Saturday, September 20, 2014

Male Birth Control


From the Daily Beast:

Vasalgel, a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens, is about to enter human trials. How will rhetoric change when male bodies become responsible for birth control? Vasalgel, a reversible form of male birth control, just took one step closer to your vas deferens.

According to a press release from the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for profit organization focused on developing low-cost medical approaches, Vasalgel is proving effective in a baboon study. Three lucky male baboons were injected with Vasalgel and given unrestricted sexual access to 10 to 15 female baboons each. Despite the fact that they have been monkeying around for six months now, no female baboons have been impregnated. With the success of this animal study and new funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Parsemus Foundation is planning to start human trials for Vasalgel next year. According to their FAQ page, they hope to see it on the market by 2017 for, in their words, less than the cost of a flat-screen television.

So how does Vasalgel work? It is essentially a reimagining of a medical technology called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) that was developed by a doctor named Sujoy Guha over 15 years ago in India, where it has been in clinical trials ever since. Unlike most forms of female birth control, Vasalgel is non-hormonal and only requires a single treatment in order to be effective for an extended period of time. Rather than cutting the vas deferens—as would be done in a vasectomy—a Vasalgel procedure involves the injection of a polymer contraceptive directly into the vas deferens. This polymer will then block any sperm that attempt to pass through the tube. At any point, however, the polymer can be flushed out with a second injection if a man wishes to bring his sperm back up to speed.

Read more here.


September 20, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Call for Papers

The Richmond Journal of Law & the Public Interest is seeking submissions for the Spring Issue of our 2014-2015 volume.  We welcome high quality and well cited submissions from academics, judges, and established practitioners who would like to take part in the conversation of the evolution of law and its impact on citizens.

We currently have four total openings for articles for our Spring Issue.  As a Journal that centers in large part on the Public Interest, we are seeking at least one article that touches upon current Family Law issue(s) and the effects that the issue(s) may have on the National Public Interest.  For a sense of what we are seeking for our general issues, please feel free to visit

If you would like to submit an article for review and possibly publication, or if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact our Lead Articles Editors - Rich Forzani and Hillary Wallace.  They can be reached, respectively, at [email protected] and [email protected].

September 19, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Surrogacy Laws

From the New York Times:

In Louisiana, Minnesota and New Jersey, after the state legislatures handily passed bills in the last few years allowing surrogacy in some situations, Republican governors vetoed them.

Many states are now considering certain limits and trying to find middle ground.

“My sense of the big picture is that we’re moving toward laws like the one in Illinois, which accepts that the demand for surrogacy isn’t going away but recognizes the hazards and adds regulations and protections,” said Joanna L. Grossman, a family law professor at the Hofstra University law school.

The Illinois law requires medical and psychological screenings for all parties before a contract is signed and stipulates that surrogates be at least 21, have given birth at least once before and be represented by an independent lawyer, paid for by the intended parents.

The law allows only gestational surrogacy, in which an embryo is placed in the surrogate’s uterus, not the traditional kind, in which the surrogate provides the egg. In addition, it requires that the embryo created in a petri dish must have either an egg or a sperm from one of the intended parents.

“That eliminates some of the concerns about designer babies,” Professor Grossman said.

Read more here.


September 18, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Joslin: "Federalism and Family Status"

Courtney G. Joslin (UC Davis) just posted Federalism and Family Status, -- Ind. L.J. -- (forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The myth of family law’s inherent localism is sticky. In the past, it was common to hear sweeping claims about the exclusively local nature of all family matters. In response to persuasive critiques, a narrower iteration of family law localism emerged. The new, refined version acknowledges the existence of some federal family law but contends that certain “core” family law matters — specifically, family status determinations — are inherently local. I call this family status localism. Proponents of family status localism rely on history, asserting that the federal government has always deferred to state family status determinations. Family status localism made its most recent appearance (although surely not its last) in the litigation challenging Section 3 of DOMA.

This Article accomplishes two mains goals. The first goal is doctrinal. This Article undermines the resilient myth of family law localism by uncovering a long history of federal family status determinations. Although the federal government often defers to state family status determinations, this Article shows that there are many circumstances in which the federal government instead relies on its own family status definitions.

The second goal of this Article is normative. Having shown that Congress does not categorically lack power over family status determinations, this Article begins a long overdue conversation about whether the federal government should make such determinations. Here, the Article brings family law into the rich, ongoing federalism debate — a debate that, until now, has largely ignored family law matters. In so doing, this Article seeks to break down the deeply-rooted perception that family law is a doctrine unto itself, unaffected by developments in other areas, and unworthy of serious consideration by others.


September 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Podcast on 7th Circuit Marriage Cases

Here is a Bloomberg Radio podcast with Margaret Ryznar on the 7th Circut same-sex marriage cases.

September 5, 2014 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

7th Circuit Strikes Down Same-Sex Bans in IN and WI

From ABC News:

A U.S. appeals court ruled Thursday that same-sex marriage bans in Wisconsin and Indiana violate the U.S. Constitution, in another in a series of courtroom wins for gay-marriage advocates.

The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago bumps the number of states where gay marriage will be legal from 19 to 21. Since last year, the vast majority of federal rulings have declared same-sex marriages bans unconstitutional.

Read more here.


September 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

7th Circuit Same-Sex Marriage Cases

From Margaret Ryznar, writing for Huffington Post:

Since last summer -- when the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor required the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages -- advocates have successfully challenged many states' bans against same-sex marriage. These challenges have swept through the federal district courts across the country, and are now working their way through the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Several of these courts have already held that states cannot deny same-sex couples the right to marry, including the 10th Circuit and the 4th Circuit.

Late last month, the 7th Circuit took its turn hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans after consolidating cases against Indiana's and Wisconsin's bans. The panel included Judges Posner, Williams and Hamilton.

The arguments made before the 7th Circuit were the same arguments made in other federal courts, centering on whether denying same-sex marriage is a violation of the 14th Amendment's due process and equal protection clauses. The same-sex couples in the 7th Circuit argued that Indiana and Wisconsin were violating these constitutional provisions by regulating marriage in a way that prevented them from getting married.

Meanwhile, Indiana supported its same-sex marriage ban by arguing that marriage is an incentive for people who unexpectedly conceived a child -- a man and a woman by definition -- to get married. Wisconsin's argument deferred to tradition and the state legislature to determine the issue.

Read more here.


September 4, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Ban upheld in Louisiana

From ABC News:

A federal judge upheld Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriages on Wednesday, a rare loss for gay marriage supporters who had won more than 20 consecutive rulings overturning bans in other states.

Read more here.


September 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Help Families From Day 1"

From  Clare Huntington (Fordham Law School), writing for the New York Times,

THE opening of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s universal pre-kindergarten program this week will give 53,000 children access to free, full-day pre-K in New York City, compared with 20,000 enrolled last year. This is well worth celebrating, and other cities and states should follow suit. But this investment in school preparation is not enough. If we want to close the income-based achievement gap, we need to begin much earlier.

Families are the ultimate pre-pre-school. Research in neuroscience and other fields has established that parents and caregivers provide a crucial foundation during the first few years of life. Our public policies, however, make it much harder for families, especially families living in poverty, to lay this foundation.

In my research, I have cataloged government policies that undermine parent-child relationships during early childhood. Our legal system, for example, destabilizes low-income, unmarried families, distracting them from parenting. Forty-one percent of children are born to unmarried parents. These parents are usually romantically involved when the child is born, but these relationships often end. Rather than help these ex-partners make the transition into co-parenting relationships, the legal system exacerbates acrimony between them. States impose child support orders that many low-income fathers are unable to pay, creating tremendous resentment for both parents. And courts are not a realistic resource for many unmarried parents, leaving them to work out problems on their own.

Read more here.



September 3, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Family Law Hiring Announcement

CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW in San Diego invites applications for an entry-level, tenure-track faculty position to begin in the fall of 2015. Our curricular needs are in Family Law, Business Law, and Clinical Teaching. We are particularly, though not exclusively, interested in candidates who are interested in teaching in our Clinical Internship Program, as well as in one of the above-mentioned subject areas. Candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our faculty are strongly encouraged to apply. Interested candidates should email their materials to Professor Scott Ehrlich, Chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at [email protected]. California Western is San Diego’s oldest law school. We are an independent, ABA-approved, not-for-profit law school committed to producing practice-ready lawyers. California Western is an equal opportunity employer.

September 2, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

September 1, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)