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Sofia Vergara. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)


The Week in Women: Sofia Vergara’s embryo battle, a grandma surrogate, and Trump’s (non) strategy on women’s issues

December 9, 2016

The past week in news was a family affair, with mothers, daughters, sisters, and litigious embryos (we’ll explain later) dominating the headlines. Let’s take a look back, shall we?

President-elect Donald Trump seems to have developed an approach to dealing with women’s issues: defer to Ivanka. According to a New York Times profile of the soon-to-be first daughter, Democratic house minority leader Nancy Pelosi put in a call to Trump a few days after the presidential election. They discussed infrastructure and domestic policy, but when Pelosi brought up women’s issues, Trump reportedly passed the phone to his daughter. In fact, several advocates for women’s rights—like Sheryl Sandberg—have reportedly passed on communicating with Trump about women’s issues, instead reaching out to Ivanka directly. Hmmm, we wonder why.

The brother of slain model Qandeel Baloch has been indicted by a Pakistan court for killing his sister in the name of “family honor.” In July, Waseem Azeem confessed to drugging Baloch with sedatives and strangling her. Azeem said that he felt justified in murdering his sister because she posted “shameful” pictures on social media. Baloch, who described herself as a “modern-day feminist,” was both loved and reviled in Pakistan for social media posts that defied conventions of appropriate dress and behavior for women. In her last post to Facebook, Baloch, wrote that she hoped “to change the typical orthodox mindset of people who don’t wanna come out of their shells of false beliefs and old practices.”

A British woman gave birth to her own grandson after acting as a surrogate for her daughter, who could not get pregnant. Jessica Jenkins was rendered infertile after her battle with cervical cancer at the age of 18. Several years later, when she was ready to have a baby, Jenkins asked her mother Julie Bradford to carry the child on her behalf. The family seems to recognize that the situation is, you know, a little weird (“It did freak me out that my son was being carried in my mum-in-law,” Jenkins’ husband said), but Bradford did not hesitate in fulfilling her daughter’s request. “Any mother would do this for their child,” she said. “You watch your daughter go through cancer at 18 and then say you would not do the same.”

And in less heartwarming fertility news, Modern Family star Sofia Vergara is being sued by her own frozen embryos. The actress has been locked in an ongoing legal battle with her former fiancé Nick Loeb, who wants to bring to life two embryos that the couple created while they were still together in 2013. “Emma” and “Isabella” are named as plaintiffs in a right-to-life lawsuit filed against Vergara, which demands that the embryos be turned over to Loeb so they can be born and reap the benefits of a trust fund that was set up on their behalf. We have so many questions, but we’ll just leave you with this montage of Phil Dunphy shooting confused glances into a camera.