The ‘estate’ of a woman’s aborted embryo is suing her doctors

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File this under We’re Living in Hell: Doctors are being sued for an Arizona woman who had an abortion in 2018 over the estate of her aborted embryo, created by her ex-husband. Rolling Stone reports that the judge is currently on the verge of deciding whether to go to trial for the lawsuit, which was first filed in 2020. The case largely hinges on whether the woman’s doctors hurt Arizona’s Informed Consent Act, which, among other things, requires a pregnant person wanting an abortion to sign a form certifying that they have been warned (which is very certain) of alleged “medical risks” related to the abortion. Prospective patients must also confirm that they have been informed that the father is responsible for maintenance if the pregnancy is carried to term and that the “father of the unborn child” can sue if he was married to the person who performed the abortion at the time.

And that’s exactly what the woman’s ex-husband, Mario Villegas, is doing. Should Villegas’ case go to trial and have a jury on his side, it would be the first time an aborted embryo has triumphed in a wrongful death tribunal — a precedent that anti-abortionists and abusive ex-partners could use to help pregnant people make hell hot.

Last week, attorneys representing the woman’s doctors and Phoenix-based practice Camelback Family Planning asked the judge to issue a summary judgment finding that the woman had indeed received informed consent — something that both the paperwork shared confirm the woman’s testimony as well as the testimony – and end the potential trial. Villegas’ lawyers argue that his ex-wife’s consent could not possibly have been communicated because the clinic’s records failed to use the term “unborn child” in describing the embryo, among other bizarre alleged technical errors in the information that the clinic provided the woman. Despite these claims by Villegas, his ex-wife’s testimony shows that she had clear eyes when deciding to have an abortion. “I never wanted children and he knew that. … I hardly take care of myself,” she said. She also testified that the pregnancy came towards the end of the relationship and she believed her then-husband had undergone a vasectomy.

Superior Court Judge Bryan Chambers is expected to rule within 60 days on whether the case goes to trial. But whatever the judge’s decision, it’s deeply terrifying that a case like this could come this far — with an embryo as the recognized human plaintiff — at a time when a federal judge is in Arizona is currently leading a separate case whether a 1901 law enshrining fetal personality is still in effect today Roe v. calf was overturned.

The recognition of an unborn fetus as a person comes with a long history of legal risks for pregnant women, which we are playing out in real time with the so-called “Baby Villegas” (BARF) case. Alongside the Arizona law of 1901, it is one of almost 40 states where the penal code recognizes a fetus as a person. (Fetal homicide laws were originally created to clarify what homicides are like main cause of death for pregnant women, but have instead been used by prosecutors to prosecute pregnant women who lose their pregnancies.)

National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) previously divided with Jezebel for identifying legal cases in which pregnant people have been banned from traveling abroad because of their partners’ custody claims of their fetus – some going so far as to view pregnant people’s interstate travel as “kidnapping”. In 2009, a pregnant woman was convicted in New York Manslaughter for the loss of her pregnancy after driving under the influence of alcohol without a seat belt. At least two mothers were reported to the youth welfare office because they consumed poppy seeds during pregnancy and tested positive for drugs. Even IVF could be forbidden following the “logic” of the fetal personality, which also questions rights Emergency contraception and most contraceptives

NAPW tells Rolling Stone that cases like this have in the past revolved around ‘fathers’ rights’, but this much more successful case focuses on the rights of the foetus. Still, it’s not surprising that Villegas managed to direct the legal terror campaign he waged against the family planning clinic over his own suffering and violation of his perceived “fundamental right” to parenting. His lawsuit also falsely challenges his ex-wife’s perceived victimhood, who “suffered” to have an abortion because doctors “didn’t get her informed consent.” This is a ridiculous claim considering his ex-wife’s statement above.

There is a long history of retaliatory cases by “fathers” of fetuses – Sofia Vergara’s ex repeatedly and unsuccessfully, sued them for rights over their frozen embryos. For years, state legislatures have introduced and reintroduced bills to require the consent of the fetus’s father for an abortion. In Mississippi, you literally can’t get divorced during pregnancy. All of this was pointed out by NAPW’s Sussman Rolling Stonemakes pregnant people more vulnerable to the abuse they are already subjected to at a frightening rate: “I could see a universe where an ex-partner would try, in an attempt to harass, terrorize or instill fear in the pregnant person, bringing a wrongful death penalty against the pregnant woman herself, in addition to the provider.”

The dehumanization of pregnant people in the legal u medical systems in favor of embryos and fetuses is not new – but the overthrow is roe creates an exponentially greater risk.

https://jezebel.com/the-estate-of-a-woman-s-aborted-embryo-is-suing-her-doc-1849573699 The ‘estate’ of a woman’s aborted embryo is suing her doctors

Andrew Schnitker

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