Commonwealth Policy Center

Should human embryos be considered personal property? According to a Virginia Circuit Court judge, the answer is yes. Circuit Judge Richard Gardner said, “Since there’s no prohibition on the sale of human embryos they may be valued and sold as goods or chattels.” He referenced the meaning of a state law that justified slavery. The ruling is being roundly condemned. Of course, referencing old state laws that justified chattel slavery is bound to be criticized. However, Judge Gardner might have been doing us a favor by helping us see the connection between slavery and the treatment of tiny human embryos, regardless of size, age, skin color, or location. A human being is not a thing to be owned, but a someone with inherent rights.