Attacking Research from the Left
In my last Forbes column, I warned that long-term threats to biomedical research are as likely to come from the anti-commercial left as from the anti-abortion right. That's happening, with little comment, in blue-state California, where state Senator Deborah Ortiz is sponsoring a bill to prohibit paying women who donate eggs for research. From the text:
This bill would prohibit human oocytes or embryos from being acquired, sold, offered for sale, received, or otherwise transferred for valuable consideration for medical research or development of medical therapies, and would prohibit payment in excess of the amount of reimbursement of expenses to be made to any research subject to encourage her to produce human oocytes for the purposes of medical research....
No payment in excess of the amount of reimbursement of direct, out-of-pocket expenses shall be made to any research subject to encourage her to produce human oocytes for the purposes of medical research. There shall be no reimbursement for lost wages.
The bill is supported by the Center for Genetics and Society, a left-wing anti-biotech group.
After tracking this bill, I was surprised to read in the LAT that Ortiz is running for secretary of state in the Democratic primary against Debra Bowen, another state senator. Bowen, whom I met a number of times when I was editing Reason, is one of my favorite California Democrats.