.- New Yorkâs Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB) decided on Thursday to commit funds to pay women to have their eggs harvested for embryo research. A member of the panelâs ethics board charged that the move was a âgross exploitationâ of poor women and did not take into account the procedureâs health risks.
There was reportedly no period of public comment for the boardâs decision. Fr. Thomas Berg, a member of the ESSCBâs Ethics Committee and Executive Director of the Westchester Institute, criticized the board.
âWithout 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,â he said.
Noting that the board members are unelected, he charged that their action was âunconscionableâ because they had full knowledge that the long-term effects of ovarian stimulation are unknown. Fr. Berg warned that some data has suggested the procedure is linked with some forms of cancer.
He said the boardâs plan would put women at risk and lets the state âpay them off with lots of money.â
âThis plan is a gross exploitation of women for speculative research,â Fr. Berg charged.