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ACI Prensa's latest initiative is the Catholic News Agency (CNA), aimed at serving the English-speaking Catholic audience. ACI Prensa (www.aciprensa.com) is currently the largest provider of Catholic news in Spanish and Portuguese.
Updated: 1 hour 57 min ago

'Difficult' to work in Georgia after heartbeat bill, says Disney CEO

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 12:00

Atlanta, Ga., May 31, 2019 / 10:00 am (CNA).- Following the passage of the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act in Georgia earlier this month, major film and television companies have said they may consider relocation if the law comes into force.

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) singed the measure into law on May 8, despite the open protests of actors and actresses who threatened to organize a boycott the state.

Production companies WarnerMedia, Disney, and Netflix have said they could consider moving production out of the state because of the heartbeat law.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has said the law would make it “difficult” for the company to continue to do business in Georgia.

“Many people who work for us will not want to work there" should the law go into effect,” Iger told Reuters. "We will have to heed their wishes."

Warner and Netflix have both said May 29 that they would “reconsider” their presence in the state if the law comes in to force.

The LIFE Act bans abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, usually between six to eight weeks of pregnancy. The law is due to come into force on January 1, 2020, but pro-abortion groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have vowed to mount challenges in the courts.

Kemp responded at the bill’s signing by saying “our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” calling the law “a declaration that all life has value, that all life matters, that all life is worthy of protection.”

“We stand up and speak for those unable to speak for themselves. The LIFE Act is very simple, but also very powerful,” Kemp said.

Pressure from the entertainment industry has been led by the actress Alyssa Milano, star of the 2010 limited-release feature My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. Milano authored an open letter to Kemp, together with 50 other entertainers, threatening to pull business from the state if he signed the law.

Owing to generous state tax incentives, more film and television production is currently carried out in Georgia than California.

Milano is currently in Atlanta filming a television series titled Insatiable but has clarified she may not return for subsequent series.

So far, only the three companies--Blown Deadline, Killer Films, and Duplass Brothers Production-- have said that they will not film in Georgia until the heartbeat law is overturned. None have previously worked in the state.

The entertainment industry previously threatened to boycott Georgia should Kemp be elected governor. This boycott did not materialize.

‘Much progress still needed’ DiNardo says as bishops release child protection report

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:30

Washington D.C., May 31, 2019 / 08:30 am (CNA).- The U.S. bishops’ conference has released its annual report on the protection of children. The report records an increase in the number of new allegations of clerical sexual abuse being brought forward following the launch of independent compensation programs in some states.

The annual report on Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was released May 31 by the USCCB’s Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection.

Writing in his preface to the report, USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said he offered his “sincere gratitude” for the courage of victims of abuse.

“Because of their bravery in coming forward, victim and survivor assistance and child protection are now core elements of the Church.”

The report covers a year-long period ending June 30, 2018 and is the sixteenth report since the implementation of the Dallas Charter and USCCB Essential Norms in 2002.

According to the report, in new complaints lodged during the report’s annual window, 92% of offenders identified were already either dead, laicized, removed from ministry, or missing. The majority of allegations concerned the period between 1960-1990, with a concentration in the 1970s.

In total, 1,385 adults reported 1,455 new allegations between July 31, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The numbers represent a marked rise over the previous reporting period.

The report attributed the escalation to the state-wide adoption of Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs by the dioceses of New York. The vast majority of all new cases reported concerned historical instances of abuse.

Twenty-six new allegations involving current minors were presented during the report’s window, three of which were substantiated and resulted in a priest being removed from active ministry. Seven allegations were listed as “unsubstantiated” by the time the report’s window closed, with three more classed as “unable to be proven.”

Six cases were the subject of ongoing diocesan investigation, two more were referred to religious orders. Two cases concerned “unknown clerics,” and three claims were determined not to constitute sexual abuse.

DiNardo said that the end of the last reporting period marked a “turning point” in the Church’s battle to eradicate abuse.

“During the summer of 2018, the scandal of former Cardinal-Archbishop McCarrick came to light. After that came the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, highlighting the extent of the sexual abuse crisis within the state, as well as uncovering situations that did not always put the survivor first,” DiNardo wrote.

The surveyed dioceses reported that, by June 2018, outreach and support had been offered to nearly 500 victims and survivors of abuse and their families in addition to the more than 1,500 already receiving support from the Church.

The report highlighted the ongoing efforts of Church authorities to prevent future instances of abuse, recording 2.6 million background checks have been carried out on clerics, Church employees and volunteers. Six and a half million people have now been trained by the Church in the United States to identify the warning signs of possible abuse.

While acknowledging the progress made in addressing past cases, DiNardo noted that “much progress is still needed at this time,” and that the U.S. bishops would continue to address new measures for greater accountability and transparency.

“When it comes to the protection of young people, the question must always be ‘what more can be done?’” DiNardo said.

Chase settlement will pay fathers for ungranted paternity leave

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 02:00

New York City, N.Y., May 31, 2019 / 12:00 am (CNA).- A class action lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase was settled this week, after a lawsuit from fathers denied parental leave.

As of Thursday, Chase Bank has agreed to pay $5 million to hundreds of fathers who were denied primary caregiver leave at the company within the last seven years, NPR reported.

When his son was born two years ago, Derek Rotond, who investigated financial crimes for Chase, applied for 16 weeks of paid parental leave, the amount granted by the company to primary caregivers.
 
He was denied, and says he was told that "men, as biological fathers, were presumptively not the primary caregiver,” according to NPR.

Rotondo filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Chase responded quickly, saying that the company would grant Rotondo, the extra leave he wanted.

According to NPR, the bank has updated its policy to reflect a more gender neutral language, but Rotondo’s case led to a class-action lawsuit from other men who said they had denied the leave granted to primary caregivers.

"We thank Mr. Rotondo for bringing the matter to our attention," said Reid Broda, associate general counsel for Chase.

Peter Romer-Friedman, Rotondo’s attorney, said "the Supreme Court has made very clear that parental leave for caregiving has to be given on the exact same equal terms,” NPR reported.
 
According to a 2017 report from the Pew Research Center, more than 80 percent of adults in the United States support paid maternity leave and just under 70 percent believed in paid paternity leave.

To support a healthy family life for Church employees, the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2016 increased its parental leave to 12 weeks. The policy covers mothers and fathers who work at least 26 hours a week.

The policy brought the archdiocese to the forefront of family-friendly policies across the nation. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 14% of U.S. workers had any amount of paid parental leave through their employers in 2016.

Father Peter Wojcik, co-director of parish life and formation for the archdiocese, said in 2016 that paid leave emphasizes the Church’s dedication to family life.

“I think it’s a practical way of saying yes, the families are at the center of the church, the church is built on the families and families need time to be with each other and accompany each other,” he said.

FEMM fertility app CEO says women have the right to understand their bodies

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 20:30

Denver, Colo., May 30, 2019 / 06:30 pm (CNA).- The maker of a popular fertility awareness app says it is built on peer-reviewed research and a scientific approach to women’s health, after a recent report criticized the app’s developers and funders  as “anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic campaigners.”

A May 30 report in the Guardian said the FEMM app “sows doubt about birth control” and “features claims from medical advisers who are not licensed to practice in the U.S.”

The app, sold by the FEMM Foundation, markets itself as a period and ovulation tracker with three options for users - to achieve pregnancy, avoid pregnancy, or track their health.

Anna Halpine, CEO of the FEMM foundation, told CNA that “FEMM is a science and evidence based program for women's health, and our app allows us to provide personalized health care information to women directly.”

“We think that this knowledge is basic women's health literacy, and we think every women has the right to know how her body works, in order to make an informed choice about how she wants to manage her fertility,” Halpine added.

The app primarily serves as a tracker for various markers of fertility and health for women, with options to track periods, cervical mucus, medications, hormone levels, basal body temperature, and a host of physical and emotional symptoms.

The app has been downloaded more than 400,000 times in the past 4 years, according to the Guardian. It has 4.8 out of 5 stars in more than 1,000 reviews in the Apple store. The FEMM Foundation also offers classes on ovulation and fertility charting, as well as “medical management” training in “protocols for the management of ovarian dysfunction, menopause and infertility.”

The Guardian’s report said that FEMM appears to be biased against hormonal birth control.

“The FEMM app’s literature sows doubt about the safety and efficacy of hormonal birth control, asserting that it may be deleterious to a woman’s health and that a safer, ‘natural’ way for women to avoid pregnancy is to learn their cycles,” The Guardian reported.

Halpine told CNA that FEMM aims to help women understand their own bodies.

“FEMM sees reproductive endocrinology (hormones) as the unifying element in women's health. Our approach is to empower women to understand their hormones and fluctuations, and to use our, or other charting systems, to monitor their own personal hormone patterns. The critical element is their pattern; based on the observations that they make of changing biomarkers in their body (temperature, or cervical fluid or dryness) women can 'see' their own changes of estrogen and progesterone cycle to cycle.”

“Ovulation is the sign that these hormones, plus many others, are at the right level at the right time. This is why we say that ovulation is a sign of health,” Halpine said.

Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola, an OB-GYN with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, told The Guardian that: “The birth control pill is one of the greatest health achievements of the 20th century” and is “standard” in women’s health care.

The Guardian did not, however, mention risks of artificial contraception identified by scientific research.

According to a study posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “hormonal contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies are classified as carcinogenic to humans (group 1) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.”

According to the National Cancer Institute, the use of oral contraceptives is associated with increased risk for breast cancer, endometrial cancer and cervical cancer, while it is also associated with a decreased risk for cervical cancer.

The Guardian also reported an outdated claim on the efficacy of fertility-awareness based methods (FBAMs) of birth control, also called Natural Family Planning methods, which FEMM facilitates. The Guardian reported that the efficacy rate of FBAMs is about 75%.

In fact there are a variety of FBAMs available, each with varying levels of efficacy, depending on the method and the real-life use. For example, the Marquette Method, an FBAM, has been reported to be 89% effective with typical use, compared with an 87% efficacy rate for real-life use of condoms as a birth control method.  

The Guardian reported that implants and IUDs are among the most effective of birth control methods. However, IUDs can also cause some of the most severe side effects, including migration of the device and the perforation of organs.

The Guardian’s report noted that a financial supporter of the FEMM app is the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a non-profit whose chairman is Sean Fieler, a wealthy philanthropist and businessman who lives in Princeton, New Jersey, and who has previously backed pro-life politicians and causes in the past.

The mission of the Chiaroscuro Foundation is “to renew in our culture a deep awareness of the composite unity of our shared human nature.” According to The Guardian, the foundation donated between $350,000 and $1 million to FEMM each year between 2015-2017, or the majority of its operating budget.

Halpine told The Guardian that FEMM does not comment on abortion, or advocate on political issues.

“FEMM has never commented on the abortion issue. And doesn’t work in that area. FEMM is an organization committed to expanding information research and knowledge about women’s reproductive health around the world,” Halpine told The Guardian.

The Guardian noted that some of FEMM’s medical advisors are based in Chile, and are not licensed to practice in the United States.

“The Reproductive Health Research Institute (RHRI) provides FEMM’s medical assertions, research and training. The two physicians leading RHRI are listed on its website as Pilar Vigil and Patricio Contreras. Vigil is listed as the medical director of RHRI, which has two addresses, one in New York City and another in Santiago, Chile,” the Guardian reported.

“Vigil is listed as an OB-GYN and Contreras as a ‘medical doctor’, but neither is licensed to practice medicine in the United States,” The Guardian noted.

Halpine explained that “FEMM works with medical researchers and providers around the world. Our growing network of health educators and providers in the United States and other countries serves our users worldwide. Our global network is inclusive, and FEMM benefits from the diversity of experience and ideas that our health educators and providers bring to us around the world.“

On its website, FEMM provides health center locators and doctor referrals, and lists licensed health centers and doctors located in the United States.

 

 

Manchester bishop welcomes repeal of death penalty in NH

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 20:01

Manchester, N.H., May 30, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- Bishop Peter Libasci of Manchester welcomed Thursday the New Hampshire legislature's override of a veto by the governor on capital punishment repeal.

“I welcome the vote by the New Hampshire Senate today that repeals the death penalty. As a citizen of New Hampshire, I offer my deep appreciation and sincere empathy to the members of the Legislature for their deliberate and often very difficult process of debate and decision-making that is so much a part of their office and was especially so in this most serious matter,” Bishop Libasci said May 30.

“As good citizens we must not look upon this vote as a victory, for that would dishonor the grief of those whose lives have been tragically altered by the crimes committed against their loved ones and society in general. Instead, we need to stand together as a citizenry and live by what we said when we spoke of human dignity, incarceration that rehabilitates, especially in cases of life without possibility of parole.”

The bishop added: “Being part of a society that is committed to dealing with the ills that lead to the decomposition of personhood and the evil crime of murder is the work of a noble people who uphold the sacredness of human life. Now is the opportune time to recommit ourselves to participating in this responsible movement forward.”

The vote makes New Hampshire the 21st state to abolish capital punishment.

The New Hampshire legislature voted to repeal the death penalty this spring, but the bill was vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Sununu earlier this month.

The Senate voted 16-8 to override Sununu's veto May 30. The House voted last week to override.

Sen. David Starr had initially voted to repeal capital punishment, but did not vote to override the governor on Thursday, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

Bishop Libasci had submitted written testimony in favor of the repeal.

Those convicted of capital murder in New Hampshire will now face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The repeal applies to convictions from today onward.

Currently on New Hampshire's death row is Michael Addison, who in 2006 murdered a Manchester policeman, Michael Briggs.

“I have consistently stood with law enforcement, families of crime victims, and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty because it is the right thing to do,” Sununu said May 30. “I am incredibly disappointed that the Senate chose to override my veto.”

Patrick Cheetham, a police captain and a former president of the New Hampshire Police Association, said the death penalty repeal “doesn’t make New Hampshire safer; it doesn’t make it safer for New Hampshire police officers and it’s extremely disappointing. The death penalty has been used sparingly, judiciously and appropriately at a time when New Hampshire’s police officers are confronted with greater and greater violence.”

The Church has consistently taught that the state has the authority to use the death penalty, in cases of “absolute necessity,” though with the qualification that the Church considered such situations to be extremely rare.

Both Pope Francis and his immediate predecessors have condemned the practice of capital punishment in the West.

St. John Paul II called on Christians to be “unconditionally pro-life” and said that “the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil.” He also spoke of his desire for a consensus to end the death penalty, which he called “cruel and unnecessary.”

And Benedict XVI exhorted world leaders to make “every effort to eliminate the death penalty” and told Catholics that ending capital punishment was an essential part of “conforming penal law both to the human dignity of prisoners and the effective maintenance of public order.”

In August 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a new draft of the catechism's paragraph regarding capital punishment.

Quoting Pope Francis’ words in a speech of Oct. 11, 2017, the new paragraph states, in part, that “the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that ‘the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person,’ and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.”

Reasons for changing the teaching, the paragraph says, include: the increasing effectiveness of detention systems, growing understanding of the unchanging dignity of the person, and leaving open the possibility of conversion.

Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P., a moral theologian at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., told CNA at the time that he thinks this change “further absolutizes the pastoral conclusion made by John Paul II.”

“Nothing in the new wording of paragraph 2267 suggests the death penalty is intrinsically evil. Indeed, nothing could suggest that because it would contradict the firm teaching of the Church,” Fr. Petri continued.

Equality Act 'creates right to demand an abortion,' congresswoman warns

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 18:00

Washington D.C., May 30, 2019 / 04:00 pm (CNA).- Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has warned that a proposed anti-discrimination law could be used to compel medical professionals to participate in abortion procedures.

The Congresswoman made the comments during an interview that will air May 30 on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

The House of Representatives recently passed the Equality Act, legislation that would add anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation. The bill would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to define "sex" to include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as "pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition."

Speaking to Pro-Life Weekly host Catherine Hadro, Foxx called the Equality Act “bad for women” and “bad for our culture,” and said that she opposed the bill because of “what it does to encourage the opportunity for women to have abortions in this country.”

Foxx pointed to the phrase “related medical condition” as one that should alarm pro-life Americans, setting up the possibility for patients to be able to insist on an abortion from an individual doctor.

“The phrase ‘related medical condition’ has been recognized by the courts and the Equal Opportunity Commission as a coded reference to abortion,” Foxx said. “So [the bill] creates a right to demand an abortion. And I do not believe that that’s what we need to be doing in this country.”

Pro-life leaders, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Susan B. Anthony list, have urged lawmakers to reject the bill. They argue that it could be used to undermine conscience rights by threatening health care providers with discrimination charges if they refuse to perform or facilitate an abortion procedure.

Foxx said she offered an amendment to the bill that would have clarified that the Equality Act could not force those with a moral objection to abortion to be compelled to participate in an abortion procedure. “Unfortunately,” she said, “that amendment was rejected.”

The rejection of the amendment, Foxx said, “speaks volumes to me about where the Democrat party is,” adding that she thinks the abortion industry played a role in crafting the legislation.

The Trump administration has expressed opposition to the bill and the Republican majority in the Senate is not likely to hold a vote on the measure.

A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said recently that there are currently “no scheduling announcements regarding Senate action” on the bill.

Kate Scanlon is a producer for EWTN Pro-Life Weekly.

Kamala Harris proposes federal restrictions on state abortion laws

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 14:01

Washington D.C., May 30, 2019 / 12:01 pm (CNA).- Sen. Kamala Harris, one of the two dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls, announced Tuesday a plan that would bar some states from changing their abortion laws without federal approval.

“As President, I will stop dangerous state laws restricting reproductive rights before they go into effect,” Harris, California's junior Senator, wrote May 28 on Twitter.

Harris announced her proposal during a town-hall on MSNBC.

Her plan would require that states and municipalities that have restricted abortion rights in the past to get permission from the Department of Justice before any new laws regarding abortion can take effect.

Under Harris' proposal, the Justice Department would have to determine that a law complies with the standards of Roe v. Wade and the Women's Health Protection Act, a bill she is co-sponsoring which would bar any government from imposing a wide variety of limitations on abortion, and which is stalled.

The senator's plan would require 60 votes in the Senate.

It is modeled on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which disallowed nine states and many counties and municipalities from modifying their electoral laws without federal sanction. Major parts of the law, which mainly affected southern states, were struck down by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

Her proposal is in response to legislation in states such as Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia. Earlier this month Alabama adopted the Human Life Protection Act, making the the attempt or performance of an abortion a felony.

On MSNBC Harris, who was California's attorney general from 2011 to 2017, said, “I got a real problem with that.”

“We cannot tolerate a perspective that is about going backward and not understanding … women have authority to make decisions about their own lives and their own bodies,” she stated.

Harris' proposal was welcomed by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Along with Sen. Mazie Hirono, Harris raised concerns in December about membership in the Knights of Columbus while the Senate Judiciary Committee reviewed the candidacy of Brian Buescher, who has been nominated by President Trump to sit on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska.

Harris described the Knights as “an all-male society” which is “opposed a woman’s right to choose” and against “marriage equality.” In the light of his Catholic faith and membership of the Knights, both senators questioned Buescher’s ability to apply the law fairly and objectively as judge.

Democratic presidential candidates are vying to codify protections for abortion amid the wave of pro-life laws being passed across the US.

Joe Biden's campaign said May 21 he would support federal laws protecting abortion rights “should it become necessary,” and he called recent state pro-life laws “pernicious” and “wrong.”

And Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said May 29 she disputes Church teaching on the priesthood, sexuality, and abortion: “I think [the Church] is wrong on those three issues. And I don’t think they’re supported by the Gospel or the Bible in any way. I just – I don’t see it, and I go to two Bible studies a week. I take my faith really seriously.”

Louisiana governor to sign heartbeat bill

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 09:45

Baton Rouge, La., May 30, 2019 / 07:45 am (CNA).- The Louisiana House of Representatives has passed a fetal heartbeat bill, making it the latest state to move towards adopting such legislation. The bill passed the house with bipartisan support on May 29, by a margin of 79-23 in favor.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has previously spoken in favor of the bill. Following its passage by the house, the governor said he would sign the legislation.

The bill, which passed the state senate earlier this month with equal cross-party support, would ban abortion as soon as a heartbeat can be detected in the unborn child, usually between six to eight weeks of pregnancy.  

“I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me – and I respect their opinions,” Edwards said in a statement.

“As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone.”

Edwards was elected governor in 2015 on an expressly pro-life platform. His promise to sign the bill comes as several Democratic candidates for president have reiterated their uncompromising support for abortion rights. Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski, one of the few remaining pro-life Democrats in the House, is currently facing a second consecutive primary challenge over his pro-life stance.

The Louisiana governor said he considered himself to be pro-life in a broad sense, highlighting his efforts to expand healthcare coverage in the state, provide extra resources for education, and pass criminal justice reforms.

“I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years. As governor, I have been true to my word and beliefs on this issue. But it is also my sincere belief that being pro-life means more than just being pro-birth,” said Edwards.

“For each of the last three years, my administration has set records for the number of children being adopted out of our foster care system.”

Last month, the Supreme Court issued a stay against another pro-life law in Louisiana. That measure, which requires that any abortion doctor have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. Abortion providers have argued that since only one abortionist in the state has such privileges, the legislation effectively outlaws abortion.

Louisiana is the fifth state to pass a heartbeat bill in 2019, with Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio having already passed similar laws.

Other states, most notably Tennessee, have considered heartbeat laws alongside so-called “trigger bans” which would outlaw abortion in the event Roe v Wade were overturned. Alabama recently passed a sweeping pro-life measure making abortion a felony offence.

Are single women actually happier? Study misinterprets data, researchers say

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 01:01

Washington D.C., May 29, 2019 / 11:01 pm (CNA).- Are childless, spouseless women actually happier than their married counterparts?

A widely-circulated finding from a study by a London professor suggests that while marriage increases the happiness of men, married women are actually more miserable than single women.

“We do have some good longitudinal data following the same people over time, but I am going to do a massive disservice to that science and just say: if you’re a man, you should probably get married; if you’re a woman, don’t bother,” Paul Dolan, a professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics, said at a presentation of his data analysis this weekend, reported on by The Guardian. The study is the basis of a new book by Dolan called Happily Ever After.

But other researchers have suggested that Dolan seems to be basing at least some of his conclusions on a misreading of data from the American Time Use Survey, which he analyzed for his study.

Particularly, Dolan seems to have misread a question that asks about whether a spouse is present or absent, W Brad Wilcox, a professor and family researcher with the Institute of Family Studies said on Twitter.

Dolan concludes that the question from the ATUS survey refers to whether a woman’s spouse was in the room as she responded to the survey, Wilcox said, but the question seems to refer instead to whether a spouse was present or absent in the respondent’s life.

“But Dolan appears to have misread ATUS survey questions regarding whether or not spouse was in the household to refer to whether or not the spouse was present for the interview--and thereby drew incorrect conclusions about marrieds' happiness, especially wives' happiness,” Wilcox said on Twitter.

Gray Kimbrough, a researcher and adjunct professor with the American University’s School of Public Affairs who tweeted that he “doesn’t have a dog in the fight” in whether single women are happier or not, also said on Twitter that Dolan appears to have misanalyzed the question about a spouse’s presence or absence.

“This claim, repeated breathlessly by many media outlets, appears to be based on a flawed analysis that actually compared slight differences in reported activity-level happiness for married people whose spouses live in the same household from those whose spouses live elsewhere,” Kimbrough said.

The ATUS question on presence or absence of a spouse “isn't measuring a spouse's presence for the interview, or even for any activities--just presence *in the household*,” Kimbrough added.

In other words, the decrease in happiness Dolan found appears to occur when spouses are absent in a married woman’s life for various reasons, instead of married women admitting their misery only when their spouse leaves the room during a survey, both Wilcox and Kimbrough concluded.

Furthermore, Wilcox said, Dolan’s findings do not align with other studies on marriage and happiness for women.

In data from the General Social Survey between 2010-2018, analyzed by Wilcox and researcher Nicholas Wolfinger, married women between the ages of 18 and 50 reported significantly higher rates of happiness than their divorced, separated, or single and never married counterparts.

According to GSS data, married women without children reported being “very happy” at a rate of 45%, while married women with children reported being “very happy” at a rate of 41%. Women separated or divorced without children reported “very happy” rates of 27%, while separated or divorced women with children reported “very happy” rates of 21%.

For single, never-married women, their reported rates of being “very happy” were at 24% for those without children, and 19% for those with children.

The pattern held when adults were questioned about rates of unhappiness, Wilcox and Wolfinger found.

Wolfinger noted that he was unable to reach Dolan for comment on an article he wrote about his data analysis, but Wolfinger said that “the story becomes clearer after looking at the ATUS questionnaire. First, it’s important to note that general happiness is being measured, not happiness within one’s marriage. The two are related to be sure, but far from perfectly. The GSS has separate measures of marital happiness and overall happiness, and the correlation coefficient between the two is .39.”

Secondly, he said, one ATUS question does ask about people present in the room during the survey, but respondents do not specify whether it was a spouse, child, parent, or cable repair guy, Wolfinger noted.

“Instead, respondents are asked this question: ‘Were you interacting with anyone during this time, including over the phone? (Yes/No).”

“But let’s put all these concerns aside and take Dolan’s finding at face value. How can his finding be explained? Here’s what he has to say about it on page 69 of his book: ‘It appears that people are more likely to say they feel happy if their spouse can hear what they are saying. Or it could simply be that their spouses put them in a better mood, which influences how they recall their experiences yesterday. (My money is on the former.)’”

“I’d like to think he’s wrong here,” Wolfinger concluded, “and his data do little to convince me one way or another.”

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