Exploitation in the Making?

California Considers Bill that Would Allow Researchers to Pay Women for Harvesting Their Eggs

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) has introduced a bill, AB 926, that would remove the prohibition on paying women to donate their eggs for research purposes. Certain types of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research require large numbers of oocytes  which are used to create embryos that are later destroyed in the research process. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (Human Cloning) is one type of research that will require numerous human eggs. (For further reading, see this piece from the Center for Bioethics and Culture.)

Currently, women who donate their eggs for reproductive purposes may receive compensation for the time and inconvenience associated with the process (note that this is inconvenience can turn into serious health risks). However, by allowing payment for research-destined egg donation, an entire new industry is created, one that will likely have an disparate adverse impact on low-income women.

“We’re talking about offering women thousands of dollars, ” comments Dana Cody, President and Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation. “Understandably, this would appeal to a lot of women, especially in these economic times. But these women will undergo invasive medical procedures with significant health risks, and for what? To have their eggs harvested for use in research that destroys nascent human life.” Cody concludes: “This bill does not respect life, and it does not respect women.”

Action Item: AB 926 is currently before the California Assembly Appropriations Committee. Call or email members of the committee and urge them to oppose this harmful legislation. View LLDF’s letter of opposition.

Friend of LLDF Wesley Smith has written a post in National Review on AB926