Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Litigation waiting to happen?

Personhood from conception has been shelved in Virginia.  Just as well.

It is still alive and kicking in Oklahoma, though.  And this morning, completely unbidden (much like an earworm), the following scenario presented itself:

A man has two daughters, A & B.  He dies.  A and her husband have in vitro fertilization, with several embryos left over, which they store.  After A has her child, B and her husband have a child.  A's child dies, and she and her husband decide to have a child from the frozen embryos.

The man died before either the IVF or the natural birth of a grandchild.  The man's will declares that his two daughters have a life-estate in his not inconsequential property, with the vast majority of the residual going to his eldest grandchild. So...

If personhood begins at conception, not birth, who is the elder child? The child conceived in vitro, or the child born first?  The Oklahoma bill grants the unborn all the "rights, privileges, and immunities available to other  persons, citizens, and residents of this state."

So, absent other provisions of Oklahoma law, the elder child is the child conceived first.  If this law were to stand, you just know that  question  is going to be litigated.

This has been bugging me all day.  It is going to keep bothering me until I research it, which I have not done yet.  I don't even remember the little of trusts and estates I learned a long time ago: it may be this is an already settled issue.  The question then becomes, does it bug me enough to spend time learning the law of a state I don't live in and have only driven through a couple of times?

Sometimes, I rather wish my mind didn't work this way.

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