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October 29, 2018

Recent family-related news included a radical divorce bill being seriously considered in Italy, a look at pregnancy worker protection laws in the United States, a study linking the number of sexual partners a person has prior to marriage and the rate of divorce, international research confirming the negative effects of corporal punishment on children, and one divorced woman’s reflections on choosing her next partner.

Italy’s Proposed New Divorce Law Would Turn Back the Clock 50 Years on Women’s Rights, Critics Say Anna Momigliano, The Washington Post, September 18, 2018 Italy’s government is pushing draft legislation that would drastically change the country’s divorce laws, abolishing child support and taking custody away from parents who bad-mouth their exes … Critics of the bill argue that the abolition of child support would raise the poverty rate among divorced mothers, could make them unable to provide for their children and could encourage women to stay in abusive marriages rather than opting for a divorce with no child support.

Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Natalie Kitroeff, The New York Times, October 21, 2018 Pregnancy discrimination is widespread in corporate America. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is the only federal law aimed at protecting expecting mothers at work. It is four paragraphs long, 40 years old and says that a company has to accommodate pregnant workers’ requests only if it is already doing so for other employees who are “similar in their ability or inability to work.” That means that companies that do not give anyone a break have no obligation to do so for pregnant women.

Fewer Sex Partners Means a Happier Marriage Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, October 22, 2018 “Contrary to conventional wisdom, when it comes to sex, less experience is better, at least for the marriage,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist and senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. In an earlier analysis, Wolfinger found that women with zero or one previous sex partners before marriage were also least likely to divorce, while those with 10 or more were most likely.

What Happens When a Country Bans Spanking Diane Cole, NPR, October 25, 2018 Physical discipline is not only ineffective, but it can also cause harm, says Elizabeth Gershoff, a professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin who has been studying the impact of physical punishment on children for 20 years. Now a new study looking at 400,000 youths from 88 countries around the world suggests such bans are making a difference in reducing youth violence. UNICEF senior data specialist Claudia Cappa, believes the study provides additional support for the idea that “violence teaches violence.” Cappa believes that the ban on corporal punishment needs to be paired with programs that help parents learn healthy ways to discipline children.

How I Fell for an ‘I’m the Man’ Man The New York Times, October 26, 2018 Stung by divorce, a high-earning professional tries to recast herself in the dating world as a woman in need of male protection. She shares …since my ex-husband had divorced me the previous year, I had been reconsidering what I thought I knew about relationships. And my previous belief in a relationship of equals seemed painfully naïve.

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