The measure – SB1260 – was authored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz, who is one of the leading and early California advocates of stem cell research.
Marcy Darnovsky of the Center for Genetics and Society of Oakland, Ca., called the signing a "victory for women's health." She said,
"Similar provisions have been adopted as law in other countries and recommended as voluntary guidelines elsewhere in the United States, but the new California law is the first of its kind in the country."Darnovsky continued:
"The passage of SB 1260 has taken on added importance because several biotechnology companies and research teams in California have begun experimenting with cloning techniques (known as somatic cell nuclear transfer or SCNT), which require large numbers of women’s eggs. An increasing number of scientists believe that if it is ever perfected, SCNT will be useful as an indirect research tool, not as the basis of medical treatments. But following revelations late last year of fabricated data and fraudulent claims of success by cloning researcher Woo Suk Hwang, what many have called a 'cloning race' has resumed.The bill signing comes two days before the CIRM conference on medical risks of egg donation and a UC Berkeley/UC San Francisco conference on stem cell ethics. (See separate items below.)
"We hope that the Reproductive Health and Research bill is a step towards the consistent and comprehensive national regulation of stem cell research that the United States so urgently needs."
Ortiz' office summarized the measure, which deals with non-CIRM research, in a press release:
"SB 1260 ensures that women who are considering donating eggs for stem cell research are fully informed of the potential risks. The donors must provide written and oral consent before taking fertility or ovarian stimulation drugs and undergoing assisted oocyte production procedures. In accordance with the National Academy of Sciences, SB 1260 limits compensation to only allow reimbursement for direct expenses. This will ensure consistency between the procurement of eggs in California and other countries that have similar embryonic stem cell research programs and streamline international collaborations and the sharing of stem cell lines. It also ensures consistency with the limitations enacted in Proposition 71, the 2004 initiative that created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine."Ortiz said,
“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.”Ortiz, a Sacramento Democrat, authored legislation in 2002 that made California the first state to authorize embryonic stem cell research. She is leaving the legislature this year because of a law that limits the number of terms an individual can hold office.
The Republican governor, who is in a campaign for re-election, buried the signing of the measure in a generic press release about a number of bills he signed related to women's health.
Here are links on the signing and the legislation: Ortiz press release, governor's press release, statement by Darnovsky, a text of the legislation and the last legislative analysis of the bill.