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Bills Would Regulate What Abortion Providers Do With Remains of Aborted Fetuses

Wisconsin's State Capitol

Two Republican state lawmakers want to ban the sale of fetal tissue and create rules for its disposal.

The proposal comes on the heels of a controversial hidden camera video that a California group shot. It shows a conversation between a Planned Parenthood medical director in California and people who are, unbeknownst to her, abortion opponents. They pretend they’re interested in purchasing fetal specimens, and discuss prices.

The video outraged abortion opponents, such as Matt Sande, director of legislation for Pro-Life Wisconsin.

“There’s a lot of emotion. People are shocked and upset and horrified by what they saw in this video. Now we need to pivot, and to actually work to accomplish something,” Sande says.

Sande says Pro-Life Wisconsin will push “very hard” for new laws. State Reps. Andre Jacque and Joel Kleefisch are proposing two bills. One would ban the sale of fetal tissue.

The other would require providers to bury or cremate aborted fetuses. Sande says similar bills have failed, but now the video is providing new momentum.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin calls the bills part of a continuing attack on legal abortion. Nicole Safar is government relations director for the organization’s advocacy arm. She says the proposal to ban the sale of aborted fetuses would not impact practices.

“Federal law explicitly prohibits the sale of tissue, and Planned Parenthood, like all other accredited, high-quality health care providers in Wisconsin, does not sell tissue,” Safar says.

Safar says Planned Parenthood clinics in some states allow patients to donate tissue, for research. But she says Wisconsin’s clinics don’t offer that option.

She would not specify how the organization’s clinics dispose of the remains of aborted fetuses.

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.
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