By: Robert (Bob) Bianchi, Esq.:
I recently was asked to debate the topic of actress Sophia Vergara and the embryo that she and her then fiancé created.
The legal issue is that these two later separated and the agreement that they signed prior to “creating” this embryo did not address the issue of what happens to the embryo should the couple later determine that they wanted to part ways. Of course, they later ended their relationship, and now she wants to end the embryo.
Since Sophie Vergara wants the embryo destroyed, and the former fiancé does not, what should the courts do?
These are the sticky questions that are created when we engage in practices that start life, yet later someone wants to reverse that decision and destroy it.
I feel, legally, that the ex-fiancé has as much of a right to that embryo as she does. I hate using an analogy to a tangible object, but this to me is no different than a case where there is a break-up and someone wants the car and the other does not. Give the car to the person that wants it, don’t send it to the junkyard. Had the ex-fiancé not been a “contributor” to the “thing,” then he would have no rights.
But this is not the case here. He is a “contributor” and has every right in my mind to legally claim possession of it, especially if she does not want it. Now, the interesting question to me would be – What would happen if both wanted it? Whew, I am glad that we don’t have to decide that one!
There are some that say legally she cannot be “forced to be a parent.” I don’t agree with this because no one is asking her to bear the child through pregnancy or to have any responsibility for the upbringing, support, and/or maintenance of the child. If that is the law (making her responsible for a child she does not want in this situation), then the legislature should change the law so that the fiancé in this situation would be fully responsible for the child.
What are your thoughts on this topic? It is apparently causing a lot of debate. I would be interested in how you view this issue, the appearance we did on Fox, and thoughts as to what you think the public policy should be on cases like this.
You can Tweet me @RBianchiEsq