This hasn’t gotten much attention, but it is a notable step forward in the pro-life battle.
From The Washington Post:
When their marriage fell apart, the most contentious issue between Ruby Torres and John Joseph Terrell was the fate of their frozen embryos. There were seven in storage, created with her eggs and his sperm before Torres underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment for breast cancer.
Torres, 37, wanted to use the embryos to have a baby. In divorce proceedings, she told the judge that the embryos probably represented her only chance to have biological children. Terrell protested that he had no interest in having a child with Torres.
With the number of frozen embryos in the United States soaring into the millions, disputes over who owns them are also on the rise. Judges have often — but not always — ruled in favor of the person who does not want the embryos used, sometimes ordering them destroyed, following the theory that no one should be forced to become a parent.
Arizona, however, is taking the opposite approach. Under a first-in-the-nation law that went into effect July 1, custody of disputed embryos must be given to the party who intends to help them “develop to birth.”
“Most people believe that frozen embryos should have a chance at life,” state Sen. Nancy Barto, a Phoenix Republican, said in introducing the bill inspired by Torres’s case.
The legislation could dramatically alter the practice of fertility medicine, as well as the debate over when life begins. It is already fueling an argument by some conservative groups that frozen embryos are not mere tissue over which people may exercise ownership rights but human beings who should be accorded rights of their own.