|Galpern (center) speaking in Korea|
CGS's Emily Galpern
spoke at two
events on women and human biotechnology organized by South Korean
feminists in September. The forums, intended to increase international
discussion of women's health in the face of research cloning, brought
speakers from the U.S., the UK, India, and South Korea to address
audiences of Korean women's health advocates.
The Seoul events
were sponsored by Korean WomenLink in conjunction with the Seoul
Women's Plaza and Ewha Women's University. At their conclusion,
Korean WomenLink announced that it would release a final version
of the "Seoul Declaration of the Human Rights of Women and
Biotechnology" in November.
activist workshop on September 20 was titled Sharing Experiences
and Building Networks: How to Organize Local and Global Activism
on the Emergent Concerns about Biotechnology and Women. A public
forum the next day was called Envisioning the Human Rights of
Women in the Age of Biotechnology and Science.
Son Bong Hee discussed her organization's efforts to raise concerns
about women's health when Hwang Woo Suk began recruiting women to
provide eggs for his cloning efforts. She also talked about the
lawsuit brought by 36 Korean women's organizations on behalf of
two women who experienced serious side effects after undergoing
egg retrieval for Hwang's research team, and about the involvement
of women's health advocates in developing the Korean Bioethics Law.
Son explained that Korean WomenLink's takes a two-pronged approach
to its work: advocating for specific policies and challenging inequitable
different countries discussed the differing politics of women's
eggs and stem cell research in their respective countries, and their
common concerns about the global commercial environment in which
research cloning, and human biotechnology in general, are developing.
Some key points:
the potential for researchers in countries with advanced biotechnology
capabilities to turn to developing countries if they are not able
to get enough eggs for research
the need for global strategies that safeguard all women's health
rather than some women's health at the expense of others
the connection between contraceptive and conceptive technologies
and the importance of understanding both within a broad women's
the understanding that biotechnology does not function outside the
social realm, and that decisions about it should not be relegated
to a small group of medical, scientific, or bioethics "experts"