I’ve been following a case brought by Christa Dias for a long time now. Dias was a computer science teacher in a Catholic school in Cleveland. She was single and used assisted insemination to become pregnant. She was fired and sued.
The archdiocese–defendant in the case–asserted that she was fired because violated Catholic teachings and she had agreed to abide by those teachings when she was hired. (It’s agreed that using AI violates those teachings.) But Dias made two claims–first, that the firing amounted to pregnancy discrimination and second, that the diocese didn’t fire men who used AI, but only women who did so. Continue reading
Yesterday the prime minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, issued a formal apology to thousands of unwed mothers who were forced to give up their children for adoption in post-World War II Australia. I’m sure that the reaction of many people is “it’s about time” and indeed, that is the case. But there are also a couple of other points that strike me.
First, tying back to yesterday’s post, this is something like a logical consequence of the emphasis on how important marriage is. It looks to me like the problem with these unmarried mothers is that they were unmarried.
Unwed mothers were pressured, deceived and threatened into giving up their babies from the second world war until the early 1970s so they could be adopted by married couples, which was perceived to be in the children’s best interests, the Senate committee report found. Continue reading
I’m travelling now and this makes it a bit more difficult to manage the comments, but I came across this story in the paper today (long plane ride=read paper closely) and thought it worthy of note. It’s about single mothers in Vietnam, really, although it begins with the story of a group of single mothers from one village.
These are single mothers by choice, but as must always be true their choices were made in particular and specific circumstances–circumstances defined by culture and by history as well as all the other vagaries of time and place. I think the story struck me because some commenters here have been quite critical of those who would deliberately have children who are cut off from a genetic parent. I can’t help but wonder if people would say the same of these women who are in such a different context. (I should be clear that I cannot say myself since I am not particularly critical of the women who make the same choice here in my own culture.) Continue reading
There’s an excellent post on Olivia’s View this morning. (Actually, it might be from yesterday–I’m not keeping up very well.) It’s about telling children that they are donor conceived. As the post title suggests, it’s not so much about whether you tell a child that she or he was conceived using third-party sperm as it is about when you tell a child. It’s really worth a read.
Some of what’s interesting to me is right there in the post: the process of telling and retelling, for example. Perhaps this is obvious–how many times do you have to tell a child to pick up their socks rather than leaving them wherever they happen to take them off? It takes a long time–and many repetitions–for things to sink in. Continue reading
I am about to spend some time reading and responding to comments but before I do that I thought I’d put up a short post about a long story from yesterday’s NYT. It’s a story–like many others about single mothers–that I found particularly frustrating.
The story is built around a contrast between two women who have much in common. Here’s the second paragraph which is written to emphasize the commonality:
They are both friendly white women from modest Midwestern backgrounds who left for college with conventional hopes of marriage, motherhood and career. They both have children in elementary school. They pass their days in similar ways: juggling toddlers, coaching teachers and swapping small secrets that mark them as friends. They even got tattoos together. Though Ms. Faulkner, as the boss, earns more money, the difference is a gap, not a chasm.
The story then pivots to a signal difference between the women: Continue reading
I’m sorry to have been so long away. I’ve got very little internet access and not all that much time, either. But things should improve. Though this must get to sound like a broken record–I know there are comments but I cannot respond to them right now. (In fact, I cannot even read them–but I know they are there.) Patience? Maybe everyone is off having a lazy time doing summer things? One can hope.
So there’s a story I’ve been meaning to comment about for a while now and because it is the only thing I’ve got to look at here (no current events) this is the moment. It’s off of NPR a couple of weeks back. The idea here is just as there has been a significant movement of single mothers by choice, so there is an emerging movement of single fathers by choice.
It’s interesting to think about single fathers. Continue reading
My last post was about a controversial European practice–the establishment of baby boxes. There’s a lot of discussion there–I might not have picked up on all the comments–but I wanted to reframe the discussion here. There are many different perspectives and many valid points to be made. It’s not so much that I think we all need to agree in the end as that I think we should understand where we disagree.
One way to start is by observing that the three things listed above (baby boxes, safe haven laws and adoption) are all potential solutions to a single problem: unwanted children.
They may not technically be exclusive solutions–by which I mean that you could have baby boxes or safe havens and then place those babies for adoption. In fact, I think this is what is commonly done. But one point that has been made forcefully in the discussions on the earlier post is that to the extent adoption is premised on various procedures that protect rights of all those involved, both baby boxes and safe havens short circuit those procedures. Continue reading
I’m continuing on a question I got to last time, though the real genesis of this line of discussion is further back. I won’t retrace all the steps as you can just go back and read them over. I’m thinking about a hypothetical (which I quoted in full) that was posed by the Justice Bosson in a concurring opinion in Chatterjee v King.
Put briefly, the question is why should we worry that a step-parent might get to claim rights as a de facto parent? (You could ask this same question about a foster parent. The discussion would perhaps be different so I will not include it here.) In the terms of the hypo from the concurrence, why should we worry that Man might claim rights to the child over Mother’s objections? Continue reading
I started this thread yesterday and though I know there are comments I haven’t looked at yet, I wanted to get back to it. I have a feeling I haven’t explained my thinking terribly clearly (partly because it isn’t very clear and partly just because I didn’t get the writing right). So it seems like I should try again.
First, a couple of posts back, I tried to establish that there are two categories of parents–original parents (I’d call them, I guess) and step-parents. To my mind, step-parents are people who come along later–who aren’t there from the get-go. Now I think I referred to some of those original parents as second parents, which probably wasn’t a great choice, but I’ll stay with that. Second parents are perhaps most often lesbian co-mothers, but they could be male, partners, too. Perhaps even husbands of women who give birth are second-parents.
The key point to carry from that post is just that I wanted to describe two categories of people who have parent-like relationships with children–original parents and step-parents. Continue reading
Again I digress (and postpone engaging with comments for a little bit) to cover a story from the issue of Time Magazine on newsstands now. You must be a subscriber to read the article on-line, but you can read about it here and here. I read it in the print edition. The story is by Jay Newton-Small and it is worth trying to get a copy of it to read. The snippets you can get access to give you the main point of the story.
Here’s the bottom line: The US has become sperm exporter to the world. Newton-Small attributes US dominance in the field to ”quality control and wide product selection.” I want to think about both of these but I’ll take them in reverse order.
The product selection: Because the US population is diverse, the pool of sperm providers here is diverse. Continue reading