Matt C. Abbott
Embryo custody battles; EWTN statement on ex-priest's acquittal
By Matt C. Abbott
June 3, 2016

Tom Ciesielka, spokesman for the excellent pro-life law firm Thomas More Society, wrote in a news release (edited):
    On June 1, a St. Louis appellate court heard oral arguments in a controversial embryo custody case involving a St. Louis immigration attorney, her military ex-husband and their cryo-preserved children – two embryonic siblings of their young twin sons.

    Rita Gitchell, special counsel for the Thomas More Society, explained:

    'Currently, the legal precedent dealing with frozen embryos is based on erroneous and misconceived 'science' which denies the intrinsic humanity of the human embryos, treats them as mere property, and subjects them to disposition according to the terms of private contracts to which they were neither parties nor participants in the bargaining process. Human embryos, no matter how small, are fully human and deserve to be treated as such.

    'It's high time for courts to recognize, accept and take judicial notice of the most recent findings of biological and ancillary branches of science, to the effect that human life begins at fertilization, when the sperm and egg bind, and when a specific DNA is forged that is unique to that particular human being, and shared by no other, excepting an identical twin.'
A similar but more high-profile case involves actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiancé, businessman and actor Nick Loeb.

From the National Catholic Register:
    In Los Angeles, [Mr. Loeb and Mrs. Vergara] are locked in a bitter dispute over two of their embryo children they created through IVF and froze while they were engaged. While they were engaged, the couple had agreed not to use the embryos without mutual consent.

    But now that they have split, Vergara wants to destroy their embryo children, while Loeb is suing her for custody in order to save their embryos from destruction, with an aim to bring them out of the freezer and give them a chance to be born through a surrogate mother.

    Loeb's legal battle is being assisted by the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, which has submitted an amicus brief to the trial court.
Also, Mr. Loeb is reportedly collaborating with Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV-2) on H.R. 5269, a bill that would "criminalize knowingly destroying, without the written consent of each progenitor, a living human embryo created through the process of in vitro fertilization, and for other purposes."

David Stone, formerly known as Father Francis Mary Stone during his years on EWTN, was found not guilty May 31 of sexually abusing his son. He had been charged with the crime in 2013.

It's a sad case for everyone involved; click here to read more about it.

Michael P. Warsaw, chairman and CEO of EWTN, released the following statement, which was provided to me by the network:
    'We are relieved by the news that a Jefferson County jury has acquitted David Stone, formerly Father Francis Mary of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, on charges of child sexual abuse.

    'On Nov. 1, 2007, then-Father Francis was removed from his on-air role at EWTN after admitting that he was involved in an inappropriate relationship with an adult female. He subsequently left EWTN and the network has had no further contact with him since then. The charges made at trial related to conduct alleged to have occurred after he had left Irondale.

    'All of us at EWTN certainly have a deep concern for all who have been affected by this situation. We ask our EWTN family to keep this matter in your prayers.'
© Matt C. Abbott


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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has an Associate in Applied Science degree in business management from Triton College. Abbott has been interviewed on HLN, MSNBC, Bill Martinez Live, WOSU Radio in Ohio, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's 2019 ‘Unsolved’ podcast about the unsolved murder of Father Alfred Kunz, Alex Shuman's 'Smoke Screen: Fake Priest' podcast, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) and WISC-TV (CBS) in Madison, Wisconsin. He’s been quoted in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets. He’s mentioned in the 2020 Report on the Holy See's Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017), which can be found on the Vatican's website. He can be reached at

(Note: I welcome and appreciate thoughtful feedback. Insults will be ignored. Only in very select cases will I honor a request to have a telephone conversation about a topic in my column. Email is much preferred. God bless you and please keep me in your prayers!)


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