Twins conceived through in vitro fertilization after their father’s death are not eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, the Supreme Court decided Monday in its first review of “posthumous conception.”
The eligibility decision, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for a unanimous court, depends on whether the offspring are eligible under a state’s inheritance law. And in the case of the twins born to Karen Capato 18 months after the death of her husband, Robert, Florida law does not recognize their eligibility.
The case tasked the court with reconciling modern science with old laws.
“The technology that made the twins’ conception and birth possible, it is safe to say, was not contemplated by Congress when the relevant provisions of the Social Security Act originated (1939) or were amended to read as they now do (1965),”Ginsburg wrote.