Tennessee Committee Approves Bill to Stop Profiting From Selling Aborted Baby Parts

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 31, 2016   |   9:44AM   |   Washington, DC

Tennessee is cracking down on the widely unregulated abortion industry with a series of new measures that would ban the sale of aborted babies’ body parts and establish an assessment process for abortion clinics.

Introduced by Gov. Bill Haslam in January, the bill would strengthen reporting requirements for the disposal of aborted babies and ban any form of sale or reimbursement for them, The Tennessean reports. The measure also would establish “a mandatory interim assessment process for an ambulatory surgical treatment center that annually performs more than 50 abortions,” according to the report.

A Tennessee House committee passed the bill on Wednesday, according to the report. The bill moves on to another state House committee before it can be voted on by the full House, the report states.

Like lawmakers in many other states, Haslam said he introduced the legislation in response to the undercover videos showing top Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted babies’ body parts. Since the shocking undercover videos were released, dozens of states have moved to ban the sale or use of aborted babies body parts for research, regulate abortion clinics and stop tax dollars from going to abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

In July, the state also launched an investigation into the abortion industry in Tennessee as a result of the undercover videos. The Planned Parenthood affiliate in Tennessee said it has never participated in a “fetal tissue donation program.”

Jeff Teague, CEO of the state abortion affiliate, is lobbying the governor to change parts of the bill. In March, Teague told the newspaper he did not like a requirement that abortionists discuss disposal methods with women seeking abortions.

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“We think that’s not appropriate” because many women seeking abortions are in an “emotionally sensitive time,” Teague said.

A 1989 Tennessee law already bans the sale of aborted babies’ body parts, but the new measure would strengthen the legislation to ensure that abortion facilities are not profiting in any way from aborted babies’ body parts.

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.

Only recently have Tennessee lawmakers been able to introduce new measures to protect life and restrict abortion. In 2000, the Tennessee Supreme Court handed down a devastating case that said the state constitution allowed unlimited abortions. The ruling prohibited common-sense measures like informed consent, waiting periods and legislation to prevent coerced abortion from passing through the Tennessee legislature.

However, on Nov. 4, 2014, Tennessee voters approved Amendment 1, which returns authority for abortion regulation to the people of Tennessee and their state legislators.

Since then, pro-life state legislators have passed several pro-life laws, including one that requires regular state inspections of abortion centers and a 48-hour waiting period between counseling and the abortion. However, abortion activists have challenged several of these life-saving laws in court.