Frozen embryos… are they people with constitutional rights, or are they property? A Missouri appellate court is weighing that question.
A divorced St. Louis County couple’s two frozen embryos have been stored for six years at a cryogenic lab in Fairfax, Va.
Jalesia “Jasha” McQueen is 44, says her biological clock is ticking and is suing to use the embryos to try to have more children. She has 8-year-old twin boys from her now dissolved marriage and a 2-year-old son by another man.
McQueen’s ex-husband, Justin Gadberry, 34, wants no more children with McQueen and believes he should not be required by the courts to reproduce against his will. Their twins were born in 2007 through in vitro fertilization after Gadberry returned home from active military duty in Iraq.
The fight reached the Missouri Court of Appeals here Tuesday as lawyers for each debated whether the embryos are property, as a St. Louis County judge ruled last year, or human beings with constitutional rights. A decision is not expected for months.
McQueen’s appeal argues that her embryos have a right to life under Missouri law that defines embryos as humans created at conception. She also claims the lower court’s decision improperly invalidated her right to them under the pre-divorce agreement.