Tag Archives: single-mother

Why Worry About Step-Parent As De Facto Parent?

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


Step-Parents As De Facto Parents, II

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

US As Sperm Exporter–The Story In Time Magazine

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

Most Mothers Under 30 Are Unmarried Mothers

Okay, this is a topic I’ve been meaning to get to for a while.  In some ways what I want to talk about is as much how news is framed as it is what the news is.

Not long ago there was a whole spate of stories with headlines like “For Women Under 30, Most Birth Occur Outside of Marriage.”   That particular article (which is from the NY Times) begins this way:

“It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.” Continue reading

Trying to Think About What Is In The Middle

In the last week’s I’ve put up two posts about the ends of the spectrum of approaches to use of third-party gametes.   It’s time to think about the middle ground.

First a recap:   At one end of the spectrum of approaches would be a place where you essentially barred the use of third-party gametes.   (You’d do that by having the law recognize the gamete provider as a legal parent, which would effectively mean there could be no third-party provider.  You probably ought to go read the post to see what I mean here.)   At the other end you might have something akin to what you would find now in a number of states–fairly unrestricted use of third-party gametes as people see fit.   The question really is what might be in the middle.

To be clear, you do not have to seek middle ground here.   I’m sure some people are satisfied with what exists today and some would be satisfied to have no use of third-party gametes at all.  Continue reading

Utah’s Laws

There’s been a lot of discussion of the Baby Emma case, spurred by a recent decision of the Utah Supreme Court.   It’s gratifying to have such lively discussion going on, but it can also be confusing to have so many topics at issue at once.  I wanted to use this post to separate out a discussion of the choices Utah has made with regard to its adoption law.

One thing this does is take us away from the facts of the specific case involving Baby Emma.  That’s one set of facts, but if you were sitting in the legislature in Utah, thinking about what the law should be, you’d probably also consider other possible scenarios.    And you’d think more broadly in terms of general policies–facilitating the adoption of children is one, protecting the rights of biologically related parents is another.   You might have to think about which one was more important and why, and then maybe you’d figure out what sort of legal structure would strike the right balance between whatever things you decided to consider. Continue reading

A Quick Note on Contrasting Government Strategies

This is a short post spurred by the coincidence of two articles that crossed my path the same day.   Each discusses how a government uses public policy shapes choices in an effort to encourage certain sorts of behavior around the parent/child questions.   

One article is from Israel and it describes a “pronatalist” policy.    The other is from the UK and describes (inconsistent) efforts around encouraging participation of unmarried men as fathers.     Continue reading