Michigan Senate approves ban on sale of fetal body parts
LANSING, Michigan, April 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Michigan State Senate has approved a ban on the sale of fetal tissue that aims to address issues raised by undercover videos showing abortion executives involved in trafficking the remains of aborted children.
The bill is intended to reaffirm the state’s 1978 ban on the sale of human organs and fetal tissue, according to the bill’s sponsor.
“We’re just making sure that Michigan people understand that it’s against the law here,” Republican State Senator Phil Pavlov said. “I think there will be more of this type of legislation coming up.”
The measure specifically names fetal tissue obtained through an elective abortion, making it a felony punishable by five years in prison to provide any compensation for the distribution or transportation of any portion of an embryo, including delivering the tissue to medical research facilities.
It passed Wednesday on a 26-10 vote, with one GOP lawmaker joining all of the Senate’s Democrats in voting against it.
The sale of fetal tissue is against federal law, and Michigan prohibits the sale or transfer of any part of fetal tissue as well as the sale of any portion of a human organ, leading some Democrats to say the legislation is unnecessary and amounts to political maneuvering.
Additionally, some medical researchers testified the law would hamper research by prohibiting transfer of fetal tissue. The ACLU is considering a legal challenge on the grounds it would inhibit women from having their aborted children’s tissue tested for genetic issues.
“I heard specifically that the sale of fetal tissue doesn’t exist,” Republican Senator Patrick Colbeck said. “That’s at least a dubious statement. It does exist. It does occur.”
Pavlov said he tried to draft the bill’s language to satisfy researchers, “but we weren’t able to reach an agreement. The promising research they’re referencing hasn’t produced any true cures yet.”
Democrats had tried to attach amendments to the bill to remove the language making it a felony to transport fetal tissue to medical research facilities and allow women to buy birth control in 12-month versus three-month bundles, and to provide “comprehensive” sex education in schools, but all of the amendments failed.
"I urge my colleagues to support these two very important bills (SB 564 and 565),” Pavlov said Wednesday, according to Michigan Radio, “and to send a clear message that baby parts are not for sale in Michigan."
The legislation moves now to the Republican-controlled Michigan House for consideration.