Friday, June 26, 2009

What Fresh Hell is This? New York State Will Pay Women For Their Ova In Stem Cell Research

Here is the news blurb:

New York has become the first state to allow taxpayer-funded researchers to pay women for giving their eggs for embryonic stem cell research, a move welcomed by many scientists but condemned by critics who fear it will lead to the exploitation of vulnerable women.

The Empire State Stem Cell Board, which decides how to spend $600 million in state funding for stem cell studies, will allow researchers to compensate women up to $10,000 for the time, discomfort and expenses associated with donating eggs for experiments.

. . . The little-noted decision two weeks ago puts New York at odds with policies in every other state that provides funding for human embryonic stem cell research and with prevailing guidelines from scientific organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences.

Wait a minute. So we're going to create an entire new little creepy industry here? A creepy little business? And how is this not trafficking in human body parts?

Look, it's one thing to buy and sell plasma for established uses in the blood banks. But human ova for experimentation is something else. I'm not liking the moral and ethical implications of this -- it looks to me like turning eggs and embryos (and even the potential egg donors, the women involved) into commodities to be bought, sold, and traded for experiments. And what about oversight?

I'm not liking how we're rushing into this with nary a thought for the moral, ethical, and even social and political implications. Are we doing things because we CAN, without much thought for whether we SHOULD? And with taxpayer money too. I wonder what the taxpayer thinks of this. I wouldn't want my taxes going to fund a practice that I find ethically unclear. And hey, there's Government again involved, which you know I don't like at all.

This whole scenario isn't the same thing as infertile couples buying ova from healthy women so the couples can then have BABIES. (Of course, I'm not too thrilled about that practice either! Or its occasional undercurrent of eugenics and the desire to have a "designer baby." Archived satire here.)

Besides, what about the women who are supposed to be these egg donors? I just don't see that financially stable ladies would much be doing this. So . . . what? Can we even think for a moment about the potential for exploiting (likely poorer women) here? The extreme would be the horrible thought that some women might end up depending on this practice and becoming "egg cows" or something.

Overall, I'm NOT liking the turning of people into commodities, properties, statistics, groups for identity politics, objects, or anything other thing that diminishes the individual and his/her rights, liberties, and freedoms.

Today New York State says, hey, let's pay women for some bits from their bodies if the ladies are willing to give up those bits. In the name of science! In the hope that one day this will lead to better medical science! It's for the Greater Good. No worries, right? What could possibly go wrong? Oh, my.

(If I ever write a sci-fi novel about a future dystopia, I just might start out this way! In it, I'll even have a character who argues that, ladies, if you're not using your ova, it's your patriotic duty to give them up for the benefit of A Better Society rather than let them "go to waste." Of course he would be some slimy government creature and propagandist. What happens if you don't cooperate?)

We can argue about stem cell research itself, embryonic and otherwise, in another post or something.

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