Wednesday, August 17, 2016
The Atlantic (August 3, 2016): It's Time to Make 'Women's Work' Everyone's Work, by The Atlantic
In such a simple yet powerful video interview, Anne Marie-Slaughter contends that the women's movement is missing an "emphasis on caregiving policies." Slaughter asks why we have failed to recognize that traditional women's work is just as important as traditional men's work. She argues that cultivating the idea that breadwinning and caregiving are equally as important in a successful household is key in achieving true equality.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Los Angeles Times (June 16, 2106): Good riddance to a repugnant California cap on family aid, by Times Editorial Board:
As part of a budget deal struck by California legislators, California will end the "maximum family grant" rule, a cap on family aid designed to discourage poor women from having babies while on welfare. Although typically the amount of aid welfare recipients receive is based upon the number of children in a family, the maximum family grant rule prohibited any increase to aid based upon a birth that occurred to a family that was already receiving benefits.
It was a repugnant policy and, furthermore, it didn’t seem to work. Studies have found little evidence of a link between caps in benefits and reproduction. What we do know, however, is that the maximum family grant rule punished poor kids for the choices of their parents.
Twenty-two states adopted family caps in the 1990s. California is the seventh state to repeal the cap. According to ThinkProgress, 12 states give families no extra money for additional children while enrolled in welfare. Two other states give a flat amount of money no matter the number of children in the family, and tow states reduced benefits for additional children. Check out ThinkProgress for a map and listing of states that still have maximum family caps.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
SCOTUS Blog (Mar. 7, 2016): Court Restores Woman’s Right to Be a Mother, by Lyle Denniston:
In a victory for LGBTQ advocates, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision on Monday, restoring a mother’s legal parenting rights to the children she had adopted with her same-sex partner, the children’s birthmother. The case, V.L. v. E.L., originated in Alabama, where plaintiff E.L. appealed a visitation order granted to V.L. to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. The Alabama Supreme Court nullified the visitation order, refusing to recognize the adoption decree granted in Georgia.
The Court’s unsigned (“per curiam”) decision in the Alabama adoption case was based entirely on the provision in the Constitution’s Article IV declaring that “full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state,” and on the Court’s prior interpretations of that clause. If a state court has jurisdiction under its own laws to issue a decision, Monday’s opinion said, then that decision is entitled to respect in the courts of every other state.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Daily Illini (Feb. 29, 2016): Illinois Representatives Drop Bill after National Outcry
Two Republican lawmakers in Illinois have withdrawn a proposed law that would have denied public assistance and birth certificates to the children of unwed mothers who do not name the fathers of their children. The penalty would not apply to children whose biological fathers were identified conclusively through DNA evidence or who had a family member agree to support the child. The bill included an exception for artificial insemination as long as the mother waived her right to public assistance for the child. The bill did not, however, include an exception for rape and incest.
The lawmakers withdrew the bill after a national outcry was triggered by editorials criticizing the bill and published on Salon, Chicagoist and Jezebel.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
CNN (Feb. 26, 2016) Should parents be allowed to choose the sex of their baby?, by Carina Storrs:
Prospective parents may have preferences on whether they have a boy or girl. In vitro fertilization (IVF) opens up new possibilities for parents to choose the sex of their baby as well as controversies about whether sex selection is appropriate. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine initially took the position that use of IVF for sex selection should "not be encouraged" but recently eased its stance.
Determination of the sex of an embryo prior to implantation requires genetic screening, which provides prospective parents with genetic information about the embryo, including its sex. Some clinicians argue that manipulating the embryo to conduct the screening creates an unnecessary risk , but there is no current evidence that it is unsafe. There is also concern that the use of IVF for sex selection could divert resources away from medically necessary IVF.
Perhaps the greatest concern about sex selection is that it could cause or reinforce gender bias. In the United States, there is no evidence that parental choice would lead to a gender imbalance, and it appears more likely that sex selection is used as a form of "family balancing." For instance where parents of boys may decide they would like their next child to be a girl. However, even this "gender neutral" form of sex selection may reinforce bias and attitudes about the link between gender differences and biological sex. Canada and the United Kingdom have banned the use of IVF for sex selection except if it is used to avoid the risk of sex-linked genetic diseases.
Monday, February 8, 2016
New York Times (Feb. 4, 2016): Pentagon to Offer Plan to Store Eggs and Sperm to Retain Young Troops, by Michael S. Schmidt:
In an effort to retain troops on active duty by making the military more family friendly, the Pentagon wants to reassure those who fear injury to their reproductive organs or who want to pursue a military career before having children. Given the expense (an estimate is that the program will cost the Pentagon $150 million per year), almost no employers offer egg and sperm freezing to their employees. Legal and ethical questions related to this service have yet to be resolved.
The Pentagon has recently improved the lives of service members in various ways related to having children, including longer maternity leaves, improved child care and the creation of lactation rooms at military facilities. The initiatives are meant to address the greater emphasis that millenials place on work-life balance than did previous generations.
Friday, December 4, 2015
The Poverty of Privacy Rights, by Khiara M. Bridges, Professor of Law, Boston University
For the past year, I have been writing a book, titled The Poverty of Privacy Rights. The punch line of the book is poor mothers do not have privacy rights.
Most people who have examined poor mothers’ experiences with the state agree that they do not enjoy any privacy in any real sense of the word. The state is all around them. It is in their homes, it is in their decision making processes around whether or not to bear a child, it is monitoring them as they parent their children, it is collecting the most intimate information from them, etc. It is everywhere. In light of the fact that the state is all around poor mothers – and in light of the fact that poor mothers can not keep the state out of their lives in the way that wealthier mothers can – most scholars have argued that poor mothers have privacy rights, but their rights are weak, meaningless, or constantly violated. The book that I am writing seeks to shift the discourse. It disputes that poor mothers have privacy rights that are weak or meaningless or constantly violated. Instead, it argues that poor mothers do not have privacy rights at all.
The book proposes that poor mothers have been “informally disenfranchised” of their privacy rights. The concept of informal disenfranchisement refers to the process by which a group that has been formally bestowed with a right is stripped of that very right by techniques that the Court holds to be consistent with the Constitution. The best precedent for informal disenfranchisement is black people’s experience with voting rights. While the Fifteenth Amendment formally enfranchised black men, white supremacists in the South employed methods—poll taxes, literacy tests, residency requirements, and white primaries—that made it impossible for black men to actually vote in the South for a century after their formal enfranchisement. Moreover, the Court held that each of these techniques of racial exclusion from the polls was constitutional. This is informal disenfranchisement: the status of formally bearing a right, yet being unable to exercise that right because laws that the Court have found to be constitutional make it impossible to do so. As such, my book proposes that poor mothers have been informally disenfranchised of privacy rights.
Now, those who are committed to the belief that everyone enjoys the same rights in the U.S.—even poor mothers—might argue that the government’s interest in protecting poor mothers’ children and children-to-be from abuse and neglect overrides their rights. So, they suggest that the reason why it appears that the government can act as it would act if poor mothers’ privacy rights did not exist at all is because the government interest in protecting children invariably justifies overriding these mothers’ privacy rights.
But, we have to ask: why does the state presume that poor mothers are at risk of abusing or neglecting their children? Now, one might respond: a mother’s poverty yields the possibility that she will be unable to meet the material needs of her child. One might respond: all that the state is doing is ensuring that the indigent woman is able to meet the material needs of her child. But, the Court has authorized states to ask questions that go beyond an inquiry into whether a woman will be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter for her child. The Court has authorized states to enter poor women’s homes just to make sure that they are not lying about their eligibility for public assistance benefits. The Court has authorized states to coerce women to avoid motherhood via family caps on public benefits. The Court has authorized states to coerce women into motherhood via prohibitions on the spending of Medicaid funds on abortion. The state’s surveillance goes beyond ensuring that poor mothers are able to meet the basic needs of their child. Instead, it amounts to a blanket surveillance of poor mothers.
It is worth noting, early and often, that wealthier women engage in the same behaviors in which poor women engage. Wealthier women cohabit with men to whom they are not married. Wealthier women smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol while pregnant. They, too, have histories of sexual and domestic violence. They, too, have unplanned pregnancies. They, too, find themselves pregnant after being in relatively short relationships with the fathers of their babies. Yet, no state has erected an extravagant bureaucratic tool with which it can take an accounting of every non-poor pregnant woman. And the point of my new book is to argue that, if a state did erect this extravagant bureaucratic tool with which it can take an accounting of non-poor pregnant women, it would be struck down as a violation of their privacy rights.
Now, the fact that no state has attempted to erect this bureaucratic tool is telling. It suggests that the state is not really interested in protecting children from abuse and neglect. Instead, it is only interested in protecting some children from abuse and neglect. That is, the state assumes that only some children need to be protected from their mothers. And those children are the ones that are born to poor women. Now, why does the state make this assumption about poor women? It cannot be because poor women engage in problematic behaviors and have problematic histories; wealthier women do, too. It has to be because of something else. My new book argues that that “something else” is poor women’s poverty and the fact that we largely believe that most poverty in this country is a consequence of individual, bad character. We have informally disenfranchised poor mothers of privacy rights because we, as a society, do not trust individuals with bad characters – poor women, presumptively – to competently parent their children.
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.