticism because talk of protecting women from psychological harm caused by their own decisions seems to recapitulate paternalistic stereotypes inconsistent with modern egalitarian ideals. I argue that a significant context for the newly prominent discourse of abortion regret is the legal reception of psychological trauma that has continually gained momentum through feminist legal thought and reform since the 1970s. Rather than representing a stark and unmotivated departure, the notion of abortion trauma continues a legal discourse that grew up in precisely that period: a feminist discourse of trauma around women’s bodies and sexuality. This intellectual context gives meaning to the present discourse of women’s psychological pain in our legal system. The ideas informing abortion regret are utterly familiar once contextualized in modern legal understandings of women that have developed in the period since Roe.


March 19, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ristroph and Murray: Disestablishing the Family

Alice Ristroph (Seton Hall University School of Law) and Melissa Murray (University of California Berkeley School of Law) have posted "Disestablishing the Family" (forthcoming Yale Law Journal) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This Essay explores what it would mean to disestablish the family. It examines a particular theory of religious disestablishment, one that emphasizes institutional pluralism and the importance of competing sources of authority, and argues that this model of church-state relationships has much to teach us about family-state relationships. Though substantial rights to what might be called "free exercise of the family" have been recognized in American constitutional doctrine, at present there is no parallel principle of familial disestablishment. The state is free to regulate families qua families, and to encourage or discourage certain kinds of familial relationships. This Essay suggests reasons to rethink these existing familial establishments. Disestablishment is a risky and unpredictable enterprise, but its risks may be the risks inherent in liberty.


March 18, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

30 is the new 60?

Last month, the Wall Street Journal offered a very interesting article suggesting that the best science may be done by young scientists in their 20’s.  Granted, the same paradigm does not apply to legal scholars, but the article may nonetheless be worrisome for some, including this blogger:

Scientific revolutions are often led by the youngest scientists. Isaac Newton was 23 when he began inventing calculus; Albert Einstein published several of his most important papers at the tender age of 26; Werner Heisenberg pioneered quantum mechanics in his mid-20s. At the time, these men were all inexperienced and immature, and yet they managed to transform their fields.

Youth and creativity have long been interwoven; as Samuel Johnson once said, "Youth is the time of enterprise and hope." Unburdened by old habits and prejudices, a mind in fresh bloom is poised to see the world anew and come up with fresh innovations—solutions to problems that have sometimes eluded others for ages.

Such innovation could be at risk in modern science, as the number of successful young scientists dramatically shrinks.

Read more here.


March 18, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lesbian Sergeant Discharged After Police Tell Military

The Associated Press is reporting the story of a sergeant outed by police after spying a marriage license during a search of the home she shared with her partner.

Former Air Force sergeant Jene Newsome says she played by the rules. She never told anyone in the military that she was a lesbian.

But Newsome was discharged earlier this year under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" law after Rapid City, S.D., police officers saw an Iowa marriage license in her home and told the Ellsworth Air Force Base.

The police were at Newsome's home in November with an arrest warrant for her partner, who was wanted on theft charges in Alaska.

Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed a complaint against the department claiming police invaded her privacy.

Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender says Newsome was uncooperative, and the marriage license was relevant because it established the residency and the relationship of the two women.

Read the AP story here.


March 17, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Meaning of Early Education

A study published in Psychological Science shows that fetuses regularly hearing two languages are more open to being bilingual.  Read more about the study here.


Hat Tip: Elizabeth Ryznar

March 17, 2010 in Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tragic Story of a Family Court Ruling Gone Wrong

A California judge has a tough haul for re-election after his decision refusing to grant a protective order ends in tragedy.

The judge didn't believe the father was a threat and denied the mother's plea to keep him away from their 9-month-old son. It was a seemingly routine ruling in a busy family law court called on too often to referee passionate fights between broken young families over the care of babies.

"My suspicion is that you're lying," Judge Robert Lemkau told Katie Tagle, 23.

Ten days later, her 25-year-old ex-boyfriend Stephen Garcia shot and killed their baby son and himself and the case was routine no more. A public frenzy ensued.

"His treatment of Katie was horrific," said James Hosking, a local prosecutor challenging the judge. "Judge Lemkau's ruling in the Tagle case was indefensible."

In particular, Hosking said Lemkau may have violated judicial ethics requiring judges to treat litigants with respect when he said he suspected Tagle was lying.

Hosking said he would have ruled in favor of Tagle until it could be determined which parent was telling the truth.

Lemkau, in his first interview since the controversy erupted, told The Associated Press he regretted calling Tagle a liar and was "crushed" as a father and grandfather by the murder-suicide. He said he couldn't sleep for a week after hearing the news.

"The worst nightmare of a judge," he said, "is to deny a restraining order and there are catastrophic results."

Nonetheless, he stands by his decision "based on the evidence before me" and argues further that a contrary ruling that day wouldn't have stopped Garcia.

"Everyone lies in family law court," said divorce lawyer Guy Herreman, who has appeared before Lemkau and respects the jurist as fair. "That's just the facts of life."

At the heart of Lemkau's ruling are two e-mails sent by "John Hancock" and labeled "Necessary Evil" that told a long, rambling story of a father who killed himself and his 9-month-old son after his ex-girlfriend failed to reconcile with him. Tagle told the judge Garcia sent the e-mails and meant to carry out the plan. Garcia denied it.

Amid the he-said, she-said argument before him, Lemkau decided Garcia could retain partial custody of his son - especially since another judge on Jan. 12 found that Garcia wasn't a threat.

"All I had were the e-mails," Lemkau said. "The source of the e-mails was indeterminate."

Tagle last saw her baby on Jan. 28 when she handed him over to Garcia in a Victorville parking lot.

The case has sparked renewed scholarly debate about the propriety of electing judges.

It's precisely these public uproars over unpopular decisions that opponents of electing judges in contested races argue are unfair.

Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and others are campaigning to change the selection-process in the states that elect judges, arguing that campaign donors are often lawyers who appear routinely before the candidate-judges. They also say judges should be free to make unpopular decisions without having to worry about ballot box repercussions.

"If the judge followed the law, it is simply wrong to punish him for that," said Northwestern University law professor Stephen Presser, a leading scholar on electing judges. "When you start electing judges, they start playing to public sympathies."

Read the full story here.


March 16, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sparrow: “Therapeutic Cloning and Reproductive Liberty”

Robert Sparrow has recently published Therapeutic Cloning and Reproductive Liberty, 34 Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 102 (2009).  Here is the abstract:

Concern for “reproductive liberty” suggests that decisions about embryos should normally be made by the persons who would be the genetic parents of the child that would be brought into existence if the embryo were brought to term. Therapeutic cloning would involve creating and destroying an embryo, which, if brought to term, would be the offspring of the genetic parents of the person undergoing therapy. I argue that central arguments in debates about parenthood and genetics therefore suggest that therapeutic cloning would be prima facie unethical unless it occurred with the consent of the parents of the person being cloned. Alternatively, if therapeutic cloning is thought to be legitimate, this undermines the case for some uses of reproductive cloning by implying that the genetic relation it establishes between clones and DNA donors does not carry the same moral weight as it does in cases of normal reproduction.


March 16, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gender Determined at Birth or by Birth Certificate?

The latest news story on the question of whether gender (for marriage purposes) is determined at birth or by what is recorded on the birth certificate:

Danielle Pauline Severson takes female hormones, dresses and acts like a woman and plans to have sex reassignment surgery so she physically looks like a woman.

Yet the pre-operative transgender female, who was born Dana Paul Severson, will have to tie the knot to a woman in California.

After being jilted by officials in Nevada—which bills itself as the wedding capital of the world—Severson and Rebecca Love were granted a marriage license Wednesday by officials in Severson's hometown of Redding, Calif.

While both states prohibit same-sex marriage, officials in California said the two qualified for the license because Severson's birth certificate lists her as a man. But officials in Nevada nixed the request, saying they consider Severson a woman because that's what her driver's license says.

Shannon Minter, legal director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco, said the circumstances of the case are unique.

But he said transgender people are often caught between conflicting state laws and policies about how to determine a person's gender.

"The same person may be considered legally a male in one state and legally female in another," Minter said. "This is a very painful and confusing situation for trans people."

Shasta County (Calif.) Clerk Cathy Darling said her office issued the marriage license only after consulting with the California Department of Health.

"The state told us to reference the birth certificate," she said. "It's a legal gray area. State law doesn't speak to this."

"There's case law to support that the gender of an individual at birth remains that person's gender regardless of what procedures are taken," he said. "But there's case law to support that at a certain point in this procedure the gender of an individual would change."

Lee Rowland, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Nevada, said her group is determined to do away with statewide bans on same-sex marriages.

"Until that day comes, however, we believe it is appropriate for clerks to rely on the gender on a government-issued ID to avoid the risk of invasively investigating someone's gender," she said.

Read more here.


March 15, 2010 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

More CA Women Dying Due to Pregnancy

From California Watch:

The mortality rate of California women who die from causes directly related to pregnancy has nearly tripled in the past decade, prompting doctors to worry about the dangers of obesity in expectant mothers and about medical complications of cesarean sections.

For the past seven months, the state Department of Public Health declined to release a report outlining the trend.  

California Watch spoke with investigators who wrote the report and they confirmed the most significant spike in pregnancy-related deaths since the 1930s. Although the number of deaths is relatively small, it’s more dangerous to give birth in California than it is in Kuwait or Bosnia.

Read the rest here.


March 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Koller: "Government as God: An Update on Federal Intervention in the Treatment of Critically Ill Newborns "

 Dionne Koller (University of Baltimore School of Law) has posted "Government as God: An Update on Federal Intervention in the Treatment of Critically Ill Newborns" (forthcoming New England L. Rev.) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Whether a severely impaired or critically ill infant should receive lifesaving, and sometimes extraordinary, medical treatment, or be allowed to die, is hotly debated. The issue initially garnered public attention in 1982, when an infant who was born with Down's Syndrome, “Baby Doe,” was allowed to die from a correctable birth defect. Following this, the federal government took a lead role in determining the fate of critically ill newborns. In the meantime, doctors, philosophers, and others have debated whether federal interference in this area is appropriate.

This essay will bring the reader up to date on the “Baby Doe” issue by summarizing the contours of the debate and explaining the legislation, in the form of amendments to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 (CAPTA), that ultimately resulted from the initial “Baby Doe” controversy. This essay also will add an additional voice to the discussion by criticizing federal intervention in this area on three main grounds. The first ground is that the federal government purports to solve a problem that largely does not exist, and in so doing, it oversimplifies the profound moral questions that surround the issue of whether to aggressively treat a severely impaired newborn. Secondly, federal intervention in this area through the CAPTA Amendments is bad policy because it eliminates parents from the treatment decision. Thirdly, the policy fails on a philosophical level because it does not square with our intuitions. Finally, this essay will highlight a view that is largely missing from the debate on this issue - that of the practicing physicians who work with critically ill, severely impaired newborns and their parents every day. The essay will conclude by briefly suggesting an alternative policy approach, which would presume that parents, in consultation with their doctors, are the appropriate decision-makers in these cases unless circumstances warrant otherwise.


March 14, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

$30k for Nursing the Wrong Child?

That is the amount of damages a Chicago couple is seeking for briefly being given the wrong baby at the hospital following delivery in a story resembling the latest episode of The Office

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The day after her son was born, Jennifer Spiegel was awakened about 4 a.m. in her Evanston Hospital room and told by a staffer, "Your baby wants you."

A patient-care technician then wheeled a newborn in and handed him to Spiegel, who breast-fed him.

Jennifer Spiegel says her obstetrician told her there was only a slim chance of the baby or her passing each other a disease or virus.

And while no one was injured or sickened, the Chicago couple says the hospital should be held responsible for the mix-up. They are seeking at least $30,000 in damages.

Read the rest here.


March 13, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hafemeister: "Castles Made of Sand? Rediscovering Child Abuse and Society’s Response "

Thomas Hafemeister (University of Virginia School of Law) has posted "Castles Made of Sand? Rediscovering Child Abuse and Society’s Response " (forthcoming Ohio North Univ. L. Rev.) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

It has long been recognized that stress, unemployment, and financial problems are risk factors for child abuse. Not surprisingly, as the economy has deteriorated, reports of and attention to child abuse have increased. Society has come a long way from the “Mary Ellen Wilson” era of the 1870s when the detection of child abuse was sporadic and random, with poorly-suited tools borrowed to craft a response. But child abuse has now for almost 150 years been widely recognized as a recurrent, pervasive problem with potentially tragic short- and long-term consequences for a staggering number of children that calls for a well conceived and executed societal response. The consensus is, however, that society is neither adequately preventing or identifying child abuse, nor appropriately responding to the needs of abused children. This Article provides an extensive and comprehensive review of society’s response to child abuse, including legislative efforts to redress it. In particular, this Article describes (1) the nature and impact of child abuse and the factors that contribute to it, (2) the evolution of this country’s response to child abuse and how we currently address it, and (3) how this country can and must do better. As has often been noted, a society should be measured by how well it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Preventing and appropriately responding to child abuse should be at the top of any ordered society’s agenda.


March 12, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Babies’ DNA Stored Indefinitely by the Government without Consent

A recent CNN report raises privacy concerns regarding children’s genetic information.

From CNN:

 …Newborn babies in the United States are routinely screened for a panel of genetic diseases.  Since the testing is mandated by the government, it's often done without the parents' consent, according to Brad Therrell, director of the National Newborn Screening & Genetics Resource Center.

In many states, such as Florida, where Isabel was born, babies' DNA is stored indefinitely, according to the resource center.

Many parents don't realize their baby's DNA is being stored in a government lab, but sometimes when they find out, as the Browns did, they take action. Parents in Texas, and Minnesota have filed lawsuits, and these parents' concerns are sparking a new debate about whether it's appropriate for a baby's genetic blueprint to be in the government's possession.

Read the rest here.


March 12, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

King: "U.S. Immigration Law and the Traditional Nuclear Conception of Family: Toward a Functional Definition of Family that Protects Children's Fundamental Human Rights "

Shani King (University of Florida College of Law) has posted "U.S. Immigration Law and the Traditional Nuclear Conception of Family: Toward a Functional Definition of Family that Protects Children's Fundamental Human Rights " (forthcoming Columbia Human Rights L. Rev.) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

In this Article, the author exposes how Congress, by failing to protect functional families in the context of immigration law, has failed to follow human rights law in a way that is meaningful to children and that honors its own highly valued principles of family preservation. Although the paramount purpose of U.S. immigration law is not, admittedly, to protect the integrity of family, Congress does explicitly aim to do so in certain circumstances. But even where Congress aims to further family unity, it fails desperately because U.S. immigration law reflects a legal construction that is grounded in the traditional conception of a nuclear family and excludes what the author calls “functional” families: formations which may not satisfy this narrow conception, but satisfy the caretaking needs of children. By exploring current statutes and recent cases in the areas of family-based immigration, cancellation of removal based on family, and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s refugee provisions, the author illustrates that U.S. immigration law fails to recognize functional families and thereby ignores a child’s right to family as provided for by international law. The author also engages in a comprehensive exploration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its interpretation, with an eye towards the historical evolution of the definition of family in relevant international instruments, while comprehensively exploring the extension of rights and protections to functional families under international human rights instruments in Europe and the Americas.


March 11, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gottman & Silver: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert”

I recently ran across an interesting empirical study of marriage, originally published in 1999.  The book is John M. Gottman & Nan Silver’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert.  Interestingly, Gottman (emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington & co-founder of The Gottman Institute) says that it only takes him 5 minutes to predict—with a whopping 91% accuracy—which couples will eventually divorce.  He developed this skill after studying hundreds of couples in his “love lab,” sharing his insight and lessons in the book.

Check out the book here on Amazon, or a blog interview with Gottman here.

Interesting tidbits from the blog interview linked above:

Another puzzle I'm working on is just what happens when a baby enters a relationship. Our study shows that the majority (67%) of couples have a precipitous drop in relationship happiness in the first 3 years of their first baby's life. That's tragic in terms of the climate of inter-parental hostility and depression that the baby grows up in.


Science comes into the study of families and relationships because a scientist always admits to profound ignorance, doesn't presume to know about these things, takes this ignorance and goes to the people and observes them in situations that are vitally important — when people are having dinner, when they meet at the end of the day, when they are in the bedrooms cuddling, when they're having sex, when they're interacting with their babies — in these very important moments, a scientist without preconceptions observes and tries to understand — interviews people, measures their physiology, and tries to get at their inner experience. And then creates mathematical models that provide theoretical understanding of all these processes.


So far I believe we're going to find that respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them. It may differ from culture to culture how to communicate respect, and how to communicate affection, and how not to do it, but I think we'll find that those are universal things.


Hat Tip: S.H.

March 11, 2010 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Woodhouse: "A World Fit for Children is a World Fit for Everyone: Ecogenerism, Feminism, and Vulnerability "

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse (Emory School of Law) has posted "A World Fit for Children is a World Fit for Everyone: Ecogenerism, Feminism, and Vulnerability" on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article explores the relationship between feminist theory and ecogenerist theory. Ecogenerism is a child-centered, ecologically grounded jurisprudence inspired by feminist methods and the ecological approach of developmental psychology. The author argues that feminism and child-centered jurisprudence need not be seen as antagonistic. Their methods and goals are not in tension but rather complementary. Women and children are both embedded in a larger political and social environment that can be shaped to meet their shared needs or to ignore them. To illustrate this , the author compares the ecology of early childhood in the United States and in Italy. She shows how family supportive structures and attention to both children’s and women’s rights benefits both women and children. She draws upon Martha Fineman’s work on “The Vulnerable Subject,” in which Fineman argues that vulnerability not autonomy is the most universal aspect of human experience. Viewed through the lens of our shared vulnerability, the task of law is to mitigate harms and foster interdependency. Both feminism and ecogenerism demand a focus on those “positive human rights” necessary to create social and political environments that are friendly to both women and children.


March 10, 2010 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Invest a Divorce Settlement... avoid the dilemma facing Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills.

From BankFiesta:

According to multiple outlets, Heather Mills, ex-wife of Paul McCartney, has managed to burn through $54.5 million dollars in less than two years.  Heather received the funds in her divorce from McCartney in 2008.

Heather claims that plenty of the money was given to charities or “ethical businesses” and she also paid for a couple properties for her daughter.

Just to put this in perspective.  In order to go through that much money she’d have to have a burn rate of $2.27 million dollars a MONTH.

Read more here.


March 10, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Effect of Military Deployment on Child Custody

Controversy is heating up over a bill pending in Congress which would preclude courts from considering possible military deployment of a parent when considering the best interest of the child in a custody case and would force courts to review any temporary custody changes made for deployment when the service member returns home.  While a number of Veterans Affairs group are supporting the bill, the American Bar Association has expressed opposition.

Patricia Apy, who heads ABA’s committee on military family law, called the bill “well-motivated but not well-considered” and cautioned that it is “unnecessary at best and harmful at worst.”

In the worst case, she warned, it would introduce the possibility of child custody lawsuits in federal courts, something currently handled under state law. It also could create unintended consequences that might leave some military parents unprotected — such as someone on an unaccompanied tour that is not part of a contingency operation or on a routine deployment such as aboard a Navy ship.

Read the bill here or more news coverage here.


March 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Criminalizing Reckless Miscarriage in Utah Halted

From the New York Times:

DENVER— A sweeping anti-abortion statute in Utah that would have allowed up to life in prison for a woman whose fetus died from her intentional or reckless behavior was withdrawn by its sponsor on Thursday and will be revised to be narrower in scope.

The original bill, which was sent to Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, for his consideration — and set off a firestorm of anxiety and criticism from abortion rights and women’s advocacy groups around the country — now goes back to the Legislature, neither signed nor vetoed.

Read more here.


March 9, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)