Missouri House lawmakers moved forward with a bill Wednesday that would tighten up regulations prohibiting the sale or donation of aborted babies’ body parts.
The state House gave its initial approval of the bill Wednesday in a voice vote; legislators must approve it a second time before the bill can move to the state Senate, according to the Associated Press.
The new legislation would prohibit aborted babies’ body parts from being donated for research, and increase accountability requirements for what happens to their bodies. The bill would require detailed pathological reports to be submitted to the state about how aborted babies’ bodies are disposed of, the AP reports.
“There is no accounting of the bodies of babies killed by abortion in Missouri,” Missouri Right to Life testified to the state House in February.
In 2016, Missouri state lawmakers concluded an investigation of Planned Parenthood with a lot of unanswered questions, after evidence in an undercover video suggested that a St. Louis abortion facility might be selling aborted babies’ body parts to researchers.
Planned Parenthood in Missouri and its supporters delayed the investigation by not replying to government subpoenas for information. Upon threat of jail time and fines, Planned Parenthood officials later negotiated a deal to comply with the subpoena.
However, a pathologist who contracts with Planned Parenthood in Missouri and also was subpoenaed refused to provide materials for the investigation and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination.
As a result, The Daily Caller reported last July that state lawmakers still do not know what happened to some of the aborted babies’ body parts after Planned Parenthood and pathologist James Miller handled them.
Keep up with the latest pro-life news and information on Twitter. Follow @LifeNewsHQ
In February, Missouri Right to Life discussed the investigation findings in its testimony to the legislature. According to the testimony posted on its website:
Based on the conflicting testimony by the Pathology Lab Director last year (in the Missouri House Committee investigations) that receives some of the body parts of an aborted baby from Planned Parenthood and the fact that aborted babies from Missouri were found in Indianapolis, IN it is still unknown what happens with all the baby body parts from abortions in Missouri. The oversight of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has been abysmal as it has failed to conduct consistent and regular physical inspections of the clinics over the years.
Further, former Director of the Department Gail Vasterling, admitted to the Senate Sanctity of Life Committee and the interim Acting Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, Peter Lyskowski, admitted that the department does not know what is done with the baby bodies or body parts from abortions done by Planned Parenthood in Missouri even though the Department is supposed to receive a pathology report on each aborted baby. There is no accounting of the bodies of babies killed by abortion in Missouri. And, there are questions about the final disposal of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood baby body parts from abortions with the recent fines of a medical waste facility, MedAssure, located in Indianapolis, IN.
Last year, the legislative committee was able to obtain some documents related to Miller’s work. These documents left some legislators wondering if aborted babies’ parts were being sold in Missouri. The Daily Caller reported last year:
Some of the committee’s findings revealed that some fetal parts went missing without explanation. In over 300 reports the committee surveyed, pathologist Dr. Miller categorized the aborted babies as either “no fetal tissue identifiable” or as “fetal tissue is identifiable”after eight weeks of gestation. Four reports did not follow this system and show that aborted babies from 9-20 weeks of gestation were labeled as “no fetal parts identified.”
“The pathologist who the tissue is sent to pleaded the Fifth Amendment due to not wanting to have criminal self-incrimination, so that certainly raises a flag because it makes you wonder if some of the incomplete records suggest that perhaps this pathologist was selling these baby body parts. We really don’t know,” Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The investigation also revealed that abortion clinics sometimes sent entire aborted babies’ bodies to the pathology lab, rather than a tissue sample of the aborted baby, as is required by law.
When the committee released its investigation report in July 2016, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer said the committee also found “callous” practices and procedures at Planned Parenthood facilities in Missouri. He said they “bordered on outright medical malpractice.”
Planned Parenthood leaders in Missouri dismissed the investigation and its findings as nothing more than a politically-motivated “attack,” according to the local news.