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Archive for the tag “reproduction”

Transgender Health Care Mandate Violates RFRA Rights of Catholic Entities

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Religious Sisters of Mercy v. Azar, (D ND, Jan. 19, 2021), a North Dakota federal district court in a 57-page opinion, granted a number of Catholic-affiliated health care and health insurance entities, and several Catholic employers, an injunction barring enforcement against them of transgender anti-discrimination rules that require them to provide or provide insurance coverage for transgender transition procedures. The court concluded that the anti-discrimination rules violate plaintiffs free exercise rights under RFRA. Becket Law has more background on the case.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Colorado Supreme Court: Same-Sex Common Law Marriages Before Obergefell Are Valid

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In In re Marriage of LaFleur & Pyfer, (CO Sup. Ct., Jan. 11, 2021), the Colorado Supreme Court held that a court may recognize as a common law marriage a relationship entered into by same-sex couples before the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision that legalized same-sex marriages. Chief Justice Boatright concurred in part. Justice Samour dissented. In In re Marriage of Hogsett & Nealedecided at the same time, the Colorado Supreme Court refined the test for common law marriages in Colorado.

You can learn more about this issue here.


Raising the minimum wage by One ($1) Dollar may prevent thousands of suicides, according to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. When I read this statement it affected me powerfully, but it has even greater significance since the onset of Covid-19, which has caused major disruption of people’s lives, their physical and mental health, and their livelihood.

Interestingly, discussions about raising the minimum wage are usually considered to be wage and hour labor issues. But it appears that the topic is also a significant health issue. When many of us are wondering what we can do to enhance our lives, assist others, and even survive, here is something we can all support. What a difference a $1 makes, especially when unemployment is high and finding jobs is difficult. If increasing wages by a $1 or more an hour appears to have a protective effect in preventing suicide, supporting a minimum wage increase is the least we can do to help our fellow citizens.

Tens of thousands of people who died of suicide in the last 25 years could have been saved. Between 1990 and 2015, raising the minimum wage by $1 in each state might have saved more than 27,000 people between the ages of 18-64, with a high school education or less, according to the study. An increase of $2 in each state’s minimum wage could have prevented more than $57,000 suicides.

The lead author of the study, an epidemiology doctoral student at Emory University, John Kaufman, said “[T]his is a way you can, it seems, improve the well-being of people working at lower-wage jobs and their dependents.”

When it’s harder to find a job, the same $1 increase may be even more crucial in reducing the suicide rate. Less-educated adults are most at risk as they would tend to earn minimum wage, and this group is also at a higher risk of developing depression and having suicidal ideation. This group is also less food secure and victimized by violence.

This study is part of a surge in interest in the link between health and minimum wage within the past five years. So, let’s not wait for big business to let their advantages, perks, and good fortune “trickle down” to the average worker.

Let’s rise up the average worker by enhancing their salary, dignity and self-esteem. The side effects of this action will create economic stability for children, reduced domestic violence and child abuse. What a difference a $1 can make for our society as a whole.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-888-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME To 741741.

Faye Riva Cohen is the founder and managing attorney of the Law Office of Faye Riva Cohen, P.C., located in a historic brownstone in Philadelphia, PA. She represents clients in labor, discrimination, family law, real estate, and estate litigation issues. She writes a blog called “Tough Lawyer Lady” which can be found here: https://www.fayerivacohen.com/blog/. Faye can be reached at 215-563-7776 or at frc@fayerivacohen.com.

9th Circuit Orders Injunction Against Nevada’s COVID Limits On Churches

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak(9th Cir., Dec. 15, 2020), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Nevada’s COVID-19 restrictions on worship services violate the Free Exercise clause. The court said in part:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Roman Catholic Diocese compels us to reverse the district court. Just like the New York restrictions, the Directive treats numerous secular activities and entities significantly better than religious worship services. Casinos, bowling alleys, retail businesses, restaurants, arcades, and other similar secular entities are limited to 50% of fire-code capacity, yet houses of worship are limited to fifty people regardless of their fire-code capacities.

Nevada Independent reports on the decision.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Supreme Court Holds That RFRA Authorizes Damage Actions Against Federal Officials

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

The U.S. Supreme Court today in Tanzin v. Tanvir, (Sup. Ct., Dec. 10, 2020), held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act permits suits for damages against federal officials in their individual capacities. In an 8-0 opinion (written by Justice Thomas), the court described the case as follows:

Respondents Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah, and Naveed Shinwari are practicing Muslims who claim that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents placed them on the No Fly List in retaliation for their refusal to act as informants against their religious communities. Respondents sued various agents in their official capacities, seeking removal from the No Fly List. They also sued the agents in their individual capacities for money damages. According to respondents, the retaliation cost them substantial sums of money: airline tickets wasted and income from job opportunities lost.

Focusing on RFRA’s authorization of suits seeking “appropriate relief” against the federal government or government officials, the Court said in part:

A damages remedy is not just “appropriate” relief as viewed through the lens of suits against Government employees. It is also the only form of relief that can remedy some RFRA violations.

Justice Barrett did not take part in the decision.

You can learn more about this issue here.

Officials Announce When, Where First Speed Cameras Will Be Installed On Roosevelt Boulevard

I have been writing in opposition to traffic cameras for a few years now (you can find all of my articles and posts on traffic cameras here).  They are consistently controversial and violative of basic rights as described in the article below.


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Speed cameras are coming to Roosevelt Boulevard in Philadelphia and we now know more about when they will be installed and where they will be located. Philadelphia’s Parking Association announced on Friday that installation will start on Monday, Jan. 13.

The first camera will be installed at Roosevelt Boulevard and Banks Way.

We’re expecting to learn more about the timeline for the other cameras at a press conference on Monday.

Officials will put cameras in eight different spots along Roosevelt Boulevard.

by CBS3 Staff

Officials Announce When, Where First Speed Cameras Will Be Installed On Roosevelt Boulevard


                Due to the increasing complexity of law, many lawyers have become experts in very narrow areas of the law.  This expertise may be valuable when dealing with large corporations or government entities, but can be problematic when dealing with individuals.  My legal experience includes practicing with large law firms, which I did many years ago.  If an individual had questions in various areas of the law, we consulted various lawyers in different departments who were knowledgeable in those areas. Of course, contacting many lawyers for legal advice can become expensive, and the expense would normally exceed what a person of average means can afford.  Therefore, I recommend contacting a smaller law firm which handles at least several areas of the law, and do not confine your search for a lawyer to people who advertise in the media or the Internet in only a specific area.

                I will provide an example as to why it is a good idea to take a “big picture” approach when one searches for a lawyer. I received a call recently from a woman who had been terminated from her job due to lies her supervisor made up about her. She had complained about this supervisor’s harassment for some time to management, but nothing was ever done.  I told her that she should have contacted a lawyer earlier who might have been able to contact management or ask to be put in touch with the company’s lawyer, to try and resolve the problem. Also, a lawyer may have been able to negotiate with her employer that they not terminate her, but instead place her on disability leave as she was facing surgery, and she would agree not to return after the surgery, and she may have been able to maintain her insurance. Instead, the termination left her without insurance or income.   

After she was terminated she filed a complaint with one of the government agencies complaining of discrimination. These agencies have large caseloads and rarely have or take the time to fully investigate a claim, those claims are rarely investigated by lawyers, and in the best case scenario, the agency process usually takes a minimum of a year. So, once again, it is a good idea to get a lawyer involved in the administrative process as soon as possible because they may be able to resolve the claim in a much shorter period of time. The woman informed me that she was not able to return to work at this time, and in the immediate future due to surgery. I told her that effectively ended her discrimination claim as the employer was not legally required to employ her at an indefinite future date when she was able to return to work, if she was successful in her claim. However, as I probed further I determined that she had suffered a work injury at some point in time, and her current medical situation

may be related to the original work injury. As this Firm doesn’t handle worker’s compensation claims for employees, but refers them out, I will be making that referral, and if she hasn’t missed her time deadlines, she may have a valid claim. She also may have a good claim for Social Security disability benefits.

                If this woman had contacted a lawyer who only handles discrimination claims and doesn’t have knowledge of disability law or understands worker’s compensation law, and does not think creatively, she would have missed the ability to secure some funds that she will surely need to live on in the future.

                This situation is not unusual. I try to think outside the box for every potential and current client who contacts me.  And, for clients who call many lawyers, remember that lawyers are highly trained, experienced practitioners who can help you navigate the complex world in which we live. They cannot guarantee results, but they are generally better equipped to handle matters than laypersons, and they are also cognizant of deadlines that must be met.    

By: Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire on her blog “Toughlawyerlady.”

Factional Dispute In Church Is Dismissed

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

In St. John Missionary Baptist Church v. Flakes, (TX App., Nov. 30, 2020), a Texas state appeals court affirmed the dismissal, on ecclesiastical abstention grounds, of a suit between two factions of a church. One faction attempted to remove the pastor through a church meeting. The pastor refused to step down and the other faction continued to pay him. In dismissing the suit, the court said in part:

Texas courts have consistently held that the relationship between an organized church and its ministers is its lifeblood, and matters concerning this relationship must be recognized as of prime ecclesiastical concern.

The court similarly held that the questions of whether members excommunicated by one faction could enter the church and whether they could vote on sale of church property were also covered by the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine. 

You can learn more about this issue here.

The Baby Is Still Not That Important

The phenomenon is for parents to choose to raise gender-neutral babies who are called “theybies.”

More and more parents in the U.S. are choosing to raise gender neutral babies. They use gender neutral words and pronouns for their children, and sometimes don’t disclose what’s in their babies’ diapers except to a very close circle of friends. These children are often called “theybies”—neither boys nor girls.

So, right off the bat, it’s really sad and wrong that “what’s in the diaper” is the very narrow way that a lot of people have come think about sex and gender. I remember a long time ago trying–and failing–to work out in my own self the curious disconnection between the mind, body, and spirit that is the property of being human. The three war against each other, which is why God commands that all three should be redirected toward him. Leaving aside the wars that human people have with each other, the internal war of the spirit against the mind against the body is painful. We all live with it in a thousand tiny, disquieting ways. All the more reason not to add to the disintegration of the self under the guise of reintegrating it. It’s not “just” what’s in the diaper. It is a whole person who has a certain kind of biology, however broken and dysfunctional.

Incidentally, I do think it is interesting that this “theybie” thing is arising at the same time as insane gender (which should be sex) reveal events, some of which are so extravagant that some of the participants have even died. Notice that the baby is still not being celebrated. It is a lot of broken people who don’t know God, don’t know themselves, and don’t feel comfortable about anything who are foisting an ideology on their children. Christians are accused of this, of course, but the accusation can absolutely be made the other way. The baby is not the important thing here. The underlying religious belief is, and the baby will have to get along as best “they” can.

So, there are five ways you can help parents raising Theybies, which is the point of the article/listicle/whatever. And the first way is to, “Remember that the intention is liberation.”

Parents who choose not to gender their children are trying to carve out space for them to be their full selves, unencumbered by gender expectations that are oh so pervasive in our gendered world. They do not want their child’s genitals or chromosomes to dictate what should play with or how they are treated by others. These parents want their children to get the opportunity to grow up to be the truest versions of themselves possible, and this is one of the ways they are trying to make that happen. Many studies have shown that children absorb gender stereotypes at a very young age, and that these implicit expectations are damaging to their self-expression and self-confidence. I sometimes hear people critiquing parent’s choices to use gender-neutral pronouns for their children as a way to force their own ideologies onto their kids. But isn’t the ideology of “girl” or “boy” even more constraining?

No, actually, it is not “even more constraining.” There is a link attached to the word “study” which I do not have time to click right now, but I happen to know that if you go looking for something in “science” you will always be able to find it because the hearts and minds of human people are darkened by sin, wickedness, and rebellion against the Creator.

Notice that the goal of parenting articulated here is “self-expression and self-confidence.” Much like the much confused American pursuit of happiness, which, having chucked the necessary element of virtue to the curb, has produced a generation of deeply unhappy people, so also recasting the purpose of parenting to be the rearing of a self-expressive child is bringing about the collapse of society. Think I’m being hyperbolic? I’m not. Children in this culture are unhappier than ever before and in any other place around the world.

Just like children are, in their created nature, sexed and gendered, so they are, by nature self-expressive. What children need in order to be happy is to discover that they are not the center of the world. Their natural selves need to be curbed. They need to discover the riches of self-discipline, self-denial, and the truth that something greater than them (God) is the ruler and judge not only of the cosmos, but of their own little selves. They learn this first by having loving parents who help them see the pleasant and beautiful walls that keep them safe. They learn it by discovering that their parents (and by extension God) are merciful. They learn that they can stop crying when told to, stop touching things when told to, to come when told to, to sit when told to. They learn that there other people more important than themselves—first their parents, then other adults and children, and most critically, God. The ears of their little minds are opened to the astonishing wonder of Jesus, and they discover that by loving him, they are able to love themselves and others, that they were created to enjoy him in peculiar and delightful ways with their minds, hearts, and bodies.

This vision is so much bigger than behavior or the paltry, ruinous idol of “self-expression.”

And I am so sorry, but my blogging hour is up and so I will pick up the second thing you are supposed to do tomorrow. I’ll destroy my routine and keep going over here at SF and do regular quick takes and book notes over on Patheos. See you tomorrow!

By Anne Kennedy and published on Patheos on January 16, 2020 and can be found here or here.


                In some of my previous blogs I have written about the importance of consulting a lawyer as soon as possible about your case, and retaining a lawyer at an early date. This blog is about the importance of cooperating with the lawyer you have retained. You may think this is a peculiar statement because why wouldn’t you cooperate with your lawyer?

                Well, cooperate may not be the right word.  Sometimes clients “forget” to keep their lawyer in the loop; sometimes clients do not think it is important to tell their lawyer everything about a situation; sometimes clients will lie to their lawyers and think the truth will never be revealed; sometimes clients do not think it is important to tell their lawyer certain things; and sometimes clients do not consider that their actions in the midst of a case can impact their case, and do not consult their lawyers before taking such actions.

                Examples of the above are:

  1.  When testifying at a Social Security disability hearing, my client, a tiny thin man, in his early 60’s, testified that he would and could frequently lift in excess of 50 pounds, and move furniture around to vacuum.  After the hearing, his incredulous wife, who was about twice his size, told me that she recalled only once, many years prior to the hearing, that her client lifted a corner of a sofa so that she could vacuum under it, and that he never did housework.  The client was obviously trying to appear more manly than he was to impress the hearing judge.  His testimony lost his case for him. I, and all lawyers who handle disability cases, can relay similar stories.
  •  More than one client has retained me to write their employer about the discriminatory treatment they were receiving at work, and then neglected to mention their concerns when the employer met with them to discuss their complaints, or they even resigned for “personal reasons” without mentioning the true reason for her resignation.  Sometimes I have to learn about the resignation from the opposing counsel. Not only will these actions not help their cases, but certain benefits that could have been negotiated for them may be made moot by their actions.
  • More than one client has completed forms for a government agency, or has been asked to send a letter with their specific concerns to their employer, and despite them having retained a lawyer, and sometimes even sending us the forms or letter to review first, they have submitted the forms or letter in the midst of our review.  Usually, the forms as completed or the contents of their letter are not helpful, and are sometimes detrimental, to their case.
  • More than one client has testified to something as a witness at a hearing or at a deposition that has surprised or even shocked me, because despite extensive preparation of the witness, the witness has never shared this information with me.  This information often changes the entire complexion of the case.

So, the motto of this blog is to cooperate with your lawyer, confide in your lawyer, consult with your lawyer, listen to your lawyer’s advice, do not lie to your lawyer, and tell your lawyer everything, even if you don’t think it will be helpful to your case.  Your lawyer is better prepared if he or she knows the entire situation, and has been trained how to handle all information, good or bad.  

By: Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire on her blog “Toughlawyerlady.”

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