Tuesday, August 13, 2013

California Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Pay-for-Eggs Legislation

California Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed a fertility industry-backed measure that would have permitted women to sell their eggs for the purposes of scientific research.

In his veto message, Brown said,
“Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be.”
The bill would have repealed a ban on compensation of women who provide their eggs for scientific purposes. The measure would not have changed existing law that allows women to be paid for their eggs for IVF purposes with fees that range up to $50,000. The bill also would not have affected the ban on compensation for eggs for research that is financed by the $3 billion California stem cell agency.

The legislation (AB926) by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, was sponsored by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and easily swept through the Democratic-dominated legislature. Bonilla said the measure would have placed women on an equal footing with men, who are paid for their sperm contributions for research. She also said that it would help to encourage more research into fertility issues.

Some stem cell scientists have complained that not enough women are willing to donate eggs without compensation, but stem cell researchers were not publicly involved in supporting the bill.

The fertility industry group had confidently predicted that Brown, a Democrat like Bonilla, would sign the bill. The governor's action could be overridden by a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature. It is not clear whether Bonilla will make such an attempt.

Here is the text of Brown's veto message:
"Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be.

"This bill would legalize the payment of money in exchange for a woman submitting to invasive procedures to stimulate, extract and harvest her eggs for scientific research.

"The questions raised here are not simple; they touch matters that are both personal and philosophical.
"In medical procedures of this kind, genuinely informed consent is difficult because the long-term risks are not adequately known. Putting thousands of dollars on the table only compounds the problem.

"Six years ago the Legislature, by near unanimity, enacted the prohibition that this bill now seeks to reverse. After careful review of the materials which both supporters and opponents submitted, I do not find sufficient reason to change course.
"I am returning this bill without my signature."
You can read more about the bill and its history here, here, here and here.

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