In what Page Six calls “an extraordinary turn” and “a potentially landmark new case,” the frozen embryos of actress Sofía Vergara, named Emma and Isabella, have joined in a right-to-live lawsuit in Louisiana against her. Vergara had had her eggs frozen with then fiancé Nick Loeb in 2013.
A now-dropped lawsuit was filed in California from Loeb against Vergara after they split in 2014 to protect the embryos, though that has since been dropped. The new lawsuit, which also involves the Emma and Isabella’s trustee, James Charbonnet. Page Six explains that while Loeb resides between Florida and New York, he has ties to Louisiana.
Not only does Vergara not want the embryos, she has also refused to allow them to be placed into a surrogate and wants them to be frozen indefinitely. The court documents mentioned that, as a Catholic, Vergara would not want the embroys to be destroyed, which means she has broken her oral agreement. It is curious that Vergara’s Catholic faith would come up, as she has already gone against Catholic teaching by engaging in IVF and ART.
Reporting from The Federalist mentions that Vergara believes “[a] child needs a loving relationship of parents who get along. Who don’t hate each other. I wouldn’t imagine [bringing kids into the world] who are already set up [with] everything wrong for them. It would be so selfish.” One might argue that it’s “selfish” to create frozen embryos in the first place only to end up never using them, and instead letting them thaw and die out. One might also argue that it would be selfish to let them die because of worries about parents not getting along or “hat[ing] each other.”
Emma and Isabella are at least wanted by Loeb, which means that it’s not true that “everything [would be] wrong for them.” Loeb has a trust fund and inheritance set up for them in Louisiana. Their health care and education, among other things, would be provided for them. Loeb is requesting full custody and the “authority to release them for transfer, continued development, and birth,” the sources said.
The lawsuit also demands Vergara pay for fees to keep Emma and Isabella frozen.
Loeb spoke about the issue in a New York Times op-ed from April 2015, mentioning early on how the “embryonic custody disputes raise important questions about life, religion and parenthood.” He also says that while he intends to “move on and have a family of [his] own… that doesn’t mean I should let the two lives I have already created be destroyed or sit in a freezer until the end of time.”
He also raises this telling point about issues of the rights (or lack of rights) of a man when a woman gets pregnant with his child:
When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property? Does one person’s desire to avoid biological parenthood (free of any legal obligations) outweigh another’s religious beliefs in the sanctity of life and desire to be a parent? A woman is entitled to bring a pregnancy to term even if the man objects. Shouldn’t a man who is willing to take on all parental responsibilities be similarly entitled to bring his embryos to term even if the woman objects?
Even if the embryos aren’t wanted by Vergara, they are still wanted by someone — Loeb, who is willing to provide and care for them, even if Vergara chooses not to do so.
Vergara is not the only celebrity to face such issues. Sherri Shepherd, former co-host of “The View,” decided that after splitting up with her husband she wanted nothing to do with the child they had previously hired a surrogate to carry.
In addition to raising the issue that embryos are human beings with the right to the protection of life, the Loeb/Vergara case also outlines an issue with IVF and ART. As human beings, children are not meant to simply be artificially created, treated as commodities, and then discarded once the purchasers decide they don’t want them anymore. Relationships, engagements and marriages fail all the time. These failed relationships often have a tragic effect on the children involved, but to risk children’s literal destruction is perhaps the worst outcome of all.