Family Law Prof Blog

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

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World

Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World

Throughout 2013, five law schools in the Delaware Valley will hold events exploring various aspects of reproductive justice in the 40 years post-Roe v. Wade. The final event in this series is a conference sponsored by the Rutgers School of Law – Camden that will take place on Friday, October 11 on the Rutgers campus in Camden, New Jersey.* You can find more information about the conference here:

We are now pleased to invite proposals for papers and panels. The conference theme is Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World. We welcome submissions on any topic related to the law, policy and reproduction, including avoiding reproduction, public policy related to reproduction, and reproductive regulation post-Roe.

Paper abstracts should be no more than 500 words, accompanied by a descriptive title for the paper proposed. Proposed panels should include a description of the overall topic, as well as a panel title and the titles of all the papers and panelists to be included in the panel.  Panels should include no less than 4 proposed panelists. Panel proposals should also be no more than 500 words. All submissions must include the names, e-mail addresses, and full affiliations of all authors.  In the case of panels and co-authored papers, please identify a corresponding author and provide sufficient detail in your abstract or proposal so that reviewers can fully assess your proposal and determine how it will fit with other proposals being reviewed.

There will be two plenary sessions at the conference and some submitted papers might be selected for plenary presentations. If you wish for us to consider your paper for a plenary session, please indicate that desire on your submission.

Please e-mail submissions (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) to by April 1, 2013. If you have any questions about the conference, please direct them to Kimberly Mutcherson at

Though the conference will have a primary focus on law, we also invite submissions from other disciplines including philosophy, the social sciences, critical cultural studies (gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, critical race studies, etc.), public health, and others. 

We urge you to interpret the conference theme broadly. While this conference emerges from the Roe anniversary, we seek to initiate and support discussion across a wide range of reproductive justice topics and want to build a conference program that looks forward to the world created in the wake of Roe rather than focusing narrowly on the Roe decision itself or on issues related to abortion. Possible topics for inclusion on the program include:

- Burgeoning markets in reproduction fueled by assisted reproductive technology (“ART”), including cross border fertility care (“reproductive tourism”), the market in gametes, creating of kinship ties without biological or genetic links, and informed consent in the fertility industry;

- Public health approaches to abortion, contraception, assisted reproduction, pregnancy and childbirth;

- Race, class, sexual orientation and access to childbearing and the economics of reproduction;

- The medical market and insurance issues related to abortion/contraception, prenatal care, childbirth and fertility services;

- Reproductive justice in the courts, including the future of the Supreme Court’s evolution on abortion access, treatment of pregnant prisoners, access to contraception, reproductive health services for undocumented immigrants, prenatal testing, etc.;

- Issues of abortion access, including training for a new generation of abortion providers, harassment of providers, and TRAP laws;

- Racialized and woman protective arguments against abortion and their impact on abortion access and reproductive health;

-  Familial privacy and the state, including the relationship between access to reproduction and parenting and the power wielded by child protective services;

- Intimate partner violence and reproduction;

- Affordable Care Act implications for reproductive health services;

- Pregnancy and the workplace; and

- Human rights discourse and access to reproductive health services.

There may be a publishing opportunity for interested conference participants. We will share more information about that possibility with panelists whose work is selected for inclusion in the conference program.

* For those unfamiliar with our campus, we are located a few short minutes from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Amtrak’s 30th street station is a 10-minute cab ride from campus and the Philadelphia International Airport is approximately 20 minutes from campus by cab. Philadelphia offers a wealth of cultural opportunities, including world-class museums, fine dining, theater, and an extensive public park system that can be enjoyed while away from the conference (


February 16, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Applied Feminism and Families" Conference at University of Baltimore School of Law

University of Baltimore School of Law is hosting a conference titled Applied Feminism and Families on March 7-8, 2013.  Download Conference Flyer Here.


February 15, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cammett: "Shadow Citizens: Felony Disenfranchisement and the Criminalization of Debt"

Ann Cammett (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law) posted her article "Shadow Citizens: Felony Disenfranchisement and the Criminalization of Debt," 117 Penn State Law Review 349 (2012), on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The disenfranchisement of felons has long been challenged as anti-democratic and disproportionately harmful to communities of color. Critiques of this practice have led to the gradual liberalization of state laws that expand voting rights for those who have served their sentences. Despite these legal developments, ex-felons face an increasingly difficult path to regaining the franchise. This article argues that, for ex-felons in particular, criminal justice debt can serve as an insurmountable obstacle to the resumption of voting rights and broader participation in society. This article uses the term “carceral debt” to identify criminal justice penalties levied on prisoners, “user fees” assessed to recoup the operating costs of the justice system, and debt incurred during incarceration, including mounting child support obligations.

In recent years, another disturbing voting rights challenge has emerged that has received little attention from scholars. State appellate and federal courts across the country have affirmed the constitutionality of statutes that require ex-felons to satisfy the payment of all carceral debts in order to resume voting privileges. Such a paradigm has a clearly differential impact on the poor: if only those who can pay their debts after a criminal conviction can regain the right to vote, those who cannot will remain perpetually disenfranchised, rendering them “shadow citizens” and raising a host of policy and constitutional questions.


February 15, 2013 in Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day


February 14, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

France Approves Bill to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage & Adoption

From the Jurist:

France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, approved a bill on Tuesday which extends marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. The bill was approved by a vote of 329 in favor to 229 against, with 10 abstaining, and must ultimately be approved by the senate in order to become law. The senate, which is dominated by Socialists, is expected to approve the measure. Despite being backed by French Socialist President Francois Hollande, the bill has been controversial, and last month 350,000 demonstrators took to the streets to protest its passage. If the bill becomes law, France will become the twelfth country to approve same-sex marriage.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Angelique Devaux

February 13, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guest Post by Jennifer Smith--Family Law: Custody Battles Are Becoming Increasingly Difficult

There was a time in this country when family law was cut and dry. Custody cases were decided with children going to one parent or the other, with the one that lost the case getting some or no visitation rights. 

When family laws were created all those years ago, no doubt the ones making the laws had no idea how things would change so radically over the next decades.

These days, family law covers everything from marriage to divorce, from adoption to custody, and from alimony to child support. Add in patchwork laws that differ from state to state about gay rights, same-sex benefits and children with multiple sets of parents and it is easy to see how laws in Illinois may differ from the same court in Connecticut.

Think about how someone could be affected by a custody case involving three mothers. By now you might scratch your head and wonder how someone could have three mothers. Let’s take this as an example. The first woman may want to get pregnant, but her own eggs for some reason do not fertilize properly with her partner’s sperm. So a second woman comes in, offers to be the egg donor, and the first woman is implanted with the second woman’s egg.

Now let’s say that something happens where the first woman decides not to keep the child. Maybe something takes place where she breaks up with the boyfriend or decides to divorce the husband, and the man doesn’t contest any parental rights – in short, he abdicates his responsibility. Here comes the entrance of a third woman that wants to adopt a child.

Not exactly cut and dry, is it? The days of one mother and one father deciding custodial rights aren’t over, but they have been joined by other factors.

Same-sex marriage and civil unions are becoming more popular and accepted around the country, but there are still many states where this is not allowed. So if a same-sex couple gets married in a legal state and moves to another state where same-sex marriage isn’t recognized, divorce laws or custody rules (if one of the women has a child) may not apply. Understand that same-sex couples would not likely move to a state where their marriage was not recognized, but it might be because of career or job reasons, etc.

Veteran lawyers will need to set the protocol for cases like this to gain more of an audience in the future. In his years with King and Spalding, Mr. Steven Guynn handled a variety of different law cases and took the initiative to lead the way into a new future for the law field. Visionary attorneys need to handle cases like same-sex marriage, shared custody, etc.

Family law may change 10 years from now. It may be much different than it looks today.

Studying for custody battles may take a lot more cracking the law books than usual.

February 13, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Dual Citizenship & Divorce

Forbes contributor Jeff Landers discusses the complex problems individuals face in divorces involving dual citizenship.  More importantly, these divorces can become extremely complicated and messy if children are involved, especially if the two divorcing individuals can't agree on a single country to reside.  Landers answers questions relating to divorce and dual citizenship.

Read more here.


February 13, 2013 in Current Affairs, Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Looking for a Baby Parent

From the New York Times:

Neither Ms. Hope nor Mr. Williams is interested in a romantic liaison. But they both want a child, and they’re in serious discussions about having, and raising, one together. Never mind that Mr. Williams is gay and that the two did not know of each other’s existence until last October, when they met on, a Web site for people looking to share parenting arrangements.

Mr. Williams and Ms. Hope are among a new breed of online daters, looking not for love but rather a partner with whom to build a decidedly non-nuclear family. And several social networks, including,,, and, as well as Modamily, have sprung up over the past few years to help them.

Read more here.


Hat Tip: Naomi Cahn

February 12, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Child Support Enforcement Methods

Article author Mosi Secret reveals in his article even though Robert Sand, a man well-known for dodging his child support payments for almost 20 years, was arrested for owing his ex-wife Lisa Sand and his two children $1 million in payments, Ms. Sand is being faced with a tough choice:  does she want her husband to go to jail, or does she want to see him work and "pay his debt to me and my children?"  Mr. Sand had been hiding out in Thailand before he was arrested upon arriving back in the United States on December 18, 2012.

Read more here.


February 11, 2013 in Child Support Enforcement, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)