Texas Supreme Court Won’t Hear Frozen Embryo Dispute Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Supreme Court Won’t Hear Frozen Embryo Dispute Case Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 29,

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The Texas Supreme Court has decided against a lawsuit involving a couple in a disagreement over what to do with their frozen embryos. The decision could have had a significant impact on abortion law in the state, which produced the Roe v. Wade case that eventually saw the Supreme Court overturn pro-life laws across the nation.

Just hours before Augusta Roman was slated to undergo in-vitro fertilization, her husband demanded that the procedure be canceled and that the embryos be frozen.

That happened despite Augusta offering to release him from any financial or other obligation. The couple eventually got divorced.

Now, Augusta wants to have the frozen embryos implanted so she can have the children and Roman wants them to be destroyed or frozen indefinitely. The disagreement led to a lawsuit which has wound up at the Texas court.

"It was like somebody had just squeezed the life out of me," Augusta said previously about the battle. "My heart was heavy like it was going to bust."

A local trial court in Houston ordered the embryos turned over to Augusta Roman, but an appeals court sided with Randy.

The state Supreme Court did not issue an opinion in the case. According to an AP story, a "major piece of evidence" in the case was a consent form the Romans signed on March 27, 2002, that said the embryos would be discarded in the case of divorce.

Previous rulings in other cases at state supreme courts have produced rulings generally in favor of the right of the divorcing spouse to not implant the embryos.

The Tennessee Supreme Court found in 1992 that embryos were not, "strictly speaking, either ‘persons’ or ‘property,’ but occupy an interim category that entitles them to special respect because of their potential for human life.

The decisions have been complicated because there is no federal precedent in these kinds of cases. They’re also difficult because court’s sometimes must wrestle with whether or not to consider the human embryos — days old unborn children — human beings or property.

"These are my kids," Augusta said. "It’s almost like I was pregnant and somebody says I have to give them up because he doesn’t want to be a father, so get an abortion because he’s changed his mind."