JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After much discussion Thursday morning, the House of Representatives, with an overwhelming veto-proof majority passed HBs 2069 and 2371 that prevent the sale or donation of fetal remains or tissues that result from an abortion.
Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, sponsored the legislation and took pains to paint the issue as separate from the questions surrounding abortion and instead about what happens with aborted tissue.
“This is a bill that addresses the very disturbing issue of trafficking baby body parts,” she said. “This bill puts together a comprehensive mechanism in order to track what can happen in the clinic setting, then go on to the pathologist, then go on to disposal, then go back to the department and be fashioned into a report that the General Assembly will have access to [as well as] the public. This legislation ensures safety for this process.
“It’s important, whatever the procedure may be and however you may feel about that procedure, the important aspect of this is that we are safeguarding against the sale and the profit of baby body parts. All life has value and the way you treat then, the deceased in whatever form it may be, needs to be of dignity.”
Democrats in the chamber, however, argued that the bill prevented mothers of aborted fetuses from making a choice that could advance science. They also argued that the bill was the result of a “witch hunt” by the Interim Committee for the Sanctity of Life.
“What we need to support and legislate is protecting the health and safety of women and [the legislation] does not meet that standard,” said Rep. Judy Morgan, D-Kansas City. “It’s a legal and ethical practice that has lead to medical advances for decades, including the polio vaccine.”
Supporters of the legislation countered that the embryonic stem cells provided by aborted tissue was not needed for the advancement of science.
“When we’re saying that we’ve got to harvest aborted baby parts, not-so,” Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, said. “We can take the umbilical cords, take the blood from that, and use it for embryonic stem-cell research if we so choose. I want to make the point though that using adult stem cells has proven time and time again that we don’t need to.”
“What I’m really concerned about is that everything in this bill is the result of a witch-hunt committee,” said Rep. Stacy Newman, D-St. Louis. “Everything here is based on a video and as we know, that video is false… We’ve had two investigations done in Missouri … and not one of them has come back with any finding of wrongdoing.”
As she closed to bring the bill to a vote, which passed 120 to 34, Franklin countered that witch hunt claim and said the true witches were those who sold fetal tissue.
“This has been called a witch hunt and the witch has been found,” she said.