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Letter-to-the-editor: Groups' focus is safety of egg donors

by Sujatha Jesudason and Judy NorsigianSt. Louis Post-Dispatch
August 12th, 2006

It's ironic that Focus on the Family, an organization that is opposed to abortion, same-sex unions and comprehensive sex education, now is turning to progressive women's health advocates to advance its campaign against the Missouri stem cell initiative.

Our organizations have raised concerns about women's health regarding egg retrieval for cloning research, but we were dismayed to see our statements reprinted in Focus on the Family's brochure "Women's Voices Against Cloning," as reported in "Women's risk is issue in Missouri stem cell debate" (Aug. 6). Focus on the Family espouses values and goals diametrically opposed to ours.

Our concerns about women's health with respect to cloning techniques that might be used in stem cell research are in the context of our work to promote women's health and rights. We support most human embryonic stem cell research as long as there is appropriate oversight, accountability and safeguards for the health of those involved in the research.

Focus on the Family's position statement on human embryonic stem cell research, however, voices opposition to "stem cell research that destroys embryonic humans," because "a living, human embryo must be killed." Nowhere in the statement is there mention of concern about women's health. When we challenge researchers and policymakers to ensure the health of women who provide eggs for research, we do so out of a long-standing commitment to women's health and reproductive choice.

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