Wandering Eye: Questioning egg-donor price setting, all the dopes who got the Biden news wrong, and more

Joe Biden was absolutely, positively, most definitely running for president, according to Washington's pundit class. On Oct. 20, conservative columnist Bill Kristol tweeted, "Biden confirms to Obama at lunch today he's running, announces at U Delaware tomorrow. You can feel the Joementum!" Before that, on Oct. 19, Fox New's chief White House correspondent, Ed Henry, tweeted, "Three sources close to @VP telling me he's expected to announce he is running but the sources are all urging caution on 48-hr timeline." Then, yesterday, Biden announced that he is absolutely, positively, most definitely not running. Here's Gawker with a compendium of all the people who got it wrong. (Brandon Weigel)


Theranos is a medical start-up valued at $9 billion that was supposed to disrupt the way blood is tested. But there's just one problem: The company is not doing what it says it does, at least according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. As Fortune recaps, the story alleges the company "failed to use its proprietary equipment and finger-pricking technology for all, or even most, of the blood tests it offers to patients. Instead, the report said the company used equipment from other manufacturers and required traditional draws of blood from patients, rather than just a few drops." CEO Elizabeth Holmes answered these allegations at a conference presented by . . . The Wall Street Journal. Talk about awkward. According to a report on the conference in The New York Times, "Ms. Holmes said on stage that Theranos had decided 'to voluntarily submit all of our tests and test systems to F.D.A.,' which 'meant that we have to move as a company from the lab framework and quality systems to the F.D.A. framework and quality systems.'" (Brandon Weigel)


Yesterday's New York Times op-ed calling price setting for egg donors "something of a sham" got me thinking. It's all very confusing, this money for women's reproductive effluent—which sometimes we pay to get rid of but can't be compensated for if sold (fetal tissue) and sometimes get paid to "donate" (eggs) but can't be trusted to charge for. The former, women who have abortions, are vilified and the latter, egg donors, are canonized—and in both cases, women are infantalized as incapable of making decisions on their own. On the one hand, you've got this federal class-action lawsuit filed in California that accuses fertility clinics of "price-fixing" because industry guidelines limit reimbursement for donor eggs to $10,000. The New York Times’ Tamar Lewin maps it out in an excellent Oct. 16 article, where she says the case "could shake up the $80 million egg-donor market" in the U.S. Technically—though this requires some fancy semantic footwork—women don't "sell" their eggs, they "donate" them because selling body parts sounds so icky, Lewin notes, though not in those words. But the American Society for Reproductive Medicine defends the $10,000 cap on egg "donations." Lewin writes: "The society argues that capping the price ensures that low-income young women are not drawn to donate by a huge payout without considering how it may affect their lives." (This is the "infantalizing" part I mentioned above, you know, suggesting women can't be trusted to make decisions for themselves about their own bodies, specifically poor women.) Then, you've got this other Lewin story percolating. "Planned Parenthood Won't Accept Money for Fetal Tissue," she wrote on Oct. 13 of the organization's announcement that it would not accept any money ever again to cover the costs of transporting fetal tissue for medical research. Lewin wrote: "Of Planned Parenthood's nearly 700 health centers nationwide, only two—one in California and one in Washington State—supply fetal tissue to researchers, and only the one in California has been getting reimbursed, the organization said." The now-infamous, secretly recorded video where money was mentioned has a Planned Parenthood executive discussing a range of $30 to $100 for the tissue, which Factcheck.org reported may cover costs but did not reflect any profit. One question: If women own the means of (re)production, they should have all the power in our capitalist society, so how come people keep telling us these rules are for our own good? (Karen Houppert)

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