Dear Friends and Family of the Preborn Child,
New generations of young people are ever maturing and coming on to the stage of life before our eyes. Among them are the leaders of tomorrow. The young are increasingly pro-life. As they seek to advocate for the ‘good cause of children yet to be,’ they will be confronted with the same questions and arguments that we have been confronted with through the years.
One of these questions has been answered, definitively and for all time, 26 years ago by the world’s leading geneticist, Dr. Jerome Lejeune, of Paris, France, in his eloquent testimony in the Tennessee frozen human embryo case. Based upon his testimony, Judge W. Dale Young ruled, for the first time in judicial history and for all time, that 7 frozen human embryos were “children in vitro.” The truth of our being never changes. People (even Supreme Court Judges) may deny the truth, but the truth never changes.
Dr. Lejeune’s eloquent testimony in that case can be read and downloaded at our website (naapc.org – click on the icon “Symphony of the Preborn Child”). Many college graduates, themselves 26 years of age, may not be aware of who Dr. Lejeune was and what his testimony in that case was about that caused Judge Young to reach the decision he did.
History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it rhymes. A wonderful helpmate to us here at the office, Karen Betts, has been following the case of movie star Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiancé, Nick Loeb, who are presently involved in a court case over which of the two should be entitled to 2 human embryos conceived in vitro while they were still engaged. She has met someone else and doesn’t want the embryos. He understands that they are ‘lives in being’ and wants to see them brought to term and live birth.
This is reminding us of the Tennessee frozen human embryo case, the trial of which took place in August 1989, which made the front page of the papers then, including USA Today. You, of course, recall that case. A young couple, Mary and Junior Davis of Maryville, Tennessee, were getting divorced. All issues had been decided in the divorce except what was to become of 7 frozen human embryos conceived during the marriage. Mary was an attractive young woman who was a model for the boat show in Knoxville, Tennessee. Junior Davis, her husband, was a handsome young man. Initially, they had conceived together 9 frozen human embryos. Mary implanted the first 2 and they failed to take. Before she could return to implant 2 more, he completely surprised her by filing for divorce. He asked for, and received, a temporary injunction preventing her from implanting anymore of their frozen human embryos. He said he did not want to be made to be a father against his will. Mary said, “He already is a father.” He said, “Nonsense, they are only ‘potential life’.” She responded, “They are lives with potential!” So the debate was joined and there was needed an expert witness.
The world’s leading geneticist, Dr. Jerome Lejeune of Paris, France, flew in to testify in what he later called the “Judgment of Maryville.” He had received, from the hand of President Kennedy, our nation’s highest award in genetics for isolating the X-21 chromosome responsible for Downs Syndrome. Dr. Lejeune was to the world of genetics as Einstein was to the world of physics.
Dr. Lejeune’s flight landed at Dulles International Airport in Washington where I met his plane and continued with him on a local United Airlines flight to Knoxville, Tennessee. Seated on the plane, he asked me, “What is it that the Judge must decide?” I responded that, essentially, he had to decide whether these 7 human embryos were person or property, since if they were property, the Judge would divide them as he would the silverware or the furniture in a divorce. If persons, he would enter up a custody award as he would with any other children. I shall never forget Dr. Lejeune’s response. He thought for a moment, turned to me and said, “I would say the human embryo is a being, and being human, it is a human being. It is person and not property, because it is the only property which has the property of building itself!” In those few words he brilliantly summed up all that is to be said.
Junior Davis had told his wife, Mary, privately that if he got his hands on those embryos, he would destroy them. She told him publically by announcing to the Judge, that if she could not be allowed personally to implant them, she would like them to be donated anonymously to any couple who could not have children, so that their children might live. When I told Dr. Lejeune this, over transatlantic telephone, he said that this was incredible; that it was the judgment of Solomon. He told Judge Young at the conclusion of his testimony that this was the judgment of Solomon. It was a 3,000 years old judgment. He did not think it could reoccur in human history, but it was reoccurring, and if it reoccurred in your lifetime it was worth the trip. He added from the witness stand that he hoped the Judge would be on the side of Solomon. About a month later, Judge Young announced his decision. Based upon Dr. Lejeune’s testimony, for the first time in legal history, he held that Mary’s 7 frozen human embryos were “children in vitro” and he awarded custody to Mary for implantation.
This current case between Nick Loeb and his former fiancée, Sophia Vergara, is receiving wide publicity because of her movie star status. This time, the one recognizing the humanity of their “children in vitro” is the man, whereas in the Tennessee case, it was the woman. This time, the one who would just as soon see them destroyed or die a natural death in the deep freeze, is the woman. The one who wants to give life is the true parent. Courts are in a position of “parens patrie,” which in the law refers to the sovereign power of guardianship over persons under disability possessed by the court. As such, the court must side with the lives in being, shelter them, protect them, by giving custody to the one who wants to give life (the father), presumptively, by the use of a surrogate mother. Yes, the movie star may not want to see them born now that she’s dating another man not their father, but these are her children also. Someday she may want to know them and have a relationship with them, children are love and she would be the first to thank not only the Judge, but the child’s father – that he saw to their birth.
For those of you who may not have followed this case of Sophia Vergara and her former fiancé and the dispute between them over their 2 frozen human embryos (I must confess I have not followed it myself until now), I’ve asked Karen Betts to do a memo giving us a thumbnail sketch of what the case is about which is enclosed. Let us pray that the court will grasp the issues and do true justice.
Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
R. Martin Palmer
Note: The world press was there to interview Dr. Lejeune on the courthouse lawn following his testimony in the Tennessee frozen human embryo case. In his comments to the press, he spoke of this new technology that allowed human embryos to be compacted in a small canister by the hundreds in a state of cryropreservation. He referred to it as a “concentration can.”
The French press mistakenly printed it as “concentration camp.” Dr. Lejeune was later to observe in the book he wrote about the case (The Concentration Can – Ignatius Press) that this was a curious mistake because a “concentration can” was something that had been invented to terribly slow down life, whereas, a “concentration camp” was something that had been invented to terribly speed up death. He added that in either case, the wall imprisons innocents.
Dr. Lejeune’s book, “The Concentration Can” by Ignatius Press, tells the whole story. The book itself is over 200 pages long. Should you wish to read the part where he speaks of the French press confusing “concentration can” with “concentration camp,” I’ve enclosed a copy of pages 7-10 for your perusal. CLICK HERE to read pages 7-10 of Dr. Lejeune’s book “The Concentration Can” in PDF format
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DATE: June 1, 2015
TO: Martin Palmer, Esq.
FROM: Karen Betts
RE: Dispute over Frozen Embryos
There is an ongoing debate in this country with regard to whether embryos (children in vitro) are property or persons. This is to be an important point in the Sofia Vergara vs. Nick Loeb case.
Nick Loeb, a business man, was the fiancé of actress Sofia Vergara for over three years. During that time, Ms. Vergara and Mr. Loeb conceived by IVF, two female in vitro children together. Their plan was to have a surrogate give birth to their children.
Ms. Vergara has broken her engagement to Mr. Loeb and is presently engaged to someone else. Mr. Loeb wants to be a father to their children. This is the road that he has chosen and he wants to continue on this same path. Ms. Vergara states she has worked very hard for the last 20 years to reach her fame and she would like to bask in the light of her achievement. This is the road she chose and wishes to follow. Meanwhile, their children in vitro are in a frozen state waiting for their intended birth.
So, what about the “children in the freezer?” Mr. Loeb is requesting the courts allow him custody of these children in vitro so that he might raise them independently since Ms. Vergara has no interest. Mr. Loeb’s concern is that they will be destroyed or left to perish in their frozen state. Mr. Loeb reports he should have a moral and legal right to raise his children, and further, that single fathers are as capable as single mothers to raise their offspring.
As for Ms. Vergara, she has very little to share on the subject. Her opinion is that Mr. Loeb is trying to catch a ride on her rising star, using her hard work to freely gain a bit of fame for himself. She wants to enjoy her successes and her wedding plans with her new fiancé.
Click here to see interviews with both Ms. Vergara and Mr. Loeb on this subject.
Dr. Jerome LeJeune, “…is to the world of genetics as Einstein was to the world of physics.” He has stated that a new life begins at conception. In his testimony in the Davis case (Blount County, Tennessee, August 10, 1989) [Prologue, by Martin Palmer, Esq. A Symphony of the Preborn Child] Dr. LeJeune explains:
“Each human has a unique beginning which occurs at the moment of conception. Embryo: ‘…that youngest form of a being…;’ Pre-embryo: there is no such word. There is no need for a subclass of the embryo to be called a pre-embryo, because there is nothing before the embryo—before an embryo there is only a sperm and an egg; and when the egg is fertilized by the sperm the entity becomes a zygote—and when the zygote divides it is an embryo. When the first cell exists, all the ‘tricks of the trade’ to build itself into an individual already exists. Shortly after fertilization at the three-cell stage, a ‘…tiny human being…’ exists. When the ovum is fertilized by the sperm, the result is ‘…the most specialized cell under the sun…,’ specialized from the point of view that no other cell will ever have the same instructions in the life of the individual being created. No scientist has ever offered the opinion that an embryo is property. As soon as he has been conceived, a man is a man. Findings…definitely prove differentiation and that from the beginning there exists an embryo.”
Dr. LeJeune has answered two very important questions for humanity in his statement: 1. Yes, human life begins at the moment of conception. 2. This human being, therefore, must be considered a person and not property.
Is Ms. Vergara an accurate example of a nation that places little or no value on human life as a miracle, but as a convenient item we can store on the freezer shelf in case we have a future need? Apparently, Mr. Loeb and Ms. Vergara see things very differently.
We would like to offer you the opportunity to read the Davis case, very similar the to Vergara vs. Loeb case, in the book entitled A Symphony of the Preborn Child, which contains the eloquent testimony of Dr. Jerome Lejeune. This book is an informative, poignant and a well-documented account of a divorced husband and wife who had divided beliefs in what should happen to their conceived children in vitro. The reality and twists in this case will afford you much to think about, and perhaps even give you a change of heart. Click here to download this in PDF format free of charge.
Click here to read more on Vergara vs. Loeb.
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