Author Archive: Patricia Stapleton

Debating Paid Surrogacy

The New York Times has recently published a series of articles on assisted reproductive technology and on surrogacy in particular. “Room for Debate” has hosted a discussion on surrogacy, with five experts weighing in on the legal and ethical ramifactions of the practice. An article from September 17th further highlights the piecemeal regulatory approach we have in the US for dealing with surrogacy and surrogate contracts. The author, Tamar Lewin, notes that “Seventeen states have laws permitting surrogacy, but they vary greatly in both breadth and restrictions. In 21 states, there is neither a law nor a published case regarding surrogacy…” The wide disparity among state regulations leaves potential parents vulnerable to contract violations. Moreover, the vast differences among states…

Battening Down the Hatches

I’m excited to announce that my team’s proposal, “Battening Down the Hatches: Major Storms & Community Resilience,” was accepted by InTeGrate through SERC (the Science Education Research Center at Carleton College). InTeGrate is “a community program, a collaboration between faculty in the sciences and other disciplines, educational specialists, and evaluation experts at a diverse group of institutions,” which focuses on interdisciplinary methods for teaching about the Earth and sustainability. The “Battening Down the Hatches” team is made up of a geoscientist in New Hampshire, an emergency management specialist in New York, and myself – a political scientist in Massachusetts. We will spend the next two years creating, piloting, and revising a teaching module that focuses on the risks and hazards…

(Infertility + Lack of Regulation) x Capitalism = Surrogacy Tourism

I tweeted recently about an article by Tamar Lewin in The New York Times, “A Surrogacy Agency That Delivered Heartache,” which looked at the disreputable business practices of a “medical tourism company.” The title of this post, (Infertility + Lack of Regulation) x Capitalism = Surrogacy Tourism, was meant to be a little snarky, but it also has deeper meaning. A lack of comprehensive and clear federal regulation of reproductive medicine here in the United States, as well as spotty coverage by insurance companies, impels American patients to look abroad for other options. While the practice is more common for people seeking cosmetic surgery, clinics are beginning to tap into the demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART). There are different…

Food Fight in Maine

A June 18th article in The New York Times, “Maine Court Fight Pits Farmers Against State and One Another,” reveals some of the challenges of regulating local food production and sales. In brief, Jess Bidgood looks at Dan Brown’s efforts to sell unpasteurized milk at his farm stand in Maine. After a few years of selling the milk, along with some other items, state regulators told Brown he must stop because he didn’t have a distributor’s license and he wasn’t using proper labeling. Bidgood writes that “The case has pitted the state against some small-scale farmers and stirred a feud between new homesteaders and longtime family farmers.” The case also provides a good example of the push-and-pull between the different…