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Jesus Applauds; Fertility Doctors, Abortion Rights Activists Bite Nails

By Sam Bakken in News on Feb 9, 2005 9:02PM

2_2005_testtube.jpgA Chicago Couple, Alison Miller and Todd Parrish, wanted to have a baby. For whatever reason they needed medical help and stored nine embryos in January 2000 at the Center for Human Reproduction in Chicago.1_2005_baby.jpg Doctors said one embryo looked promising, but six months later the couple was told their embryos had been discarded, dashing their hopes for a test-tube tot. How an embryo can be uniquely "promising" we're not exactly sure. Aren't all embryos "promising" in that, with the proper amount of water, soil and sunlight, they all may one day develop into a human?

Anyway, Miller and Parrish were pissed and filed a wrongful death suit. One judge threw the case out, the couple appealed and Judge Jeffrey Lawrence issued an opinion Friday siding with the couple, allowing them to proceed with their case. His decision relied mostly on Illinois' Wrongful Death Act and the state's 1975 abortion law that reads:

"...the unborn child is a human being from the time of conception and is, therefore, a legal person for purposes of the unborn child's right to life and is entitled to the right to life from conception under the laws and Constitution of this State.

The couple's attorney said there isn't any political motivation behind their case and they just want to be compensated for the clinic's error. The opinion said that the couple has the right to pursue the case no matter what the age of their "child".

The Sun-Times calls it "outrageous". Executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Chicago Colleen Connell told CBS news that the decision is a big deal:

"It may be groundbreaking, but it's the wrong decision," Connell said. "No appellate court has ever declared a fertilized egg a human being in a wrongful-death suit."

Many legal pundits say the decision will be overturned, and even if it isn't, it's fairly narrow and won't really have an effect on anything outside of Illinois. But some doctors and researchers worry the case may have a chilling effect on the industry.