.- New York’s 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 panel’s ethics board charged that the move was a “gross exploitation” of poor women and did not take into account the procedure’s health risks.
There was reportedly no period of public comment for the board’s decision. Fr. Thomas Berg, a member of the ESSCB’s Ethics Committee and Executive Director of the Westchester Institute, criticized the board.
“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,” he said.
Noting that the board members are unelected, he charged that their action was “unconscionable” 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 board’s plan would put women at risk and lets the state “pay them off with lots of money.”
“This plan is a gross exploitation of women for speculative research,” Fr. Berg charged.