I can hear the right-wing murmurs of "of course not!" After all, men have rights!
That's what the European Court for Human Rights ruled, too:
Natallie Evans, 35, from Wiltshire, made an emotional plea to her former fiancÃ© to change his mind and let her use the embryos, which cannot be implanted without his consent [under British law].
Ms Evans was receiving fertility treatment in October 2001 when doctors discovered pre-cancerous cells on her ovaries. She immediately underwent a course of IVF, which produced six embryos fertilised by the sperm of her fiancÃ©, Howard Johnston, before having her ovaries removed to head off the disease.
The next year, however, the couple split and Mr Johnston wrote to the fertility clinic asking it to destroy the stored embryos.Natalie Bennett, whose post on this is where I saw this story, ponders:
Two judges dissented from the ruling, which makes an appeal to the absolute final court, the Grand Chamber, where it would be heard by 17 judges.
It is what you call a really tough one. A man surely has a right not to have children without consent, so I guess in the end while I have to feel for Evans, he should not be forced into parenthood.
And the suggestion of a "right to parenthood" suggested by the dissenting judge worries me. If there were such a thing, just how far would a society have to go to make it happen?Well, in the United States, not very far ... when it comes to women. For the right-wing fad here in the United States is to force women who've become pregnant by any means to become parents (or at least give their lives in the endeavor).
Note that in either case there is a fertilized egg -- an embryo in the British case -- so it's not simply a matter of choice before the fact. We're talking about choice after the fertilization. The only difference is that Howard Johnston would not even have to provide of his body to make the baby happen, while women in South Dakota and many other states -- and the whole country, if the forced pregnancy advocates have their druthers -- would have to give of their blood, their energy, their time, their health, their ability to work, their employability, perhaps their lives to fulfill the forced parenthood mandated by the State.
Interesting that, for men, just the possibility of their genes -- which are considered their property -- living beyond their control is enough to preclude any State requirement that the men be forced into that situation, while with women, the genetic property view does not apply, and what's more, the fact that perpetuating the 9-month life-creation process must take place within their own bodies also is not enough to preclude forced pregnancy.
Two different continents. Two different sets of laws. Two different genders. Two different outcomes.
So to sum up:
- Men have rights not to be forced into parenthood.
- Women have no such right.