DON’T LOOK FOR LOGIC
Catalyst October Issue 2001
In August, the New Jersey Supreme court ruled that a man could decide the fate of frozen embryos that he and his former wife had created. Here’s what happened.
The court was asked to decide whether a man could have the frozen embryos that he and his former wife had created implanted in another women. The court ruled he could not. To complicate matters, the former wife said she did not want to become a parent again against her will and sought to have the embryos destroyed so they could not be donated or implanted in someone else. A unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme court, 7-0, ruled that the man could keep the seven embryos in storage or have them destroyed.
This strikes us as bizarre. A man gets to decide the fate of his frozen embryos against the will of his former wife. But had she been pregnant with a child that he fathered, she could elect to have an abortion even over his protestations.
All of which means that a father has more rights over the life of his child at the embryonic stage than at the fetal stage; conversely, the mother has no rights at the embryonic stage but then acquires absolute rights at the fetal stage. Don’t look for logic on this one.