Fetal Organ Trafficking Ban

P.A. 386 & 387 of 2016
S.B 564 & 565 – Senator Phil Pavlov
H.B. 5086 & 5087 – Rep. John Bizon
Current Status
The Fetal Organ Trafficking Ban was signed into law on December 28, 2016 by Lt. Governor Brian Calley and is now P.A. 386 & 387 of 2016.

Description
S.B. 564 (H.B. 5086) prohibits the exchange of any form of compensation for fetal tissue or organs. S.B. 565 (H.B. 5087) describes the legal penalties for engaging in the trade of fetal tissue or organs for monetary or other forms of remuneration.

Background
The Center for Medical Progress has released a series of 11 videos that show senior members of Planned Parenthood engaging in what appears to be fetal organ and tissue trafficking. In the videos, abortion providers are seen haggling over the price they will be paid for certain fetal parts. While it is currently legal to receive a procurement fee for removing and delivering fetal organs and tissue, the videos show a picture of profiteering and greed. Because there are no guidelines within the law for fees that can be collected, this legislation will simply prohibit any exchange of money while allowing the practice of fetal tissue and organ donations. In October Planned Parenthood announced that it will no longer accept money for fetal tissue/organ donations.

Fetal tissue research has been conducted for years. Since at least the 1920s, scientists have used fetal tissue for experiments, vaccines and therapies. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s when elective abortions became legal that the ethics of fetal tissue experimentation became hotly debated. Prior to the legalization of elective abortions, federal dollars were used to support fetal tissue research projects. In the 1980s, the Reagan Administration placed a temporary ban on federal funding. When Bill Clinton took office, he lifted the moratorium on federal funding for fetal tissue research. Last year alone, the National Institutes of Health spent $76 million of projects involving fetal tissue. The funds from the federal government for research projects will not be affected by these bills, but the exchange of money to abortion providers will halt.

History
The House Health Policy committee voted the bills out on December 6, 2016. On December 14, 2016 the House voted 68 to 39 in favor of the bills. All the Republicans and 10 Democrats voted yes. On the same day, the Senate concurred in the House substitute with a 26 to 11 vote along party lines with the exception of one Republican voting against the bills.

On April 27, 2016 the full Senate voted to pass the Fetal Organ Trafficking Ban with a vote of 26-10. It was referred to the House Health Policy Committee where it awaits a hearing. The Senate Oversight Committee voted on February 11, 2016 with a 4-1 vote along party lines to move the bills to the Senate floor. S.B. 564 & 565 were introduced on October 15, 2015 and were referred to the new Senate Oversight Committee. H.B. 5086 & 5087 are identical versions of the Senate bills and were introduced on December 1, 2015 and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee.