Do fertilized egg cells have a right to be carried to term and born as babies? A lawsuit against US actress Sofia Vergara has raised this question because the plaintiffs are “Emma” and “Isabella” in the application: Vergara’s frozen and fertilized egg cells.
A report from New York Post According to ex-partner Nick Loeb, this is the latest attempt to get the rights to the embryos after breaking off a lawsuit in California on Tuesday. As a third plaintiff, the indictment names a man named James Charbonnet as the “trustee” of the embryos.
The new lawsuit was filed in the US state of Louisiana, a traditionally conservative state that gives frozen embryos special legal protection. According to the New York Post The indictment states that “Emma” and “Isabella” will withhold their financial inheritance if they are prevented from living. Therefore, it is required to give the two embryos to Loeb so that he can have them carried to term by a surrogate mother. Vergara is accused of preventing her “daughters Emma and Isabella” from developing.
The magazine People According to the actor wants to keep the embryos frozen forever. In previous interviews, she said that children should be born out of love relationships and that she finds it selfish to have children whose parents don’t get along. In her opinion, everything is regulated by the contract that Loeb and she concluded in 2013. In it, the two partners stipulated that neither of the two could do anything with the embryos without the consent of the other.
Lawsuit could set a precedent
The current indictment argues that nowhere in the contract is there any mention of what should happen in the event of a separation. In addition, the agreement violates applicable law because it de facto provides for “thawing without further action”.
In 2013 Loeb and Vergara tried to have a child together with the help of artificial insemination. After two failures, they had two more eggs fertilized and frozen, but then Vergara separated from Loeb in early 2014. The actress known from “Modern Family” is now married to Joe “Magic Mike” Manganiello. She already has a son from a previous relationship.
Sean B. Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine described the indictment as a “ridiculous publicity stunt” in an interview with the website Broadly. “We expect that the indictment will have no legal consequences. We expect that the case will be dropped.”
However, if the lawsuit is upheld, it could set a precedent. Naming them by name in an indictment suggests that embryos have personal rights – a view shared by anti-abortionists who believe that life begins with conception. Of the New York Times According to US courts, embryos have so far mostly been classified as the mother’s possession, but if Loeb had his way, that should change.
In an opinion article for the New York Times he wrote: “A woman can continue a pregnancy, even if the man is against it. Should a man who is willing to take on all parenting duties therefore not also have the right to have his embryos carried to term – even if the woman is against it is?”
Real concern for unborn life – or an act of revenge?
Vergara has not yet commented on the current application. But in earlier statements, she hinted that she considers the dispute over the embryos to be an attempt by her ex-partner to make a name for himself at her own expense.
Loeb applied for custody of the embryos immediately after the separation, but dropped the lawsuit on Tuesday. This was because the court had asked him to reveal the name of an ex-girlfriend who he said had had an abortion. Vergara’s lawyers had insisted on interviewing this woman in order to find out how credible Loeb’s concern for unborn life in general is – or whether the attempt at the frozen cells is more about revenge on the ex-girlfriend.
Since the Californian court is now no longer negotiating the case, the question remains unanswered for the time being whether there can be such a thing as custody of embryos at all. It is also unclear whether the lawsuit for the right to life of the embryos will even be accepted by the court in Louisiana.