Update on the Work of Israeli Scholar and Author, Orna Donath

I recently heard from Orna Donath, an Israeli scholar and author I interviewed awhile back on the childfree in Israel. She has two new published articles about motherhood and regret in Israel based on her Ph.D. work. Check them out and my interview with her here:

Continue reading “Update on the Work of Israeli Scholar and Author, Orna Donath”

A Hot Off the Press Dissertation on Childfree Women

Childfree Psy.D. student, Adi Avivi MS, recently conducted an interesting dissertation project. It examined childfree women’s communication on online platforms. I asked Adi if she would summarize her research for us to read here, and she was kind enough to say yes! Here is her summary: Continue reading “A Hot Off the Press Dissertation on Childfree Women”

March is Women’s History Month: Who’s One of Your Childless-Childfree Favorites?

Here’s to March as Women’s History Month – As a way to honor it, I invite you to write in one (or more) of your favorite women from history who did not have children.  She can be someone who was childless by circumstance or not, or a woman who was childfree-someone who consciously chose not to have children in eras where that was a bold choice.

Even if you don’t know how she came to have no children (I find not knowing exactly how many came to have no children is fairly common, at least from reading the history books), if she is one of your favorites, write in about her….let’s focus on great women from history whose lives did not include motherhood.

But first… Continue reading “March is Women’s History Month: Who’s One of Your Childless-Childfree Favorites?”

Why Ashley Judd is Childfree

I am reading Ashley Judd’s memoir, All That is Bitter & Sweet. I have been a big fan of her acting work, and now learning more about her international humanitarian work –  Amazing and inspiring.  And she is childfree – Early on in the book she describes why she chose not to have children… Continue reading “Why Ashley Judd is Childfree”

human life

Dodged Electing a Personhood President!

First, hats off to reproductive rights supporters who won last night!

If we had elected a “personhood” President, there would be cause for great concern.  While personhood and abortion were hot issues during the campaign, one aspect related to both that didn’t seem to come up like it could of, at least in my observation, is the discussion of the definitive answer to the question, When does human life begin?

Anti-abortion factions are stuck on “the moment of conception” as the answer.  But as Tamara Mann writes in her Huffpo piece, “Heartbeat: My Involuntary Miscarriage and ‘Voluntary Abortion’ in Ohio:”

“There is little consensus among biologists, doctors and ethicists on when life begins. The language here can be tricky. There all sorts of things they agree are alive — from cells, to animals, to people. But that is not what they mean when they discuss life in utero. In this case, they mean life as something endowed with humanness, and worthy of rights…”

It is not just about whether something is “alive,” but at what point is it human life, or the term that has now been used in many of the legislative attempts to prevent abortions – personhood.

As Mann points out “…the literature reveals a litany (italics mine) of standards for determining personhood: conception (day 1), implantation (day 6-7), detectable heartbeat (approximately week 6), detectable brain activity (approximately week 8), quickening (when the mother can feel the fetus moving), development of the cerebral cortex (at the end of the first trimester), viability outside the mother’s body (now as early as 24 weeks with medical support), when the head is visible during labor, and when the baby takes its first breath. Smart, thoughtful people genuinely disagree.”

supreme courtAnd really smart people in the highest court in the land have not come to the answer. Even as far back as 1973, the Supreme Court indicated that people trained in “respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus” and the Court itself “could not resolve the question of when life begins.”

Where do many people go for the answer to this question? To their church. When her doctor told her fetus was “not compatible with life” – that  it would not “survive the pregnancy” and that it should be removed, this is what Ms. Mann did.

The fetus had a heartbeat, she was not sure what to do, and went to a rabbi for counsel. She learned that “In Judaism, the dominant metaphor for life is not the heartbeat — it is the breath. In Genesis 2:7, God breathes life into man: ‘Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man become a living soul.’ Even that final word, soul, nefesh, can be translated as breath.”

Jewish law errs on the side of the mother’s health, and does not see a fetus as “a life.” As Jodi Jacobson, Editor-in-chief of RH Reality Check describes it, Jewish law “does not recognize an egg, embryo, or fetus as a person or full human being, but rather ‘part and parcel of the pregnant women’s body,’ the rights of which are subjugated to the health and well-being of the mother until birth.”

The Vatican disagrees, and see the fertilized egg is a “person” with full rights under the law.  The United Methodist Church – it sees it differently and “recognizes the primacy of the rights and health of women.” And “Islamic scholars, like Jewish scholars, have debated the issues of ‘ensoulment’ and personhood, and continue to do so with no over-riding consensus.”

There is clearly not one answer to the question of personhood.  The problem is the “Moment of Conceptionists” do not accept this, and feel so right about their religious position they want all of us to follow it.

As we head into the next four years, expect this contingent to continue to attempt to make personhood, not Roe v Wade, the law of the land. Expect them to try and chip away at this law any way they can.

However, we will have a president at the helm who can make sure the highest Court continues to see the answer to “when life begins” for what it is – a matter of personal belief, and the right to privacy to make personal choices based on those beliefs.

Laura Carroll

Happy World Contraception Day

Today is World Contraception Day (WCD). It’s been organized by the European Society of Contraception since September 2007.  According to WomanCare Global, it is a global campaign that recognizes the importance of access to contraception for women around the world” and has a “mission to… Continue reading “Happy World Contraception Day”

Inequitable Work-Life Policies in the Workplace

There is a lot of talk these days about “work-family balance.” Promoting more parental leave, flex-time and telecommuting policies for working mothers and fathers does help support working parents’ ability to care for their new babies and children. However, there is a big problem with Continue reading “Inequitable Work-Life Policies in the Workplace”