Women Launch Lawsuit to Stop New York State Payment for Ova Donation

Fri Oct 16, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

ALBANY, N.Y., October 16, 2009 ( - A New York pro-life feminist organization filed suit last Friday in New York State Supreme Court (Albany) to block the use of taxpayer funds to pay women recruited to “donate” their eggs for embryonic stem cell research.

New York State is the first governmental entity anywhere in the U.S. to approve taxpayer money to pay women to undergo an invasive procedure to harvest eggs for embryonic stem cell research.

In 2007, the New York State Legislature enacted a new Title V-A to Article 2 of the Public Health Act, committing $600 million for stem cell research. On June 11, 2009, the Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB), which was given the responsibility for administering the funds, passed a resolution authorizing significant taxpayer monies of up to $10,000 per donation to be used to compensate young women who donate their eggs for research.

Feminists Choosing Life of New York (FCLNY) Executive Director, Wendy McVeigh stated: “New York State has the responsibility to protect women.  Instead, the state is using taxpayers’ dollars to entice young, economically vulnerable women to experiment in this medically risky procedure.”

The legal complaint was filed on October 9, 2009 in Feminists Choosing Life of New York v. Empire State Stem Cell Board.  In part, the complaint states, “The Payment for Eggs Program provides significant monetary inducements to women to engage in this painful and risky procedure, which in part disproportionately appeals to economically vulnerable women…. (it)…  fails to satisfactorily provide for informed consent and other safeguards to ensure adequate disclosure to women of the risks of egg harvesting.”

Egg stimulation and extraction carries significant health risks, including ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, clotting disorders, kidney damage, ovarian twisting, pulmonary embolism, damage to future reproductive ability, and stroke.

FCLNY also argues that research on adult stem cells, which are plentiful and don’t involve the ethical and medical concerns of embryonic stem cell research, have produced positive results that make the egg donation program funded by taxpayer monies excessive spending.

The National Institutes of Health does not permit federal dollars to be spent on stem cell research that uses embryos derived from procedures that "require women to donate oocytes [eggs]," due to the "health and ethical implications, including the health risk to the [egg] donor."  The National Academies of Sciences agrees:  “No cash or in kind payments should be provided for donating oocytes (eggs) for research purposes.”

See related coverage:

NY Stem Cell Board Agrees to Pay State Money for Women's Eggs

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