Op-Ed

One eff surrounded by a pile of money

On August 13, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed AB 926, a bill sponsored by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) that would have permitted researchers to pay women for their eggs at the same rate as the fertility industry (approximately $5,000 to $10,000 per cycle). This bill would have overturned protections implemented by the almost unanimous 2006 passage of SB 1260. Authored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Marina del Rey), a longtime reproductive rights advocate, SB 1260 included a ban on paying women to provide eggs for research in order to protect against “undue inducement.” In his veto message, Gov. Brown wrote, “In medical procedures of this kind, genuinely informed consent is difficult because the long-term risks are not adequately known. Putting thousands of dollars on the table only compounds the problem.”

The debate in California around this recent bill illustrates the tensions throughout the reproductive rights and justice movements about what it means to be pro-woman. Where are the boundaries between autonomy and health and safety? Does autonomy mean that we cannot seek reasonable health and safety regulations...