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Thomas More Society Asserts Scientific Fact: Embryos Are Human, Not Property

National Nonprofit Law Firm Files Amicus Brief in Loeb v. Vergara Defending Frozen Embryos

Contact: Tom Ciesielka, 312-422-1333, tc@tcpr.net

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 23, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Thomas More Society has requested leave to file an amicus (friend of the court) brief in the much-publicized Los Angeles Superior Court Loeb v. Vergara case on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Catholic Bioethics Center. The case, involving actress Sophia Vergara and ex-fiancé Nick Loeb, is to determine custody of the couple's frozen embryos, created through in vitro fertilization. The brief from the nonprofit public interest law firm 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.

"Human embryos, no matter how small, are fully human and deserve to be treated as such," said Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rita Gitchell. "Currently, the legal precedent dealing with frozen embryos is based on erroneous and misconceived 'science' which denies the intrinsic humanity of the human embryos, treats them as mere property, and subjects them to disposition according to the terms of private contracts to which they were not neither parties nor participants in the bargaining process. It is high time, therefore, for courts to recognize, accept and take judicial notice of the most recent findings of biological and ancillary branches of science, to the effect that human life begins at fertilization, i.e., when the sperm and egg bind, and when a specific DNA is forged that is unique to that particular human being, and shared by no other throughout eternity unless the embryo has identical siblings or a clone."

Thomas More Society's amicus brief states that:

  1. The current, not antiquated, scientific understanding regarding human embryonic development should drive the Court's ruling. As a matter of scientific fact, the frozen embryos are not potential human life but actual living human beings. Their "potential" is for further development consistent with the embryos' body plan that came into existence at the time of the binding of sperm and egg membrane.
     
  2. Human embryos may not be treated as property and are not merely "entities deserving of special respect." They are human beings and should enjoy equal protection of the laws as persons.
     
  3. The Court should recognize the government's interest in protecting human life when resolving parental disputes over frozen embryos.

"The question posed in these embryo cases has a pivotal, and truly historic, dimension going back to the Dred Scott case," said Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel. "While that historic case involved a claim by an enslaved African American that he was 'liberated' by being taken onto 'free soil,' the precise issue currently addressed in this proposed amicus brief pertains to human embryos—human beings not yet born but nonetheless biologically qualified as human beings. In both situations, some humans are belittling and degrading others by disregarding their true scientific status, and denigrating them as if they were merely items of property which could be owned, sold, destroyed, or otherwise disposed of at the unregulated option and whim of others. This is simply and grossly inhumane and must be deemed by civilized folks as both morally and legally unacceptable."

Read the Thomas More Society’s amicus brief submitted in Loeb v. Vergara here.

History of the Case: 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.

About the Thomas More Society
Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. Visit
www.thomasmoresociety.org.