Thursday, January 31, 2013
Swedish Court Overturns Law Forcing Sterilization On Transgender People Seeking a Legal Change of Sex
Time: Transgender People in Sweden No Longer Face Forced Sterilization, by Rebecca Nelson:
Until late last week one of Europe’s most progressive nations had one of the continent’s most repressive policies on transgender people. Swedish law had required all transgender people to undergo sterilization if they want to legally change their sex. In a Dec. 19 decision, the Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal overturned the law, declaring it unconstitutional. . . .
Thursday, November 29, 2012
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.
HuffPost Miami: Florida Mails 'Offensive' Sex Survey to Young Women, by Brittany Wallman:
If you thought your friends were nosy about your sex life, wait until you see what the state wants to know.
Florida's Department of Health is asking for intimate details of the sex lives of 4,100 young women, and offering $10 gift cards in return.
State officials said the unprecedented $45,000 survey will help them understand women's need for and approach to family-planning services. . . .
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The New York Times: Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Faces Test in Courts, by Eric Eckholm:
Gay “conversion therapy,” which claims to help men overcome unwanted same-sex attractions but has been widely attacked as unscientific and harmful, is facing its first tests in the courtroom.
In New Jersey on Tuesday, four gay men who tried the therapy filed a civil suit against a prominent counseling group, charging it with deceptive practices under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. . . .
Monday, November 12, 2012
The New York Times: Christian Right Failed to Sway Voters on Issues, by Laurie Goodstein:
Christian conservatives, for more than two decades a pivotal force in American politics, are grappling with Election Day results that repudiated their influence and suggested that the cultural tide — especially on gay issues — has shifted against them.
They are reeling not only from the loss of the presidency, but from what many of them see as a rejection of their agenda. They lost fights againstsame-sex marriage in all four states where it was on the ballot, and saw anti-abortion-rights Senate candidates defeated and two states vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use. . . .
Friday, October 26, 2012
Robin Fretwell Wilson (Washington & Lee University School of Law) has published The Calculus of Accommodation: Contraception, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, and Other Clashes Between Religion and the State in the Boston College Law Review. Here is the abstract:
This Article examines, and responds to, a number of “sticking points” voiced by legislators about a qualified exemption for religious objectors that would permit them to step aside from facilitating same-sex marriages so long as no hardship will result. These concerns bear an uncanny resemblance to reasons why some believe the Obama administration should not yield further on the coverage mandate. This Article maintains that religious accommodations qualified by hardship to others can transform what could be a zero-sum proposition into one in which access and religious freedom can both be affirmed.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Conservative Institute Launches Campaign to Block Access to Contraception, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage
Hunter of Justice: Conservatives launch "religious liberty" state lobbying network, by Nan Hunter:
The Center for Ethics and Public Policy has announced a new project that will establish bipartisan "religious liberty" legislative caucuses in every state by the end of 2013. Their goal will be blocking access to contraceptives, abortion and same-sex marriage. The campaign is starting with Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The network is designed to produce an on-the-ground capacity for lobbying in every state legislature, as well as more efficient coordination of national strategies. . . .
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Feminist Interventions: Professor Elizabeth Emens: "Asexual Identity and Sexual Law" with respondent Elizabeth Povinelli, Professor of Anthropology
Wednesday, October 17 6:00 - 8:00pm
754 Schermerhorn Extension
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Guttmacher Institute – press release: Survey of Countries with Liberal Abortion Laws Finds Abortions Concentrated Among Women in their 20s, by Jessica Malter:
Decline in American Teen Abortion Rate Puts United States on Par With Some Industrialized Counterparts, but More Progress Is Needed
A new study of countries with liberal abortion laws finds that abortion is more common among women in their 20s than among women of other ages, according to "Legal Abortion Levels and Trends by Woman’s Age at Termination," by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute. A large body of research has shown that this group often wants to postpone childbearing, which would interrupt their ability to work or complete their schooling; in addition, many young adult women have yet to establish stable partner relationships. The current study found that recent declines in the teen abortion rate in the United States (now at 20 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–19) have put the United States on par for the first time with several other industrialized countries, including England and Wales, Scotland, Sweden and New Zealand. This marks a considerable change from the mid-1990s, when the U.S. teen abortion rate was substantially higher than that of any other industrialized nation. . . .
Sunday, September 16, 2012
The New York Times: Upstairs, Downstairs (book review of ‘Vagina: A New Biography,’ by Naomi Wolf), by Toni Bentley:
Sit back and relax, will you? Naomi Wolf has got her orgasm back. Yep. I know you were worried. We were all worried. I mean, to lose one’s orgasm at a time like this, what with Syria undergoing mass civilian murder and Romney closing in on Obama, it is really enough to put a liberated gal’s thong in a knot.
But Wolf didn’t just get back one of those little clitoral thingamajigs that Masters and Johnson so laboriously put back on the map after Freud had brushed them aside. Or rather inside, where he felt they belonged. She has reclaimed the Great Big Cosmic I-Am-a-Gorgeous-Goddess (Feminist-Goddess, that is) kind. Phew!
“Vagina: A New Biography” should have been an important book. A very important book. . . .
Reva Siegel (Yale Law School) has posted Dignity and Sexuality: Claims on Dignity in Transnational Debates Over Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Dignity’s meaning is famously contested. This essay explores competing claims on dignity in late twentieth-century debates over abortion and in the first decisions on the constitutionality of abortion legislation that these debates prompted. Advocates and judges appealed to dignity to vindicate autonomy, to vindicate equality, and to express respect for the value of life itself. Appeals to these distinct conceptions of dignity are now appearing in debates over the regulation of same-sex relations. Analyzed with attention to competing claims on dignity, we can see that in the debate over same-sex relations, as in the debate over abortion, a crucial question recurs: Do laws that restrict non-procreative sexuality violate or vindicate human dignity? Agonists who hold fundamentally different views about sexuality share an allegiance to dignity, enough to fight for the authority to establish dignity’s meaning in debates over sexual freedom. Today, as in the 1970s, dignity’s meaning is being forged in cross-borders conflict over dignity’s sex.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Julie A. Greenberg (Thomas Jefferson Law School) has posted Health Care Issues Affecting People with an Intersex Condition or DSD: Sex or Disability Discrimination? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
People with an intersex condition or a Difference of Sex Development (DSD) depend on health care professionals for critical medical treatment. Many intersex activists assert that some current medical practices are not in the best interests of patients with an intersex condition. They contend that greater safeguards should be adopted to ensure that the rights to liberty and autonomy of people with a DSD are respected. Thus far, intersex advocacy has focused on extralegal strategies. The movement is at a point, however, where legal challenges to current medical protocols could provide an additional tool to improve life altering health care practices.
This Article examines whether the intersex movement could effectively use legal frameworks developed by feminists, the LGBT movement, and disability activists to advance its goal of modifying current medical procedures that are based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and disability stereotypes.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
The New York Times - Schoolbook: Is New Sex Education Course Too Much or Just Enough?:
Last summer the Department of Education decided that for the first time in nearly two decades, students in New York City’s public middle and high schools would be required to take sex-education classes beginning this school year, using a curriculum that includes lessons on how to use a condom and the appropriate age for sexual activity. At East Side High Community School, the school newspaper, The East Sider, wrote about the new course in its January issue, before the course had started. The article, below, has been lightly edited.What do you think about the new sex education classes? Do you think they go too far? How are they being introduced in your school? Respond to our query below. . . .
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Miami Herald - Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida: EEOC: Transgender workers protected by Title VII, the federal law that covers sex discrimination:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that Title VII, the federal law that protects employees from sex discrimination, also includes workers who are transgender. . . .
Saturday, February 11, 2012
VA Bills Will Further Limit Funding for Abortions for Medicaid Recipients and Allow Discrimination by Adoption Agencies
Reuters: Virginia lawmakers pass abortion, adoption bills, by Matthew A. Ward:
(Reuters) - Virginia would halt taxpayer-funded abortions for low-income women in cases where the fetus is severely physically deformed or mentally deficient under Republican-backed legislation passed Friday by state lawmakers.
The House of Delegates voted 64-35 to strip the Board of Health of its ability to fund abortions for Medicaid recipients when a physician certifies that the fetus would be born with a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency."
The measure comes amid a raft of conservative bills in the Virginia General Assembly, which shifted to the right following the 2011 general election.
Separate legislation backed by the state Senate on Wednesday would require women to be given an ultrasound and the chance to see the fetal image before an abortion is performed. . . .
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Wanda Nowicka (Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning) has posted Sexual and Reproductive Rights and the Human Rights Agenda: Controversial and Contested on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In this paper I share some of my experience and observations, as an advocate for women's rights, of the last 20 years of struggles for sexual and reproductive health and rights, carried out in many key places where these issues have been debated and decided. I do not aspire to be comprehensive about the current status of human rights related to sexuality and reproduction. Given that my expertise is of a practical (rather than theoretical) nature, the complexity of the topic and contradictory events with regard to it, which take place almost everyday, I will highlight some selected achievements and setbacks in this area, particularly regarding abortion rights. I will provide examples of how human rights related to sexual and reproductive health have been addressed in UN policy-setting bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women and Commission on Population and Development, as well as in the UN human rights system such as Treaty Monitoring Bodies and Human Rights Council. Given my work with European institutions, I provide examples of important decisions by the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. Lastly, I discuss growing opposition to a progressive human rights agenda and the universality of human rights. Despite significant successes, sexual and reproductive rights will long remain controversial and contested. Hence, it is crucial to try to find new ways to engage and new partners to work with.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Even "comprehensive sexuality education" programs nowadays are expected or required to prioritize abstinence, thus conveying the implicit message that sex is bad. Here is a refreshing look at some sex educators who dare to take a different approach.
The New York Times Magazine: Teaching Good Sex, by Laurie Abraham:
“First base, second base, third base, home run,” Al Vernacchio ticked off the classic baseball terms for sex acts. His goal was to prompt the students in Sexuality and Society — an elective for seniors at the private Friends’ Central School on Philadelphia’s affluent Main Line — to examine the assumptions buried in the venerable metaphor. “Give me some more,” urged the fast-talking 47-year-old, who teaches 9th- and 12th-grade English as well as human sexuality. Arrayed before Vernacchio was a circle of small desks occupied by 22 teenagers, six male and the rest female — a blur of sweatshirts and Ugg boots and form-fitting leggings. . . .
In its breadth, depth and frank embrace of sexuality as, what Vernacchio calls, a “force for good” — even for teenagers — this sex-ed class may well be the only one of its kind in the United States. “There is abstinence-only sex education, and there’s abstinence-based sex ed,” said Leslie Kantor, vice president of education for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “There’s almost nothing else left in public schools.”
Across the country, the approach ranges from abstinence until marriage is the only acceptable choice, contraceptives don’t work and premarital sex is physically and emotionally harmful, to abstinence is usually best, but if you must have sex, here are some ways to protect yourself from pregnancy and disease. . . .
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
U.S. Catholic Bishops Reframe Opposition to Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage as Fight for "Religious Liberty"
The New York Times: Bishops Open ‘Religious Liberty’ Drive, by Laurie Goodstein:
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops opened a new front in their fight against abortion and same-sex marriage on Monday, recasting their opposition as a struggle for “religious liberty” against a government and a culture that are infringing on the church’s rights. . . .
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
The Washington Post: 'Our Bodies, Ourselves' taught women about sexuality and reproductive health, by Stefanie Weiss:
When it comes to women’s sexuality and reproductive health, I’ve come to believe that the world divides into two camps: those who know something about hand mirrors and those who don’t.
My sister Julie, solidly in the first camp, recently went to a 30-something female gynecologist, who’s in the second. At Julie’s first mention of hand mirrors, she told me, her doctor was more than a little taken aback.
“You did what?” she asked. . . .
Sunday, August 28, 2011
The Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (RFPCU) took effect on June 1, 2011. It recognizes civil unions, affording unionized parties “the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections and benefits as are afforded to spouses.” Parties may be “of either the same or opposite sex.” The RFPCU reflects federal constitutional equalities. As declared in Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972), “if the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental inrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”
Notwithstanding the directive for “same” treatment, however, marriages and opposite sex unions are naturally different than same sex unions. At times there can be no absolute sameness. Consider parenthood. Same sex unions can never produce children genetically-tied to both partners. Similarly, though husbands and wives are generally accorded equal treatment regarding children born into marriage, here too there are differences. Only wives bear children. The U.S. Supreme Court has declared that mothers automatically are accorded parental rights at birth, while fathers only have parental opportunity interests which must be affirmatively seized.
How should legal parenthood at birth arise when children are born into civil unions? Should the standards differ between same sex female and male couples? Between married and unionized opposite sex couples? These questions are addressed in the article, which explores the Parentage Act, the Gestational Surrogacy Act, and voluntary paternity acknowledgment practices. The article concludes that Illinois legislators should consider new parentage laws rather than leaving important family law policies to the Illinois courts which can only resolve assisted reproduction and other parentage cases “on the particular circumstances presented.” In re Parentage of M.J., 203 Ill.2d 526 (2003). “Unitary” families, subject to significant potential governmental protections under Michael H. v. Gerald D., 491 U.S. 110 (1989), deserve more clarity so that parent-child relationships can develop early on with little fear of later disruptions.