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Davis v. Davis
Supreme Court of Tennessee
842 S.W.2d 588 (1992)
Junior Lewis Davis (plaintiff) filed for divorce from his then-wife, Mary Sue Davis (defendant). The parties agreed to all the terms of their marriage dissolution except who was to have “custody” of seven frozen pre-embryos stored in a fertility clinic. Junior wanted the pre-embryos destroyed while Mary Sue wanted to donate them to a childless couple. The trial court held that the pre-embryos were “human beings” from the moment of fertilization and awarded custody to Mary Sue. Junior appealed and the court of appeals reversed, holding that Junior had a protected right not to beget an unwanted child and also that there was no compelling state interest to justify the ordering of the implantation of the pre-embryos against the desires of the parties. The appellate court also held that Junior and Mary Sue shared an interest in the seven pre-embryos and remanded the case for an entry of an order giving both individuals joint control and equal voice over their disposition. Mary Sue appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Daughtrey, J.)
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