Thursday, September 28, 2006

Midwife Lightbulb Joke

While doing a search for this morning's post, I found this midwife joke from LA Mom:
Q: How many midwives does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Two. One to sit there and wait for the old bulb to fall out of the socket naturally with no intervention, and one to give emotional support.

Attorney-Client Sexual Relations

**Update 10/03/2006 - I have changed the title of this post, since upon further reflection I felt it could be misleading. **

It has been reported (actually, he announced it on Larry King Live) that the father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby is none other than her lawyer, Howard K. Stern. Which, if nothing else, explains why he was spending the night in the Nassau hospital room with Smith and was there when her son passed away. I mean, I spend lots of postpartum time with my lawyer, but I happen to be married to him. Otherwise, that's a little freaky, don't you think?

I know that the first thought all you lawyers had was "Sex with a client? What jurisdiction is he licensed in?". Yah, admit it, you're a law geek too. Stern is licensed in California, which frowns upon attorney-client relationships but does not prohibit them.

And (because it's hard for me to blog about anything that can't be related to childbirth, breastfeeding, or midwifery) I will point out that Dr. Cyril Wecht, the infamous coroner who performed a second, private autopsy on Daniel Smith, was also in charge of the investigation into the childbirth death of Issac Daley and subsequent prosecution of Judy Wilson. Small world, I know. In that case, Dr. Wecht has opined (outside his area of expertise, something he seems to do often) that "laboring women are unable to think rationally and thereby make decisions about their own care."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mother Sentenced For Using Cocaine Before Breastfeeding

In Tarrant County (that's Ft. Worth, Texas, y'all), Corrina Richardson was sentenced to four years in prison pursuant to a plea agreement. Ms. Richardson was accused of using cocaine and then breastfeeding her then-14-month-old daughter, which caused her to have a seizure.


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Homeschooling (or not) in Europe

Did you know that homeschooling is illegal in Germany?
Last Thursday the German police arrested Katharina Plett, a homeschooling mother of twelve. Yesterday her husband fled to Austria with the children. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany since Hitler banned it in 1938. The Plett family belongs to a homeschooling group of seven Baptist families in Paderborn.
(link: Germany Imprisons Mum. Dad and Kids Flee to Austria)

And homeschoolers in Belgium are experiencing a similar crackdown, thanks to the UN Convention on Children's Rights.

Links courtesty of Spunky, my new go-to gal for homeschooling legal stuff. She comments here and here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

ACLU Goes After Toys "R" Us

This week a New York woman breastfeeding in a Toys"R"Us was asked to go elsewhere (because there were "children around"). It seems like I hear a report of this nature almost every week, but this time the ACLU has gotten involved:
In a letter to the company sent today, the NYCLU sought a meeting with Toys "R" Us officials; an apology; appropriate compensation for Meyerson; and a written guarantee that Toys "R" Us would permit breastfeeding in its stores and would train its staff about the policy.

Galen Sherwin, Staff Attorney for the NYCLU Reproductive Rights Project, added: "This is about public health, not public morality."

Twelve years ago the NYCLU lobbied for and secured the passage of a law that specifically establishes the right of all New York mothers to breastfeed in public. That statute, a section of New York State's Civil Rights Law, provides that "a mother may breastfeed her baby in any location, public or private, where the mother is otherwise authorized to be."

"Prohibiting public breastfeeding is bad public health policy -- and it's also against the law," said Elisabeth Benjamin, NYCLU Reproductive Rights Project Director. "Health care providers and the law agree that families who choose to breastfeed their children should be able to do so whenever and wherever necessary."
Although I'm not usually a big fan of the ACLU, I'm glad to see that this is being viewed as a civil/human rights issue. As I have said before, I do see it more as the infant's right to recieve appropriate nutrition rather than the mother's right to breastfeed.

But if I were Ms. Meyerson, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any "appropriate compensation".

Law Related Education Resources

The State Bar of Texas' Law Focused Education page has a lot of good resources for educators & parents.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

No Kidding

Some college football stadiums - like the University of Kansas - are requiring parents to purchase a ticket for their infants (link).

Now I feel differently about this gesture.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Pregnant Moms & Drugs

The Maryland Court of Appeals held this week that the state's reckless endangerment law cannot be used to prosecute women who use illegal drugs while pregant.

link: Charges Rejected for Moms Who Bear Babies Exposed to Illegal Drugs

Breastfeeding at Work

This is, apparently, National Breast Feeding at Work Week.

The New York Times ran a not-to-be-missed article, On the Job, Nursing Mothers Find a 2-Class System, which describes the obstacles some women face when pumping at work:
But as pressure to breast-feed increases, a two-class system is emerging for working mothers. For those with autonomy in their jobs — generally, well-paid professionals — breast-feeding, and the pumping it requires, is a matter of choice. It is usually an inconvenience, and it may be an embarrassing comedy of manners, involving leaky bottles tucked into briefcases and brown paper bags in the office refrigerator. But for lower-income mothers — including many who work in restaurants, factories, call centers and the military — pumping at work is close to impossible, causing many women to decline to breast-feed at all, and others to quit after a short time.

It is a particularly literal case of how well-being tends to beget further well-being, and disadvantage tends to create disadvantage — passed down in a mother’s milk, or lack thereof.
The article goes on to mention the current legislative situation:

Nearly half of new mothers return to work within the first year of their child’s life. But federal law offers no protection to mothers who express milk on the job — despite the efforts of Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, who has introduced such legislation. “I can’t understand why this doesn’t move,” she said. “This is pro-family, pro-health, pro-economy.”

Meanwhile, states are stepping in. Twelve states have passed laws protecting pumping mothers — Oklahoma’s law, the newest, will take effect in November. But like Oklahoma’s, which merely states that an employer “may provide reasonable break time” and “may make a reasonable effort” to provide privacy, most are merely symbolic.

Public health authorities, alarmed at the gap between the breast-feeding haves and have-nots, are now trying to convince businesses that supporting the practice is a sound investment. “The Business Case for Breastfeeding,” an upcoming campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services, will emphasize recent findings that breast-feeding reduces absenteeism and pediatrician bills.

What needs to change? Is legislation the answer?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Hurricane Katrina - One Year Later

Last year, I posted a list of childbirth-related hurricane relief programs. Obviously some of the efforts are no longer needed, but La Leche League has a good list that seems to be current. In particular, money is being raised to help lactation professionals replace books and materials which may have been damaged or destroyed in the disaster, and to maintain a fund for future such events.

Group Urges Disaster Planning for Pregnant Women, Babies

Hurricane Katrina
More Katrina
Missing New Orleans

Hurricane Rita was disappointing for those of us in drought-ridden North Texas who were hoping for rain, and got none.