The following comes from a December 23 Christian Newswire press release:
The Thomas More Society has requested leave to file amicus briefs in two embryo custody battles. The national public interest law firm is interceding in the Missouri Court of Appeals McQueen v. Gadberry case on behalf of Missouri Right to Life, Lawyers for Life and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and also in the much publicized Loeb v. Vergara celebrity case in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
The Missouri case, between Jalesia McQueen and her former husband Justin Gadberry, like the one involving actress Sofia Vergara and ex-fiancé Nick Loeb, is to determine custody of the couple’s frozen embryos, created through in vitro fertilization. The Thomas More Society’s brief cites the irrefutable scientific proof that human life begins at fertilization and argues that frozen human embryos are not mere chattel, i.e., items of “property” but are rather complete and integral human beings fully deserving of commensurate dignity and respect.
History of the two cases:
McQueen v. Gadberry (Missouri) – In 2007, while Jalesia McQueen was married to her husband, Justin Gadberry, they created four embryos through in vitro fertilization. Two embryos implanted in McQueen resulted in the birth of twin boys. The other two embryos were frozen for later use, but the couple then divorced. The Gadberrys had signed an agreement that granted custody of the two embryos to McQueen in case of a divorce, but the Missouri Trial Court invalidated the agreement. McQueen has taken the case to the Missouri Court of Appeals, and the Thomas More Society’s amicus brief urges the court to recognize that the frozen embryos are unique human beings with their own rights and should not be subject to a contract dispute.
Loeb v. Vergara (California) – Nick Loeb and Sofia Vergara created and froze two embryos through in vitro fertilization while they were engaged to be married. The couple signed an agreement that neither party could use the embryos without the other’s consent, but the agreement did not specify what would happen to the embryos if the couple separated. Now that Loeb and Vergara are no longer together, Loeb has filed to gain custody of his two embryos. The case is still ongoing in the trial court in Los Angeles, and the Thomas More Society has asked the court to accept its amicus brief presenting the facts of science that human embryos are fully human beginning at fertilization.