Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Divorce Registries

From the Cut:

Divorce brings inanimate objects to life. The sheets you slept on, the kitchen clock that oversaw your morning routine, the wooden spoon that stirred the chili — these can conspire against someone who is trying to start life over, threatening to suck them back through a wormhole to the past.

The belief that our stuff has the power to help us or hold us back inspired sisters Olivia Dreizen Howell and Genevieve Dreizen to set up the Fresh Starts Registry. By 2021, both were out of long-term relationships; Genevieve had ended an engagement not long after Olivia had gotten a divorce. Now, they help people create registries so a community can assist them in setting up a new household.

“We don’t see these things as gifts,” Olivia tells me. “This is a support registry. It’s not about the sheets and towels; it’s about the decisions that you’re making to make a big change.”

The timelines of life’s big milestones have changed — despite some recent setbacks in life expectancy, we’re living longer and marrying later than we were decades ago. Our gifting conventions should change as well. Until the 1960s, it was rare for couples to live together before marriage, so a wedding registry was crucial for establishing a livable home. These days, couples often get married with all the cutlery they need but no money for a honeymoon (or to pay the rent, for that matter). Cue the honey fund.

Even as divorce rates have slowed a bit, divorce remains popular. We keep finding ourselves alone in empty apartments with a duffel bag of clothes and a mishmash of objects that remind us of a previous life.

The Fresh Starts Registry offers curated room collections (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, kids’ rooms) and “bundles” of basics on Amazon. The $99 bundle gets you sheets, towels, cutlery, and a toothbrush set. It’s no frills, but the care put into the curation has a comforting effect. How many recently divorced people have abandoned a search for new sheets simply because the act of sifting through the garbage of inane reviews is too much to bear?

Read more here.

February 28, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2023

The Next Abortion Battle

From the Economist:

The fight over abortion access in America was never going to end with the overturning of Roe v Wade. Last summer the Supreme Court returned the matter to individual states. One side vowed to battle until every woman regained the right to choose an abortion. Their opponents said they would not rest until the procedure was banned across the country. The fight at first focused mostly on physical clinics, but has expanded to abortion medication. Both sides believe these pills are the key to getting what they want, and are using the courts to try to get there.

Depending on your perspective, abortion pills are either a saviour or the devil. They are small enough to pop discreetly into an envelope and send across borders. They are undetectable in blood, so a woman can claim to have had a natural miscarriage. As they are less invasive and cheaper than surgical abortions, patients often prefer them for first-trimester terminations. America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has gradually made it easier to access such pills, most recently this January by allowing certified pharmacies to provide them, on prescription.

Read more here.

February 27, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Texans Travelling Farther for an Abortion

From the Texas Observer:

Two years ago, if a Texan needed an abortion, they’d have to travel an average of 44 miles to get one. Today, that number is 497.

Even before the fall of Roe last summer, Texas had one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. During the 87th legislative session, Texas Republicans passed Senate Bill 8, which prohibited abortions after the first six weeks of pregnancy. The overturn of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 led to a near-total statewide ban on abortion at any point during a pregnancy, except in cases where providing an abortion could save the life of the mother. The ban does not include an exception for victims of rape or incest, and doctors stress that the law’s harsh penalties and vague language make the medical exception hard to interpret.  

In the two years since our state’s last legislative session, millions of Texans have lost access to abortion care. But those restrictive laws have also caused ripple effects, and obstructed doctors’ ability to care for patients experiencing pregnancy complications. As the Texas Legislature returns for its first session post Roe, state Representative Donna Howard, the Austin Democrat who chairs the Women’s Health Caucus, says her number-one priority is access to healthcare and damage control. She recently spoke with the Texas Observer’s Sara Hutchinson.

Read more here.

February 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

TX Abortion Pill Case Pending

From ABC7:

The Biden administration is preparing for a worst-case scenario if a conservative federal judge rules in favor of a lawsuit seeking to restrict access to one of the two drugs typically used to induce a medicated abortion.

Two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, can be taken by women at home and are used for just over half of U.S. abortions. But that could be quickly changed by a lawsuit filed by an anti-abortion group in Texas that claims the Food and Drug Administration wrongly approved mifepristone for use more than 23 years ago.

The case is before a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump. A ruling in favor of the abortion opponents could immediately shut down the sale of the drug, but women would still have access to medicated abortions with a regimen of misoprostol.

Vice President Kamala Harris promised on Friday that the White House would push back on efforts to ban the drug, as she gathered a group of nearly a dozen doctors and abortion rights advocates to discuss a plan for responding to the looming threat to access to medical abortions.

Read more here.

February 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Women Opting Out of Marriage

From Futurity:

Opting Out: Women Messing with Marriage Around the World (Rutgers University Press, 2022) is a collection of 12 essays from anthropologists working around the globe. They chronicle women moving away from “traditional” marital arrangements in societies where marriage is widely considered obligatory. Essays include analyses of young single women in India, extramarital intimacy in Japan, and women enjoying “absent” husbands in Senegal.

The contribution of Joanna Davidson, associate professor of anthropology at Boston University, examines widows who choose not to remarry in Guinea-Bissau, where she’s long done fieldwork.

It’s important to note that Opting Out, which Davidson coedited with Dinah Hannaford of the University of Houston, isn’t a summary dismissal of marriage. Rather, the volume chronicles the subtle ways in which women are “protagonists in moving the needle on marriage around the world,” says Davidson. “It opens up the question, what are they opting out of, and what are they opting back into?”

The answers are as varied as the locales featured in each essay. That’s entirely purposeful, according to the coeditors. “All of the contributors have done really sustained fieldwork in the places they’re writing about,” Davidson says. “[We] really wanted to make this an edited volume in which we were all challenging each other in order to enrich our ideas, experiences, and ways of analyzing what we were encountering in these very different places.”

Davidson speaks here about her new book, her research, and what, exactly, it means to opt out of marriage. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.)

Read it here.

February 26, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 25, 2023

More Veggies, Less Sugar

From CNN:

Children under 5 in the US are missing out on vital nutrition by drinking sugary drinks and passing up fruits and vegetables, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Researchers surveyed the parents of more than 18,000 kids ages 1 to 5 in 2021, asking them how many times the child ate fruit, the number of vegetables eaten and the number of sugar-sweetened beverages consumed in the preceding week.

Read more here.

February 25, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 24, 2023

Same-Sex Marriage Petition in India

From the Harvard Crimson:

Growing up in the 2000s, Utkarsh Saxena wondered if he would ever “belong and be accepted” as a queer man in India.

Saxena, who earned a Master of Laws from Harvard Law School in 2014 and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School in 2020, said he faced “a lot of phobia” around his identity.

Now, Saxena is petitioning the Supreme Court of India to legalize same-sex marriage.

“I didn’t think that so quickly, I could even dream of petitioning the court and seeking the right to get married and having kids,” Saxena said. “If this goes well, that could actually be possible, which would have been unfathomable.”

Saxena met his partner, Ananya Kotia, when they were undergraduates at Hansraj College of the University of Delhi. Fifteen years later, the couple decided they were ready to get married, petitioning directly to the Supreme Court of India in December 2022 for the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The case was admitted for a hearing on Jan. 6, and it will be considered together with three similar petitions for additional hearings in March.

Read more here.

February 24, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 23, 2023

South Korea Grants Govt Health Insurance to Same-Sex Couples

From NPR:

A South Korean appeals court ruled Tuesday that government health insurance should offer spousal coverage to same-sex couples.

The landmark ruling is the country's first legal recognition of social benefits for same-sex couples. South Korea has not legalized same-sex marriage or civil unions.

The 32-year-old plaintiff So Seong-uk sued the National Health Insurance Service in 2021, after the agency revoked his status as a dependent to his partner Kim Yong-min.

So and Kim held a wedding to publicly declare their relationship in 2019. The next year, the health insurance agency accepted Kim's request to list So as his dependent, on the same grounds that it provides spousal benefits to heterosexual couples in de facto marriage.

But when the media started to report the couple's story, the agency annulled the decision, saying it was a "mistake," and that So did not qualify. A lower court ruled in favor of the agency in 2021, saying same-sex unions cannot be deemed the same as heterosexual unions.

That judgment was overturned at the appellate court on Tuesday. Both groups are "the same in essence" in that they form "emotional and economic community" outside the legally defined family relationship, the court said in its verdict. To recognize dependent status in one group and not in the other based on sexual orientation "constitutes a discriminatory treatment."

Read more here.

February 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cahn: "The Political Language of Parental Rights: Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care, and Critical Race Theory"

Naomi Cahn (UVA) recently posted to SSRN her article The Political Language of Parental Rights: Abortion, Gender-Affirming Care, and Critical Race Theory, Seton Hall Law Review (forthcoming).  Here is the abstract:

This Article explores how the rhetoric of parental rights has been deployed to override minors’ access to abortion, gender-affirming care, and education about critical race theory and gender identity.

The overruling of Roe v. Wade and controversies over gender-affirming care and “appropriate” material to be taught in schools have highlighted parent/child/state tensions. Long before Dobbs, states imposed restrictions on the abortion rights of minors, even when minors and their parents agreed.

The rhetoric of parental rights, however, has been weaponized to serve particular substantive ends, even though parents have differing rights and interests. Some parents, for example, support their children’s access to gender-affirming care, but rather than provide those services for their children, instead fear that they will be investigated for child abuse. Indeed, this paper suggests that the parent-child-state triad has another participant: political partisanship. The triad thus becomes a triangular pyramid, with partisanship at the top. The rhetoric of parental rights is used as a screen for restricting abortion rights, bans on gender affirming care, prevention of the teaching of critical race theory and even limitations on drag queen shows, so it’s not really about parental rights at all.

The first part of this Article reviews the research on the impact of access to contraception and abortion for teens. The second turns to the existing legal framework for such access, while the third surveys pre- and post-Dobbs conflicts that center on protecting parental rights over their children’s rights to reproductive care. The next section explores the reasons for increasing political partisanship in the country as a whole, framing the broader culture wars, and brings in related issues that allegedly implicate parental rights, such as gender-affirming care and school curricula that include critical race theory and gender identity. The final section concludes.

February 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Students Missing from Schools

From AP:

An analysis by The Associated Press, Stanford University’s Big Local News project and Stanford education professor Thomas Dee found an estimated 230,000 students in 21 states whose absences could not be accounted for. These students didn’t move out of state, and they didn’t sign up for private school or home-school, according to publicly available data.

In short, they’re missing.

“Missing” students received crisis-level attention in 2020 after the pandemic closed schools nationwide. In the years since, they have become largely a budgeting problem. School leaders and some state officials worried aloud about the fiscal challenges their districts faced if these students didn’t come back. Each student represents money from the city, state and federal governments.

Gone is the urgency to find the students who left — those eligible for free public education but who are not receiving any schooling at all. Early in the pandemic, school staff went door-to-door to reach and reengage kids. Most such efforts have ended.

“Everyone is talking about declining enrollment, but no one is talking about who’s leaving the system and why,” said Tom Sheppard, a New York City parent and representative on the city's Panel for Educational Policy.

Read more here.

February 23, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Child Labor Laws Loosening

From the Washington Post:

As local economies grapple with a tightening labor market, some state legislatures are looking to relax child labor protections to help employers meet hiring needs.

It’s part of a persistent trend in labor economics, experts say. When employers struggle to find talent, many prefer to hire younger, cheaper workers rather than increase pay and benefits to attract adults.

“Because of the high demand for workers, where there are holes in the system, unfortunately child laborers can get caught up in staffing some of those holes,” said David Weil, a professor of social policy and management at Brandeis University, and a former wage and hour administrator at the Department of Labor.

Legislators in Iowa and Minnesota introduced bills in January to loosen child labor law regulations around age and workplace safety protections in some of the country’s most dangerous workplaces. Minnesota’s bill would permit 16- and 17-year-olds to work construction jobs. The Iowa measure would allow 14- and 15-year-olds to work certain jobs in meatpacking plants.

Read more here.

February 22, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Happy Mardi Gras

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Free Mardi Gras Clip Art Pictures - Clipartix

February 21, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Unsuccessful Hit Job Results in Happy Marriage

From KEYC:

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

A Pennsylvania couple insists their unusual romance is proof of that, even though one tried to kill the other for real.

Their story even caught the attention of Hollywood.

It’s a love story.

This year, Tony and Frances Toto will celebrate 57 years of marriage.

Read more here.

February 21, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Italian Kids Don't Need to See Their Grandparents

From the Guardian:

Italy’s top court has ruled that children are under no obligation to see their grandparents if they do not wish to do so.

The ruling from the supreme court of cassation relates to an appeal by the parents of two children against the decision of a lower court which had forced the youngsters to spend time with their paternal grandparents.


The parents argued that the meetings were not appreciated by the children owing to the ongoing family tensions and so appealed to the supreme court to have the decision overturned.

In its ruling, the supreme court said that while there is “no doubt” that the two children would “benefit from a bond with the articulated line of generations”, the pair had expressed opposition to the relationship and could not be forced to see their “ascendants”, especially in an environment of conflict.

Therefore, the court ruled that the interests of the children must prevail over those of the grandparents and that “an unwelcome and unwanted relationship” cannot be imposed, even more so if the children are “capable of discernment” and have reached the age of 12.

Under a family law introduced in Italy in 2006, a child has the right to maintain a significant relationship with their grandparents, even if their parents separate. Grandparents also have the right to ask a court to establish whether a parent’s decision to deny them access to their grandchildren is damaging to the child’s wellbeing and therefore illegal.

Read more here.

February 20, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Crackdown on Underage Marriages in India

From Yahoo!:

Standing outside the local police station in her village in northeast India, 19-year-old Nureja Khatun is anxious. Cradling her 6-month-old baby in her arms, she has been waiting to catch a glimpse of her husband before the police take him away to court.

Nearly an hour later, she sees her husband, Akbar Ali, for just a few seconds when he is shuffled into a police van. An officer slams the door in her face before she is able to get any answers.

“Please release my husband. Otherwise take me into custody as well,” she pleaded.

Khatun’s husband is one of more than 3,000 men, including Hindu and Muslim priests, who were arrested nearly two weeks ago in the northeastern state of Assam under a wide crackdown on illegal child marriages involving girls under the age of 18.

Read more here.

February 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Utah Bill on Adoption

From Deseret News:

Adoptions are expensive, with average costs in the range of $20,000 to $50,000 and higher. As an adopted child of parents with very modest means, I can tell you how important it is for the expenses of adopting to be transparent so families can make informed choices. 

According to the most recent national adoption data available, 1,281 children were adopted in Utah in 2019. Almost half of those adoptions were facilitated by private adoption agencies. And after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, it’s likely that the number of adoptions, in Utah and beyond, will increase in the coming years.

This week, Utah legislators are considering an innovative law that increases the opportunities for adoption in the state, offering hope that more children might have forever families. The legislation (SB154) does three things: expands support for adoption by providing transparency about costs and consistent reporting of fees, facilitates the difficult choice facing birth mothers about whether to relinquish a child, and tries to grow the adoption marketplace. 

The bill prohibits fees for services not provided, and Medicaid continues to be there for birth mothers. Because we cannot write good policy without data, the bill standardizes the reporting of fees and relays this information back to legislative committees and the Judicial Council. This consistency and transparency will allow families to compare apples to apples when considering adoption. 

Read more here.

February 19, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, February 18, 2023

New Book on Literary Wives

From Literary Hub:

Kingsley Amis’s relationship with Elizabeth Jane Howard, known as Jane, was a stabilizing force, at least for him. Both were ambitious writers, but only one could achieve success. The other was expected to lend unconditional support and forsake all personal desires. If Jane could not tolerate in herself the ruthlessness often required in fully realizing one’s talent, Kingsley did not give it a second thought. He pursued his vocation in a headlong way, with no regard to the fallout on those closest to him.

Even though he had been seduced by a sexy novelist, what he really needed, day to day, was an attentive housewife and caregiver. Theirs was a hierarchical relationship in which Kingsley was always on top, rather than the equal partnership Jane had hoped for. He was encouraging and supportive about her work—but only to a point. She tried not to mind. After he read her 1959 novel, The Sea Change, Kingsley praised it in his own way. “That’s a very good novel indeed,” he said. “I am so relieved. I was afraid you wouldn’t be any good.”

Jane’s autonomy was tolerated so long as it did not interfere with her husband’s needs, yet it almost always did. Any effort to speak up fell on deaf ears, but Jane could convince herself that she felt content if she had Kingsley’s affection and approval. She depended on it. When he was feeling cheerful, he would look at his wife adoringly and say, “I have such a lovely life with you!” All was right with the world.

Read more here.

February 18, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 17, 2023

Equal Gender Roles Don't Save Netflix Movie "Your Place or Mine"

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

OMG, the chemistry between Reese Witherspoon and Ashton Kutcher. If it was any hotter, you could boil an egg. In about 36 hours.

It’s not their fault. It works on paper. Each has a huge following among Gen X-ers, who might be ripe for some romantic nostalgia. Each is at home with comedy and romance. So, what went wrong with this first-time pairing of two of the prettier stars of their era?


Steve Zahn has a small role as Debbie’s neighbour – a lovestruck gardener. He does more in a few minutes to bring mirth than the rest of the cast put together.

I would have enjoyed a movie about his quiet longing for Debbie, but that would have upset the balance, and this film is “balanced” in terms of screen time, rather than script. Equal leads, equal time. Witherspoon and Kutcher achieve gender equality for the romcom – not an insignificant task – but it hardly matters when the film is so listless.

Read more here.


February 17, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 16, 2023

How Divorce Lawyers Handle Their Own Marital Finances

From the Wall Street Journal:

Divorce lawyers and couples counselors see how often money leads to the end of a relationship. When these professionals return home, they put into action several steps to make sure they have a healthy relationship with their finances and their partners.

Lisa Zeiderman, 61 years old, a divorce lawyer in New York, and her husband, Lloyd Zeiderman, an 86-year-old wealth and business manager, spent the better part of their respective careers thinking about money and relationships. They have front-row seats to how financial issues can tear couples apart.

At home and at work, Mrs. Zeiderman preaches “the mailbox rule.”

Every weekend, when she and her husband drive out for breakfast, she stops the car at the end of the driveway and checks the mail. While they share money, he takes the lead on managing their investments and communicating any new developments to his wife. But she said checking the literal receipts—both in the mail and digitally—can offer peace of mind.

“If the credit-card statements are no longer available or passwords are changed or you used to have discussions about money and now you don’t, that may be the sign of something brewing around you,” she said.

Sharing money with a romantic partner leads to greater overall relationship satisfaction, and combining financial power in turn leads to greater wealth for the household, studies have found. Despite these demonstrated benefits, many couples see talking about money as a gateway to more fights and less peace.

But many seasoned legal, financial and counselling professionals say they have seen firsthand the repercussions of letting money problems fester. We asked some of them to share even more lessons they have learned and put to the test in their own relationships.

“Just talk about it” is some of the most common—and occasionally infuriating—advice quarrelling couples receive. But in practice, maintaining a low-stakes, ongoing daily discussion about expenses, savings and your respective financial habits can lessen the tension many people feel around these money conversations, said Matt Lundquist, the 46-year-old founder and clinical director of Tribeca Therapy in New York who also counsels couples.

Read more here.

February 16, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

No Big Mac Meal?

From USA Today:

McDonald's wants to help you find love at first bite.

The fast-food chain revealed a special meal-for-two deal after a commercial just ahead of the start of the Sunday's Super Bowl – and it has the backing of real-life celebrity couple Cardi B and Offset.

The Cardi B & Offset meal, which becomes available Tuesday on Valentine's Day for a limited time, includes a cheeseburger with BBQ sauce and large Coke – Cardi B's preferences – and a Quarter Pounder with Cheese with a large Hi-C Orange Lavaburst (Offset's choice), plus a large order of fries and an apple pie. McDonald's did not release a suggested price for the new meal; it will be determined by individual restaurants and may vary based on location, the company said.

Read more here.

February 15, 2023 | Permalink | Comments (0)