Modern family indeed: Sofia Vergara’s embryo fight raises ethical questions

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Cast member Sofia Vergara poses at the premiere of "Hot Pursuit" in Hollywood, California April 30, 2015. The movie opens in the U.S. on May 8.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni -

Cast member Sofia Vergara poses at the premiere of "Hot Pursuit" in Hollywood, California April 30, 2015. The movie opens in the U.S. on May 8. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni -

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"When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?" says Sofia Vergara's ex-partner.

  • Larry

    This one is pretty interesting. At no point can Ms. Vergara be made to carry the embryos herself, but I can see how he can gain custody of them.

    If Loeb can find someone willing to take them to term while the embryos are still viable, then I don’t see why he couldn’t.

    The whole “life begins at conception” argument is an irrelevancy. This is not the first case to deal with custody of frozen embryos nor will be the last. In none of the prior cases, nor is it necessary here to even bother with the debate of “when life begins”. It was an irrelevancy in the abortion issue, it is one here.

    There is no privacy interest on the part of Ms. Vergara usually associated with abortion rights, since they are not in her body. Unlike a gestating fetus, Mr. Loeb actually can take physical possession of the embryos. Throwing in stuff about “church teachings” simply muddies the waters and introduces silly parallels with abortion rights which are not relevant here.

    Very interesting.

  • James Carr

    This is the kind of immoral behavior that results from an indifference to how life begins, and a shrug to that individual’s right to live.

  • Larry

    What is immoral here?

    This is a custody battle. Both sides are treating the embryos as lives.

    Ms. Vergara isn’t trying to have the embryos destroyed. She is giving the impression of having not completely given up on the idea of implanting them herself.

  • James Carr

    It’s revolting.

  • Barry the Baptist

    Great answer. Extra points for succinctness. Minus points for no thesis.

  • Barry the Baptist

    It is interesting, isn’t it? This is the kind of stuff that science fiction tales are made of: what happens when a traditional, and possibly outmoded, philosophy is faced with novel issues?

  • Diogenes

    If I may? I can’t agree with Larry about the ‘irrelevancy’ of when life begins. As events now stand in this particular case, I tend to agree with him otherwise. Philosophically, I agree with James Carr, that the immorality lies in the careless and unsanctified way in which people enter into intimate relationships without thinking clearly about potentialities, consequences, and obligations to their fellows (including unborn children) via the paradigm of cultural social fabric.

  • James Carr

    What thesis is needed in this modern, scientific age to determine when human life begins?. Further, what thesis can defend the carelessness with how we treat viable embryos? The parents have frozen them for possible future use. Now that they are divorcing they can either juggle their futures for profit, or have them destroyed as part of an amicable settlement. Pets are accorded more respect. Ergo, disgusting.

  • Larry

    So your concern was that Vergara and Loeb weren’t married when they created the embryos. Way to focus on the least important details when coming to an opinion

    Unsanctified is an irrelevance. Nobody is presumed to follow the tenets of your sect as a matter of course. “When life begins” has nothing to do with this matter. Both parties acknowledge the embryos are alive. This is a custody battle.

    As for “consequences” that is Christian speak for pretending moral superiority. You guys use that language all the time to argue that children are a punishment for licentious behavior and women are s1uts for being concerned about family planning.

  • Larry

    Nobody is arguing for destroying the fetii. This is a custody battle. Those get messy. You either missed material facts of the article or are just ranting. Loeb wants the embryos, Vergara is considering them for the future. Both can lay claim to them. This is as nasty as if the subject were born children. In many ways, its being treated as such

  • James Carr

    Children are always a gift. They have nothing to do with the acts of their parents. Grownups know that when they engage in sex, a life can be produced….or even when they donate sperm/eggs for fertilization. Lust is not love and love is not a reason to act capriciously on our sexual desires. God created a fertile period for women, so natural contraception is another gift from God. If human beings cannot use all of their scientific/medical knowledge to identify these fertile periods (which they can), then couples should constantly be prepared to welcome a baby. How long is the fertile period,a few days? Wow, that’s way too long to keep your legs closed and your zipper up!

  • Embryos cannot have rights of their own – so they are a contract. Cold as it sounds.

    Upon freezing the embryos, the contract should have stipulated various consequences of dissolution of the potential parental relationship – as in a prenuptial agreement.

    Embryos are not people. At some point they will be frozen for too long and this will damage them.

    So it is time to negotiate.
    If Vergara wants the embryos, she can sign a new contract with her ex where she takes them to term and they share joint custody of the two ensuing children.
    Or she can surrender her right to the embryos and give them to her ex whose new wife will take them to term.
    Or they can both agree to pay for a third woman to take the embryos to term and share custody.

    Or the embryos will be destroyed. They are a tiny bundle of special cells.
    I don’t like abortion and I don’t like the idea of destroying embryos. But religion is no help here.

  • James Carr

    Religion is the only hope here, and worldwide, to stop us from killing our own species.

  • James,

    Religion is the problem. Not the solution.
    Just ask ISIS, Pat Robertson or Al Queda.

  • Larry

    So Jimmy, the entire notion of fertility medicine is what gives you the willies. Dark scary science getting getting out of your comfort zone.

    Because in this story both parties are treating the embryos as future children. Its just a matter of who will have custody of them. Nobody is considering tossing them out.