sábado, 9 de enero de 2016

Two high-profile U.S. cases highlight how the departure from Church teaching on procreation has created dilemmas with no easy legal or moral resolution.

People or Property? IVF and Surrogacy Have Opened a Pandora’s Box of Law


For decades, the Catholic Church has warned that in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood would lead to human beings being treated as commodities. Today, legal battles are raging in the United States, where the courts must decide whether human embryos have the rights of children or the status of personal property.

In Los Angeles, businessman Nick Loeb and ex-fiancée and Modern Family star Sofia Vergara are locked in a bitter dispute over two of their embryo children they created through IVF and froze while they were engaged. While they were engaged, the couple had agreed not to use the embryos without mutual consent.

But now that they have split, Vergara wants to destroy their embryo children, while Loeb is suing her for custody in order to save their embryos from destruction, with an aim to bring them out of the freezer and give them a chance to be born through a surrogate mother.

Loeb’s legal battle is being assisted by the Chicago-based Thomas More Society (TMS), which has submitted an amicus brief to the trial court.

The Thomas More Society is also engaged in a similar case in Missouri involving a couple that used IVF and then split. In McQueen v. Gadberry, Jalesia McQueen and then-husband Justin Gadberry created four human embryos with IVF: Two were implanted in McQueen, who bore twin boys, while the other two embryos were put into frozen storage. Now divorced, McQueen is fighting her ex-husband for custody of their embryos.

Both custody cases involving the embryos hinge on a central question: Are they property or are presumed to be children?

“Keep in mind that in a divorce case where parents separate, they fight over property and children,” said Thomas Olp, one of the TMS attorneys involved in both cases. When it comes to property disputes, it involves only the parents’ contested rights. “But when it comes to children, children have rights, and they actually trump the rights of the parents.”

Olp said the court ordinarily has to go through an analysis to determine “what is in the best interests of the child.”

The Thomas More Society filed amicus briefs in the Loeb case on behalf of the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), which is also involved in the McQueen case.

The attorneys are seeking to present the latest scientific evidence for the humanity of the human embryos to persuade the court to treat them as children, not property.


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