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New State Laws Could Close Fetal Tissue ‘Donation’ Loophole

New State Laws Could Close Fetal Tissue ‘Donation’ Loophole

Idaho has joined two other states considering legislation to ban donations of aborted fetal tissue and close the donation-for-reimbursement loophole used by Planned Parenthood.

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee voted along party lines on Feb. 19 to introduce the Idaho Unborn Infants Dignity Act, which would criminalize donating fetal tissue from abortions. It also prohibits research centers from conducting experiments using aborted fetal tissue, a ban under consideration in three other states.

Lawmakers introduced the bill after the Center for Medical Progress exposed Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue “donation” program. Although federal law bans the sale of aborted baby body parts, Planned Parenthood claims it is free to charge collection and processing fees for the trouble of packaging up tiny hearts, lungs, and livers. Pro-lifers note there’s little difference between an agreed on donation fee and a sales price.

Idaho Republicans asked Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter to investigate the three Planned Parenthood facilities in Idaho, but he refused, saying no evidence in Idaho merited the investigation.

While Planned Parenthood in Idaho contends it doesn’t donate fetal tissue, David Ripley, director of Idaho Chooses Life, told the committee the bill would do more than ban the practice. He insisted it would advance Idaho’s state policy to “promote live childhood over abortion.”

“It seeks to ensure that Idaho’s pre-born children are not subject to desecration after their deaths,” he said. “I think it’s important to emphasize that this is not, strictly speaking, an abortion bill.”

Hannah Brass Greer, legislative director for Planned Parenthood in Idaho, acknowledged that other Planned Parenthood affiliates have donated fetal tissue for reimbursement but said this bill is unnecessary in Idaho.

“I think it’s definitely a solution in search of a problem that doesn’t exist here and doesn’t exist anywhere,” she said.

Meanwhile, Missouri state Sen. Bob Onder introduced similar legislation in his state. In addition to closing the legal loophole used by Planned Parenthood, Onder said the bill is “meant to uphold medical standards, protect women, and ensure public safety.”

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat, investigated abortion facilities in the state and didn’t find any evidence of illegal activity. But during the House committee hearing on the bill, Children and Families Committee chairwoman Rep. Diane Franklin and other Republican lawmakers said the ban is necessary due to insufficient oversight of fetal tissue donation programs.

“At this point, there’s nothing that helps us have that accountability we’re looking for,” she said.

Last year, Wisconsin state representatives also introduced legislation banning fetal tissue donation and research using aborted fetal tissue.

That bill establishes standards for disposing of aborted babies that were at least 10 weeks old when they died. The bill’s sponsors, state Reps. Andre Jacque and Joel Kleefish, said the absence of regulation has allowed abortion facilities to dispose of aborted babies as trash or medical waste.

Other states considering legislation impacting aborted fetal tissue include Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

No states have passed any of the fetal tissue legislation, and Idaho’s bill still needs to pass a legislative hearing before it’s read on the Senate floor.

Courtesy: WORLD News Service

Publication date: March 1, 2016