Family Law Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Matchmaking Parents

From LA Times:

Bachelor No. 647, a willowy lab tech in a blue polo shirt and thick glasses, squirmed as his eyes darted from one corner of the low-ceilinged hotel ballroom to the other.

Standing to his right, his mother told those gathered that her now-30-year-old had weighed 14 pounds at birth. He's responsible and industrious, she said, juggling graduate studies and work. His hobbies include fishing, hiking and reading.

"He has everything ready. He owns a home," she said in Korean before handing the microphone to her son.

He apologized for his poor Korean and switched to English. "I don't know. I guess I'm looking for a nice girl who's outgoing, and that's it," he said.

In the audience, Korean parents filling nine tables each hunched over a list, pens and highlighters in hand, with the seriousness of bidders eyeing a prized work of art. Some scribbled notes; some circled entry No. 647, which read: "Son — 30 years old." A hushed sense of purpose and the cloying scent of air freshener hung in the room.

Wearing color-coded and numbered name tags — red for daughters, blue for sons — the parents were there to tackle what one organizer called the biggest social issue facing the Korean immigrant community: Young men and women are too busy with their lives and careers to start a family.

"Seek, and ye shall find," Simon Jung, the night's emcee, told the crowd, citing Matthew 7:7. "Do you want a good son-in-law? Then you have to seek, you have to find."

Read more here.

April 5, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 4, 2016

New Jersey Judge Says Child Support May Be Paid Directly to Child

From New Jersey Law Journal:

A New Jersey judge has ruled that a noncustodial parent may satisfy some of his or her child support obligation by making payments directly to an unemancipated child who is over the age of 18.

Ocean County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Jones issued his unpublished ruling in Kayahan v. Kayahan on Dec. 28, and it was released by the judiciary on March 22.

Jones said that in cases where the unemancipated child has demonstrated a certain level of maturity and financial acumen, it may be more appropriate for the child to receive some of the money rather than have it go through the custodial parent.

"When an unemancipated child is over 18 years old, a court in its discretion may permit the noncustodial parent to pay part of his or her child support obligation directly to the child, under certain circumstances," Jones said.

"Such conditions include the child's utilization of the funds only for specifically earmarked and pre-approved expenses, along with an ongoing requirement that the child provide documented accountings of the use of the funds to both parents," he said.

While the plaintiff's attorney in the case said he thought direct-pay arrangements between noncustodial parents and children could be mutually beneficial, at least one family law attorney not involved in the case disapproved of Jones' decision.

"The ruling inappropriately interferes with the statutory right of the custodial parent to collect child support payments," said Amanda Trigg, adding that she was relieved that the decision has not been published and cannot be cited as precedent.

Read more here.

April 4, 2016 in Child Support Enforcement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Parness: "Federal Constitutional Childcare Parents"

Jeffrey A. Parnes has posted on SSRN his recent article Federal Constitutional Childcare Parents, 90 St. John's Law Review Issue 4 (forthcoming 2017).  Here is the abstract:

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized federal constitutional childcare rights in parents that may not be easily diminished or eliminated by government. Yet it has allowed these childcare rightsholders to be chiefly defined by state laws. The relevant state laws vary widely, dependent upon such factors as biological ties, functional parenthood, contracts, and the avenues to conception.

Deference to state lawmaking here is unique. No other federal constitutional rightsholders are so significantly defined by state statutes and precedents. This deference has resulted in significant interstate variations in de facto parent, equitable adoption, presumed parent and surrogacy matters, as well as in significant problems that can only be remedied by further U.S. Supreme Court pronouncements. The high court should soon address important childcare parent issues, including paternity opportunity and gestational carrier interests during assisted reproduction; childcare interests for functional parents; the limits on parental and prospective parent waivers of federal constitutional childcare rights; and, clearer guidelines on the possibility of nonparental state childcare laws, as with those benefiting grandparents and stepparents.

April 3, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

South Carolina State Court: Domestic Violence Law Unfair to Gay Couples

From ABC News:

A law that perhaps unintentionally failed to protect domestic violence victims in same-sex relationships appears to be unconstitutional, and now South Carolina's high court is trying to decide what to do.

The court was asked on Wednesday to weigh in after a woman tried to get a protective order against her former fiancée, also a woman, and was denied. The state's domestic violence law defines "household members" as a spouse, former spouse, people with a child in common, or specifically men and women who are or have lived together — but not unmarried same-sex couples.

The issue has come up in at least one other state since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last summer legalizing gay marriage nationwide. Earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court adopted the use of gender-neutral references in family court cases, a ruling that covers divorce, child support and domestic violence. Other states, such as California and Massachusetts, proactively changed the language in their laws, according to Beth Littrell, a senior attorney with Lambda Legal.

South Carolina Chief Justice Costa Pleicones said the handling of domestic violence situations isn't as clear as the gay marriage ruling from the higher court case.

"The only people who are not protected under this statute right now are same-sex cohabiters or former cohabiters, is that it?" Pleicones said in court Wednesday, according to a video of arguments archived on the court's website. "This statute is pretty clearly unconstitutional in its discriminatory impact upon same-sex couples. So tell me, what's the remedy?"

Bakari Sellers, an attorney for the woman who brought the case, argued the domestic violence provision can be changed to include all couples.

"The state has a legal interest in protection of all its citizens from domestic abuse," he said.

More than two decades ago, Sellers noted, state lawmakers intentionally made the law restrictive to male-female couples. This change, Associate Justice Don Beatty said, makes clear that lawmakers were specifically keeping same-sex, unmarried couples from being included under South Carolina's criminal domestic statute.

Read more here.

April 3, 2016 in Domestic Violence | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Appeal Filed in Native American Child Custody Case

From CBS News:

A California family appealed Tuesday to the state's highest court in their fight to keep a six-year-old foster child who was removed from their home after a lower court said her slight Native American heritage requires that she live with relatives in Utah.

The family's lawyer, Lori Alvino McGill, filed the request for the California Supreme Court to hear the appeal. McGill also requested that custody of the child named Lexi be returned to Rusty and Summer Page until the appeal is decided.

The Pages have fought efforts under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act to place Lexi with relatives of her father, who is Native American. The Pages argued that Lexi has lived with them since the age of two and knows no other life.

However, a court found that the Page family had not proven the child would suffer emotional harm by the transfer.

The Pages have three children and want to adopt Lexi, who is 1/64th Choctaw on her birth father's side.

Lexi was 17 months old when she was removed from the custody of her birth parents. Her mother had substance abuse problems, and her father had a criminal history, according to court records.

The child cried and clutched a stuffed bear as Rusty Page carried her out of his home near Los Angeles on Monday and Los Angeles County social workers whisked her away in a waiting car.

Distraught and weeping, Page shared his foster daughter's parting words with CBS Los Angeles: "Don't let them take me. I'm scared. I'm scared. Don't let me go."

Read more here.

April 2, 2016 in Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Is Marriage Outdated in Iceland?

From CNN:

"What would a society look like without marriage?"

The question popped into my brain after I stumbled across a list of countries with the most unwed mothers. With 40% of its babies born out of wedlock, America sits near the middle of the global pack in this category. Conservative Turkey brings up the rear with a scant 3%.
 
And the nation at the top of the list? The world leader in single moms? Iceland.
 
More than two-thirds of Icelandic babies -- 67% -- are born to parents who are not married. This might be a shameful distinction in many spots around the world. In the land of the Vikings, it is a point of pride.
 
The island may have been settled by marauding brutes, but it is now the most feminist society on the planet, and with that one tantalizing fact, Sunday's episode of "The Wonder List" was born.
 
With about 320,000 citizens, Iceland has fewer people than Tulsa, Oklahoma, and more glaciers, geysers and clean, fresh water than countries 10 times its size.
 
The Viking sagas and otherworldly landscapes have inspired movies and shows like "Lord of the Rings" and "Game of Thrones," and after generations of impoverished isolation, Iceland is experiencing a tourist boom unlike anything the country has ever seen. But few American visitors would suspect that these handsome people with their tongue-twisting language have blown up everything they know about love and marriage.
 
"You have this horrible term in English, 'broken families,' " Bryndis Asmundottir says over coffee. "Which basically means just if you get divorced, then something's broken. But that's not the way it is in Iceland at all. We live in such a small and secure environment, and the women have so much freedom. So you can just, you can choose your life."
 
Read more here.

April 1, 2016 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

In Vitro Fertilization Bill Would Define Embryos as Human Life

From The Missouri Times:

Jasha McQueen created four embryos with her then-husband through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2007. Two of those embryos became her twin sons, but the other two have become the subject of a lengthy and grueling court battle when McQueen and her husband started divorce proceedings in 2010. McQueen claimed possession of those embryos when they were created.

When she did not receive them, she began a fight for custody.

The legal framework that would make that possible is thanks to a bill sponsored by Rep. John McCaherty, R-High Ridge, that would recognize human embryos as human life, meaning in cases of divorce, they would be divided as children are in custody battles instead of as possessions are divided. The judge in these proceedings would also have to rule in favor of the best interests for the embryo to come to term.

“In essence, what the judicial system is doing… they have no clear direction what to do with frozen human embryos so they are treating them as property,” McCaherty said during testimony. “This bill gives some direction to the courts. Either parent could pay fees to allow them to be frozen in perpetuity. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of the state to be making decisions on the issue of life when there is a parent that wants to raise a child.”

McQueen also testified, saying that her relationship to her embryos was already personal.

“These are two of my babies that I would like to give them the opportunity to be born,” she said. “It is a compassionate bill that looks at the people going through this process that is incredibly grueling.

 

“We are terminating this person’s embryo over their objections. That should not happen. There are people… that are grieving parents at the hands of a judge. I feel like the judge and the state of Missouri are killing my babies.”

While opposition to the resolution seemed to sympathize with McQueen’s plight to an extent, they had deep concerns about the way in which this bill would enable her to obtain those embryos.

Carla Holste, a family law practitioner with the Carson and Coil law firm, noted that redefining embryos as life under law could have disastrous unforeseen consequences for the IVF industry.

Read more here.

 

March 31, 2016 in Alternative Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Indiana Governor Signs Abortion Bill With Added Restrictions

From The New York Times:

Indiana’s governor signed a bill on Thursday that adds broad limits to women’s access to abortions, banning those motivated solely by the mother’s objection to the fetus’s race, gender or disability, and placing new restrictions on doctors.

The law, which passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled General Assembly with large majorities, builds on Indiana’s already restrictiveabortion rules, and was cheered by anti-abortion groups that had encouraged Gov. Mike Pence to sign it.

“We are pleased that our state values life no matter an individual’s potential disability, gender or race,” Mike Fichter, president and chief executive ofIndiana Right to Life, said in a statement. “We also believe that the other measures in the bill are positive steps forward for providing dignity and compassion.”

The bill is among several limiting abortion that have passed conservative legislatures in recent years, but the sheer number of restrictions in Indiana’s legislation made it distinct.

In addition to holding doctors liable if a woman has an abortion solely because of objections to the fetus’s race, sex or a disability, like Down syndrome, the law restricts fetal tissue donation and requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital or to have an agreement with a doctor who does.

“Seeing them all in one place, that is very striking,” said Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor who has been an abortion rights advocate. “It’s like the kitchen sink: Everything that isn’t already in the law. And the law is already really restrictive.”

Mr. Pence, a Republican, said he signed the bill because he thinks “that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.”

The bill, he said in his signing statement, “will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry or disability, including Down syndrome.”

Read more here.

March 30, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Utah Abortion Law

From CNN:

Utah will now require doctors to provide anesthesia to women having abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.

The law, which experts say is the first of its kind in the nation, is based on the scientifically disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain during the procedure.
 
"The governor is adamantly pro-life," said a statement from Gov. Gary Herbert's office. "He believes in not only erring on the side of life, but also minimizing any pain that may be caused to an unborn child."
 
Read more here.
 

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

LGBT Parenting

From Huffington Post:

As the election year progresses, many candidates in both parties and at every level will say it. Child-welfare professionals work mightily to make it a reality. Our country’s laws and policies are intended to promote its essential truth: Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, permanent and loving family.

Yet tens of thousands of children in the U.S. spend too much of their young lives in temporary (i.e., foster) care, often unable to return to their original families but without sufficient prospects for moving into new ones. At the same time, the number of LGBT adults serving as guardians and foster parents (many of them wanting to adopt) grows daily. And this reality has raised hopes among children’s advocates from coast to coast who see a promising, expanding pool of prospective parents for children who need them.

Even though marriage equality is now the law of the land, however — and even as we see positive developments like the recent Supreme Court decision supporting gay adoption rights - policies and practices are being promoted around our nation that impede (and sometimes prevent) members of the LGBT community from becoming parents to these waiting children. Other state efforts go even further, essentially representing a broader assault on LGBT people and their rights.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: NC

March 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brazil Seizes Abortion Drugs Sent to Women Living in Fear of Zika

From Los Angeles Times:

The messages from the expectant mothers in Brazil resonate with desperation.

“I'm thinking of doing the worst,” one woman wrote when her order for abortion medication failed to arrive. “I really need help. I can no longer eat, and I cry all the time.”

The messages were sent to an international advocacy group that had been providing abortion-inducing drugs free of charge to expectant mothers who fear that the Zika virus could cause severe birth defects.

Now, however, the group has temporarily suspended its operations in the country because Brazilian authorities have confiscated the drugs in the mail. Abortion is prohibited in most instances in Brazil, and the drugs are illegal.

“It's not fair to tell women they are going to get a package, and it will not arrive to them,” said Leticia Zenevich, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group, Women on Web. “It's very tragic.”

Even in the face of the Zika virus, providing pregnancy-ending alternatives to women in a country where abortion is in most cases illegal is proving to be nearly impossible, Zenevich said.

Women on Web, a Canadian group that is based in the Netherlands and operates worldwide, said in February that it had sent “dozens of packages” to women in Brazil but only two packages had arrived. The rest were apparently seized. The packages provided by Women on Web contained misoprostol and mifepristone, which can end a pregnancy.

Authorities acknowledge that they are confiscating abortion drugs sent in the mail because the medicines are banned in Brazil.

Read more here.

March 29, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 28, 2016

US Lacks Strategies to Lower Child Abuse Deaths

From ABC News:

The United States lacks coherent, effective strategies for reducing the stubbornly high number of children who die each year from abuse and neglect, a commission created by Congress reported Thursday after two years of sometimes divisive deliberations.

According to federal data, the number of such deaths has hovered at around 1,500 to 1,600 annually in recent years. But citing gaps in how this data is compiled, the report suggests the actual number may be as high as 3,000 a year.

Commission chairman David Sanders said a goal of zero maltreatment deaths was realistic.

"We looked at the airline industry — no one accepts a plane crash anymore. We can get that way with child fatalities," said Sanders, executive vice president of Casey Family Programs.

The report made dozens of recommendations, including expanding safe-haven programs for abandoned infants and enlisting a broader range of community organizations to help often-overburdened child protection service workers.

"We need a system that does not rely on CPS agencies alone to keep all children safe," the report said. "Other systems become key partners, including the courts, law enforcement, the medical community, mental health, public health, and education. Even neighbors who come into regular contact with young children and families are part of a public health approach."

Still, the commission, comprised of six members appointed by Congress and six by President Barack Obama, failed to reach consensus on some issues. Two members declined to approve the final report and wrote dissents criticizing one of the major proposals.

Read more here.

March 28, 2016 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Could Abolishing Marriage Licenses in Alabama 'Legalize Bigotry?'

From AL.com:

A bill to do away with marriage licenses in Alabama is intended to standardize and streamline the practice statewide for all couples, the sponsor of the legislation said Friday.

The proposal would abolish state-issued marriage licenses received from county probate offices and instead require couples to file a form recording their marriage.

"Basically it's to calm these troubled waters that we're in," said the bill's sponsor Rep. Greg Albritton,  R-Bay Minette. "Things have been confusing and in an uproar, and lots of constitutional arguments have been going on for the last few years. What this bill will do is resolve any and all of those issues, I believe."

However, opponents say the bill is unnecessary and even detrimental.

"I see no benefit, and I see it as a very narrow-minded reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding same-sex marriages," Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed said. "I think it's unfortunate that this is taking up time in the legislature when there are many more pressing issues for this state to be working out."

Brian Huff, an attorney and former family court judge, said the legislation is political, not practical.

"I think the legislation that's been dropped this year is nothing more than legalizing bigotry," he said. "That's all it does – it allows people who want to discriminate against same-sex couples to do so, and it gives them a legal basis for doing it."

Read more here.

March 27, 2016 in Marriage (impediments) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

England, US Approach Alimony Differently

From Boston Herald:

Q: I’m a citizen of England. Before I got married, I acquired a substantial amount of property through hard work and inheritance. I married an American woman. We jointly own a home on Nantucket in which we now live about half the year. We have other assets in the United States. The other half of the year we live in the United Kingdom.

Our 30-year marriage is at an end. The questions are: Should I file for divorce in Massachusetts or in England? Should I stop working and let the executive vice-president take over the company?

A: This column addresses only the alimony issues. Important tax issues will be covered next Sunday.

Both English and Massachusetts law requires the judges to make a complete and full divorce. As discussed in last Sunday’s column, both jurisdictions achieve half that goal by ordering a final division of property. The other half involves awarding alimony. Of course, if there were child-related issues — not mentioned by you — there would be additional factors.

In England, if you have enough assets to make a clean break, the judge will order you to pay a lump sum of “support” to your wife. That lump sum is determined by first deciding the recipient’s “reasonable needs.” About 2,000-some English judges, having found the payor’s earning capacity is also a marital asset, determined a lump sum by using a “Yardstick of Equality.” In 2008, the English appellate court started to push back against that “yardstick.” So that issue is in flux.

Once the annual payment is determined, the English judge will consider “The Duxbury calculations.” Those tables assume a 3.75 percent investment-rate-of-return plus a 3 percent annual increase in the capital. Because those rates are higher than the reality of the current market, not much, if any, weight is currently given to these tables.

Read more here.

March 26, 2016 in Maintenance (alimony) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Transracial Adoption Support Systems Scarce Despite Difficulties

From NBC News:

Catherine Johnston and her husband Paul were living in Oakland, California, when they decided to adopt a child, choosing to adopt from China in part because Paul's family had come from the country. Assuring the Chinese adoption officials that their extended family would provide an ethnically and culturally familiar home back in Oakland put them on the fast track to adoption.

While the exact terms were never spelled out for Johnston, adoption wait times from China for parents with Chinese heritage tend to be a year shorter, and studies have shown that children growing up in an ethnically and culturally-familiar home struggle less with their own ethnic identity.

Johnston, who is white and an adoptee, credits Paul's family for allowing her daughter to grow up avoiding many of those challenges.

"I think I always knew that it is better for the children to be in a same-race environment, and we could provide that," Johnston, who brought her daughter home in 2008, told NBC News. "My daughter is very identified as a Chinese person, and she doesn't seem to have any qualms about that."

Families adopting transracially — when the child and parents are of different races — may immerse the child in the parents' culture while failing to expose them to their own ethnic heritage, leading to a struggle with identity as the child grows and are treated as an outsider.

"Children of color have been historically underserved in adoption and foster care, and it plays out in a number of ways," Beth Hall, executive director and co-founder of Pact, a transracial adoption support organization based in California, told NBC News. "Many of those kids who are placed with white families may or may not understand the contextual meaning of being a person of color in America."

Read more here.

March 25, 2016 in Adoption | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Others Are Saying About Indiana's Abortion Bill

From Indianapolis Star:

The Indiana lawmakers voted last week to send Gov. Mike Pence legislation that would ban abortions sought because a fetus is diagnosed with Down syndrome or another disability.

The bill also prohibits abortions when they are sought based on the gender or race of a fetus.

Since, national and local websites have covered this controversial bill. Here are a few headlines from around the country:

Jezebel: Yet another garbage abortion bill has been passed, this time in Indiana

" 'Any other disability' is a broad spectrum that might force a woman to bring a baby to term who won't survive long past birth, potentially in great suffering, even if the pregnancy is high risk for the mother."

The Christian Post: Down syndrome babies will be protected from abortion with new Indiana law, Gov. Pence expected to sign

Pro-life voices, such as Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter, praised the bill.

"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies,' Fichter said, according to LifeNews.

Salon: While America is distracted by the Trump freakshow, Indiana just passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the nation

"It’s about Republican men asserting control over the bodies of women — scolding and intimidating them by proxy, while also rubbing women’s noses in their own alleged participation in infanticide."

LifeSiteNews: Indiana passes bill banning abortion for Down syndrome, gender, race

Cathie Humbarger of Indiana Right to Life told LifeSiteNews, "We certainly appreciate the action taken by the Indiana legislators, which protects the innocent lives of unborn children that have an adverse diagnosis, or whose lives are threatened because of their race or gender. And for the respectful disposition of the bodies of aborted babies, keeping them out of landfills."

Read more here.

March 24, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pay Equity at Amazon

From USA Today:

After fighting not to release details of what male and female employees are paid, Amazon has done an about-face and made the figures public.

“I assume they looked at the numbers and they were happy with the results and now they’re willing to be transparent about it and accountable,” said Natasha Lamb, spokeswoman for Arjuna Capital in Boston, which had been leading efforts to force the disclosure.

In a statement, Amazon (AMZN) said that a review of its entire U.S. staff, including warehouse workers, found that women’s compensation in 2015 was 99.9% of men’s in equivalent jobs. Further, minorities make 100.1% of what white workers earn, Amazon said.

“There will naturally be slight fluctuations from year to year, but at Amazon we are committed to keeping compensation fair and equitable,” the statement said.

Read more here.

March 24, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Texas Abortion Law has Women Waiting Longer, and Paying More

From The New York Times:

When Amy found out around Christmas that she was pregnant, she wasted no time seeking an abortion. Her husband had just lost his job and the couple had been kicked out of their house, forcing their family of five to move in with his parents.

“It would have been the absolute wrong thing to do, to have another baby right now,” said Amy, who is 32. “So I started calling around pretty quickly.”

But she found that getting an appointment for an abortion, even in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, proved almost as stressful as the unwanted pregnancy. The number of abortion clinics in Texas has shrunk by half since a 2013 state law imposed new regulations that many said they found impossible to meet. When Amy called the two clinics here just after New Year’s, and a third in Dallas, the earliest available appointment was on Jan. 22.

The United States Supreme Court, in one of the most closely watched cases of the year, is considering the constitutionality of that law and whether it creates too much of a burden on women seeking an abortion.

With the judges apparently deeply splintered, the decision, expected in June, could affect millions of women, though the court might send the case back to lower courts to further study the impact of the clinics’ closings. Similar laws are being challenged in other states.

With no possibility that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick B. Garland, will be confirmed anytime soon, the court might also split 4 to 4, which would let stand an appeals court ruling largely upholding the Texas law but would set no national precedent.

Here in Texas, women are experiencing what it means to navigate the landscape created when roughly half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics closed, with some facing an unnervingly long wait and others traveling hundreds of miles, sometimes leaving the state, for the procedure.

When Amy, who like several others interviewed asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy, went to Whole Woman’s Health here for her sonogram and abortion over two days in January, she was shocked by how crowded the waiting room was and by how long she had to wait for the procedure: about five hours.

But mostly, she said, she was relieved to have gotten in at all. Her cellphone had broken a few days earlier, causing her to miss a few calls from a clinic employee trying to confirm her appointment. When Amy realized that she had missed the calls, she broke into sobs as she frantically called back.

Read more here.

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

Fostering & the Indian Child Welfare Act

From ABC7 News:

A part-Choctaw girl was removed from her foster home in Santa Clarita on Monday to be sent to live with extended family in Utah.

It was a powerful and moving moment as 6-year-old Lexi was seen pleading for her foster father as she was taken away by a Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services agent.

Rusty Page, the man Lexi has known as her only father for most of her young life, said his little girl called him her "Superman" and begged to him saying, "Don't let them take me away."

Rusty and Summer Page took in Lexi four years ago to live with them and their three children and want to adopt her. The girl knows the Pages as her mother and father.

However, Lexi will be sent to live with extended family members in Utah because she is 1.5 percent Choctaw.

The girl's case falls under the Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law passed in the 1970s aimed to protect the best interests of Native American children.

Read more here.

Hat Tip: NC

March 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Americans OK Gay Marriage, but Cautious on Divorce

From NBC News:

Americans are more accepting of gay relationships and couples living together before marriage — but they've grown less comfortable with divorce, a new survey shows.

The government periodically asks thousands of teens and younger adults what they think about changes in U.S. family relationships. The results released Thursday by the National Center for Health Statistics indicate a shift over a decade on a range of topics. But most surprising was what they said about divorce.

Asked if divorce is the best solution when a marriage is on the rocks, 38 percent of women agreed, down from 47 percent a decade earlier. For men, it was 39 percent, down from 44 percent.

Divorce in the U.S. has become more common through the generations, and there's an assumption that acceptance would be holding steady or perhaps increasing, some experts said.

There could be several explanations for the decline, said Wendy Manning, a family and marriage researcher at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Marriage rates are down and people are older when they first get married. So those who do marry are more likely to be in it to win it, she said.

"Marriage is becoming so selective that maybe people think if you achieve this status, you don't want to end it," said Manning.

Read more here.

March 22, 2016 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0)