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22 September 2008

Fertilized Eggs Are Still Not Persons

By Diana Hsieh

Good news from the ACLU's blog:

Score a victory for reproductive justice in the Illinois Appellate Court on Friday! Ruling that an unimplanted, fertilized egg is not a "human being" for purposes of a wrongful death action, the Illinois Appellate Court today reversed a 2005 decision by a Cook County Judge.

The decision is a victory for scientific sanity and access to reproductive health care. Had the lower court's decision been allowed to stand, the ability of women to make personal decisions about birth control, abortion, genetic testing and pregnancy would have been put in jeopardy.

The case involved an Illinois couple suing their fertility clinic for tens of thousands of dollars because the clinic inadvertently had destroyed unimplanted eggs stored at the facility. The lower court had accepted the argument that a human being is created when an egg is fertilized, regardless of whether the fertilized egg is implanted in a woman's body or left in a Petri dish. Left undisturbed, the lower court's decision could have limited the ability of women in Illinois to access contraceptive services and genetic testing. Moreover, the decision would curb the ability of couples in Illinois to use reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, in starting a family.
(That's just the beginning of the post. If you're interested, you can read the whole thing.

Unfortunately, Colorado faces the same threat with Amendment 48 -- the ballot measure that would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs. To understand the insane legal implications of that measure -- and the faith-based fictions on which it's built -- read CSG's issue paper, written by Ari Armstrong and myself: Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person.

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