Weighing in on the Rights of Parents


A Cleveland, Ohio mother is losing her child for a pretty unique reason: the state has determined that her child is too fat.

The mother brought her child into a hospital sometime last year, citing concern over problems breathing.  The doctors at the Rainbow Babies and Children’s hospital diagnosed him with sleep apnea (a disease commonly associated with being overweight), contacted social workers, and enrolled the 200+ lb. youth in a program geared towards shedding pounds.  The youth experienced moderate success for a while, but quickly regained the weight. 

The mother of the child (whose name has not been released) was distraught, shocked at the fact that her child was being forced into the foster care system based on her weight.  The mother was quoted as stating, “It’s a lifestyle change and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying”.

The Constitution places a high level of importance on the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit.  Legally, the state must have a compelling state interest in removing a child from their parent’s care.  A “compelling state interest” can be the health and well-being of an individual.  What’s curious –and possibly dangerous- about this however, is the fact that America is facing an obesity epidemic.

For those of you on the side of removing the child from the parent citing the better good, consider the case of Adela Martinez.  A decade ago, her three-year old daughter, Anamarie was removed from her care. … <Read More>

Reproductive Outsourcing

An interesting trend is developing in America and across the globe: reproductive outsourcing.  Yes, you read that right.  Parents are paying for overseas surrogates to carry their child to term.  And what happens to be one of the most popular overseas locations for the process?  India.

Surrogacy is one of several assisted reproduction options available to couples who have experienced difficulty producing a child.  Surrogacy involves the implantation of a fertilized egg into the womb of a third party, referred to as the surrogate (the technical term is gestational carrier).  The surrogate carries the baby to term, at which point it is transferred, physically and legally, to the waiting parents.  The process can be very difficult and time consuming.  Because there is not a guarantee that any one egg will produce a viable pregnancy, oftentimes multiple eggs must be fertilized.  With each attempt, the prices rise.  This makes multiple attempts fairly expensive.  Should the process be as success, the issue of the welfare of the surrogate mother can bring additional costs.  If a couple decides to use a surrogacy service, the care of the surrogate mother is usually incorporated into the cost of the service.

Additionally, there are surrogacy laws that must be considered.  For example, in America, there seems to be three categories when it comes to the enforcement of surrogacy contracts between potential surrogates and the party seeking to have a child: either the state enforces them (followed by states such as Virginia, Florida, and Illinois), prohibits them (the path chosen by states such as Washington, D.C.,… <Read More>

12-Year-Old Likely to Escape Life in Prison

The prosecution in the case of Cristian Fernandez has decided not to seek life in prison, something that came as a relief to many across the nation.  In June 2011, the state of Florida charged 12-year-old, Cristian Fernandez, with the first-degree murder of his younger half-brother, David Galarriago.  At that moment, Cristian faced the possibility of becoming the youngest individual in the state’s history to serve a life sentence in prison.

On the afternoon of David’s death, Cristian’s mother, Biannela Susana, left the two children alone in their apartment.  She returned to find David unconscious from a beating administered by Cristian.  Instead of taking David to the hospital, she iced his wounds and began browsing the web.  She searched for information on David and Victoria Beckham, Pippa Middleton, checked her e-mail, accessed her on-line bank account, and researched information on David’s symptoms.   As a result, David died a few hours later.  At the time of his death, David was listed as having suffered from a fractured skull, bleeding in his brain, and bruising to his left eye and nose.

Both Cristian and the mother were arrested; Cristian on charges of first-degree murder, and his mother on manslaughter charges.

Change.org sent an on-line petition asking its recipients to request leniency on Cristian’s behalf.  While Florida prosecutors made the decision to charge Cristian as an adult, their office claims  that they never really wanted to push for a life sentence.  Still, the prosecution is adamant about the fact that Cristian must pay for his crime. … <Read More>