Potential for Life or Property? Missouri Rules in Embryo Custody Case

Potential for Life or Property? Missouri Rules in Embryo Custody Case

On November 15th, the Missouri appeals court ruled in favor of Justin Gadberry against his ex-wife Jalesia McQueen in a custody case custody concerning fertilized frozen eggs.1 McQueen argued that under Missouri law, which states that life begins at conception, the embryos should be treated as human beings, and therefore she should be allowed to have them implanted in spite of Gadberry’s protest. Gadberry considered the forced procreation as a violation of his constitutional rights, arguing that the embryos were not human beings. The court ruled that the law McQueen cited applies only to embryos conceived in utero, not in vitro. The ruling classified the embryos as “marital property of a special character,” giving the couple joint custody, which requires written consent from both parties to determine the embryo’s eventual fate.2

 

References:

1. Elizabeth Lowman, “Missouri appeals court rules frozen pre-embryos are marital property,” Paper Chase, last modified November 17, 2016, http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2016/11/missouri-appeals-court-rules-frozen-pre-embryos-martial-property.php#.WC-j9AsUn_E.twitter

 

2. Katie Mettler, “Frozen pre-embryos: Life or ‘marital property’? Mo. court decides tough custody case,” last modified November 17, 2016,

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/11/17/ex-husband-in-frozen-embryo-dispute-cant-be-forced-to-become-a-father-mo-court-rules/?utm_term=.e045bc8911c0

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