How much does this trip you up?

Here's a story from my law class.

There was a couple who froze an embryo. Then they decided, a little while later, to get a divorce. The wife told the husband she was going to get the embryo put in (total bitch move) and that he'd have to pay child support.

So he went to the business with all the embryos and cut the main power cord. All the power got shut off and all hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos were destroyed. The wife couldn't get the embryo.

He was charged with tampering with a power box. Not murder. Not destruction of property :p

Here's the kicker.

The law states that you cannot own people - so it can't be destruction of property because you cannot own an embryo since, in this case, the law recognizes the combination of an egg and sperm as a person.

HOWEVER, it wasn't murder because the law also states that an embryo is not a person.

So he served 93 days in jail.

It trips me up that the law is so gray lol - it's either a person or it's not. But apparently it's both lmao



Most Helpful Guy

  • Mmh... I don't know what to say to this ;-). I think on an emotional level, I really understand and sympathize with the parents of these embryos. Of course it's not right to just "kill" them. On the other hand, I also understand the rational approach of the law and the philosophical idea behind it. Though parents might consider an embryo something like a child, it's not. Biologically speaking, an embryo has practically nothing in common with a person. It can't do anything a person can. It can't leave independently. On the other hand, it's still a - very primitive - form of life. Considering it as property is not just dangerous because of the slavery idea (persons can't be owned) but also because regarding an embryo as property would give us the justification to do with it anything we want. If you buy a chair and you burn it, nobody will take offense, because it's simply a piece of property. Burning the neighbor's chair will also not piss him off as much as burning his dog, because again, a chair is only property (I actually don't know what the legal status of pets is in the US, in my country they're not considered "things" (property) by the law. But let's not get into this here). Maybe an embryo could be compared to a bacteria or a virus. It's an extremely simple form of life and has nothing to do with human beings but it's still more than a thing. So if I was a judge, I would find this an extremely tricky situation to make a decision that is fair for everyone. I think personally, I would have settled for something similar but I would have made the guy pay a fine or perhaps a symbolic amount of financial compensation to all the parents for their disappointment, amounting to a total of perhaps 10,000-50,000 dollars.


Most Helpful Girl

  • The pisses me off. He got a great lawyer though. To me that is murder because those people wanted a child someday and he took that potential and that life away from everyone. Plus he was so fucking selfish. Is this is a real case?


Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 6

  • The law has always baffled me, that people follow
    something that vague, yet doesn't.

    But I find it sort of.. ignorant of both the woman, and the man
    she should not be able to decide anything alone, if they're together
    and the man reacted completely.. wrong.

    A life's a life.

  • Well the law isn't perfect, the system isn't perfect, so im not surprised. too many loopholes, I mean even with the law written, a good lawyer can get you off anything, one example, Nick Freeman. im getting off the main point lol. but yeah, its all bullshit :P

    • The topic - human life debate - is very serious, but this case and the loopholes in it just crack me up. It's so insane that I find it hilarious.

  • Because of things like abortion, the law around this has to be vague. My main thoughts:

    1. It is strange that they froze an embryo. Why not just freeze a sperm sample and egg separately?
    2. No one should be allowed to 'proceed' with the embryo unless both give permission. If the father does not give permission, than he is not liable for child support and vice versa for the mother (if he found a surrogate).
    4. In a strange way, what he did was vaguely like a mass abortion unless I'm wrong so you can't really make it murder I suppose unless you make that illegal too. For it to be destruction of property, you'd almost have to legalise slavery.
    5. The man sounds selfish, the woman sounds like a bitch and the couple sound like petty divorcees.

    This is weird. :/

    • To answer your number 1, the embryo has a better chance at preservation / and surving an implantation later on.

    • @Aud_Queen ah, that makes sense. Still a bit creepy in my opinion.

  • Oh my goodness!
    Couldn't they at least have charged him with some form of psychological abuse of the lady? If he did it with the purpose of harming her, that could maybe have been an option.
    What should one say? The world is ridiculous and some people are totally ridiculous :o :o

  • well first the woman was a total bitch and the man may have went a little overboard but I approve. they need to fix that property law, an embryo isn't a person, it hasn't even started to become one, so it is not a person

  • Smart dude.

    Given the same circumstances, I'd do exactly the same thing.


What Girls Said 1

  • Wow. Horrible loopholes that don't make any sense, & it happens all the time.