Which comes first? Equality or the egg?

Under the guise of "gender parity," promoters of California's AB 926 — passed last week by the state legislature and now on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown — propose paying women for eggs donated for research purposes.

Men who provide sperm for either fertility or research get paid. And women who provide eggs for reproductive purposes can make an extraordinary amount of money.

Paying women for their eggs for research purposes seems a logical and even gregarious concept. Who would be opposed?

To answer that, let's consider the fate of these eggs. Unlike eggs provided for reproductive purposes (given so an infertile couple can have a baby), these eggs all have one fate. A human will be created, some form of scientific research will be conducted upon it, and that tiny human will be destroyed.

Gathering the eggs from women is an invasive and risky procedure. The compensation for these "research" eggs will not be the same as it is for "reproductive" eggs — researchers do not care whether the mother is a Rhodes Scholar or a high school dropout. What we have is a situation enticing lower income women to undergo a risky procedure extracting their eggs, which will then be used to create children, all of whom will be destroyed.

We have a moment, with AB 926, to inject the public and political discourse with rational conversation on the reality of the laboratory creation and destruction of human embryos.


The California Catholic Conference reports, “Because there have been no long-term studies on the aftermath of egg donation, the potential donor can’t even give a proper informed consent. But more importantly, informed consent becomes meaningless when someone is being paid — as people, especially poor women, will take risks if they really need money.”

It is interesting that the discussion surrounding AB 926 mentions nothing of these facts. Couched in such language as "research protocol sensitivity to potential competition for a limited supply of donors "(1), the conversation already assumes complicity by the general public in the business of buying and selling the means of human procreation.

The very fact that gametes are for sale ought to be bewildering. Other body parts, with the exception of blood and hair, are not legally sellable thanks to the National Organ Transplantation Act. This ruling is based on the prohibition against selling human beings. Selling human tissue is seen as immoral (or at least tasteless) because there is something inherently dignified about a person and his or her parts.

Even more startling, then, is the fact that, as a society, we are perfectly fine selling the one part of each of us that is capable of making a brand new, entirely unique human being. Sperm and egg are not just cells. They are cells with the capacity to create a human person with a divine destiny. And, whether used for research or reproduction, these gametes create tiny human beings in laboratories, every day, all around the world. Some are allowed to develop and be born. Most are destroyed. Tiny humans with eternal souls.

We have a moment, with AB 926, to inject the public and political discourse with rational conversation on the reality of the laboratory creation and destruction of human embryos. We will not now stop this process completely, but we can stop its progression and keep additional women from being damaged. AB 926 passed both the Assembly (in May, 54-20, 5 abstentions) and the Senate (in July, 24-9, 5 abstentions) and was sent to Gov. Brown’s desk on Aug. 1. Please take a few moments to send a note to Gov. Brown through www.LAFaithfulCitizen.org. Share with others your knowledge about the value of all human life. Use the language of reality instead of the sanitized euphemisms we have all grown accustomed to.

This bill is about equality — the equality of all human beings to be treated with dignity and reverence because of who they are, members of the human population, no matter how small.

Kathleen Buckley Domingo is life coordinator in the Office of Life, Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

(1) “Leveling the field for human egg donors,” Naomi Cahn and June Carbone, L.A. Times, July 13, 2013.

 


Voices

Iowa and us in a Year of Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez

It was in the general-purpose room of St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines that Donald Trump made his last pitch to Iowa voters, inside a caucus room. He wanted to make sure people remembered that not only will he build the wall on our border with Mexico, but that he’s the only candidate who will make Mexico pay for it.

Events

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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at cvieira@sndca.org, or visit sndca.org/nunrun. 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 atwww.boscotech.edu/events. Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at MathCompetition@boscotech.edu.

     

    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or dre@sjbdls.org.

     

    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  

     

    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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