For several years, actress Sofia Vergara has been in a bitter legal battle with her ex, Nick Loeb, over the fate of embryos the two created together. Originally, they were going to pursue in vitro fertilization or use a surrogate to bring their preborn babies to birth. But after the two ended their relationship, things changed. Loeb says that Vergara, who is Catholic, had previously told him that she believed embryos should never be destroyed; but after their split, she wanted to keep them frozen indefinitely or have them killed. Loeb, however, wants to take full custody of the embryos, have a surrogate carry them to term, and raise them on his own. But a judge has sided with Vergara and dealt a horrific blow to Loeb’s battle for the embryos’ right to life.
Loeb originally filed a lawsuit in California to protect the embryos, girls he named Emma and Isabella. But he dropped the suit after the judge ordered him to identify two previous girlfriends he had fathered children with, who were aborted. “Could you imagine if you had moved on with your life, gotten married, had children and kept this a secret from your family – then, all of a sudden, 15 years later, you’re made to reveal your abortion to the world?” he said to Matt Abbott, a Catholic commentator. “Maybe your parents never knew; maybe your husband never knew, nor your children.” Loeb’s lawyer, Abram Moore, says that he is now pro-life and continues to grieve the abortions, and that they “contributed to the development of his firm pro-life beliefs”.
Loeb’s next move was to file a right-to-live lawsuit in Louisiana, where Vergara had previously filmed a movie and where Loeb claimed the two had planned to settle. The frozen embryos, Emma and Isabella, were named in the lawsuit against Vergara. But Vergara has remained steadfast in her unwillingness to let her daughters live, saying, “[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.” Loeb, meanwhile, still wants to raise his daughters and give them the best life that is possible:
I created these two female embryos with the purpose of taking them to term and not destruction, because I have always dreamed of being a father…I have previously offered to waive any parental or financial responsibilities on the part of my ex … When a man does want to become a father, and wants to impose no obligations on the other party, he should have that corresponding right.
Loeb hoped that Louisiana’s right-to-life laws would ensure that the embryos were allowed to live and be brought to term. But the judge dismissed his lawsuit, saying that the embryos were conceived in California, and neither Loeb nor Vergara have permanent ties to Louisiana; therefore, he argued, he has no jurisdiction. The judge did acknowledge the humanity of the embryos, calling them “citizens of California.” He noted that he understood why Loeb had filed in Louisiana. But the suit was still dismissed.
Theoretically, Loeb could refile again in California. What he will do now is uncertain.