LRBs 1905/2 & 2143/2: Prohibiting the sale and use of aborted fetal body parts
Authors: Representative André Jacque and Senator Glenn Grothman
Respect for human dignity is essential in the authorization and conduction of scientific research, a point underscored by horrific past failures to establish or follow such protocols. As a way to institute safeguards similar to those already in place at the federal level, we will be introducing legislation to prohibit the sale or use of aborted fetal body parts for experimentation or other purposes.
During the 1990s, researchers at UW-Madison initiated several experiments utilizing aborted fetal body parts, as was recently uncovered through internal UW documents and research logs. While UW officials insist that such experiments are not presently taking place, it is disturbing that UW officials who sought to open a late-term abortion clinic at the UW Surgery Center publicly cited the potential for induced abortions at the facility to serve as a supply of fetal body parts for UW research. Further, it has been uncovered that the California research company Senomyx is conducting testing for companies such as Pepsi, Kraft and Nestle using aborted fetal cell lines.
While current federal law prohibits the acquisition or transfer of fetal tissue across state lines, no such protection presently exists within Wisconsin statutes. Our proposal will close this loophole and ensure high ethical standards for research.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Current law prohibits a person from knowingly, and for valuable consideration, acquiring, receiving, or otherwise transferring a human organ. Current federal law prohibits a person from knowingly acquiring, receiving, or otherwise transferring, in interstate commerce, any fetal tissue for valuable consideration. This bill
prohibits a person from knowingly and for valuable consideration acquiring, receiving, or otherwise transferring a fetal body part in this state. A fetal body part is a cell, tissue, organ, or other part of an unborn child who is aborted by an induced abortion. The bill also prohibits a person from knowingly providing, receiving, or using, for experimentation a fetal body part in this state, regardless of whether the provision, receipt, or use is for valuable consideration.
Because this bill creates a new crime or revises a penalty for an existing crime, the Joint Review Committee on Criminal Penalties may be requested to prepare a report concerning the proposed penalty and the costs or savings that are likely to result if the bill is enacted.