Missouri Right to Life Joins Thomas More Society and others in Amicus Brief in Embryo Case

The Thomas More Society has requested leave to file an amicus brief in McQueen v. Gadberry in Missouri Court of Appeals on behalf of Missouri Right to Life, Lawyers for Life, and American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The Society’s brief cites the irrefutable scientific proof that human life begins at fertilization and argues that frozen human embryos are not mere chattels, i.e., items of “property” but are rather complete and integral human beings fully deserving of commensurate dignity and respect.

In 2007, while Jalesia McQueen was married to her husband Justin Gadberry, they created four embryos through IVF. Two embryos were implanted in  McQueen and resulted in the birth of twin boys. The other two embryos were frozen for later use, but the couple then divorced. The couple had signed an agreement that granted custody of the two embryos to McQueen in case of a divorce, but the Missouri Trial Court invalidated the agreement. McQueen has taken the case to the Missouri Court of Appeals, and Thomas More Society’s amicus brief urges the Court to recognize that the frozen embryos are unique human beings with their own rights and should not be subject to a contract dispute.

“Human embryos, no matter how small, are fully human and deserve to be treated as such,” said Rita Gitchell, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “Currently, the legal precedent dealing with frozen embryos is based on erroneous and misconceived ‘science’ which denies the intrinsic humanity of the human embryos, treats them as mere property, and subjects them to disposition according to the terms of private contracts to which they were neither parties nor participants in the bargaining process. It is high time, therefore, for courts to recognize, accept and take judicial notice of the most recent findings of biological and ancillary branches of science, to the effect that human life begins at fertilization, i.e., when the sperm and egg bind, and when a specific DNA is forged that is unique to that particular human being, and shared by no other throughout eternity unless there is an identical twin or a clone.”

“The question posed in these cases has a pivotal, and truly historic, dimension going back to the Dred Scott case (which incidentally also was adjudicated in St. Louis, Missouri),” said Tom Brejcha, Thomas More Society President and Chief Counsel.  “Once again, we’re making history in St. Louis,” added Gerard Nieters, Thomas More Society Special Counsel and Legislative Chairman for Missouri Right to Life. “At the same place where the Dred Scott decision came down, we’re facing another historic human rights decision, now in McQueen v. Gadberry. We hope that the Missouri Appellate Court will come down on the right side of history and science and recognize that human embryos are truly human.”

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