Monday, January 25, 2010

Sexism in America: Alive, Well, And RUNING OUR FUTURE by Barbra J. Berg, Ph.D.: A LaMothe Book Review

I received Sexism in America: Alive, Well, And RUNING OUR FUTURE by Barbra J. Berg, Ph.D. before Christmas for review and honestly didn’t see how it would change anything about me or the way I see my daughter’s rights, her peers, my mother’s upbringing or our political past, present or future. We teach equality in our home already. My husband does laundry and dishes, I mow the lawn, and we work together on projects like cleaning out the garage or planning a party. Row vs Wade is alive and well…what did I need to know? Boy was I wrong on all counts! Sexism in America is well written, well researched and pages 325-412 documents everything Barbara Berg writes about in previous chapters regarding women’s rights in the 20th century.

Sexism in America reveals both the cultural and structural sexism that prevails despite previous victories, taking readers, like me, through a comprehensive exposé of the battles women still face in order to achieve true equity.

• The incredible disparities in cost of women’s health insurance versus men’s, the revamped war on reproductive freedom, and why the US is considered 31st in world gender equity

• The rise of infant mortality rates, teen pregnancy, heart disease and diabetes in women, as well as sexually transmitted infections among adolescent girls

• The rampant workplace discrimination that women, especially mothers face, and the wage gap between men & women that begins immediately after college and grows over time

• The pervasive sexism in popular culture beginning with male characters dominating 85% of speaking parts in G-rated children’s movies to increasingly violent and accessible internet pornography

What was also incredible to me were some of the comments made by doctors, politicians and leaders whom we (once) trusted to care about the rights and health of women in America.

• Regarding Birth Control “We will never give over the control of our numbers to the women, themselves. What? Let them control the future of the human race?” (Male physician talking with Margaret Sanger)

• Regarding Miscarriage “There are two types of habitual miscarries: the basically immature woman or the frustrated independent woman.” (1977 medical text book)

• Child Care “Child care threatens family stability by encouraging women to work and encouraging a communal approach to childrearing.” (President Nixon)

• Equal Rights (Falwell) wanted to “bury Equal Rights Amendment once and for all in a deep, dark grave.”

Yes, there is PLENTY more to make your blood boil that happened in the PAST but it’s the future we need to worry about. Chapters on Clinton, Bush and comments on Obama are all included as well as what girls are facing now….body image, education, and career opportunities all still not equal to boys/men. Did you know of the hidden provision in Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 REQUIRES all public schools to provide the military with personal data on their students including birthdates, social security numbers, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and grade point averages? Equipped with this information, recruiters can bypass parents and contact the students directly.

If I didn’t say it before, Sexism in America: Alive, Well, And RUNING OUR FUTURE by Barbra J. Berg, Ph.D. needs to be put on your MUST READ list. Once you do I will be very interested to hear your comments!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Q&A with Sharon LaMothe: Should Women without Insurance Coverage become Surrogates?

Q: Hi Sharon,
I have a question if you don't mind. We have been in business for 2 years now and just recently, this year, started a Surrogacy Service. I have 3 women who are interested in being Gestational Carriers but do not have insurance. They are willing to take less compensation to help the couples if the IPs can provide the Insurance. I have found that even with them taking a lesser amount of compensation, the process is still quite expensive for the Intended Parents. What is your suggestion if any.

A: I often had the same situation with women not having maternity coverage. You can list them on your data base as without insurance coverage and lower their base fee by $4,000 and just tell them that they maybe harder to match and that it may take longer. If their situation changes where they do have insurance coverage, then their base fee would change at that point. Remind Intended Parents that no matter what an ins. policy says (or doesn't say) regarding surrogacy arrangements they (ins. co) can always refuse to pay in any case so it maybe safer for them to pay for a policy from say, New Life, that covers surrogacy arrangements then relying on BCBS or some other company whose policy under a huge gray area where surrogacy is concerned. Under no circumstances have a woman (surrogate) use government assistance. Insurance fraud is a huge price to pay for helping others!

Sharon LaMothe
Infertility Answers, Inc.
LaMothe Services, LLC

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Five Startup Mistakes to Avoid By STEVE STRAUSS

Because the new year often brings with it fresh optimism and thoughts of running your own show, leaving the rat race, or even making money from a hobby, I posted below a great Q & A on what to avoid when you contiplate starting your own business...great information here! If you would like to add a comment regarding something YOU wish you had known when you first started out fee free!

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC

Q: I really have no choice but to start a business as I have been out of work for too long. I'm excited about getting going but what should I be on the lookout for -- what mistakes can I avoid? Ed

A: This is a good, smart question. While it is true that small business owners tend to be an enthusiastic, optimistic bunch, that same enthusiasm can be a hindrance when we think that all of our ideas are great ideas.

They're not.

Here, then, are the 5 Most Common Start-up Mistakes (and how to avoid them):

5. Not looking before leaping: Sometimes you have to jump right into a new business -- an opportunity presents itself, the time is perfect, whatever. But far more often you do not have to dive in headfirst (and you should not).

Take a breath, slow down, stand back, and take a critical look at your venture before investing too much time or money.

- What could go wrong?

- What part of your plan is weakest?

- What if things don't go as planned?

- What's the deal with your competition?

This sort of critical analysis will serve you well. It can help to point out danger signs and potentially save you from making an expensive mistake.

4. Starting with the wrong legal structure: No, there is nothing juicy about this tip, but it is vital nonetheless. Most small businesses start out as sole proprietorships. Most small businesses are making a big mistake.

Legally speaking (and I can say that as I am a "recovering attorney"), a sole proprietorship offers you no protection. If something goes wrong with the business, you personally are on the hook. But if you incorporate, the corporation is a separate legal entity from you. That is a main reason why people incorporate or form LLCs.

3. Lack of a marketing and advertising plan: When you start a new business, it is like being alone in a dark room -- you know you are there, but no one else does. The only way you can turn on the light and let people know you are out there is by advertising and marketing your business.

Read some books about marketing (my book, The Small Business Bible, might be a good place to start). Take some online courses. But trial and error is, unfortunately, the best teacher in this regard. Market and advertise your business, and then do it some more.

2. Undercapitalization: Yes, it is true that most start-ups begin with less than optimal funding, and yes, it is also true that many small business have overcome that obstacle, but it is also true that you will have a far higher likelihood of success if you have enough money to start properly.

How much?

At least enough to run the business and live for six months, while you get established. You simply don't want to be forced into having to choose between paying the rent and running the ad as you are trying to get your business off the ground.

And the #1 preventable start-up mistake is...

1. Having no website or a bad website: Your website is your business card in this century. One of the first things potential new customers will do is Google you and look for your site. Having no site, or maybe worse, a bad site, can kill your nascent business. And since it is so easy to get a professional site these days for next to nothing, there is no excuse for not having a great site, right from the get-go.

(Runners up: Not having a social media strategy, not being passionate about your choice, or failing to take advantage of all the free help out there.)

Steven D. Strauss is one of the country's leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist, his latest book is the Small Business Bible. A lawyer, author, and public speaker, Steve speaks around the world about small business and entrepreneurship, including a recent visit to the United Nations. He has been on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and The O'Reilly Factor among many others, and his business column, Ask an Expert, appears weekly at .

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oregon Surrogacy Laws

Oregon law appears to allow only uncompensated surrogacy arrangements. The statute prohibiting “buying or selling a person” has an explicit exemption for “fees for services in an adoption pursuant to a surrogacy agreement.” This appears to codify the conclusion of a 1989 opinion issued by the attorney general, which indicated that the state may invalidate any agreement in which money is exchanged for the right to adopt a child, particularly when the birth mother contests it. The case law confirms that if a surrogate mother is compensated for her consent to adoption under a surrogacy contract, the contract is unenforceable. However, it appears that a surrogacy arrangement in which the compensated surrogate mother would have carried the baby with or without pay would be upheld. In one case in 1994, the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld an uncontested surrogacy arrangement, refusing to invalidate the agreement even though payment to the surrogate mother exceeded her pregnancy-related expenses. The Court emphasized that the facts indicated the surrogate would have entered into the agreement even without compensation and that she was not seeking to withdraw her consent for the adoption of the child. However, this case was decided before the statutory provision discussed above was passed by the legislature.

 Citations: Office of the Attorney General of the State of Oregon, No. 8202, 46 Op. Atty. Gen. Ore. 221 (April 19, 1989); In the Matter of the Adoption of Baby A and Baby B, 877 P.2d 107 (Or. Ct. App. 1994).

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year from LaMothe Services, LLC

Happy 2010 from Sharon LaMothe
Wishing you great success in the year to come!

For last year's words belong to last year's language

And next year's words await another voice.

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"
The Business of A.R.T.
LaMothe Services, LLC