PRESS RELEASE: National Efforts to Promote Ethical Research Pose Stark Contrast to Wisconsin Inaction


By Chelsea Duffy | November 28, 2017

While national leaders seek out ways to curb the controversial use of aborted fetal baby parts, Wisconsin’s elected leaders remain paralyzed, failing to advance any new efforts to end this practice. Over the past several months, the U.S. Congress has made several efforts to end the use of fetal tissue obtained from aborted children in medical research. The House Select Investigative Committee on Infant Lives recommended, and the House Appropriations Committee drafted and supported, legislation to bar the use of federal funds to conduct or support research using human fetal tissue if that tissue is obtained from an induced abortion.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee passed alternative legislation that ordered the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to pilot a study to determine whether banking tissue from stillbirths and miscarriages could serve the needs of biomedical research nationally. The passage of a continuing resolution for federal spending has temporarily staved off further action on these legislative efforts, but the bills advanced through their respective committees and the matter will likely be revisited as part of future federal funding discussions.

Several national media outlets have also reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has requested unredacted documents received by the Senate Judiciary Committee during a recent investigation. The Committee has been scrutinizing the trade and use of aborted fetal body parts supplied by abortion providers to biomedical tissue providers.

However in Wisconsin, two bills that promote ethical fetal tissue research, Senate Bills 423 and 424, have received a public hearing, but continue to languish in the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. Senate Bill 423 ends the ongoing trafficking of aborted baby body parts in Wisconsin and SB 424 encourages the donation of ethical sources of fetal tissue. Supported by a coalition of Wisconsin’s major pro-life organizations, SB 423 and SB 424, known as the Heal Without Harm Initiative, would also ensure that aborted fetal tissue is properly disposed of and that all grieving families are given the opportunity to direct the disposition of their miscarried or stillborn child.

The Wisconsin Assembly has been equally ineffective. While the companion bill to SB 424, Assembly Bill 550, is expected to move through the Assembly Health Committee, chaired by Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin), the companion to SB 423, Assembly Bill 549, has languished in a different committee. In the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, Chair John Spiros (R-Marshfield) has yet to hold a public hearing.

The Heal Without Harm (HWH) Coalition is asking people to contact their elected officials and urge their support for SB 423/AB 549 and SB 424/AB 550. Specifically, individuals should urge their State Senator to support SB 423 and SB 424 and ask Chair Wanggaard to vote to advance the HWH Initiative. Individuals have also been asked to contact their State Representative as soon as possible and urge him or her to ask Chair Spiros to immediately hold a public hearing and executive session on AB 549.

Those who would like to contact their elected officials are being directed to legis.wisconsin.gov and the “Find My Legislators” tool, which can locate an individual’s elected officials by address. The toll-free Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472 will also assist constituents in locating their elected officials.

The HWH Coalition asserts that once this initiative is passed, no researcher in Wisconsin will operate under a cloud of controversy and no patient will be faced with choosing life over conscience. To learn more about the HWH Coalition and Initiative, visit healwithoutharm.org.

Contact:

Wisconsin Right to Life

Heather Weininger

hweininger@wrtl.org

414-778-5780

Wisconsin Catholic Conference

Barbara Sella

barbara@wisconsincatholic.org

608-257-0004

Wisconsin Family Action

Julaine Appling

jkappling@wifamilyaction.org

608-334-6435

Pro-Life Wisconsin

Matt Sande

matt.s@prolifewi.org

262-352-0890

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