I blogged almost six weeks ago on the court battle between now-divorced TX couple Augusta and Randy Roman [pictured above] over the fate of their three frozen embryos. On May 30, the LA Times synopsized the dispute:

Augusta wanted to take possession and have them implanted, agreeing to release Randy from any financial or parental obligation. Randy wanted the embryos destroyed, or at least frozen indefinitely.

The dispute has now taken an interesting turn. Reported the LAT:

Roman vs. Roman now rests with the Supreme Court of Texas, one of a number of divorce cases nationwide in which the custody dispute has revolved around microscopic clumps of cells that are considered – by most states, at least – to be property and not human life….
As the cases proliferate, the odds grow that the issue may eventually come before the U.S. Supreme Court. Augusta and Randy Roman said in recent interviews that they intended to appeal to the higher court if they lost in Texas.
Their lawyers believe such a case could provide the court with one of several means to undermine another Texas reproductive rights case, Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that guaranteed a right to abortion. In that case, the justices explicitly avoided speculating on when life begins, but asserted that the unborn are not “persons” as encompassed by the 14th Amendment. Absolved of the need to balance the rights of the unborn against those of a pregnant woman, the court found that a woman’s right to privacy allowed her to terminate a pregnancy.
However, the Roe decision came five years before the birth of the first test-tube baby. Socially conservative legal theorists, buoyed by the court’s recent decision to uphold [the partial-birth abortion] ban… believe a case involving frozen embryos could give an increasingly conservative court one vehicle for reconsidering the rights of the unborn, and to do so apart from the issue of a woman’s right to control her own body….

Two points: The LAT reported the Supremes were “absolved of the need to balance the rights of the unborn” in their Roe decision.
Actually, they absolved themselves, which is the reason why experts on both sides of the abortion debate agree the Roe decision was shaky. About that, then-Chief Justice Harry Blackmun stated in the Roe decision:

The appellee … argue that the fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the 14th Amendment … If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment.

Which brings me to point #2. If and when Roe is overturned, it will be not on the basis of whose rights trump, woman or embryo/fetus, but on the personhood of the embryo/fetus.

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