Monday, September 8, 2014
The Huffington Post: Mom Ann Whalen Sentenced To Prison For Giving Daughter Abortion Pills, by David DeKok:
A Pennsylvania woman has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for obtaining so-called abortion pills online and providing them to her teenage daughter to end her pregnancy.
Jennifer Ann Whalen, 39, of Washingtonville, a single mother who works as a nursing home aide, pleaded guilty in August to obtaining the miscarriage-inducing pills from an online site in Europe for her daughter, 16, who did not want to have the child. . . .
Whalen told authorities there was no local clinic available to perform an abortion and her daughter did not have health insurance to cover a hospital abortion, the Press Enterprise newspaper of Bloomsburg reported. . . .
Philadelphia Magazine (opinion column): Pennsylvania Woman Going to Jail Over Abortion Pills, by Sandy Hingston:
What the GOP could learn from Colorado’s free birth control program — if they’d just open their eyes and take their fingers out of their ears.
In cheery news from the western part of our great state, a 36-year-old mom has been sentenced to a year to 18 months in prison for providing her 16-year-old daughter with abortion pills she obtained illegally from Europe in an attempt to end the daughter’s unwanted pregnancy. The mom, who’s single, works as a nursing aide, and told the court there was no local abortion clinic available to her daughter (thanks, Governor Corbett), who had no health insurance (thanks again, Governor Corbett) to pay for an in-hospital abortion. The daughter ended up in the hospital anyway after the abortion pills induced severe cramping and bleeding.
What a happy little tale.
If batshit Republicans are serious about lowering the number of abortions, you know what they should do? They should give up the slow, costly process of legislating abortion clinics out of existence and simply make birth control free for the asking for all the women in America. . . .
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Department of Educ. Office for Civil Rights Urges Greater Support for Pregnant and Parenting Students
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights: Dear Colleague Letter:
We as a nation need to do more to help the hundreds of thousands of young people who become mothers and fathers each year graduate from high school ready for college and successful careers. According to studies cited in the attached pamphlet, Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 26 percent of young men and young women combined who had dropped out of public high schools — and one-third of young women — said that becoming a parent was a major factor in their decision to leave school. And, only 51 percent of young women who had a child before age 20 earned their high school diploma by age 22. The educational prospects are worse at the higher-education level. Only 2 percent of young women who had a child before age 18 earned a college degree by age 30. This low education attainment means that young parents are more likely than their peers to be unemployed or underemployed, and the ones who do find jobs will, on average, earn significantly less than their peers.
To help improve the high school and college graduation rates of young parents, we must support pregnant and parenting students so that they can stay in school and complete their education, and thereby build better lives for themselves and their children. . . .
Sunday, June 16, 2013
The New York Times - Well blog: A Different Kind of Fatherhood, by David Tuller:
I came out long before gay men yearned for weddings, much less baby showers. In 1979, when I was 22, New York offered young men like me many freedoms, including the freedom to not have to propagate. Like many other gay men — and like many straight men — I had not been close to my own father. I could not imagine wiping runny noses, attending parent-teacher conferences or playing Candy Land.
In my 30s I moved to San Francisco and, to my surprise, found myself contemplating parenthood. . . .
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Guardian: The War on Women, by Heather Long:
2012 was a tough year for American females as various aspects of female health and reproduction repeatedly took center stage. Politicians and pundits, mainly Republican, made degrading and factually incorrect remarks about rape and contraception. But Democrats also left their mark with an ill-timed snipe at stay-at-home mom Ann Romney, reinvigorating the "mommy wars".
Here are the key moments in the 2012 War on Women . . . .
March 5, 2013 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Media, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Parenthood, Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Feminist Majority Foundation: Family Medical Leave Act Turns 20:
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants job-protected sick leave to those who are recovering or taking care of someone recovering from an illness or those who have had a new child. . . .
Friday, February 1, 2013
Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights:
Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) invite submissions for the eighth annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights.
The 1st place winning submission will have a presumption of publishability and will receive expedited review by New York University School of Law’s Review of Law and Social Change. Winning authors will also receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place).
This year’s theme: “Economic (In)Justice of Reproductive Regulation”
LSRJ & CRR seek student scholarship exploring the economic justice implications of laws and regulations that affect reproductive health and rights in the U.S. Papers may explore a range of issues, such as: tensions between affirmative state obligations and individual rights; consequences of health insurance regulation and the needs of individuals seeking preventative and/or “elective” reproductive care (e.g. should reproductive technologies and contraception be covered, and if so, how?); the impact of state support for specific practices (e.g. breastfeeding, vaccinations, birthing options) on the ability of women and families to make decisions about their care; and the role of the state in health care regulation and funding (e.g. how will Medicaid expansion affect reproductive health access? Who is most benefitted and/or who is left out of the Affordable Care Act?). These ideas are examples of topics that would fit the theme; however, many more issues could be fruitfully explored through the lens of economic justice.
Papers should have a domestic focus, but may draw on international and comparative materials. Authors are asked to apply a reproductive justice lens and/or human rights framework to their analyses of the issues. We encourage writing that amplifies lesser heard voices, applies an intersectional approach to legal thinking, suggests innovative solutions, and/or takes into account the practical realities and the lived experiences of the people affected.
Papers must be at least 20 pages in length (not including footnotes), double-spaced in 12-point font with footnotes in 10-point font, conforming to Bluebook citation format. Only original scholarship by current law students or 2012 graduates will be accepted. Papers being considered for publication elsewhere are ineligible for the first place prize but will be considered for second and third place. Papers already contracted for publication as of March 2013 will not be accepted. Winners will be selected by an outside panel of legal and academic judges.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Lorana Bartels (University of Canberra – School of Law and Justice) has posted Safe Haven Laws, Baby Hatches and Anonymous Hospital Birth: Examining Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide in Australia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article considers international responses to infant abandonment, neonaticide and infanticide in the context of the recent conviction of Keli Lane for the murder of her newborn daughter and the Children’s Protection (Lawful Surrender of Newborn Child) Amendment Bill 2011 (SA). The article considers three responses currently in operation internationally: safe haven laws, baby hatches, and anonymous birth. Arguments about these models, including effectiveness, whether they target the “wrong” women, and the rights of children to know their genetic origins, are examined.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Dorothy E. Roberts (University of Pennsylvania Law School) has posted Prison, Foster Care, and the Systemic Punishment of Black Mothers on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article is part of a UCLA Law Review symposium, “Overpoliced and Underprotected: Women, Race, and Criminalization.” It analyzes how the U.S. prison and foster care systems work together to punish black mothers in a way that helps to preserve race, gender, and class inequalities in a neoliberal age. The intersection of these systems is only one example of many forms of overpolicing that overlap and converge in the lives of poor women of color. I examine the statistical overlap between the prison and foster care populations, the simultaneous explosion of both systems in recent decades, the injuries that each system inflicts on black communities, and the way in which their intersection in the lives of black mothers helps to make social inequities seem natural. I hope to elucidate how state mechanisms of surveillance and punishment function jointly to penalize the most marginalized women in our society while blaming them for their own disadvantaged positions.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Kristine S. Knaplund (Pepperdine University School of Law) has posted What's Blood Got To Do With It? Determining Parentage for ART Children Born Overseas on SSRN. Here is the absract:
States has long followed the English common law view that citizenship can be
attained at birth in two ways: by being born in the U.S. (jus soli), or by
being born abroad as the child of a U.S. citizen (jus sanguinis). The first,
jus soli, is now part of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All
persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein
they reside.” Jus soli theoretically does not inquire into the citizenship of
the child’s parents; the relevant fact is that the birth takes place in the
United States. Jus sanguinis, in contrast, arises from the parent-child relationship.
The State Department translates jus sanguinis as “from the bloodline,” citing
it as the “traditional Roman law principle.” By “natural parent,” the State
Department means a blood relationship with a U.S. citizen: “It is not enough
that the child is presumed to be the issue of the parents’ marriage by the laws
of the jurisdiction where the child was born.”
A purely genetic connection to the child is sufficient to establish parentage in relatively few instances in American law. One is child support: even if the genetic father has had no contact with the child, and has done nothing to establish a relationship (or even been prevented from knowing about the child), the genetic connection may be enough if no other presumed father is on the scene. This article explores a second instance in which the genetic connection is paramount: when an American citizen gives birth abroad. A genetic test works well for children conceived coitally, but may wreak havoc for those conceived using assisted reproduction techniques (ART). Citizenship has recently been denied to the children of two American women who used anonymously donated gametes to conceive and give birth to a child: one in Israel, and one in Switzerland; in a third case, the U.S. Embassy refused to recognize the birth mother as the child’s mother because she had used donated eggs and given birth to the child in India.
Part I of this Article discusses the origins of jus sanguinis in Roman and English common law, including ancient and medieval views of conception and maternity in determining the child's bloodline. Not surprisingly, these views differ significantly from those held today. Taking into account this scientific background, Part II examines citizenship laws in early U.S. history, and assumptions of who were the parents of a child, both in wedlock and out of wedlock. While the definition of paternity has always taken note of biology as well as a man’s relationship to the birth mother, science began to play a more prominent role in the legal definition of parenthood once blood grouping and blood tests were available in the early 1900s. Part III then introduces the law of U.S. citizenship today, which in its main outlines is the same as first codified in 1952. The ability of DNA testing to positively identify the father in most cases, plus advances in ART that separate the two functions of the birth mother – genetics and gestation – have greatly complicated the definition of parentage for children, but the State Department has, in large part, continued to use the same parentage standard first detailed in 1952. Part IV examines and critiques three methods of identifying parentage: the State Department’s preferred method (genetics), the common law parturient test, and the recently developed intent test, to examine which method of determining parentage should be used for children born abroad. Part V concludes the article.
Sarthak Garg & Keshav Gaur (both of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law) have posted Reproduction Rights of Women: Ethical or Viable Role of Surrogate Mother on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Reproductive behavior is governed by complex biological, cultural and psychological relations, hence reproductive health and rights must be understood within the context of relationships between men and women, communities and societies. This research encompasses with these problems which concerned about the reproductive health and rights of the women. It furthermore explains the vulnerability of women and gender biased violence against them. This paper also laid stress on the impact of men’s action over the reproductive health and rights of the women and the key initiatives to deliver reproductive rights and services to the women. Though, this paper also focuses on the rights of the surrogates’ mother and the initiatives taken by the government for the enhancement of the surrogacy and their rights in India. In this research we conceptualize the incidents related to the surrogacy and the legal issues in the global scenario. However, we also gestate the landscape of surrogacy in India, as it is new concept for India and not acceptable as well on various portfolios so we also laid focus on the social and economic background for the profound this concept in the grass root level. While construing this research we also analysis the Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) bill, in that we critically analysis it’s positive and negative aspects for the concept of surrogacy in India. Eventually, this research also laid impact over the commissioning parents and their rights regarding surrogacy. In the conclusion our research concludes procreating a child in surrogate woman’ womb is grateful gift to those mothers who cannot conceive child.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Pamela Cox (University of Essex) has posted Marginalized Mothers, Reproductive Autonomy, and 'Repeat Losses to Care' on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Over 70,000 children are ‘looked after’ by local authorities in England and Wales. Emerging research suggests that a significant proportion of their birth parents have either already lost a child to permanent adoption or will go on to lose others. These ‘repeat loss’ cases raise difficult questions about marginalized mothers and their reproductive autonomy. This article considers past and present tactics used by the state in its attempts to limit that autonomy, including institutionalization, sterilization, long‐acting contraception, and permanent adoption. It argues that the gradual democratization of intimate citizenship over the past century, defined as a person's ability to choose and direct their intimate relationships, has obliged the contemporary state to develop new tactics which aim to build personal capacity and to balance enhanced child protection with enhanced reproductive autonomy.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Reuters: China considers easing family planning rules, by Michael Martina:
China is considering changes to its one-child policy, a former family planning official said, with government advisory bodies drafting proposals in the face of a rapidly ageing society in the world's most populous nation. . . .
This Article approaches the
topic of same-sex marriage from a novel perspective by scrutinizing the
historical accuracy of primary defense proffered by same-sex marriage opponents
– “responsible procreation.” In the context of challenges to Section 3 of DOMA,
responsible procreation posits that the federal government’s historic purpose
in extending marital benefits is to single out and specially support families
with biologically-related children. Because same-sex couples cannot fulfill
this long-standing purpose, it is permissible to deny them all federal marital
rights and obligations. While advocates disagree about whether and to what
extent DOMA furthers this alleged federal interest, to date, all sides have
accepted this historical account.
This Article is the first to interrogate the accuracy of this account. To do so, the Article examines two of the largest and most important federal benefits programs – Social Security benefits and benefits for active and retired members of the U.S. military. This analysis demonstrates that Congress has not and does not condition the receipt of federal family-based benefits on biological parent-child relationships. To the contrary, Congress long has implicitly and explicitly extended such benefits to families with children known to be biologically unrelated to one or both of their parents. This Article thus reveals that responsible procreation is based on myth, not history and tradition.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Michigan State Law Review and Symposium (April 11-12, 2013) – Call for Papers: “In Search of Equality in Family Law”:
The Michigan State Law Review along with Professors Melanie B. Jacobs and Cynthia Lee Starnes, invite participants for our upcoming symposium, "In Search of Equality in Family Law" to be held April 11-12, 2013. The list of confirmed presenters include keynote speaker, Dean David Meyer, and Professors Susan Appleton, Naomi Cahn, June Carbone, James Dwyer, Theresa Glennon, Leslie Harris, Courtney Joslin, Alicia Kelly, Linda McClain, Raymond O'Brien, Ruthann Robson, Barbara Stark, Richard Storrow, and Lynn Wardle.
The theme of the symposium is the continuing struggle to reform family law to ensure equality. The focus is on relationships within families, on access to the family structure, and on family members’ status in society at large. The topic of equality in family law is also particularly timely: family is at the heart of social debate and the focus on family is magnified as we approach an election year. Daily, news stories highlight issues of equality that arise in many areas of the family -- adult partnerships, including same-sex marriage; parenting responsibilities; divorce and its economics; paternity; the definition of family; same-sex adoptions; and full faith and credit recognition for out-of-state same-sex marriages. A central theme will be the sameness/difference debate in feminism over how equality is best attained: by treating men and women exactly the same, or by recognizing differences in power and circumstance so that different treatment is required to ensure equality. This topic will appeal to family law scholars working on a variety of projects.
In addition to the rich discussion at the Symposium, this dialogue will result in the publication of participant articles in an issue of the Michigan State Law Review. The Law Review is an acclaimed scholarly journal that publishes five issues yearly. Each participant is invited to offer an academic article for publication in the Law Review. Tentatively, final draft papers are due Friday, June 7, 2013.
The goal is to be inclusive and to engage scholars focusing on various reform issues in a conversation about the equality implications of their work. Interested individuals should send a one-page proposal to Professor Melanie Jacobs at email@example.com by October 31st.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Guttmacher Institute – press release: Survey of Countries with Liberal Abortion Laws Finds Abortions Concentrated Among Women in their 20s, by Jessica Malter:
Decline in American Teen Abortion Rate Puts United States on Par With Some Industrialized Counterparts, but More Progress Is Needed
A new study of countries with liberal abortion laws finds that abortion is more common among women in their 20s than among women of other ages, according to "Legal Abortion Levels and Trends by Woman’s Age at Termination," by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute. A large body of research has shown that this group often wants to postpone childbearing, which would interrupt their ability to work or complete their schooling; in addition, many young adult women have yet to establish stable partner relationships. The current study found that recent declines in the teen abortion rate in the United States (now at 20 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–19) have put the United States on par for the first time with several other industrialized countries, including England and Wales, Scotland, Sweden and New Zealand. This marks a considerable change from the mid-1990s, when the U.S. teen abortion rate was substantially higher than that of any other industrialized nation. . . .
Thursday, October 4, 2012
This article examines the doctrine of infanticide in relation to the norms and practices of criminal responsibility. It adopts an historicized approach to the law, which reveals that the legal proscription of child killing by mothers began as an instance of the principles of criminal liability that have been labelled ‘manifest criminality’. With changes in the social meanings accorded to women who kill their children in the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the law of infanticide developed into an instance of what I call ‘manifest madness’, which is an analysis of the way that ‘madness’ is constructed in and through criminal law practices. According to this analysis, a particular social type, the infanticidal woman, has come to determine the legal issue of the defendant’s criminal responsibility, and the act of infanticide has become an instantiation of abnormality for criminal law purposes. In the absence of an expert medical consensus, the ‘strange’ doctrine of infanticide is sustained in the current era by a lay or non-expert knowledge about the interrelation of gender, childbirth and madness, which underpins legal evaluation of infanticidal women and their acts.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Helen M. Alvare (George Mason University School of Law) has posted A Response to Professor I. Glenn Cohen's 'Regulating Reproduction: The Problem with Best Interests' on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This response to Professor I. Glenn Cohen’s article, Regulating Reproduction: The Problem with Best Interests, argues that rules restricting whether, when, or with whom a person reproduces serve an important societal purpose and need not be abandoned simply because they cannot technically be supported by a “best interests of the resulting child” (“BIRC”) rationale due to the “non-identity” problem. The non-identity problem refers to the fact that such rules could result in a particular child not being conceived at all, or in the creation of a different child at another time. While Professor Cohen correctly notes that such rules might be misunderstood to suggest that some human lives are “not worth living,” this response proposes that it is possible – and necessary – to avoid that unacceptable message, without at the same time accepting the extreme conclusion that adults need never constrain their behaviors respecting conception. This result can be achieved by re-conceiving the BIRC rationale as an effort to remind parents – prior to the moment when parenting begins (conception) – of what the law both needs and assumes them to be: fit parents who act in their children’s best interests. The state should retain the ability to exhort adults that a child’s future flourishing is influenced by the parents’ situation at the moment of conception – e.g. the parents’ age, marital status, and any kin relationship, among other factors – and reproductive regulation often serves this important objective.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
More than three decades
after the birth of the first child conceived through in vitro fertilization,
few states have comprehensive statutes to establish the parentage of children
born using assisted reproduction techniques (ART). While thousands of such
children are born each year, courts struggle to apply outdated laws. For
example, does a statute terminating paternity for a man who donates sperm to a
married woman apply if the woman is unmarried? In 2008, the Uniform Probate
Code (UPC) added two much-needed sections on the complicated parentage and
inheritance issues that arise in the field of assisted reproduction. Yet it is
unclear whether states will enact these new UPC sections; few states have
enacted comparable provisions of the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA). The issues
can be controversial, particularly regarding children born years after an
intended parent’s death, or when the discussion turns to enforcement of a
contract for a gestational carrier, the preferred term for a surrogate mother.
This article explores the legal landscape for children conceived through assisted insemination (AI), in vitro fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and other techniques. The article discusses the differences between the UPA and UPC sections that concern assisted reproduction. It examines the critical normative and ethical questions answered by these statutes and analyzes the likelihood that states will adopt either uniform act. The article looks briefly at gestational carrier agreements to consider whether and how they should be enforced. The article concludes by noting the need for legislation, the virtues of the UPC over the UPA, and the hope that states will address all those who use ART, including gay and lesbian couples, and single parents.
Monday, August 6, 2012
TIME op-ed column: Breastfeeding Wars: Why Locking Up Baby Formula Is A Bad Idea, by Amy Tuteur:
Mayor Bloomberg's campaign against formula feeding in hospitals is profoundly out of touch with the realities of motherhood
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is right to want to promote breastfeeding, but his administration’s “Latch On NYC” campaign is an exercise in excess. First announced in May, the campaign is asking maternity hospitals to 1. ban formula feeding of newborn infants unless medically indicated; 2. restrict access to formula for hospital staff by locking it up and reporting its distribution to the New York City Health Department. . . .
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Jezebel: Joan Dunlop, Women's Health Advocate, Passes Away at 78, by Anna Breslaw:
Joan Dunlop, who had an integral part in convincing the United Nations that a woman's right to say no to sex was an essential human right, has died at 78 of lung cancer. Her interest in reproductive rights began as a young woman in London when she had an illegal abortion, something she would later confide in a job interview as an advisor to John D. Rockefeller III (she got the job). Dunlop also served as president of the International Women's Health Coalition from 1984 to 1996 and vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood in New York later in life.
Another interest was population control; if women across the globe had more autonomy and a better standard of living, asserted Dunlop, they themselves would be able to decide how many children they wanted to bear. For her part, she was "never faintly interested" in having children. . . .