So, imagine you’re a cool, gorgeous woman whose career has taken off at a startling pace in your late 30s, an age not typical for careers to take off in your industry. You start dating this guy, the founder and creator of “Crunchy Condiments Dot Com.”
He’s cute and nice, loves family—loves family a lot, actually, and has a particular thing about children ever since this one time in his 20s when a girlfriend had an abortion and, can you believe it, she didn’t let him stop her? And then his ex-wife couldn’t have kids, and then she left him, and long story short he really wants to have kids with you, and then he gets in this horrible car accident and is like, “We need to have babies. Now.”
So you’re like, “Okay, but we’re gonna have to use a surrogate—my body’s my work.” He agrees. And you love him, enough to get engaged, even though there are a whole lot of cheating rumors going around, but whatever, you make two embryos; one doesn’t take, the surrogate miscarries the other. You make two more embryos, and you’re 40 now, and you’re like, “Man, I don’t even know.” He gives you an ultimatum—you’ve got to become a mom, or the relationship’s over. You’re like, “Okay. I love you, but goodbye.”
And then he’s like, “Give me the embryos, I will make babies from them and raise them.” You’re like, “Please, do not do that.” Luckily, both of you signed a contract saying that mutual consent would be required for the embryos to be brought to term, so your ex can’t just willy-nilly implant those embryos in a random surrogate anyway. Then, he sues you to keep you from destroying the embryos, something that you have explicitly said you have no plans to do. And then he won’t shut up about it.
And then the fucking New York Times gives him an op-ed column entitled “Sofia Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live,” in which he crusades after your frozen embryos, calling your “refusal to be a mother” a matter of “saving lives” and “being pro-parent” rather than what it is—a rational choice that should not be railed against with the pretension that it’s a matter of vital, widespread cultural morality rather than an ex going fucking insane.
Here are some excerpts.
I wanted to keep this private, but recently the story broke to the world.
One amazing way to act on a desire to keep things private is to not write op-eds for the New York Times.
It has gotten attention not only because of the people involved—my ex is Sofía Vergara, who stars in the ABC series “Modern Family”—but also because embryonic custody disputes raise important questions about life, religion and parenthood.
And we’re off: here’s Nick Loeb running his obsessive embryo hunger up a pro-life flagpole to see if anyone salutes. Naturally, they have! Lots and lots of pro-lifers are sharing this op-ed, accompanied on Twitter by things like #ProLifeAlert. This despite the fact that strict religious pro-lifers, the people Loeb is trying to appeal to, are generally divided—if that—on IVF, a procedure that positions humans rather than God as the maker of life, and, if we’re saying life begins at conception, inevitably “destroys” many non-viable embryonic lives.
When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?
Should we define collections of approximately 30-100 cells as life? Would that be a reasonable thing to do for all people, not just people named Nick Loeb who are specifically really trying to implant his ex’s embryos in a willing surrogate and then raise kids to adulthood against the wishes of their mother?
Does one person’s desire to avoid biological parenthood (free of any legal obligations) outweigh another’s religious beliefs in the sanctity of life and desire to be a parent?
Does one person’s desire to have Sofia Vergara’s children outweigh the fact that he signed a contract explicitly forbidding him from doing that without her consent?
Many have asked me: Why not just move on and have a family of your own? I have every intention of doing so. But that doesn’t mean I should let the two lives I have already created be destroyed or sit in a freezer until the end of time.
Well................ maybe it does mean that, though. This is a legally complicated grounds for dispute, but it’s ultimately an issue of contract. And Loeb signed one, and what he’s grandstanding for is not the Sanctity of Life but the right to violate mutual consent as codified under legal agreement. And the Times, for some “unknown reason,” is giving him a big old legitimizing platform to pretend this is about Big Ideas, rather than Nick Loeb being petty as hell and obsessed with Vergara’s embryos to a degree that is legitimately terrifying. May we all pray that we never have an ex like this.
Image via AP
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