Iowa House Passes Bill to Ban Sales of Aborted Baby Parts Over University of Iowa’s Objection

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 11, 2016   |   8:47PM   |   Des Moines, IA

The Iowa House passed a bill Wednesday to end the sale and trafficking of aborted babies’ body parts in the state, according to the Associated Press.

Introduced in February, Iowa House File 2329 comes in response to the horrific undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood employees selling aborted babies’ body parts. Legislators in several other states have proposed similar legislation.

The bill would ban the trafficking and sale of aborted babies’ body parts, but it would allow women to donate tissue from stillborn or miscarried babies, as well as umbilical cord blood, placenta and amniotic fluid from any source, according to The Des Moines Register.

Pro-life lawmakers said the bill also would give state authorities the power to investigated abortion businesses, according to the Register. After the Center for Medical Progress revealed its undercover video project last summer, Iowa lawmakers called on Attorney General Tom Miller to investigate Planned Parenthood; however, Miller’s office said the current state laws did not give him the authority to investigate, according to the report.

Though the state House passed the bill, the Democrat-controlled state Senate is unlikely to move it forward, according to the AP. Jennifer Bowen, executive director of Iowa Right to Life, said her group will continue to fight for the bill.

“I don’t see us resting on it until it’s accomplished,” Bowen said.

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Last week, the Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees state universities, announced that it opposes the bill, according to Iowa Right to Life.

“This is so the University of Iowa can not only continue using fetal tissue from abortions currently in their possession, but ensure they can procure more tissue from elective abortions in the future,” the Iowa pro-life group said in an email. “Let that sink in.”

“We know that abortion is immoral,” the pro-life group continued. “Additionally, experimentation or use of fetal tissue after an abortion is highly unethical.”

The Iowa City Press-Citizens reported in August 2015 that the University of Iowa received taxpayer-funded grants to do glaucoma research and listed fetal tissue in the study. From 2011 to 2013, the National Institutes of Health gave the college $1.1 million for its research, according to the report.

The local news reported more Thursday:

Spokesman Josh Lehman said the University of Iowa and Iowa State University use such cells and tissues for “a broad array” of research that is part of developing therapies and cures for deadly and debilitating diseases.

Lehman said the regents’ position stands despite an amendment that would allow facilities including universities to continue using fetal tissue already in their possession for research.

“We appreciate the efforts to improve the bill, but do not support it. The way the bill is currently drafted would prevent our universities from developing potentially life-saving research in the future involving new forms of treatment,” he said in a statement.

Rep. Matt Windschitl, R-Missouri Valley, who introduced that amendment, said he did so to respond to concerns from the medical community that research could be limited. He said additional legislation can be considered in the future if that ends up being the case, but “this is about making sure our children and the children in the state of Iowa are not being used as guinea pigs in medical research.”

Some researchers do support bans on fetal tissue trafficking. In an op-ed in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel last September, six doctors explained why using fetal “tissue” for research is unethical and unnecessary for scientists.

“The argument that fetal-derived tissues must be used in research to develop medical treatments is false,” they wrote. “Many therapies have been developed using cell lines not of fetal origin, including insulin for diabetes (produced in bacteria), Herceptin for breast cancer and tissue plasminogen activator for heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism (both developed in Chinese hamster ovary cells).”

The federal law that technically prohibits the sale of aborted babies and their body parts was written by a pro-abortion Congressman decades ago and essentially spells out a process by which sellers of aborted baby body parts can meet certain criteria that allows the sales to be legal. That’s why a Colorado congressman has introduced legislation to totally ban the sales of aborted baby body parts.

After the first undercover videos were released in August 2015, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad ordered a review of all state taxpayer funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business. State and federal investigations into these horrific abortion practices continue.