Saturday, February 05, 2005

Wrongful Death Act

The blurred lines of the abortion debate continue to unfold. Currently, there is a gaping contradiction between a woman being allowed to legally get an abortion, but a person who slays a pregnant woman is charged for double-homicide.

Most recently, the lines blurred again when an Amber Alert was put out on the whereabouts of a fetus stolen from its mother's womb. is now reporting the story of a couple in Chicago, suing a fertility clinic under the state's Wrongful Death Act because their frozen embryos, being housed at the clinic, were erroneously discarded.

The Wrongful Death Act allows lawsuits to be filed if unborn fetuses are killed in an accident or assault. " The state of gestation or development of a human being" does not preclude taking legal action, the act says.

What I personally find peculiar about this is that from my very limited knowledge of fertility clinics, the process of fertilization usually requires multiple embryos, one or two are nurtured to the birth stage and the remaining embryos are discarded.

This couple had nine fertilized embryos, all of which were accidently discarded. They are suing the state under the Wrongful Death Act, but my guess is that if all had gone according to plan, they would have wound up with one baby and, in the end, allowed the fertility clinic to discarded the eight remaining embryos anyway.

If this couple wins their case and the state of Illinois recognizes fertilized embryos as human life, this will mean drastic social, ethical, and political reconstruction of our current system. It will also have profound implications for the abortion debate.

The very fact that the law being invoked to protect these embryos is called the "Wrongful Death" Act speaks volumes to me.

To read the full article:,2933,146511,00.html



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