Are embryos people or property? This is the question before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Colorado embryo custody case Rooks v. Rooks.
Mandy Rooks, the mother of six cryopreserved babies produced by in-vitro fertilization, wants custody of her children and wants the option to produce more full-term babies in the future, but her ex-husband, Drake, wants the embryos destroyed.
The lower courts awarded Mr. Rooks custody of the embryos for destruction, but the Colorado Supreme Court stayed that decision. However, Thomas More Society Special Counsel Rebecca Messall is asking that SCOTUS accept the case and affirm that embryos are human beings and not property that can be disposed of at will.
States Messall in the appeal to the high court, “Granting human embryos the status of persons cannot be left up to fifty states, any more than the Kansas-Nebraska Act could leave the status of slaves to each state. The test of who is a ‘person’ must be decided for the entire nation in order to uphold the principles of ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’”
A decision from the United States Supreme Court on whether it will consider the case is expected by February 25.
The personhood debate is nothing new. In Davis v. Davis, the Tennessee Supreme Court examined this same question and concluded that an embryo was neither a person nor property, but rather an aggregate of cells or a “preembryo.”
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