Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "mothers" ...

  • The final days of Laura and Walton

    Laura Connell believed she was going to lose custody of her only child, Walton, despite years of abuse at the hands of her child’s father. After coming to Delaware to escape the abuse and appealing to the Delaware courts, it appeared she was still going to have to turn over her son to his father. She never did – instead killing first him and then herself on the morning of her family court hearing. Hundreds of pages of court documents, medical records and other records provided both by Laura herself and the courts detail the abuse and claims Laura said never reached a judge or were taken seriously. The story explains why mothers kill their children and what can drive parents to commit murder- suicide in a world in which we often lack those answers.
  • Black Market Babies

    The series investigated illicit adoptions of babies born to mothers from the Marshall Islands.
  • Deadly Deliveries

    There is more to the story to the abysmal rate of maternal deaths and injuries in the United States than societal ills or women's lifestyles: Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren't doing it. Across the nation, women giving birth needlessly die and suffer life-altering injuries due to substandard medical care.
  • The Real War on Families—Why the U.S. Needs Paid Leave Now

    This groundbreaking investigative report reveals the staggering toll on new mothers who must return to work within weeks or days of childbirth. Lerner’s report profiles mothers around the country who went back to work as quickly as 7 days after childbirth, and describes in heartbreaking detail the mental and physical costs of juggling a job and a newborn. Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed for In These Times’ report showed that 1 in 4 women return to work within two weeks of childbirth. The report serves as a vital intervention—at a time when calls for paid parental leave in the United States are growing at both the state and federal level—putting the severity of the issue into stark relief by adding a human face to it.
  • Birthstory

    You know the drill - all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo - you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form - it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. At first, this is the story of an Israeli couple, two guys, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby - three, in fact - by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them. As we follow them on their journey, an earth shaking revelation shifts our focus from them, to the surrogate mothers. Unfolding in real time, as countries around the world consider bans on surrogacy, this episode looks at a relationship that manages to feel deeply affecting, and deeply uncomfortable, all at the same time. http://www.radiolab.org/story/birthstory/
  • Prosecuting Pregnancy

    The criminalization of drug use in pregnancy is universally opposed by health officials and drug policy experts. But the idea that prison is a fitting punishment for prenatal drug use has become widely accepted in Alabama. Starting in 2006, prosecutors began charging women who used drugs during pregnancy with “chemical endangerment,” a form of child abuse that carries a one to 10-year prison sentence if a baby is unharmed and up to 99 years if a baby dies.
  • Fatal Foster Care: When newborns exposed to drugs in the womb are taken from their mothers, the results can be deadly

    Tighter drug laws in the United States increasingly mandate that newborns be stripped from drug-taking birth parents, and often placed in foster care. Even when the traces of drugs are minimal. But foster care is fraught with problems. Since 2000, at least 10 drug-exposed newborns have died in foster care — deaths identified in a New York City News Service analysis of court records, local news stories and interviews with family advocates across the nation. While a tiny fraction of the approximately 18,000 drug-exposed infants put into foster care over the same period, these tragedies show that foster care is not always a safer option for drug-exposed newborns. The number of foster care deaths is most likely larger since state officials often cite privacy laws barring them from disclosing details.
  • Helpless & Hooked: The most vulnerable victims of America’s opioid epidemic

    A federal law requiring states to develop plans to protect children born dependent on drugs is routinely being ignored. As a consequence, Reuters found, babies and toddlers are dying preventable deaths, not because of the opioids in their systems but because they are sent to unsafe homes. We identified 110 children whose mothers used opioids during pregnancy and who died after being released to parents ill-equipped to care for them.
  • Motherless Monkeys

    Noah Phillips' story exposed for the first time a controversial planned experiment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that involved depriving newborn monkeys of their mothers and exposing them to frightening situations to gauge the impact on their brain functioning and behavior. The experiment calls for the monkeys to then be euthanized when they turn 1. Phillips' even-handed treatment of animal activists and researchers alike lead him to obtain unprecedented access to the facilities at UW-Madison, which has been the target of frequent protests because of its controversial animal experiments dating back to the 1940s. Phillips' story has been praised by both sides for its accurate and insightful portrayal of the proposed study. It generated significant public debate -- including an online signature campaign that garnered more than 300,000 signatures -- and revealed a deep division among UW-Madison officials about the propriety of the research, which as of this date remains stalled.
  • Battered, Bereaved, and Behind Bars

    This story exposes what many believe is a grievous injustice: Dozens of battered women have been locked away for a decade or more because they failed to prevent the men who battered them from also beating their children. BuzzFeed News found 28 cases in 11 states where mothers were sentenced to 10 years or more in prison under "failure-to-protect" laws despite evidence they were battered. More than a dozen are in prison for 20 years or more, and several are in on longer sentences than the men convicted of committing the abuse. And there are likely more out there.