A multiple-year legal battle and the lives of two human embryos, Emma and Isabella, may be over after a federal judge dismissed a case between actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiance.
Vergara and ex-fiance Nick Loeb have been fighting for more than two years about the fate of their frozen embryos, who Loeb named Emma and Isabella. Loeb wants the girls to have a chance to live, while the “Modern Family” actress wants them to remain frozen or be destroyed. The couple had the embryos created several years ago for in vitro fertilization, but the couple later split.
The Christian Post reports a Louisiana federal judge recently ruled in favor of Vergara’s motion to dismiss Loeb’s case, leaving the embryos’ futures at risk.
Loeb filed the lawsuit in Louisiana because of the state’s right to live laws, which he hoped would grant a right to life to Emma and Isabella. Though the girls are in the earliest stage of life, they are already human beings who have their own unique DNA.
However, a Louisiana judge recently dismissed Loeb’s case because neither he nor Vergara nor their embryos have personal ties to the state, according to court documents. The embryos were conceived in California, and both Loeb and Vergara live there.
TMZ reports the judge did refer to the embryos as “citizens of California,” indicating their humanity. However, the judge said the case cannot be heard in Louisiana because of a lack of personal jurisdiction.
Loeb potentially could continue to seek custody of the girls by filing a lawsuit in California. However, he dropped a previous lawsuit against Vergara last year before filing the one in Louisiana.
Loeb said he dropped the initial lawsuit because a judge ordered him to reveal the identities of two previous girlfriends who aborted their unborn babies with him.
In an email to Catholic commentator Matt C. Abbott, Loeb previously explained why he does not want to reveal the women’s names: “Could you imagine if you had moved on with your life, gotten married, had children and kept this a secret from your family – then, all of a sudden, 15 years later, you’re made to reveal your abortion to the world? Maybe your parents never knew; maybe your husband never knew, nor your children.”
Abram Moore, counsel for Loeb, told Abbott that the abortions caused Loeb “considerable duress-after-the-fact, and contributed to the development of his firm pro-life beliefs.”
A source close to Loeb explained he does not want to see the embryos destroyed because he now strongly believes that life begins at conception.
In the Louisiana lawsuit, he argued that Vergara’s parental rights should be terminated and Loeb given full custody of the girls. Loeb wants to have the embryos implanted into a surrogate mother and given a chance at life.
According to court documents, Loeb said Vergara, who identifies as Catholic, previously told him that she believed the embryos should never be destroyed. The suit claims she broke that oral agreement with him.
Vergara’s lawyers said she now wants the embryos to be frozen indefinitely. She also previously said she believes children should be the product of a loving relationship.
“A child needs a mother and a loving relationship with parents that get along, that don’t hate each other . . . Kids need parents,” Vergara said.
Loeb said he told Vergara that he would take the embryos, pay all the expenses and raise the girls himself, but he said she refused.
“I created these two female embryos with the purpose of taking them to term and not destruction, because I have always dreamed of being a father,” Loeb said in 2015. “I have previously offered to waive any parental or financial responsibilities on the part of my ex. […] When a man does want to become a father, and wants to impose no obligations on the other party, he should have that corresponding right.”