Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ortiz' Legislation to Protect Egg Donors Goes to Governor

Only a few months are left in the legislative career of state Sen. Deborah Ortiz, and she is wrapping it up with successful passage of legislation to protect women who donate eggs for stem cell research.

Ortiz was an early and influential figure in California stem cell issues. The Sacramento Democrat carried legislation in 2002 that made California the first state in the nation to authorize embryonic stem cell research. She is credited by some with originating the idea of taking a stem cell initiative to the ballot in California, which ultimately was the mechanism that created the California stem cell agency.

Her egg donor bill went to the governor today on a 34-1 vote in the California State Senate when it concurred in Assembly amendments to the measure – SB1260.

Ortiz' office issued a press release that quoted the legislator, who is being termed out, as saying:
“Stem cell research holds great promise for chronic and life-threatening diseases that affect more than 100 million Americans. We all want biomedical research to move forward, but we must ensure that women who provide eggs for research are fully educated about potential reproductive health risks.”
The bill also lays the groundwork for regulation of embryonic stem cell research in California – outside of that funded by the California stem cell agency, which operates under a unique initiative measure that does not permit the legislature or the governor to fiddle with its procedures or funding.

Ortiz' measure also was drafted to be consistent with the existing regulations of the stem cell agency. Implementation of the measure is through the Department of Health Services. Currently an advisory committee is in the process of drafting proposed regulations. Its next meeting is Sept. 20 in Berkeley.

Here is a link to the latest legislative staff analysis of the bill. Here is a link to the bill.

(For those of you unfamiliar with American political terminology, "termed out" means that she is leaving office as the result of a law that limits the number of terms that a person can serve in a particular position.)

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