Senate Republicans want to ban the sale of body parts resulting from an abortion – a response to a national controversy involving Planned Parenthood.
The Senate Rules Committee introduced and passed a bill Wednesday that would “prohibit sale of the remains of an unborn child resulting from abortion.” It would also ban the donation of fetal remains for medical research unless a natural miscarriage has occurred. The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday morning.
Its sponsor, Sen. Chad Barefoot, a Wake County Republican, said the bill was prompted by hidden-camera videos suggesting that Planned Parenthood was selling body parts from abortions.
Planned Parenthood has denied the allegations that it profits from fetal parts that are used in biomedical research; it says the videos were edited to create a false narrative. The group says it follows all laws, regulations and ethical guidelines in handling donated fetal tissue.
Barefoot says he’s concerned body parts could be sold in North Carolina if the legislature doesn’t act.
“While federal law prohibits the sales, it has become apparent that policy can be circumvented,” Barefoot said, adding that North Carolina doesn’t currently have its own law on the subject. “It seeks to provide some level of dignity to unborn children who have lost their lives due to abortion.”
Barefoot’s bill also bans state family planning funding from going to organizations like Planned Parenthood that perform abortions. A similar provision was in the state budget that passed last week.
Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic said the Senate legislation is “nothing more than another political attack on safe and legal abortion in North Carolina.”
Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Durham Democrat, voted no and said he’s concerned about the impact on medical research. It’s unclear if the bill would prohibit researchers from paying processing fees to acquire fetal tissue.
“It’s one thing if you want to eliminate financial gain in terms of selling the remains of a fetus, but there’s no reason to prohibit the donation for medical research purposes,” McKissick said.
He also noted that the proposal was introduced with only days left in the legislative session, replacing a bill regarding child support.
“Nobody knew this was coming until about 11:30 last night,” he said. “It’s unfortunate when we have bills that don’t get an opportunity to be fully evaluated and discussed.”