The Heal Without Harm Coalition, comprised of Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Family Action, Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Right to Life has serious reservations about a bill circulated for co-sponsorship late Tuesday afternoon. It included a 5 PM Wednesday deadline for lawmakers to co-sponsor the legislation. From the Coalition’s statement sent to state lawmakers:
The Heal Without Harm Coalition, comprised of Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Family Action, Pro-Life Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Right to Life, has learned that LRB-1927/1 (sale and research on fetal body parts) is being circulated for co-sponsorship. After an initial review, the HWH Coalition has serious concerns regarding the proposal and urges legislators to refrain from co-sponsorship.
As drafted, LRB-1927/1 would continue to allow the use of fetal body parts from aborted children in this state. There are numerous exemptions in the draft that would allow entities, government authorities (i.e. universities and clinics), non-profit procurement businesses, the pharmaceutical industry, and others to evade prohibitions on the sale and use of these aborted baby parts.
Given these serious concerns, the limited time for reflection on co-sponsorship, the complex and ambiguous nature of the bill’s provisions, and the numerous questions regarding the bill’s effect and impact, we urge legislators not to sign on as sponsors at this time, but instead to seek clarification from the bill’s authors regarding these numerous concerns.
The HWH Coalition was not consulted on this draft language. However, the Coalition has been working closely on a package of proposals that would end the sale and use of abortion-derived baby body parts, while also promoting ethical alternatives in research. Legislators are urged to contact the Coalition for information regarding this package of proposals.
It is vital that Wisconsin forward legislation that truly ends the trafficking and exploitation of aborted children.
State Representative Andre Jacque, who has offered fetal tissue bills of his own in previous sessions was harshly critical of the bill circulated Wednesday when we reached out for comment:
Last session with AB 305 (and the two sessions prior, though previous versions of the bill were not allowed to receive a public hearing) I proposed that no person may knowingly acquire, provide, receive, or use any body part from an aborted child (would not have applied to miscarried or stillborn children), regardless of whether the acquisition, provision, receipt, or use was for valuable consideration. Wisconsin’s pro-life groups (Wisconsin Right to Life, Pro Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Catholic Conference) all have agreed on this approach, particularly since the entities harvesting the organs from aborted children continue to use the unenforceable federal law to argue that they aren’t “selling” the body parts to anyone, just being “reimbursed” for their costs in an essentially unregulated way (and middlemen at other institutions are used to sanitize the supply chain). There is and can be no legitimate justification for harvesting aborted children’s organs, and there are always ethical, equivalent or better alternatives for research (and there has been plenty of scientific expert testimony to that point).
The Darling/Duchow/Loudenbeck (LRB 1927) supposed prohibition on the sale of Baby Body Parts would have no real effect on the scandalous trafficking of freshly harvested aborted children’s organs into Wisconsin (which was the reason why I proposed AB 305 and its predecessors). I would see the enactment of LRB 1927 in its present form to be mere posing for political points and not actually accomplishing anything, while simultaneously putting a stamp of approval on the idea that human life is just another commodity whose dignity and worth can be devalued and rationalized away.
Proposed fetal tissue sale bans were prompted by a series of undercover videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the price of fetal tissue samples and body parts. Despite footage that seemed to clearly show PP representatives engaged in the transactions, the organization denied it sold fetal tissue. Pro-life lawmakers and groups in Wisconsin and other states began legislation to ban the practice after the videos were released.
In late December, WisPolitics.com reported that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos predicted the Assembly this spring will pass a ban on the sale of fetal tissue from abortions. Vos’ comments seemed to take a swipe at earlier versions of the bill
Vos, R-Rochester, told WisPolitics.com in an interview he wants a bill that “actually saves unborn children as opposed to just posing for political points.” He also wants the legislation to ensure UW can continue its research. But he said details of the bill will be left up to those who have pushed the proposal.“That’s a very difficult situation to navigate, and that’s why I want to bring people of goodwill together to have the same conversation about how do we do this in a way that actually saves unborn children and not just pass a ban that doesn’t do anything,” Vos said in the interview.