Justice or Too Far?

The parents of an eight-year-old boy recently pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter of their son.  Their son died from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2008.  The state of Ohio brought involuntary manslaughter charges against the parents.  The two parents face up to eight years each in prison.

The charges stem off of the parents’ lack of medical care in regards to their son.  From reports, they believed that their son had swollen glands.  He did not complain of any tenderness or pain.  Their son exhibited no signs of failing health.  The parents claim that their son had a lump near his glands that would swell and reduce periodically.  Other than this lump, their son exhibited no symptoms.  According to the Mayo Clinic, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is linked with symptoms that include painless swelling of the lymph nodes, constant fatigue, fever and itching.  Not every case identifies itself through all or any of these symptoms.

As for the child in question, his lymph nodes periodically swelled and then went down, with no other symptoms.  The charges brought against his parents, go substantially past substantiating them for abuse or neglect of a child.  Rather, these charges hold them out as murdering their eight-year-old son.  It appears as if these parents struggled financially and were trying their best to provide for their child.  Is it necessary to charge grieving parents, ones who probably feel their failure everyday, with murder of their own child?  What exactly is the justice here?  If the state is seeking deterrence, is a murder charge truly needed? … <Read More>

Online Sperm Donation

More couples are turning to the internet in their quest for children. After spending over $14,000 in failed artificial inseminations using sperm sourced by a sperm bank, one such couple went online to discover FreeSpermDonorRegistry.com (now KnownDonorRegistry.com), which offers profiles for men willing to donate sperm for free to thousands of women desperate to conceive. After a couple of months of chatting and emailing with a prospective donor, the couple flew across the country to meet him. After the donor produced the sperm, the husband injected his wife utilizing a syringe.

Private sperm donation is not formally monitored by the FDA, but their official position states that “human cells and tissues intended for donation…are regulated…regardless of whether they are for sale or free of charge.” Online donors can be sanctioned for not complying with federal guidelines, which require a series of STD tests, costing more than an thousand dollars per attempt. One such donor in California was paid a surprise visit by the FDA and could now face jail time as well as a $100,000 fine for failing to comply with these guidelines.

This kind of donation also brings up another concern, the parental rights of the sperm donor. In many states, including California, the husband of a woman who is artificially inseminated is treated in law as if he were the natural father of a conceived child. This special treatment is only when the procedure is completed under the supervision of a licensed physician and surgeon. If women are being artificially inseminated by their husbands instead of by a licensed professional, the special treatment can be bypassed.… <Read More>

Safe Haven Laws are not Just for Teens

A story about the abandonment an unwanted baby is one of the saddest and heartbreaking stories one can read in the news. While most people think of that the women who leave their children on the side of a road, in a toilet bowl, or even a public restroom are teenage mothers who cannot handle the responsibility of motherhood, a New York Times article has published that the most common factor is the simple desire to hide a pregnancy. The article examines and praises an organization, Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, in Illinois which worked to enact legislation in 2001 regarding abandoned infants which has successfully brought sixty-nine babies to safe places.  The 2001 legislation is a Safe Haven Law: it allows mothers to bring unwanted newborns to firehouses, police stations, and hospitals without fear of prosecution so long as the baby is unharmed and the drop off is within thirty days of the child’s birth.  The Foundation then finds adoptive families to care for the children rather than them being placed in the state foster care system.  Many states have Safe Haven Laws like the one adopted in Illinois.  It is a tragedy that children are still being abandoned and left to die when there are so many places where the child can be taken without repercussion.  In New York, the Abandoned Infant Protection Act serves to provide mothers a safe place to bring the child, give up parental rights without questions asked.  It is a win-win situation; the fearful mother is relieved of the responsibility and the child is given to a loving family who is ready and able to care for the child.… <Read More>

Too Old For This?

Lisa Miller wrote an interesting article for New York Magazine’s October 3, 2011 issue entitled: “Is She Just Too Old For This?” This article dives into the lives of women that bore children at the not-so-tender ages of 50 and above–a trend that is on the rise. The article states that in 2008, about 8,000 babies were born to women 45 or older in the U.S., which is more than double the numbers calculated in 1997 (according to the Centers for Disease Control). In adoption the story rings true as well: “nearly a quarter of adopted children in the U.S. have parents more than 45 years older than they are.” It is believed that the advances in reproductive technology is to blame for this rise. In fact, one of the women featured in the article, Ann Maloney, was able to be brought out of menopause with hormones in order to get pregnant with her second child at the age of 52. Women of this age who wish to carry their own baby often use donor eggs; however, egg freezing, a “cutting-edge” method, allows women to freeze their eggs to be used at a later time.

Looming behind all this activity are critics saying: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

“After 35, the risk of preterm labor increase 20 percent, and preemies can have lung problems, digestive problems, brain bleeds, and neurological complications, including developmental delays, learning issues, depending largely on their gestational age at birth. After 40, a pregnant woman is likelier to become afflicted with preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and hypertension–the worst outcomes of which can result in the death of the fetus and occasionally the mother as well.… <Read More>

Disciplining Children v. Outright Beating: Where is the Line?

Earlier this month, a now-23-year-old woman posted a video on YouTube of her father, a family court judge in Texas (who, ironically, hears child abuse cases) who beat her after discovering his daughter was using the Internet on the home computer to illegally download music.  The video, linked here, is disturbing to say the least.  It begins with hearing the father off camera tell his wife, “go get my belt,” and continues for just over seven a half minutes of the father whipping his daughter on her legs and butt, while verbally abusing her.  … <Read More>