I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Setting the Record Straight on Pregnancy and Murder

April 9th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

In "Oklahoma Legislator Wants to Give Pregnant Women a License to Kill," I briefly discussed the inaccurate impression left by a KOCO report on a bill being offered by Rep. Mike Thompson. The KOCO report quoted a YWCA representative, Josh Beasley who claimed that "domestic violence is the second leading cause of death to (pregnant) women nationwide." In emails I pointed out the extreme inaccuracy of that statement and that it would create a misimpression among KOCO's readers and listeners if not corrected. Neither KOCO nor Mr. Beasley chose to correct the record.

So I will.

In 1987, the Centers for Disease Control started gathering statistics on the causes of death among pregnant women and those who die within one year following birth or termination of a pregnancy. A study of that data, published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that, from 1991-1999, a total of 4,200 deaths to these mothers were "pregnancy related," meaning in some way caused by the pregnancy (Am. J. Public Health, 2005; 95, 471-477). Of those, 1,933 deaths were due to injuries, or about 215 per year. And of those injury-related deaths, 879 were due to car accidents and 617 were homicides. So, over the time studied, about 67 pregnant women per year were the victims of homicide related to their pregnancies.

Deaths to pregnant women were overwhelmingly caused by factors other than homicide. Well over half were attributed to "complications of pregnancy."

To give some perspective, about six million women become pregnant in this country every year. Of those, about 467 die for any reason related to their pregnancies.

But of course, none of the above prevented various news outlets and NOW from totally misrepresenting the facts. NOW, for example ran an article headlined "Murder: The Leading Cause of Death for Pregnant Women (NOW, 4/23/03)." Well, no actually it's not. In fact, homicide made up 8.4% of the total. About 43% of deaths were not pregnancy-related. Of those that were, 54% were due to complications of pregnancy.

In 2005 and again in 2007, ABC News chipped in with some misrepresentations of its own. In the latter article, citing the Journal of Public Health study referred to above, ABC News informed its readers that "31% of all pregnancy deaths between 1991 and 1999 were the result of homicide." Again, no they weren't. Thirty-one percent of deaths due to injuries were homicides. As stated above, that's a small percentage of the total.

And, in the KOCO piece, it's exactly that qualifier - due to injuries - that Josh Beasley omitted. That qualifier of course makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between 2,276 deaths in a nine-year period and 617 deaths.

As we've seen so often, selling news can be more important than reporting facts. And it seems there's nothing to grab headlines like another false claim of female victimization.

Lawyer wins appeal over using child maintenance payments for legal fees

This is rather bizarre case in Bermuda, a colony of the socialist UK government, where a judge sided with a female lawyer that child support, ostensibly for the benefit of the child, was OK being paid and used by the lawyer representing the custodial mother. One never gets surprised at the length judges will go to to 1) Give great leeway to female litigants 2) side with a clear case of corruption by a lawyer using child support money to line her pockets. Judges can rationalize anything if given the chance.MJM www.theroyalgazette.com Article published April 9. 2009 08:55AM
By Sam Strangeways

A divorce lawyer who appropriated child maintenance payments from a father to pay off legal fees owed to her by his ex-wife did not misuse the funds, a judge ruled yesterday.

Keren Lomas was found by a magistrate last year to have improperly used more than $5,000 paid to Lomas & Co. law firm by KJAZ 98.1FM owner Leo Trott for his teenage daughter with ex-wife Barbara Carroll-Trott.

Ms Lomas appealed the decision in the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Richard Ground found in her favour. He awarded costs to her in the sum of $1,500 — though her lawyer Juliana Snelling said her legal bill was close to $9,000.

Ms Lomas told The Royal Gazette: "I'm happy."

"I am thrilled that Mr. Trott has displayed such passion and commitment recently in the press and media with regard to his financial responsibilities to his daughter," she added. "Hopefully, he will work towards a more amicable relationship with his former wife in order to avoid further litigation."

Ms Lomas said she "might have been regarded as arrogant" in assuming Magistrate Tyrone Chin would know her clients could determine how money held for them in her trust account was used.

But she added that she was one of the few attorneys on the Island representing people on legal aid. Mrs. Carroll-Trott, her client, was initially denied legal aid.

"We arrived at a method of securing for her ongoing representation while I fought for her right to a legal aid certificate, which was subsequently granted," said Ms Lomas.

Mr. Trott, who represented himself, told this newspaper: "The Chief Justice is a fair man. His hands are tied by the laws, as antiquated as they are. I think that when a court order [for child maintenance payments] is granted, it should specifically state how the money is to be spent. It should leave no loopholes."

The 45-year-old part-owner of LTT Broadcasting, who has since remarried, said his relationship with his daughter was badly damaged because she believed he had not made the maintenance payments.

"Our relationship is out of the window now because of the portrayal of a deadbeat dad. We barely talk. She is 17 and she doesn't have much to say to me when I call her."

He said he did not regret pursuing Ms Lomas through the courts, adding that it had been a "worthwhile exercise", particularly in light of the limited costs he was ordered to pay by Mr. Justice Ground.

"The biggest loss is the loss of my relationship with my daughter. No financial settlement can repair the broken relationship."

Ms Snelling had argued on behalf of Ms Lomas that Ms Carroll-Trott, having been granted "care and control" custody of the child, could decide how best to spend maintenance payments.

She said since the legal fees were spent on trying to get the best possible maintenance award for the daughter, the girl benefited from the money.

Mr. Justice Ground agreed in his judgement. He said Mr. Trott made payments under maintenance orders "but that some or all of the sums were then appropriated by Ms Lomas to the payment of the mother's legal fees with that firm".

He added: "I think that it is enough to dispose of this appeal that the use of the monies to pay the mother's legal fees is capable of being a payment for the benefit of the child."

Mr. Trott was accompanied in court by Edward Tavares, co-founder of fathers' rights charity ChildWatch, who said the case highlighted the need for a shared parenting law. "It's a sad day," said Mr. Tavares. "How can it be the best possible child support or maintenance when it's going towards legal fees? How is this for the child?"