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Frank Koerner

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Relationship On Ice
by Frank Koerner

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Rated "G" by the Author.
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A couple sued for divorce in Tennessee. That is a seemingly unremarkable fact in a nation where the divorce rate is climbing. Behind the routine talk of property rights and custody there arose large philosophical, ethical, and legal questions as the couple fought over the disposition of seven frozen embryos, eggs from the wife that were fertilized with the husbandís sperm after other attempts at pregnancy failed.

The issues were profound and troubling. When does life begin? Should an embryo be treated not as property, but rather as potential life, if not life itself?

The male maintained that the stored embryos are not alive and that the central issues are purely legal ones involving joint property of the marriage. His lawyer said the issue is simple: The male does not want his wife to bear a child using those embryos after they are divorced.

But that is exactly what the woman wanted to do. She insisted that the embryos were living and that the case involved custody issues and questions related to a womanís right to choose whether to bring a pregnancy to term.

The ability to create entities which are neither children nor furniture created a biomedical dilemma.


When a couple give their vows for eternal wedded bliss,
They seldom ever consider, that it could end like this.
Attorneys dividing property, respective rights thrashin'
Now we've got a new one! What to do with fruits of their passion?

Technology and law seldom keep their pace,
Both sides now, in effect, have egg upon their face.
Science has given us ways to an embryo preserve,
Meanwhile the couple? From its own planned path has swerved.

They've gone their separate ways. Differences can't be spliced,
But their union's still preserved in a solid chunk of ice.
Is it alive or not? The question need be asked,
Can a person be considered there, alive and in that flask?


Is it property? If so, who has to it the greater right?
The woman or the man? It has to be a beaut of a fight!

This mix of property and life would need decision by the court,
Its use by one party alone? A new brand of legal tort? 

Sometimes it appears that science is moving too fast,
Its social ramifications are very often extremely vast.
Often it takes decades for a resolution so astute,
After specific facts have long since become moot.

The decision will be hard in coming. It’s a difficult nut to crack,
So that it will withstand the expected appellate attack.
Who remembers the "Monkey Trial" that took place in Tennessee?
Now the monkey's on the back again of its legal community.




  Copyright © 2012 by Frank Koerner  


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