Wisconsin Holds Hearing on Bill to Ban Sales of Aborted Baby Body Parts

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 11, 2015   |   3:05PM   |   Washington, DC

In Wisconsin, Reps. Andre Jacque and Joel Kleefisch have introduced legislation that would ban the sale of fetal body parts in the state . Today, that legislation received a hearing — ironically on the same day as news reports showing the University of Wisconsin purchased body parts from babies killed in abortions at Planned Parenthood.

The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice held the hearing today on the bill, which is expected to be quickly approved by the state Assembly. The legislation is a response to the scandal surrounding Planned Parenthood buying the body parts of aborted babies.

“This is I think very basic legislation introducing a common-sense standard for human dignity,” Jacque said during the committee hearing, calling the research using aborted baby parts something out of “Frankenstein.”

However, the University of Wisconsin opposes the bill because officials say it will shut down research that brings in big dollars. During the hearing, the UW research using body parts from aborted babies played a front and center role in the debate. As the Milwaukee newspaper reports:

The packed hearing at the Capitol Tuesday outlined the fundamental differences between GOP lawmakers who oppose tissues from abortions going to medical research as “Frankenstein experiments” and UW scientists who say such tissues could help cure cancers, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

“This makes me sick that this is going on to end lives to save lives,” said Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum). “Is there any research that UW considers unethical?”

For his part, Bob Golden, the dean of the University of Wisconsin Medical School, said that researchers in his school follow ethical guidelines and federal law; oppose any “profiteering” from fetal tissues; and want to one day eliminate the use of fetal tissue.

But he opposed the bill that would make some medical research on aborted tissues a felony and said he was offended by statements by Kremer questioning whether UW scientists had considered the moral implications of work done by researchers in Germany’s Nazi regime.

According to Golden, the University of Wisconsin nets $76 million in federal research dollars because of the research using aborted babies.

Under questioning by the Assembly panel chairman, Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), Golden said that some UW researchers use tissue lines that were derived from aborted fetuses years or decades ago. Golden also indirectly acknowledged that in limited cases UW scientists use more recently collected cells or tissue that are obtained from federally licensed providers.

“I hope that we can eventually move away from this, but we are not close to that point yet,” Golden said, adding later, “Timing in science is everything and the timing (on this bill) is dead wrong.”

Wisconsin Right to Life supports the proposal but says it needs to see the specific legislative wording before committing.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says their affiliate doesn’t offer “tissue donation services” so the bill wouldn’t impact them. Rep. Kleefisch responded and said, “Planned Parenthood says a lot of things. I have no reason to believe a word that comes out of their collective mouth.”

Here’s more on what the bill would do:

The proposal also would require any doctor who performs an abortion in Wisconsin to determine the gender of the unborn child, if medically possible, and report that to the state Department of Health Services. And any aborted fetus that is at least 10 weeks old to be disposed of meeting new standards, including either burial or cremation.

There are no disposal requirements under current law, according to an analysis of the proposal by the Legislative Reference Bureau. That lack of standards allows for the fetuses to be disposed of as trash or medical waste, Jacque and Kleefisch said in their letter seeking support.

Jacque said he believed the bill would gain traction this year, after similar versions have failed to pass for years, given recent attention to the video.

He also is circulating a separate pair of bills that would divert federal funding away from Planned Parenthood. One would not allow federal money under Public Health Service Act to go toward Planned Parenthood, which Jacque said that would take $3 million away annually. His other proposal would restrict how much Planned Parenthood can be reimbursed for prescription drugs from the federal government, a move Jacque said would reduce their subsidy $4.5 million a year.

As LifeNews previously reported, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was horrified by the Planned Parenthood video and called for states to defund the abortion company. In an interview with Megyn Kelly on Fox News he said, “Years ago, when I first became governor of the state of Wisconsin, my first budget, I defunded Planned Parenthood. I took some attacks from some in the media, and some in the left. But this video’s just a prime example, this is not a noncontroversial entity.”

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He concluded, “This is obviously a disturbing, disgusting act that they’re talking about. We’ve outlawed that in Wisconsin in the past. We need to be defunding Planned Parenthood, not only state by state, but I think, across the country. And instead, put resources into women’s health issues, but put them into non-controversial entities, public health entities, or other things in that regard.”