On Tuesday, January 9th, the Colorado Supreme Court heard oral argument in In Re Marriage of Rooks. (Kudos to them for live streaming and archiving!)
This is the latest of a series of cases involving disputes between ex husbands and ex wives (or in some cases unmarried former partners) regarding the disposition of cryopreserved pre-embryos. These cases, that have been percolating in a large number of states for what has now been 25 years (!) and have come out in a myriad of ways on a myriad of theories as Eli Adashi and I recently detailed in the Hastings Center Report.
One thing many of these cases have in common, though, is that the Courts have avoided reaching the fundamental federal Constitutional question I wrote about now 10 years ago in the Stanford Law Review: Does the party opposing the implantation of embryos upon dissolution of the marriage have a right not to procreate recognized by the federal Constitution? I have argued that we need to realize we are talking about possible rights (plural) not to procreate and in particular separate out:
|The right to be a gestational parent||The right not to be a gestational parent|
|The right to be a genetic parent||The right not to be a genetic parent|
|The right to be legal parent||The right not to be a legal parent.|
This case demonstrates well why such a distinction is important.