by Steven Ertelt
August 7, 2006
Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Opponents of a Missouri ballot proposal to promote embryonic stem cell research and human cloning say there are more than just ethical concerns that should prompt state voters to oppose it. They also say human cloning will end up exploiting women and that the process used to collect eggs for cloning is medically dangerous.
Focus on the Family has created a new brochure detailing the risks that has been mailed to 90,000 homes and has been distributed across the state.
"There may be people who are morally neutral on the issue of cloning of embryos, but would have an issue with the exploitation of women," said Carrie Gordon Earll, a bioethicist for Focus on the Family, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper about the brochure.
The handout, titled "Women’s voices against cloning," details the deaths of five women who suffered problems after the egg extraction procedure that would be used to collect human eggs for research.
The risks come from the drugs used in the process that essentially shut down a woman’s ovaries and then stimulates them to produce multiple eggs for harvesting. The drugs can cause blood clots and seizures and the complications have led to death.
The process can take weeks and even months in some cases and when eggs are ready for harvesting, the woman is put under general anesthesia, and the physician guides a needle into the ovary to remove eggs.
Even some embryonic stem cell research advocates and women’s groups that back abortion say the process could exploit poor women who might seek the money they could be paid in compensation but would expose themselves to a medically dangerous egg collection procedure.
Columbia University’s pro-abortion website Go ask Alice admits it is "complicated, and can be frightening, uncomfortable, and even painful."
Bev Ehlen, of the group Missourians Against Human Cloning, has distributed the brochures across the state and said they have been effective.
"It rates up there almost as high as human cloning when we explain it to women," she said.
Donn Rubin of Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures told the Post Dispatch newspaper that he thinks the focus on the exploitation of women "is a concocted issue by the opponents of the initiative."
"It’s a distraction from what voters will actually be voting on in November," he claims.
Yet, Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says scientists should not be recruiting women to donate their eggs.
"They could be made sick for what the researchers admit that for many years will simply be a scientific experiment," he said.
University of British Columbia geneticist Patricia Baird agreed and told the Canadian Press in March, “The potential for exploitation of women who need money to sell their eggs is enormous."
Diane Allen, with the Toronto-based Infertility Network, says the exploitation concern is a valid one.
“What does it mean when we as a society allow, or turn a blind eye to, the recruitment of young women to be egg donors when we don’t know the long-term consequences of that both in terms of their physical health … and also the psychological issues," she said.
"Would you want your daughter to do this," she asked.