Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

Some rights are more equal than others?

There's just been a documentary on TV about the rights of respective parents regarding children. It's a teensy bit more complicated than that; the couple, who were engaged, agreed to have fertilised embryos frozen when the women was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had her ovaries removed. The couple then broke up, and the man announced that he wanted the embryos destroyed. Cue big, huge, massive legal wrangle. The law currently states both partners must agree and it was indeed upheld. But was it the right decision?

Is it the same thing as the woman having an abortion? What about the father's rights if he wants to keep it?

Of course, as the child would be genetically his, the ex-partner would be legally and morally responsible for the child, even though it was against his wishes. Does the fact that he gave consent at the time of the operation mean that he can't change his mind now they are no longer together. Is the law already weighted in his favour since he can have kids with someone else?

And what of the kids? How do you explain that your genetic father didn't want you and went to court to try to stop you? Is this a different situation than a pregnancy as a result of a sex attack?

It's a horribly complex case... a total legal, moral and ethical minefield. I think that legally she has a case, but all through the programme I was just thinking, why not just adopt - there are thousands of children out there needing a home. Of course, it's not the same, but you don't love an adopted child any less.