The stories of women who tire of waiting for Mr. Right and set out to become parents on their own are so common now they’re practically mundane. But what about men who want to make the same choice?
Well, meet Nick Loeb.
Nick, the owner of a condiment company, met “Modern Family” star Sofia Vergara, and they fell in love. They got engaged and planned to have kids. But before they tied the knot the relationship fell apart, and they decided to go their separate ways. Like most failed couples, they were probably relieved they parted before getting married and having children.
Only, they did have children. Two of them. Girls, in fact. They are currently sitting in embryonic cold storage and are the subject of a heated legal battle between Sofia, who is already engaged to another man and no longer wants to implant those embryos in a surrogate, and Nick, who still wants to have the children they planned.
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Some might think it odd that Loeb wants to carry on with surrogacy alone. He’s handsome, successful, young and perfectly capable of meeting another woman with whom to have children. But he is unwilling to toss aside the lives they created together.
Unfortunately for Loeb, he and Vergara signed a contract before attempting IVF in which they agreed if one person no longer consented, the embryos could not be implanted. So there they sit, while Loeb mounts a legal case he will most likely lose.
Whatever your opinion of the sanctity of contracts, the invective directed at Loeb for wanting to raise the children he and Vergara created has been offensive, not to mention misguided. It reveals just how out of step his detractors are with the rest of the country on the question of when life begins.
“I’ve always believed that life begins at conception,” Loeb told CNN. “How else would I define what two embryos are that happen to be female? I can’t say these are female property. These are lives. And they’re on a journey and a pathway to being born.”
That position is shared by a majority of Americans. According to a new YouGov poll, 52 percent of Americans believe life begins at conception, and 66 percent believe babies in the womb are “people.” His views are neither odd nor inexplicable.
Yet he is being maligned as a weirdo, and possibly a dangerous one at that.
People magazine correspondent Kristen Caires tweeted, “Hey #NickLoeb you’re mental.”
Inside Edition’s Lisa Guerrero tweeted, “#NickLoeb is the ultimate jilted, obsessive, controlling ex. That @CNN interview was not just pathetic … it made me scared” for Vergara.
In the New York Post, in a column titled “It’s time for Nick Loeb to STFU about Sofia’s eggs,” Mackenzie Dawson wrote, “Parents who have been through actual custody battles over actual children know that it can be messy, emotional and heartbreaking.”
But they are not “Sofia’s eggs.” They’re fertilized embryos made from Nick and Sofia’s genetic material. And most people consider those to be human life.
Vergara may still want children. She just doesn’t want these children. And she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. She would rather focus on her new movie. She told “Good Morning America”: “I’ve been working very hard for 20 years to get to this point where I am, enjoying my movie. I promote all my movies, all my work, but I don’t like promoting my private life and … I don’t want to allow this person to take more advantage of my career and try to promote himself and get press for this.”
With her legions of fans, the courts likely on her side, and the media making Loeb out to be a deranged ex-boyfriend, it’s hard to imagine he thinks this is a good way to promote himself. Furthermore, he’s said he would raise their children without any financial assistance from her. Is it that impossible to believe he simply wants to keep the children they made?
While some women have decided they don’t need a man to have a baby, it isn’t as if America is drowning in willing fathers today. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 41 percent of all children are born to unmarried mothers; the rate for black children is 72 percent.
President Barack Obama, himself the son of a single mom, has talked at length about encouraging fatherhood and ending the cycle of fatherless children. Shouldn’t Loeb’s desire to father the children he made be universally applauded instead of condemned?
S.E. Cupp is a Washington-based CNN contributor and author of “Losing Our Religion.” Reach her at thesecupp.com.