Wednesday, August 14, 2013

'Butter and Eggs Money" and a Gubernatorial Veto

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, professor of medical anthropology at UC Berkeley and director of Organs Watch, is one of the opponents of the legislation that would have permitted women to sell their eggs for research. Today she filed the following comment on the “troubling mindset” item on the California Stem Cell Report.
Jerry Brown's veto of AB926 which would allow young women to be paid for multiple egg extractions for scientific research is one for the gals.  In western Ireland women secreted away their 'butter and eggs' money in anticipation of hard times. In my day every smart girl had her 'mad money' to escape a bad situation. Secret cash for young women is a great idea, but not when it turns on multiple cycles of pumping powerful hormones associated (in other contexts) with ovarian cancer into young women's bodies to produce 30 or 60 eggs a month. That's not promoting gender equity no matter what some of our best Democratic women leaders have to say. Selling sperm and selling eggs are a totally different matter. One  is pleasurable and safe, the other is a complicated and invasive procedure. We need good science and good research and  freedom of choice and action. We also need protection from false advertising. There are no evidence based, long term studies of the effects of these hormone injections on women ten or twenty years after the fact. Let's fund those needed longitudinal and cohort studies and hope for the best. In the meantime, women had best stick to 'butter and eggs' money. It doesn't pay a lot, but it's less painful and a heck of a lot safer.
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