NY Court Affirms Right of Pregnant Women to Move Freely
Last week, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division rejected a lower Family Court's ruling that a woman's decision to move across the country while pregnant was tantamount to "appropriation of the child while in utero" and therefore could bar her custody case from being heard in her new location.
The lower Family Court had found in May that petitioner Sara McK's decision to relocate from California to New York to attend Columbia University while pregnant could bar New York courts from hearing her child custody case. The Family Court referee departed from typical custody statute - that custody cases be heard in a child's home state, in this case New York, where the child was born - based on the "appropriation" characterization. This interpretation of the statute placed unconstitutional constraints on a woman's basic decisions, such as where she lives, works, and attends school while pregnant. It also meant fathers could limit the movement of pregnant women.
The recent decision to reject the earlier ruling "affirms that women who become pregnant may not be penalized for exercising their rights to travel and to seek an education," said Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.
The Appellate Division's ruling made clear that courts cannot hear custody matters that are filed prior to birth, and that McK's relocation should not have factored into the lower Family Court's finding.
In several other cases, the rights of pregnant women have been restricted in the name of protecting the fetus. One pregnant woman was detained after trying to get help for her painkiller use, and another was charged with attempted feticide after a suicide attempt.
Media Resources: National Advocated for Pregnant Women 11/18/13; NYCourts.gov 11/14/13; RH Reality Check 11/15/13
3/25/2015 Afghan Woman Beaten to Death for Burning Koran - A 27-year-old woman who reportedly burned a copy of the Koran inside of a riverside shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan was brutally beaten and burned alive on Thursday.
Shocking videos quickly spread on social media showing crowds of men surrounded by hundreds of onlookers assaulting the 27-year-old Farkhunda with bricks and sticks and repeatedly kicking her. . . .
3/25/2015 Masked Intruder Attacks Last Abortion Clinic Standing in Mississippi - In the early hours of the morning Monday, a person in a mask wielding what appeared to be a machete attacked the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi.
The clinic revealed in a post on their website the details of the attack on what is affectionately referred to by staff and community members as The Pink House. . . .
3/17/2015 Vice President Biden Pledges 41 Million to Clear Rape Kit Backlog - Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Mikulski (D-MD) spoke yesterday at a Maryland State Police Laboratory to declare their support for a $41 million budget proposal to combat the national backlog of rape kits.
"Testing rape kits should be an absolute priority for the United States of America," Vice President Biden said, referring to the estimated 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. . . .