Now imagine that someone else is trying to force you to become a mother because in a moment of craziness you donated an egg and it was implanted with your boyfriend's sperm, and then frozen away for use (as in birth) at some future time. Then imagine you decided the boyfriend was a creep, broke up with the guy, met and married someone else and now the ex wants to hire a surrogate to nurture the embryos because he wants...your children. Nightmare scenario, right?
THE STORY OF...EMMA AND ISABELLA?
Yet that is the bizarre circumstance that Modern Family actress, Sofia Vergara, finds herself in as former lover Nick Loeb proceeds with a too-clever lawsuit that has emerged in Louisiana in the names of two frozen embryos that are sitting in frozen nitrogen in California. Vergara's ex, Nick Loeb, dropped his lawsuit in California last week when a judge ordered him to produce the names of former girlfriends who allegedly had abortions after he impregnated them. The judge was set to rule on Vergara's motion to dismiss when he dropped the suit, and lo! another popped up in Louisiana--but with Loeb's name nowhere appearing. Instead, the suit is being brought two embryos, cutely named Isabella and Emma, and James Charbonnet, a New Orleans resident who is named as trustee of a fund meant to provide for the health, education, maintenance and support of "Isabella" and "Emma." The lawsuit says "Emma" and "Isabella" are being denied their right to their inheritance. The mind boggles just writing this story.
Why in Louisiana? Louisiana in the only state to legally recognize a fertilized egg as a "judicial person," which is ipso facto absurd, and the legislation was undoubtedly a movement to curb abortion in that Catholic-heavy state. Vergara, a Catholic from Columbia, says she does not want the embryos destroyed but left frozen indefinitely. The Church is against freezing embryos in the first place because it requires the creation of the embryos outside the human person, according to a Catholic website.
The suit asks that they (Isabella and Emma) be immediately transferred to a uterus (obviously someone besides Vergara's) so they can develop and be born, despite the wishes of Vergara, whose ova is involved. The lawsuit also asks that Vergara's parental rights be terminated, and she simply be classified as an egg donor--all of which can only happen if the contract between the couple when the embryos were created is declared null and void. It did not provide for what would happen should the couple break up or disagree about the disposition of the frozen embryos.
Should Loeb prevail, the frozen embryos will be forced to be born, no matter what they might think about this situation--if they could think. If they could be asked. If they were people old enough to be asked.
AN ETHICAL MORASS
These eerie fights over birth and relationships always come down to money: both Schnitzer, 66, and Loeb, 41, are extremely wealthy men and want what they want. But children are not expensive toys to be bought or bartered over like yachts and property. This case, like the Schnitzer one, stinks to high heaven. No one should be forced to be a mother--or father--like this. Though we find implanting embryos in rented uteri normally unethical, this situation, if Loeb somehow wins, is particularly noxious. The only possible good that can come out of this mess is for the nightmare scenario that sounds like it was written by a science fiction writer be a warning to other women--and men--about freezing embryos for birth as some future time. In a 2015 previous case, a woman sued to have the embryos she and her ex-husband had preserved; a judge ruled against her. “The court holds that while [Mimi] Lee [the woman] might have a right to procreate in other circumstances not before the court, she does not have a right to procreate with [Stephen] Findley [her ex husband],” San Francisco Superior Court Anne-Christine Massullo wrote in her decision.
We urge the Louisiana courts to put aside any feelings about the supposed personhood of the embryos and consider the long game here. As we here know all too well, genes do count. The biological bond does not dissolve nor vitiate ever. Loeb is free to have children with other women, but should not, must not, be allowed to bring these embryos to life against the wishes of the woman who will always be the children's biological mother. To do so violates all tenants of a sane and ethical world.--lorraine
The Handmaid's Tale By Margaret Atwood"A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex . . . Just as the world of Orwell's 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood's handmaid!" —The Washington Post Book World
If you've never read it, now could not be a better time.