Rae Stabosz has written a post on one aspect of ESCR and the cloning required that gets very little mention.
Senate Bill 5 allows for somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Most Delawareans by now are aware that SCNT creates a cloned human embryo that will be killed and stripped of its cells at the 5 th to 7th day of development (the blastocyst stage). Pro-cloning folks are content to sacrifice nascent human life in exchange for the possibility of cures for disease. But do even they understand the second reality of somatic cell nuclear transfer? Every instance of somatic cell nuclear transfer requires a human egg to be extracted from a young, fertile woman. To produce the thousands of cloned embryos needed for research, scientists will need thousands of young women to undergo the same complex, painful and risky procedure of egg extraction that IVF patients undergo.
She also goes on to explain how it is minority women that will most likely be exploited to get the multitude of eggs required. Though of course the media and liberals in general will care more about a stupid comment from a liberal talk show host then the risks of women undergoing ovarian hyperstimulation for the sake of a few bucks.
Taking advantage of women in ESCR is nothing new. Dr. Woo-Suk Hwang’s infamously fraudulent research involved pressured women working with him to donate eggs.
In a previous Crisis Magazine article they had a good article on the subject called How to Talk to Democrats About Embryonic Stem Cell Research.
In a 2005 editorial in the Boston Globe (“Risks to Women in Embryo Cloning”), Norsigian mentions the ESC controversy, noting, “Omitted from the polarized debate is any discussion of the thousands of women who will need to undergo egg extraction procedures for such embryo cloning. A primary concern is the substantial risks to women’s health posed by the extraction procedure and the inability to obtain true informed consent from egg donors given the current lack of adequate safety data.”
Getting more specific, she points out that 3 percent to 8 percent of women who take drugs to stimulate egg production—as women do when donating eggs—
develop Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome, a condition that can be not only painful but occasionally fatal within “days after completion of egg collection.” A study published in the journal Animal Biology suggests the troubling possibility that ovarian hyper-stimulation treatments may lead to stillbirths and birth defects in future pregnancies. Additionally, the drug Lupron, which is “used to ‘shut down’ the ovaries before stimulation,” produces side effects including bone loss, liver problems, and acute pain. Finally, she discusses the philosophical issue of treating women’s eggs as commodities, a stance that objectifies women as mere producers of biological goods. “This is very much a women’s issue,” Norsigian says elsewhere; “there is a very strong pro-choice liberal contingent that believes there is something wrong with embryo cloning.”
Among that “contingent” was California’s Pro-Choice Alliance Against Proposition 71 (referring to the ESCR funding bill that eventually became law). The alliance points out that thousands of women will need to donate eggs to keep up with demand from researchers, a fact that “raises troubling questions about the exploitation of women, especially those who are young and poor.”
The feminist organization Hands Off Our Ovaries (www.handsoffourovaries.com) has as its slogan, “Because losing even one woman’s life is too high a price to pay.” They note that there have been “25 deaths and over 6,000 complaints of medical complications attributed to Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome” and urge the FDA to investigate the possibilities of ovarian cancer, infertility, and birth defects that may also result from this procedure. Medical sociologist Diane Besson said in congressional testimony that in pursuing ever-increasing demands for human eggs, “We are being asked to make women the servants of biotechnology.” This idea should appall any Democrat concerned with women’s health issues, especially when he or she realizes that Dr. Hwang’s unsuccessful experiments into human cloning used 2,221 female egg cells (“Beyond Embryo Politics,” The Women’s Health Activist ).
Ugh! I doubt that there are any Democrats who are sane enough to be appalled at this stage. But it’s worth a try.
“To produce the thousands of cloned embryos needed for research, scientists will need thousands of young women to undergo the same complex, painful and risky procedure of egg extraction that IVF patients undergo.”
This argument is slightly misleading in that it appears to present a 1:1 ratio of eggs to donors. In reality, you need dozens of eggs for one successful clone.
Regarding using this to talk to democrats, I used this argument a couple of years ago when lobbying our state legislators who wanted to use taxpayer funds for ESCR. They ignored the argument, their reaction was one of “I didn’t hear that because my mind is made up”.
About 15 months ago I was in a little diner in Corpus Christi, TX, and saw on the ladies’ bathroom wall an ad requesting human eggs. The pitch was to “help an infertile couple achieve their dream”. It was the first time I had ever seen such a thing. I suspect one day we’ll see something similar on billboards.
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