Posted by 01 August 2018
Who gets the frozen embryos?
In divorce cases around the country, judges are facing this question. Arizona legislators recently passed a law that attempts to settle these disputes. That has made some pro-choice activists nervous.
An increasing number of Americans are using fertility services to assist them in having children. Many times those services involve fertilized embryos that are subsequently frozen. As this practice becomes more popular, it also means there are legal questions about who takes possession of these embryos in the case of a divorce.
These cases often involve a dispute between a husband or a wife who wants custody of the embryos in order to have a child and a spouse who wants the embryos destroyed. In many instances, judges side with the party who wants the embryos destroyed, holding that no one should be forced to be a parent.
To deal with these situations, Arizona passed a law that requires judges to award custody to the parent who intends to develop the embryos to birth. This law is the first of its kind in the U.S., and it has prompted concern from abortion rights supporters. These critics say that this law essentially establishes embryos as persons, which could lead to further restrictions on abortion.
Supporters of the law say that the two parties who fertilized embryos took proactive steps to create life, so this life should not be destroyed on a whim.
Governor Doug Ducey signed this bill into law in April. It is now up to courts to determine how to apply it in future cases involving frozen embryos in Arizona.
Do you think that when there is a dispute over frozen embryos, judges should award these embryos to the party who will develop them to life? Or will giving frozen embryos something like personhood lead to more restrictions on abortion?