“Biological Colonialism”

Progo35

I thought people on RH would like to see this story about the FDA outsourcing drug trials to other countries and comment:

I thought people on RH would like to see this story about the FDA outsourcing drug trials to other countries and comment:

 

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/338/may14_1/b1972

Also see this commentary by Wesley J. Smith at Secondhand Smoke. It’s about the nineth article down, titled, "Biological Colonialism"

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http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/

http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/2009/05/biological-colonialism-comedic-tour-de.html

 

 

Commentary Family

TV Recognizes the “Modern Family”—Why Not Governments?

Real-life individuals in same-sex couples, or those who live with someone of a different race or generation from themselves, often face daily struggles to protect their families from legal uncertainty and publicly articulated disgust.

I don’t watch “Modern Family,” the prime-time sitcom depicting “non-traditional”—e.g., same-sex, interracial, and inter-generational—couples. Still, I’m struck by how fast family realities change and how slowly laws and societal perceptions about what’s “right” reflect those changes.

The couples depicted in “Modern Family” were surely seen by society at large as more unusual in 2009, when the show first aired, than even just five years later. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering two cases that might pave the way for federal benefits for same-sex couples, the number of interracial marriages is steadily growing, and the combination of reproductive technologies, longer life-spans, and the normalization of serial monogamy has taken age somewhat out of the equation when it comes to forming a family.

Even so, real-life individuals in same-sex couples, or those who live with someone of a different race or generation from themselves, often face daily struggles to protect their families from legal uncertainty and publicly articulated disgust. Depending on where we live, our intimate lives and families may be subject to criminal sanctions, unequal legal protections, scrutiny, shaming, and belittling.

Often, the protection of our families in law—while welcome—does not mean we are immune to community shaming and violence. In Latin America, for example, a wave of new marriage equality laws has not yet had an impact on pervasive community violence against LGBTI individuals. And though it is more than 45 years since the Supreme Court invalidated the prohibition of interracial marriage in Loving v. Virginia, prejudices against interracial couples—in particular where one of the partners is Black—are expressed frequently in social media and in some cases result in discrimination.

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This tug-of-war between perceptions, laws, and reality expresses itself clearly where courts have to decide to what extent legislators get to put their own—or their constituents’—prejudices before principles of equality and facts about child welfare.

This week, the European Court on Human Rights issued a ruling in one such case. The court held that Austria had violated human rights by denying two lesbian women a proper evaluation of their adoption petition. One of the women had petitioned to adopt the biological son of her female partner, a child they both had been parenting since infancy.

The Austrian government argued that its adoption laws are based on the notion that all children ideally grow up with a father and a mother. The European Court on Human Rights countered that this vision does not adequately protect child welfare and certainly is not enough to implement discriminatory laws. So far, so good.

However, the case also permitted subjective perceptions of what a family should be to persist in the law. In this week’s ruling by the European Court highlighted the fact that Austria allows unmarried different-sex couples to adopt each other’s children, whereas unmarried same-sex couples cannot (and same-sex couples are not yet allowed to marry in Austria). Had Austria reserved adoption for those who are married and marriage for those who are straight, a close read of the ruling indicates that the court might have allowed this; after all, the Court had allowed precisely this set-up in a 2012 ruling involving France.

To be sure, governments have the mandate, and even the obligation, to encourage family structures that benefit society generally and children more specifically. And the laws and policies that flow from this mandate must to some extent be subjective. The state may, for example, believe that marriage has a value in and of itself, and not only as it relates to parental and economic stability, and, as such, seek to promote marriage through tax structures and inheritance laws.

But beliefs only go so far. The obligation of the state to protect the human rights of both children and adults must find its expression through science and facts. One fact is that same-sex couples and LGBTI individuals already parent children. Another, that the welfare of children correlates with parental support and love, and not with the parents’ sexual orientation, race, identity, or age.

But the overarching fact that governments across the world should address immediately is that there are any number of “modern families” who are discriminated against by law and ostracized in their communities.

News Abortion

Mississipi to Bring Back “Heartbeat Ban” this Legislative Session and Personhood in 2014

Robin Marty

If Mississippi's only clinic does manage to stay open it may not matter, since abortion might be banned all together anyway.

Recently, I wondered what sort of extreme bill we might see in some of the most rabidly anti-choice states in the country this legislative session. Now, Mississippi has answered. They are planning to ban all abortions as early as 28 days post-conception, in some cases before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

Yes, the governor is discussing a heartbeat ban.

Via the Commercial Appeal:

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant told several dozen pastors and other abortion opponents Thursday that he supports a bill that would ban the procedure once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

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It’s similar to a bill that was filed and killed by a Senate chairman last year.”It would tell that mother, ‘Your child has a heartbeat,”‘ Republican Bryant said at a Pro-Life Mississippi luncheon at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson.

Many in the audience nodded and some quietly said, “Praise Jesus,” as Bryant recalled how he and his wife, Deborah, were married seven years before they conceived their first child, a daughter who’s now grown and married. He said they prayed to become parents.

“You can hear that heartbeat at five or six weeks now,” Bryant said. “Your child has such a dramatic opportunity to live, with a heartbeat.”

Last year legislation was proposed to do a heartbeat ban, but never made it to the full senate for a vote. Democrat Hob Bryan, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, refused to let the bill out for a vote saying he didn’t want to waste anyone’s time on something so blatantly unconstitutional. Even the GOP’s attempts to piggy back the measure onto other bills to get it out for a full vote were continuously blocked, and eventually the proposal died.

Will 2013 be a different story? With legislators itching to finally shut down Jackson Women’s Health Organization, passing bills that actually ban abortion seems somewhat redundant, but may speak to a lack of confidence that their TRAP bill will ever actually be enforced.

Bryant himself remains eager to see the clinic shuttered. According to Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Jeffery Hess, Bryant told the anti-choice religious leaders that, “My goal of course is to shut it down. Now, we will follow the laws. The bill is in the courts now related to the physicians and their association with the hospitals. But certainly if I had the power to do so legally, I would do so tomorrow.”

As if Bryant and his fellow anti-choice state politicians aren’t being obvious enough that they are enacting their own agenda rather than that of the voters they represent, a “personhood” amendment may soon be heading back to the Mississippi residents again. Despite the amendment failing to pass in 2011, a concurrent resolution proposed by State Representative Andy Gipson hopes to revive the mission to grant legal rights to fertilized eggs with another go at a constitutional amendment.

This time, in order to try to woo more people into voting yes, the amendment will not apply to IVF treatments, treating ectopic pregnancies (at least, not once they are “life-threatening”) or to “contraception or birth control not killing a person.” The bill does not state whether or not they consider hormonal contraception, IUD, or emergency contraception to be a “killing a person” form of birth control or not. If passed, the amendment would be up for a vote in 2014.

Gipson proposed the same resolution in 2012.

With the clinic in limbo, Bryant and his supporters are gearing up to put into place a back up plan to end legal, safe abortion in the state. In that case, these may be just the first of many attacks on reproductive health that will be supported by a governor who told religious leaders that he would not be a “moderate” on abortion.