New York’s Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB) yesterday agreed to commit state funds to pay women to undergo the risky process of ovarian stimulation in order to obtain human eggs for embryo research. There was no period of public comment on the matter.
“Without any involvement from the public, who might like to know that state cash will be used as an inducement for underprivileged and cash-strapped women to undergo a risky and potentially dangerous procedure, this board has set in place a plan to allow payments to women who undergo ovarian stimulation,” said Father Thomas Berg, member of the Ethics Committee of the ESSCB, and executive director of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person.
“With full knowledge that the long-term effects of ovarian stimulation are unknown, and data suggesting a link with some forms of cancer, this board – comprised of unelected appointees – has unconscionably, and on behalf of the taxpayers, set in place a plan that will put women at risk and lets the state pay them off with lots of money. Ovarian stimulation is a dangerous and sometimes fatal procedure. This plan is a gross exploitation of women for speculative research,” said Berg.
The ESSCB made the recommendation at a meeting recently in Albany, NY. The Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person was founded in 1998 to renew, deepen and promote the Western tradition of moral reflection. The institute pursues its objectives in cultural, political and academic settings. Through seminars, lecture series and research fellowships, the Westchester Institute seeks to reinvigorate contemporary moral discourse at all levels.