By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Sun
Saying parents who want children deserve that right, state senators voted Thursday to require that frozen embryos be given to the parent who will use them, even if the other parent objects.
SB 1393 would strip judges handling divorce cases of their right to decide who gets the embryos. It also would overrule contracts that couples signed in happier days where they agreed what would happen to the embryos in case of divorce.
But Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, said that’s precisely the role of the Legislature.
The legislation stems from testimony to a legislative committee by Ruby Torres. The woman told lawmakers about preparing for cancer treatment years ago and how she and her then-fiance agreed to in vitro fertilization so they could have children in the future.
“This is a really challenging issue to tackle and a great example of how technology is constantly outpacing the law. On the one hand, in the absence of affirmative legislation to the contrary, the court is essentially compelled to rely on the provisions of a contract lawfully entered into by the parties. On the other hand, there are some broader social policy concerns here.
“Is the father’s right to withhold consent under these circumstances analogous to a woman’s right to choose? And, if so, should we deprive him of that right? If this is the mother’s only chance to have biological children, should we deprive her of that opportunity?
“Family planning is one of the most intimate parts of a person’s life and, at this point, I am not sure that there is a bright line rule that can reconcile all interests fairly.”
~ Audra Petrolle