Advocates for women’s health and opponents of the commercialization of human genes by corporate research interests won a small victory August 13, 201. California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed the sale of human eggs for research purposes. Brown acknowledged that the health risks of the egg extraction procedure would be compounded if women were paid to allow their eggs to be harvested. Brown said “Not everything in life is for sale, nor should it be…. 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.” (PDF of AB_926_Veto_Message by Gov. Brown)
A wide-ranging coalition of organizations opposing AB 926 included many synbiowatch.org collaborating organizations opposed the bill and joined the Alliance for Humane Biotechnology in calling for a veto. Tina Stevens, Director of the Alliance for Humane Biotechnology whose organization coordinated a “No on 926” campaign called the veto “a win for women’s health, especially for poor women too easily exploited by undue financial influence. The Governor made a courageous, principled move.” Other organizations advocating for a veto included:
Alliance for Humane Biotechnology
Black Women’s Health Imperative
Breast Cancer Action
Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund
Center for Genetics and Society
Council for Responsible Genetics
Friends of the Earth
International Center for Technology Assessment
National Women’s Health Network
Our Bodies, Ourselves
Pro-ChoiceAlliance for Responsible Research
We are Egg Donors
Brown’s Veto Statement on AB 926
August 13, 2013
To the Members of the California State Assembly:
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.
Edmund G. Brown Jr.