Citing the controversial and questioned undercover videos, a House panel voted Wednesday to outlaw the use of aborted fetuses for medical research.
Sen. Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, said Arizona needs to end “this horrendous trafficking in body parts, baby fetal body parts.” If SB1474 becomes law, the only thing doctors and laboratories could do is test the tissue to diagnose the life or health of the mother or the fetus, or conduct pathological studies to find out if the fetus was diseased.
The Judiciary Committee also approved legislation to:
-Ban medication abortions after the seventh week of pregnancy, forcing women who want to terminate a pregnancy beyond that to undergo a surgical procedure. SB1324 replaces a similar law that was approved last year but struck down by a judge.
-Preclude state employees from donating through payroll deductions to Planned Parenthood and any organization that provides elective abortions. Senate President Andy Biggs, sponsor of SB1485, said there is no reason to use state resources to support a procedure he and other finds “reprehensible.”
All three measures were approved on 4-2 party-line votes. They now go to the full House.
Cathi Herrod of the Center for Arizona Policy said Arizona had a law that was thought to ban research using fetal tissue. But she said it was struck down in 2000 by a federal appeals court over its wording.
SB1474 goes beyond the ban on research. It would make it a state crime not only to sell fetal tissue, something already illegal under federal law, but even to give it away or transfer it, something that is now permitted.
Rep. Randall Friese, D-Tucson, said that would even undermine the ability of a woman who terminates a pregnancy to tell the clinic to donate the tissue for medical research. But Herrod said that’s not necessary, calling fetal tissue research “antiquated science” and saying that any medical advances are coming from adult stem cell research.
Much of the discussion, however, was around those undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. They purport to show Planned Parenthood officials — though none from Arizona — discussing the harvesting and sale of fetal tissues.
“My understanding is the videos were investigated and there was no wrongdoing found,” Friese said. And he noted that a grand jury in Texas not only cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing but actually indicted the two undercover videographers.
“That doesn’t change the fact that these videos were released and they have proven to be verifiable,” Barto responded.