Kentucky Judge Who Refuses to Hear Gay Adoption Cases Faces Removal Petition

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Gay rights groups have petitioned to unseat a Kentucky family court judge who announced last  month that he will no longer hear adoption cases involving “homosexual parties”.

Judge W. Mitchell Nance sits in Barren and Metcalfe counties and said his decision to recuse himself going forward from all adoptions involving gay people is because he believes allowing a gay person to adopt could never be in the child’s best interest.


Nance recusal is based on a judicial ethics rule that says a judge must disqualify himself when he has a personal bias or prejudice.

“If he can’t do the job, he shouldn’t have the job,” Chris Hartman, director of the Fairness Campaign told USA Today. 

But Christian and conservative organizations are backing Nance

But Martin Cothran, an analyst for the Family Foundation of Kentucky, which opposes gay marriage, said in an email to the paper that “we fully support the decision of Judge Nance to recuse himself from these kinds of cases.

“If we are going to let liberal judges write their personal biases and prejudices into law, as we have done on issues of marriage and sexuality, then in the interest of fairness we are going to have to allow judges whose personal biases and prejudices are different to recuse themselves from such cases,” Cothran said.

Cothran fought for a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Kentucky until the Supreme Court overturned it.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal, together with the Fairness Campaign, the ACLU of Kentucky and University of Louisville law professor Sam Marcosson are asking the Judicial Conduct Commission to remove Judge W. Mitchell Nance from office.

Marcosson says Nance is refusing to to hear cases involving an entire class of litigants and therefore violates the state Code of Judicial Conduct by “eroding confidence in the judiciary and failing to perform judicial duties impartially and diligently.”

If the Judicial Conduct Commission finds a judge has violated rules, it may issue an admonition, a reprimand or a censure, or suspend or remove the judge from office.

All 50 states, including Kentucky, allow adoptions by gay parents after Mississippi’s ban was struck down last year. Researchers at Columbia University found that 75 of 79 scholarly studies found that such children face no disadvantages compared to those raised by heterosexual couples.

h/t USA Today

A Pesticide linked to Kids’ Brain and Nervous System Damage Just Got Ok’d for Use Again

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Here is more reason to buy organic if you can afford it.

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday reversed an Obama administration recommendation to ban a pesticide linked to nervous system damage in children, according to the Los Angeles Times.


Newly installed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt signed an order that would allow farmers to continue using chlorpyrifos, which is sprayed on more than a dozen crops, including tree nuts, soybeans, corn, wheat, apples and citrus, writer Geoffrey Mohan pens.

For over 15 years, Chlorpyrifos has been banned from consumer products and residential use because the science suggest that it can hamper children’s cognitive development. A UC Berkeley study found that 7-year-old children in the Salinas Valley who were exposed to high levels during pregnancy had slightly lower IQ scores than their peers. A Columbia University study showed similar effects at lower exposure.

In 2015, former President Barack Obama’s administration vowed to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy for residue of that chemical on food, essentially ending its use indefinitely.

But Pruitt undid that yesterday.

A nonprofit group called Pesticide Action Network said the USDA buckled under pressure from corporations like DowAgroSciences which makes 5 to 10 million pounds of chlorpyrifos, which are used each year on crops across the nation.  The chemical is an organophosphate, a class of chemicals originally designed as a nerve agent weapon.

Eek!

“The new administration’s agency ignored their own findings that all exposures to chlorpyrifos on foods, in drinking water, and from pesticide drift into schools, homes and playgrounds are unsafe,” Schafer said.

The USDA says the science is inconclusive and removing the ban frees up farms to not interrupt their crop seasons.

“This frees American farmers from significant trade disruptions that could have been caused by an unnecessary, unilateral revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances in the United States,” said Sheryl Kunickis, director of the USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy. “It is also great news for consumers, who will continue to have access to a full range of both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables.”

Again, like I said.

More reason to buy organic if you can afford it. If not, wash your fruits and vegetables  thoroughly before eating.

 

STUDY: Smoke While Pregnant and Your Kid May Become Schizophrenic

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A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute and colleagues in Finland reports an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk for schizophrenia in children.

Results show that a higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood was associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia among their offspring.


Findings are published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The paper evaluated nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998 who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

Heavy maternal nicotine exposure was associated with a 38-percent increased odds of schizophrenia.

The findings persisted after adjusting for factors, including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socioeconomic status, and maternal age.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between fetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said Alan Brown, MD, MPH, senior author and Mailman School professor of Epidemiology and professor of Psychiatry at CUMC.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type.”

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Study: Pregnancy increases Stroke Risk in Young Women, Not Older Ones

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Doctors have long warned women that getting pregnant later in life can raise the risk of stroke, but a study Monday suggested that actually, only young women face this increasing risk.

The findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology compared stroke rates among pregnant and non-pregnant women of different age groups.

Previous studies have focused on the rate of stroke among pregnant women of different ages — finding stroke is more common among older women — but have not included a non-pregnant, aged-matched control group for comparison.

“Despite stroke being a rare event in young women, 18 percent of all strokes in women younger than 35 years were associated with pregnancy,” said the study led by Eliza Miller of Columbia University.

“In contrast, among older women of childbearing age, 1.4 percent of strokes were associated with pregnancy.”

The findings are based on data on women hospitalized due to strokes in the state of New York from 2003 to 2012.

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STUDY: Excessive weight gain During Pregnancy Could Lead to Lifelong Obesity


Gaining excessive weight during pregnancy can lead to obesity issues throughout life for women who are already at risk, according to a new study.

Researchers found that putting on too much weight while pregnant can cause excess body fat and pounds that remain, as reported by AJMC.

Columbia University researchers evaluated about 300 women, all of whom were African-American or Dominican, between the years of 1998 and 2013. The study group was at risk of becoming obese due to socioeconomic factors and unhealthy dietary patterns, according to the authors.


The participants had an average body mass index (BMI) of 25.6 prior to being pregnant, just slightly above the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention guidelines for being overweight. Five percent of participants were underweight, 53 percent were at a healthy weight, 20 percent were overweight, and 22 percent were obese.

The study suggests that 64 percent of these women put on more weight than the 15 to 20 pounds recommended by health officials. The women were then monitored for seven years after giving birth.
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