Last year, a Chicago judge allowed a wrongful-death suit to go forward against a fertility clinic that had accidentally destroyed a couple’s frozen embryos. This month, religious-right groups have signed on to the cause, reports the American Family Association’s AgapePress:
On November 17, a coalition of nine Illinois and national pro-life organizations filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case in support of the parents. Comprising the coalition are Illinois Citizens for Life, Concerned Women for America, the Illinois Right to Life Committee, Life Advocacy Resource Project, Illinois Federation for Right to Life, Concerned Christian Americans, the Illinois Family Institute, Lutherans for Life, Inc., and the Catholic Conference Center of Illinois. The case is now pending before the Illinois appellate court.
Paul Linton is special counsel for the Thomas More Society of Chicago, which is representing the pro-life coalition. He says the trial judge was correct in concluding that the embryos were human beings under the state’s wrongful death statute and should be protected by the law in the event of their destruction.
“Of course,” Linton points out, “we want to maintain the standard that human life begins at conception — understood as fertilization — and not at a later stage of development, for example, where there is implantation.”
According to Thomas Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, this case, on the cutting edge of abortion politics, “is the modern equivalent to Dred Scott in a Petri dish” – one in which the far limits of the “pro-life” position could potentially be legally delineated. But given that in-vitro fertilization involves the fertilization of a number of embryos, most of which will be discarded, one has to wonder what the Illinois couple was thinking when they began the process.