Couples win lawsuit over donated eggs with genetic defect

Two couples that gave birth to children with a genetic defect later traced to donated eggs won a lawsuit against a New York fertility doctor and his clinic in the state’s highest court Thursday.

The two children, both born in 2009, have Fragile X syndrome, a genetic condition that can lead to intellectual and developmental impairments. The parents, identified by initials and last names in legal papers, were told the egg donors were screened for genetic conditions.genetic defect

The parents are seeking legal damages for the added expenses of raising a disabled child. The amount of the damages was not set by the court and will likely be determined in further legal proceedings.

The case hinged on the state’s medical malpractice statute of limitations, which bars lawsuits filed more than two and a half years after the alleged act of malpractice — or the patient’s last treatment by the physician.

The lawsuits were filed two years after the children were born, when the condition became apparent, but more than two and a half years following the final treatment at the clinic. The egg donors were tested after the children were born and found to be carriers of the Fragile X mutation, according to court filings

Attorneys for the Reproductive Medicine Associates clinic and physician Alan Copperman argued the suit was filed too late, because the statute of limitations began counting down when the women ended fertility treatment after becoming pregnant, and not when the children were born or when the genetic abnormality was diagnosed.

December 14, 2017 – AP via New York Daily News

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A judge said an anonymous sperm donor is a boy’s real parent & not his lesbian mom

A lesbian mom is asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to rule that she is the legal parent of a child that her ex-wife conceived through artificial insemination.

Christina Strickland and Kimberly Strickland Day married in 2009 in Massachusetts. Kimberly already had a child that she adopted in 2007, and she and Christina wanted another child.

They decided that Kimberly would be the one to get pregnant, and they used a sperm donor.anonymous donor

In 2015, their relationship had ended and Kimberly got married to a man and told Christina that she couldn’t see their child, Z.S., anymore. Christina sued to have Kimberly’s second marriage annulled (since the two women never divorced) and to get divorced. She sought 50-50 custody with Kimberly.

Earlier this year, a lower court judge ruled that Christina would have to pay child support and could have visitation rights, but that she wasn’t legally Z.S.’s parent.

“The court finds two women cannot conceive a child together,” county court judge John Grant wrote in his ruling. “The court doesn’t find its opinion to be a discriminatory statement, but a biological fact.”

He said that Z.S. already has two parents – Kimberly and Donor No. 2687 – so making Christina a parent would violate Donor No. 2687’s parental rights.

Grant insisted that the women should have terminated Donor No. 2687’s parental rights and that the donor’s waiver of parental rights wasn’t entered into the record in time. Even though no one knows Donor No. 2687’s identity, Grant said that Christina should have issued a public notice so that Donor No. 2687 could have asserted his parental rights if he wanted to.

In Mississippi, as in many other states, a mother’s spouse is automatically listed as a baby’s other parent on their birth certificate. But Z.S. was born before same-sex marriage was recognized in Mississippi, so while Christina was the baby’s parent in reality, legally she wasn’t.

by Alex Bollinger, LGBTQNation.com, December 11, 2017

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Australia Makes Same-Sex Marriage Legal

Australia’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to legalize same-sex marriage on Thursday, overcoming years of conservative resistance to enact change that the public had made clear that it wanted.

The final approval in the House of Representatives, with just four votes against the bill, came three weeks after a national referendum showed strong public support for gay marriage. The Senate passed the legislation last week.Australia gay marriage

“This belongs to us all,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, a longtime supporter of same-sex marriage who had previously failed to get it legalized, said on Thursday. “This is Australia: fair, diverse, loving and filled with respect. For every one of us this is a great day.”

After the vote, spectators in the public gallery began singing “I Am Australian,” a well-known anthem. Lawmakers stood and looked up at the gallery, some wiping tears from their eyes.

The new law expands on earlier legislation that provided equality to same-sex couples in areas like government benefits, employment and taxes, and it changes the definition of marriage from “the union of a man and a woman” to “the union of two people.” It automatically recognizes same-sex marriages from other countries.

Gay rights advocates praised the landmark vote even as they said it was long overdue. In a country where there had been 22 unsuccessful attempts in Parliament to legalize same-sex marriage since 2004, they said, the law should be seen as the triumph of a democracy learning to live up to its values.

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Marriage Equality in Austria approved by Constitutional Court

Austria’s top court has ruled that current laws are discriminatory and must be lifted by 2019. Same-sex couples have so far only been afforded “registered partnerships.”

Same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Austria from 2019, according to a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court announced on Tuesday.marital trust

Same-sex couples in Austria have been able to enter only into “registered partnerships” since 2010, with nearly the same rights of married couples. But the court ruled that “the distinction between marriage and registered partnership … cannot be upheld in this day and age without discriminating against same-sex couples.”

“The resulting discriminatory effect is seen in the fact that through the different title of the family status, people living in same-sex partnerships have to disclose their sexual orientation even in situations in which it is not, and must not be, relevant and … are highly likely to be discriminated against,” the court said in its ruling.

Decision will maintain civil partnerships

It said that restrictions on same-sex marriage would be lifted at the end of 2018 unless the government did so itself earlier. The ruling will remove the words “two people of different sex” from the law on marriage. It will keep civil partnerships as an option and will open them up to straight couples.

The court ruled on the issue after two women in a registered civil partnership went to court after they were denied the right to marry by authorities in the capital Vienna.

by DW.com, December 5, 2017

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Justices Sharply Divided in Wedding Cake Case

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who almost certainly holds the crucial vote in the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, sent sharply contradictory messages when it was argued Tuesday at the Supreme Court.

He asked a lawyer for the Trump administration whether the baker, Jack Phillips, could put a sign in his window saying, “We don’t bake cakes for gay weddings.” The lawyer, Noel J. Francisco said yes, so long as the cakes were custom made.supreme court

Justice Kennedy looked troubled and said the administration’s position was an affront to the dignity of gay couples.

Later, though, Justice Kennedy said that a state civil rights commission that had ruled against the baker had “neither been tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’s religious beliefs.”

The case, which pits claims of religious freedom against the fight for gay rights, has attracted extraordinary public attention and about 100 friend-of-the-court briefs.

Mr. Phillips says that he should not be forced to use his talents to convey a message of support for same-sex marriage. The couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, say that businesses open to the public should not be allowed to discriminate against gay men and lesbians.

The case is a sort of sequel to the court’s 2015 decision establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Gay rights groups say that allowing businesses to refuse to provide services for same-sex weddings would undermine the decision’s promise of equality. The owners of some businesses that run on religious principles say they should not be made to choose between the demands of their consciences and their ability to make a living.

Around the nation, businesses like bakeries, flower shops and photography studios have argued, so far with very little success, that forcing them to serve gay couples seeking to celebrate their unions violates the constitutional right to free speech.

by Adam Liptak, New York Times – December 5, 2017

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Supreme Court rejects Texas case on gay-marriage benefits

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Texas ruling that said the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.

The city of Houston had asked the high court to overturn last June’s Texas Supreme Court decision, which determined that all marriage-related matters were not decided when the U.S. Supreme Court established a right to same-sex unions in 2015, leaving room for state courts to explore the limits of gay marriage.

The federal court’s decision, issued without comment, allowed the Texas ruling to stand.texas gay marriage

Lawyers for Houston had argued that the Texas ruling was wrong, short-sighted and invited endless rounds of litigation from opponents determined to limit the impact of legalized same-sex marriage.

“Equal recognition of same-sex marriage requires more than a marriage license; it requires equal access to the constellation of benefits that the state has linked to marriage,” the city’s lawyers told the court.

Opponents of gay marriage had urged the high court to reject Houston’s appeal, arguing that it did not open the door to discrimination, as city officials had claimed.

The Texas court merely said that the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, while acknowledging the right of same-sex couples to marry, did not answer or resolve all marriage-related questions, including whether governments must provide the same benefits to same-sex couples that are provided to opposite-sex couples, they argued.

Based on a lawsuit that was all but dead a year ago, the Texas case was a surprising addition to the fight over gay marriage.

The controversy began in 2013, when Houston under then-Mayor Annise Parker began offering employee benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees who had been legally married in other states.

by Chuck Lindell, Stateman.com, December 4, 2017

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Woman With Transplanted Uterus Gives Birth, the First in the U.S.

For the first time in the United States, a woman who had a uterus transplant has given birth.

The mother, who was born without a uterus, received the transplant from a living donor last year at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and had a baby boy there last month, the hospital said on Friday.Uterus

At the family’s request, their name, hometown and the date of the birth are being withheld to protect their privacy, according to Julie Smith, a spokeswoman for the hospital, which is part of Baylor Scott & White Health.

Since 2014, eight other babies have been born to women who had uterus transplants, all in Sweden, at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg.

A new frontier, uterus transplants are seen as a source of hope for women who cannot give birth because they were born without a uterus or had to have it removed because of cancer, other illness or complications from childbirth. Researchers estimate that in the United States, 50,000 women might be candidates.

The transplants are meant to be temporary, left in place just long enough for a woman to have one or two children, and then removed so she can stop taking the immune-suppressing drugs needed to prevent organ rejection.

Dr. Liza Johannesson, a uterus transplant surgeon who left the Swedish team to join Baylor’s group, said the birth in Dallas was particularly important because it showed that success was not limited to the hospital in Gothenburg.

By Denise Grady, New York Times, December 2, 2017

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GPAP (Gay Parenting Assistance Program) Making Gay Parenthood a Wider Reality

For many prospective gay fathers, the path to parenthood through gestational surrogacy can often feel hopeless, financially infeasible and incredibly daunting. GPAP has changed that.

At Men Having Babies, we are committed to helping navigate this winding road, offer financial assistance, and achieve what sometimes feels impossible. Our “Gay Parenting Assistance Program” (GPAP) annually facilitates more than a million dollars worth of grants and free services. Since 2014 we helped more than 500 couples and singles who otherwise would not be fathers today!

Each year more than 1200 prospective fathers attend our educational conference, receive peer guidance, expert advice, and access to reputable providers. We are also very proud of our groundbreaking advocacy for ethical surrogacy practices and higher acceptance of our families, and multiple partnerships with research institutions.

 

 

Click here to learn more about MHB’s GPAP program.

A Historic Tax Heist

With barely a vote to spare early Saturday morning, the Senate passed a tax bill confirming that the Republican leaders’ primary goal is to enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else, including future generations who will end up bearing the cost.

The approval of this historic tax heist, a looting of the public purse by corporations and the wealthy, makes it a near certainty that President Trump will sign this or a similar bill into law in the coming days.

The bill is expected to add more than $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, a debt that will be paid by the poor and middle class in future tax increases and spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Its modest tax cuts for the middle class disappear after eight years. And up to 13 million people stand to lose their health insurance because the bill makes a big change to the Affordable Care Act.tax heist

Yet Republicans somehow found a way to give a giant and permanent tax cut to corporations like Apple, General Electric and Goldman Sachs, saving those businesses tens of billions of dollars.

Because the Senate was rewriting its bill till the last minute, only the dealmakers themselves knew what the chamber voted on. There will, no doubt, be many unpleasant surprises as both houses work to pass final legislation for President Trump to sign.

The votes for the bill by Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona were particularly disheartening. Ms. Collins, who helped sink an effort to effectively repeal the A.C.A. in September, blithely voted for a tax bill that will leave a gaping hole in that law by repealing its requirement that most people have insurance or pay a penalty. She traded away her vote for an inadequate deduction for property taxes and empty promises from Mr. Trump and the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, that they would help shore up the A.C.A., which they have repeatedly tried to sabotage. Mr. McCain, who previously voted against tax cuts in the Bush era because they were heavily tilted in favor of the rich rather than the middle class, seemed unconcerned that this bill was even worse in that regard. Then there is Mr. Flake, who has spoken powerfully against Mr. Trump and who is not seeking re-election. He folded on the basis of vague assurances about protecting the Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

Republicans offered one fantasy after another to make the case for their budget-busting tax cuts. For example, the White House has said that cutting the corporate tax to 20 percent from 35 percent will lead to a boom in investment and wages — an argument disputed by most credible economists. Almost all of those extra profits will enrich senior executives and shareholders, experts say. This week, The Times reported that despite the repeated claims of the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, his department never produced an analysis that backs up the administration’s assertion that the tax cuts would pay for themselves. It is not hard to see why. The Joint Committee on Taxation, the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and other experts say that the bill would not come close to paying for itself.

New York Times Editorial Board – December 2, 2017

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