Ban on Research Using Aborted Fetal Tissue

S.B. 51 - Sen. Jim Marleau

Current Status

S.B. 51 was introduced on January 20, 2011 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health Policy. No action on the bill was taken during the entire 2011-2012 session. The bill "died" at the close of the session and will have to be reintroduced in the 2013-2014 session in order to receive any future consideration.


S.B. 51 would prohibit a researcher in Michigan from using any organs, tissue or cells taken from an aborted baby (technically, "embryo or fetus"). The ban does not include a baby lost by miscarriage.


Researchers have repeatedly turned to scavenging the cells and tissue from the bodies of aborted babies as material for their medical research, including for transplantation research to find cures for treatments or as a means to advance scientific research. In the 1990's researchers took brain cells from aborted babies and injected them into the brains of Parkinson's disease patients - the results were a horrific disaster leaving the patients in even worse condition. Around 2000, researchers began harvesting ovarian tissue from female babies aborted after the first trimester with the intent of gleaning premature eggs that could be matured in the laboratory and then used for stem cell, cloning and other research. Should this egg-maturing research ever succeed, a scenario could develop where a child is created in the lab by in vitro fertilization and brought to birth by a surrogate mother - the child's genetic mother being an aborted baby girl who was never born. In 2009 a University of Michigan researcher announced that she would be overseeing an FDA-approved study to transplant nerve stem cells taken from the spinal cord of aborted babies into the spinal cords of paralyzed patients.


Bills to accomplish this ban on fetal tissue research have been repeatedly introduced in the Michigan Legislature, some having been passed by either one chamber or the other. But no such bill has ever been passed by both chambers and sent to the Governor. In the 2009-2010 session, Senator Wayne Kuipers introduced S.B. 829, but no further action was taken on the bill.

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