Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Bonilla: Veto of Pay-for-Eggs Bill Shows Troubling Mindset

A Democratic state legislator today assailed Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's “mindset” as “particularly troubling” in his veto of legislation that would have allowed women to sell their eggs for scientific research.

The statement came from Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, in response to Brown's action on her fertility-industry sponsored bill, AB926, which would have removed a ban on compensation for women who provide eggs for research.
Susan Bonilla
Photo from California Legislature

Brown cited health risks and other issues and said in his veto message,
“Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be.”
Alex Matthews, writing on Capitol Weekly, quoted Bonilla as saying,
“It (the governor's veto) shows a glaring inconsistency...The veto statement was very overreaching in the fact that it was making very broad statements about what women should be able to do, and while it's not legislation it certainly goes to a mindset that the governor has that I find particularly troubling.”
Bonilla continued,
“Market-driven compensation of donors by donor agencies and prospective parents continues unchecked.”
In a statement on her website, Bonilla said the governor's veto “is a regressive action that denies thousands of women the prospect of medical fertility breakthroughs.” She said,
“Many women...will be denied hope and the possibility of giving birth to a child because research on their behalf has been halted in California.”
Bonilla has argued that women involved in egg-related research, such as that involving stem cells, should be compensated, just as men are for their sperm. Women who provide eggs for fertility purposes can be legally compensated up to any amount. The current market runs about $10,000 or so per egg cycle but can be much higher.

Bonilla's measure would not have affected a ban on compensation involving research funded by the $3 billion California stem cell agency. It would have taken a 70 percent vote of each house to alter that restriction, compared to a simple majority for Bonilla's bill. The super, super-majority requirement was written into state law by Proposition 71, the measure that created the stem cell agency.

Bonilla did not indicate whether she would attempt to override the governor's veto, which would require a 2/3 vote of each house.

One of the opponents of the bill, the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, called the veto a “welcome development.”

Diane Tober, associate executive director of the center, said,
“It would be unconscionable to expand the commercial market in women’s eggs without obtaining significantly more information about the risks of retrieving them.” 
Here are links to other stories today on the veto of the bill: Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, an additional story from late yesterday on Capitol Weekly, TheAssociated Press and National Review.

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