Two bills that make up the “Heal Without Harm Initiative” were introduced in the Wisconsin legislature yesterday. The bills are aimed at ending the trade and exploitation of body parts from aborted children while providing an ethical source of fetal tissue for research.
“This Initiative seeks to demonstrate respect for unborn children by 1) outlawing the future exploitation of aborted children for fetal body parts (defined as tissue, organ or other part of an aborted unborn child); and 2) providing scientists with ethical sources of fetal tissue,” the Heal Without Harm Coalition said in a statement issued Tuesday. The Heal Without Harm Coalition was formed by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Action and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.
The first bill would end the exploitation and trade of body parts from aborted infants. According to the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), the Fetal Remains Respect Act (SB 423), “prohibits any person from knowingly acquiring, providing, receiving, or using a fetal body part, regardless of whether the acquisition, provision, receipt, or use is for valuable consideration.” The bill also requires abortion facilities to provide “the entombment, inurnment, or interment” of fetal remains from abortions.
The second bill, “the Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act (SB 424), would allow parents of stillborn children to receive a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth. It would also require “the hospital, birthing center, or other health care facility” to inform the parents that they may request the unborn child’s remains for final disposition or offer the child as an anatomical gift for scientific research, according to the LRB.
The bills are authored by Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, and Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc.
“Wisconsin has an extraordinary opportunity to lead the nation by championing research that is ethical, innovative, and effective,” the coalition said. “We look forward to a thoughtful public debate on these bills at a public hearing and their enactment into law.”
Four leaders of the Heal Without Harm Coalition recently appeared on Wisconsin Eye to discuss the bills. Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action said the coalition came together around the issue of ethical research. “We don’t oppose research at all,” said Appling. “What we want is research done using ethical materials done in an ethical way.”
Kim Wadas, the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, said that the coalition discovered that there were not a lot of anatomical donations being made from stillborn births. “And we thought, is there some way we can promote that,” Wadas said. “The first bill just talks about incorporating that into our already existing anatomical gift act in Wisconsin, and making certain that parents are aware of this opportunity to provide a gift of their child, and still provide proper disposition, is possible.”
“It’s promoting the ethical source of fetal tissue,” said Matt Sande, Legislative Director for Pro-Life Wisconsin. “Very important to say that the pro-life community does not oppose medical research. We do not oppose fetal tissue research.”
“We want to see research progress towards the treatment of debilitating disease so long as it’s done ethically,” Sande said.
Wadas said the second bill is to combat incentivizing abortion. “What we’re doing with that act is making sure we don’t make research attached to the use or trade of fetal tissue obtained from aborted unborn children,” Wadas said.