Sunday, September 20, 2009

General Social Survey: American Women Are Getting Sadder

NY Times Op-Ed Column: Blue Is the New Black, by Maureen Dowd:

...According to the General Social Survey, which has tracked Americans’ mood since 1972, and five other major studies around the world, women are getting gloomier and men are getting happier.

Before the ’70s, there was a gender gap in America in which women felt greater well-being. Now there’s a gender gap in which men feel better about their lives....

See also: Huffington Post: What's Happening To Women's Happiness?, by Marcus Buckingham.

September 20, 2009 in Culture, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Operation Rescue Warns of Its Financial Woes

Kansas City Star : Anti-abortion group singing the blues, by Lewis Diuguid (op-ed columnist):

It's hard to feel sorry for Operation Rescue.

The forthright and forceful Wichita-based anti-abortion group is tapped out. The cash it had to be the loud and aggressive voice against women's rights has run out.

Operation Rescue for years gained fame and fortune by hounding George Tiller, who provided late-term abortions for women who needed them. But his murder last spring also had the unintended effect of cutting off the parasitic life-line that Operation Rescue had to Tiller....

Coverage from the Associated Press available here.

September 18, 2009 in Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Conservative Religiosity and Teen Birth Rates

Bible NY Times: Religion’s Link to Teen Pregnancy, by Lisa Belkin:

A report this week in the journal Reproductive Health describes what researchers call “a strong association” between the teenage birth rate of a particular state and its “level of religiosity.”

The correlation is not what you might expect. The more religious the state, the higher the rates of teen pregnancy....

From the study's conclusions:

With data aggregated at the state level, conservative religious beliefs strongly predict U.S. teen birth rates, in a relationship that does not appear to be the result of confounding by income or abortion rates. One possible explanation for this relationship is that teens in more religious communities may be less likely to use contraception. 

September 18, 2009 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

More on "Abortion Neutral" Health Reform

NY Times: In Health Care Battle, a Truce on Abortion, by Peter Steinfels:

“And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up: Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

Did that apparently unqualified statement by President Obama to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday guarantee that health care overhaul, whatever its other travails, will not fall victim to the seemingly intractable moral battle over abortion?

Of course not. Administration foes, like the National Right to Life Committee or the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, were quick to declare that the president could not possibly mean what he said.

But others, like officials of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and some religious leaders with concerns about abortion, welcomed his words. When it comes to health care overhaul, a surprising number of people on both sides of the abortion war have declared a limited truce.

The key words are “abortion neutral.”. . .  

September 18, 2009 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tying Family Planning to Efforts to Reduce Carbon Emissions Condoms against climate change, by Andrew Leonard:

Thomas Malthus: Prophet of overpopulation doom, or the first family planner? 

From "Fewer Emitters, Lower Emissions, Less Cost: Reducing Future Carbon Emissions by Investing in Family Planning":

The historical relevance of Malthus' work in any family planning study cannot be understated. In fact, Richard Ehrman's "The Power of Numbers" states that Malthus' "call for 'prudential restraint' -- by which he meant later marriage -- can be said to have opened the way for family planning."

The "Fewer Emitters" study, written by the London School of Economics' Thomas Wire at the behest of the Optimum Population Trust, makes a fairly straightforward point. If all the women in the world who already want to avoid or postpone pregnancy were given access to contraceptives, there would be fewer babies, and eventually fewer greenhouse-gas emitting humans. 

This is a point that is also made in an upcoming study soon to be published by the World Health Organization: "Runaway population growth in countries such as Ethiopia and Rwanda," reports Bloomberg News, "where contraceptives are in short supply is exacerbating drought and straining fresh water supplies." The Optimum Population Trust goes one step further, however, by calculating the cost-benefit effectiveness of spending dollars on family planning as opposed to the roll out of low-carbon energy technologies. . . . 

September 18, 2009 in Contraception, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Bridget Crawford on Taxing Surrogacy

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace University School of Law) has posted Taxation, Pregnancy and Privacy on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Bridget Crawford This Article frames a discussion of surrogacy within the context of existing income tax laws. A surrogate receives money for carrying and bearing a child. This payment is income by any definition, even if the surrogacy contract recites that it is a “reimbursement.” Cases and rulings on the income tax consequences of the sale of blood and human breast-milk, as well as analogies to situations in which people are paid to wear advertising on their bodies, support the conclusion that a surrogate recognizes taxable income, although the IRS has never stated so. For tax purposes, the reproductive labor of surrogacy is work. The federal government should take steps to increase tax compliance. The Article considers, and then rebuts, privacy-based objections to a surrogacy tax. Disclosure of income from surrogacy is a reasonable consequence of the freedom to engage in that activity.

September 18, 2009 in Assisted Reproduction, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anti-Abortion Protester is Killed in Michigan

NY Times: Abortion Protester Is Killed in Michigan, by Emma Graves Fitzsimmons:

A man who had long opposed abortion and was known nationally among anti-abortion protesters was shot to death Friday morning while staging a protest outside a Michigan high school, the authorities said.

Leaders of anti-abortion groups said they knew of no other instance in which a person protesting against abortion had been killed. In May, Dr. George R. Tiller, an abortion provider in Kansas, was shot to death in a crime that renewed debate over the use of violence in the abortion battle.

The protester, identified as James Pouillon, 63, was one of two people, the authorities said, who were shot dead Friday by the same man in Owosso, a city of fewer than 15,000 people about 10 miles west of Flint, Mich. The other victim, a local businessman, was not connected to the anti-abortion movement, the authorities said.

A suspect was arrested and charged in both killings. . . .

September 16, 2009 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Courtney Joslin on Same-Sex Parents and Interstate Recognition of Parentage

Courtney G. Joslin (UC Davis School of Law) has posted Interstate Recognition of Parentage in a Time of Disharmony: Same-Sex Parent Families and Beyond on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

UC Davis In a number of recent cases, litigants have argued that states have the authority to disregard prior parentage adjudications when those determinations violate the forum's law and policy on lesbian and gay parenting. The Article offers two contributions to the analysis of these interstate parentage cases. The first contribution is doctrinal. Drawing upon recent legal scholarship about interstate recognition of adoption judgments, the Article demonstrates that other forms of parentage adjudications, including those made in the context of otherwise modifiable orders such as child custody and support orders, are entitled to exacting respect under the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

The second contribution is normative. Thus far, the scholarship on these interstate parentage cases has been limited largely to consideration of their implications for other same-sex parent families. Lesbian and gay parenting is not, however, the only area of parentage law where the states have adopted widely divergent rules based on moral or policy concerns. To the contrary, parentage has become an increasingly contested area of law. This Article seeks to fill the gap in the literature by considering the potential ripple effects of these same-sex parent cases in two other areas of parentage law - surrogacy and paternity disestablishment.

September 16, 2009 in Parenthood, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Motherhood and Kim Clijsters' U.S. Open Victory Did motherhood help Clijsters win?, by Vincent Rossmeier:

Research suggests women might actually become better athletes after giving birth

Tennis Ball Every year on my birthday, after reminding me of the agonizing hours of labor pains she suffered through just to bring me into this world, my mother always tells me that being a mother prepares you for the most difficult jobs in the world.

I guess that includes tennis champion.

Sunday, Kim Clijsters capped off a remarkable comeback by winning the U.S. Open women's title with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over the ninth-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark. Though this was the 26-year-old Belgian’s second U.S. Open victory, this title was even more impressive than her 2005 triumph. Clijsters became the first unseeded woman to win the U.S. Open and her stunning victory came just 18 months after she gave birth to a daughter. Sunday also marked the first time since 1980 that a mother has won a major tennis tournament. But Clijsters’ recent motherhood may have actually helped her athletic prowess. . . .

September 16, 2009 in Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Risa Goluboff on Abortion, Vagrancy, and Fundamental Rights

Risa Goluboff (University of Virginia) has posted Dispatch from the Supreme Court Archives: Vagrancy, Abortion, and What the Links Between Them Reveal About the History of Fundamental Rights on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Risa (UV) This Essay explores the implications for constitutional history of several documents I found in the archives of Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Potter Stewart, and Harry Blackmun. In particular, I discuss (1) portions of an early draft of Justice Douglas’s opinion in the 1972 vagrancy case of Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville; (2) memoranda from Justices Brennan and Stewart about that opinion; and (3) memoranda between Justices Brennan and Douglas about Roe v. Wade. These documents - which I have reproduced in an appendix - shed new light on several apparently disparate issues in constitutional law: the Supreme Court’s use of void-for-vagueness doctrine; the social and constitutional history of vagrancy law; the possibility and contours of constitutional regulation of substantive criminal law; the relationship between Papachristou and Roe; and the development and conceptualization of substantive due process. These documents invite us to think both more deeply and more broadly about who was engaged in constructing the intellectual framework of modern fundamental rights, about where in the constitution such rights would be located, and about what the contours of such rights would be.

September 11, 2009 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Mentions Abortion During Speech on Health Care Reform

NY Times: Check Point: Examining Obama's Assertions, by David M. Herszenhorn:

...Mr. Obama, in his speech, forcefully rejected contentions that the legislation would limit end-of-life care or even encourage euthanasia. Both of those claims are indeed false.

But his assertion that “no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” is not so clear-cut.

Abortion opponents say tax dollars could be used to subsidize insurance that could pay for abortion. The legislation approved in the House committees seeks to avoid this by requiring that only money from premiums paid by beneficiaries be used to cover abortion.

Existing restrictions on the use of federal money for abortion would remain in place, as Mr. Obama stated. But in practice, the public and private money would all go into the same pot, and the source of money for any single procedure is largely a technicality.

September 11, 2009 in Abortion, Congress, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NOW Weighs in on Health Care Reform and Reproductive Health

National Organization for Women: NOW Urges Single-Payer as Best for Women:

Says Reproductive Health Care Must Be Covered

NOW President Barack Obama's address to Congress and the people of the United States resonates at a time when people are fed up with the health care status quo because it is not working. The National Organization for Women is pleased President Obama mentioned the need for a public option to provide health care to those not currently served by the profit-driven private insurance industry.

As activists, we also acknowledge that the steps he outlined fall short of a guarantee of comprehensive health care for all, including the full range of reproductive health services required to ensure equality for women. We must assert our human rights as the debates continue.

Women do need consumer protection against abuses by health insurers, particularly against so-called pre-existing conditions, which so often and outrageously have been applied to exclude pregnancy and maternal care. . . . 

September 11, 2009 in Congress, Politics, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ACLU Asks Court to End Government Funding of Overtly Religious Abstinence-Only Program in Mississippi

ACLU press release (9/9): ACLU Asks Court to End Government Funding Of Religion In Mississippi Abstinence-Only Program:

Jackson, MS – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi today asked a federal court in Mississippi to end government funding of religion in the state’s abstinence-only-until-marriage program.  The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District on behalf of a teen and two community members who attended a state-sponsored abstinence summit in May of this year.

“The state of Mississippi cannot sponsor overtly religious events as part of its abstinence-only-until-marriage program,” said Brigitte Amiri, Senior Staff Attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.  “This is not the first time the state has crossed the line in its abstinence programming, but we hope it will be the last. Instead of preaching, the state needs to start teaching youth how to make responsible and healthy decisions throughout their lives.” . . .

September 11, 2009 in In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality Education, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Conservative Groups Oppose United Nations Sex Ed Guide

NY Times: U.N. Guide for Sex Ed Generates Opposition, by Steven Erlanger:

PARIS — A set of proposed international sex education guidelines aimed at reducing H.I.V. infections among young people has provoked criticism from conservative groups that say the program would be too explicit for young children and promote access to legal abortion as a right.

The guidelines, scheduled to be released by Unesco in a new draft next week, would be distributed to education ministries, school systems and teachers around the world to help guide teachers in what to teach young people about their bodies, sex, relationships and sexually transmitted diseases. They would address four different age groups. . . .

But the conservative criticism has already caused one of the key participating and donor agencies, the United Nations Population Fund, to pull back from the project and ask that its name be edited out of the published material. . . .

September 9, 2009 in International, Sexuality, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scholarship by Michelle Oberman

Michelle Oberman (Santa Clara Law) has posted Thirteen Ways of Looking at Buck v. Bell on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Oberman This article is a review essay of Paul Lombardo's THREE GENERATIONS, NO IMBECILES: EUGENICS, THE SUPREME COURT AND BUCK V. BELL [Johns Hopkins Press, 2008]. Using Lombardo's rich and fascinating history of eugenics in the U.S. as a foundation, I propose and then explore a series of implications that stem from Buck v. Bell and are related to eugenic practices in the U.S. in the 1920s and 30s. The themes upon which Lombardo touches may be grouped into three general categories: the state role in regulating fertility; gender, race, and class issues in fertility regulation; and contemporary reproduction-related politics as they pertain to human attributes. The article is written with an eye to a semester-long study of the governmental regulation of reproduction, past, present and future. Among the themes that fall within the first of these three broad categories are issues of fiduciary duty, which grow out of Lombardo's examination of the roles of doctors and lawyers in the Buck case. I also consider the government's role in regulating population more generally, examining the eugenic implications of contemporary immigration and population policies. The themes relating to gender, race and class include the consideration of maternal-doctor-fetal conflicts, as well as historical and contemporary efforts to link fertility control to criminal punishment. Finally, the third set of themes includes a discussion of the eugenic implications of contemporary issues in reproductive technology. Lombardo's book is well researched and fascinating. It deserves a broad readership, and this review provides a mechanism for bringing this rich history to life in the classroom and beyond.

Professor Oberman has also posted Eva and her Baby (A Story of Adolescent Sex, Pregnancy, Longing, Love, Loneliness and Death) on SSRN:

This article is written in the form of a creative non-fiction essay in which I tell the story of Eva, a girl who was convicted of manslaughter in connection with the death of her newborn child. I undertook this mode of story-telling after years of writing in more conventional modes about maternal filicide in general, and neonaticide in particular. (Most recently, I co-authored a book entitled When Mothers Kill: Interviews from Prison (NYU Press, 2008)). The conventions governing standard law review writing and the relatively distant observer's voice I adopted in my earlier writings left me feeling as though I had failed to communicate an important part of the factors underlying neonaticide. This essay, in which I fuse Eva's story with my own, undertakes to tell a fuller truth about the complex factors that underlie this crime. The essay is part of a series of creative endeavors (essays and articles) in which I adopt an ethnographic or quasi-ethnographic approach to considering the nexus of criminal law and women's lives.

September 9, 2009 in Bioethics, Culture, Fertility, Incarcerated Women, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Look at the Importance of Birth Order

NY Times: Birth Order: Fun to Debate, but How Important?, by Perri Klass:

. . . Everyone takes it personally when it comes to birth order. After all, everyone is an oldest or a middle or a youngest or an only child, and even as adults we revert almost inevitably to a joke or resentment or rivalry that we’ve never quite outgrown.

Children and parents alike are profoundly affected by the constellations of siblings; it is said that no two children grow up in the same family, because each sibling’s experience is so different. . . . But that doesn’t mean the effects of birth order are as clear or straightforward as we sometimes make them sound. . . .

September 9, 2009 in Miscellaneous, Parenthood | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Revista Argentina de Teoría Jurídica" Publishes Special Issue on Reproductive & Sexual Health Law

Via Martín Hevia (School of Law, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella; Global Fellow, International Reproductive & Sexual Health Law Programme, University of Toronto):

Revista Argentina de Teoría Jurídica of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella is the law journal of the School of Law of the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella at Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its Vol. 13 is a special issue on reproductive and sexual health law.  It includes dossiers on sexual and reproductive health, conscientious objection, and medical confidentiality.

The special issue on Reproductive Rights includes Spanish translations of papers on conscientious objection by established scholars in the field:

Professor Bernard Dickens from the University of Toronto and Professor Rebecca Dresser from Washington University in St. Louis: "Servicios de Salud Reproductiva y el Derecho y Ética de la Objeción de Conciencia" and "Profesionales, Adecuacíón y Conciencia" respectively.

"Secreto Profesional Médico y Servicios de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva en la Jurisprudencia de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos" is a case comment on the leading case of the Inter American American Court of Human Rights on medical confidentiality, "De la Cruz Flores v. Perú" (2004), by Martín Hevia (School of Law, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella; Global Fellow, International Reproductive & Sexual Health Law Programme, University of Toronto) and Oscar Cabrera (O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center).  The paper discusses the legal implications of De la Cruz Flores on the scope of medical disclosure of confidential information in the provision of post-abortion health care in Latin America.

Continue reading

September 9, 2009 in International, Law School, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

UN Addresses Economic Consequences of Divorce for Women Worldwide

Women's E-News: U.N. Tackles Universal Problem for Women: Divorce, by Theresa Braine:

Divorce Guardians of the U.N.'s treaty on women's rights have begun to address one of the most daunting challenges for women the world over: financially surviving divorce.

Setting international standards on this issue strikes at the core of cultural identity and even into people's personal sense of self, says Marsha Freeman, a member of the committee currently reviewing the treaty's position on divorce. And that, she says, is "the hardest place to make these changes..."

"The economic consequences of divorce have been of growing concern to social scientists and policy makers," said Halperin-Kaddari in her statement.

Halperin-Kaddari, the main presenter before the CEDAW committee, said research in industrialized countries has demonstrated that while men usually experience minimal income losses after divorce, most women experience a substantial decline in household income and an increased dependence on social welfare where it is available. "Throughout the world, female-headed households are the most likely to be poor," she said....

September 8, 2009 in International, Poverty, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guttmacher Institute Examines Benefits of Home Visiting Programs

Guttmacher Institute news release: Home Visiting Programs Touted by Obama Administration Improve Health and Well-Being of Both Women and Children:

Programs Have Attracted Attention as Part of Health Care Reform and President’s “Common Ground” Initiative Around Abortion

Guttmacher Home visiting programs that would be significantly expanded under a new initiative proposed by the Obama administration have demonstrated modest but important benefits for children and significant benefits for women, according to a new policy analysis published in the Summer 2009 issue of the Guttmacher Policy Review. Home visiting programs pair new families—particularly low-income, single-parent ones—with trained professionals who provide parenting information, resources and support throughout a child’s first few years.

“Home visiting programs have gained some real and well-deserved traction, especially with the Obama administration’s request for $8.6 billion over the next 10 years,” says Heather Boonstra, author of the policy analysis. “The current health care reform effort could well be the vehicle to secure funding for the program, as home visiting provisions have a good chance of being included if and when reform legislation is enacted.”

The administration’s initiative would support programs that have undergone rigorous evaluation, as well as those that have demonstrated promise in improving the lives of children, women and families. A variety of home visiting programs are operating across the United States, and various models have been shown to improve both the health and well-being of children, particularly by reducing child abuse and neglect, and the sexual and reproductive health of women by promoting pregnancy planning. . . . 

September 8, 2009 in Contraception, Parenthood, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bridget Crawford on Third Wave Feminism

Bridget J. Crawford (Pace University School of Law) has posted The Third Wave's Break from Feminism on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Bridget Crawford

Janet Halley proves that third-wave feminism is wrong - wrongly decribed, that is. Young feminists in the United States tout a "third wave" of feminism that is hip, ironic and playful - the supposed opposite of the dour and strident "second wave" of 1970's feminism. Goodbye frumpy sandals; hello sexy fishnets, according to third-wave feminism. Initially young women themselves (and now writers and scholars) embraced a pervasive wave metaphor to convey the belief that differences within feminism are generational. Youth crashes against (and ultimately overtakes) its elders. But rifts within feminism cannot be so neatly explained. The story is more complicated than third-wave vs. second-wave, young vs. old, fertile vs. menopausal. The wave metaphor obscures a more complicated story of the power of labels. "Feminism" is such mighty label that third-wave feminists want to remake it and Janet Halley wants to take a break from it. In spite of their different vocabulary, though, third-wave feminists and Janet Halley share similar goals and methods. Feminism has no use as a label -- a theory, even -- unless it yields to the complex realities of human experience.

This essay explores the goals that third-wave feminists and Janet Halley share. They have similar purposes and methodologies, but they differ in the vocabularly they use to describe their goals. Third-wave feminists embrace the feminist label when Halley wants to leave it aside, at least temporarily. The core idea of both third-wave feminism and Janet Halley's Split Decisions is a departure from a certain kind of feminism -- a feminism does not account in a meaningful way for some women's desires for sex, subordination and (sometimes) sex that is subordinating. Third-wave feminists and Janet Halley and third-wave feminists share an affection for the interstitial, the spaces between theory and experience. That space remains unexplored and messy - with no neat division between waves or breaks to be made.

September 7, 2009 in Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)