On December 14, the Michigan House passed SB 546 and 565 with a vote of 69-37 and 68-39. These bills received support from several members of the Democratic House Caucus who usually are solid pro-abortion votes. These bills are now headed to the desk of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, where he is expected to sign them.
SB 564 will prohibit the exchange of any form of compensation for fetal tissue or organs. SB 565 establishes the legal penalties for engaging in fetal tissue trafficking.
State Senator Phil Pavlov introduced this bill after the Center for Medical Progress had released a series of videos showing senior members of Planned Parenthood engaging in fetal organ and tissue trafficking. The videos further show abortion providers haggling over the prices for certain fetal parts, and being willing to change abortion procedures to get them.
While it is currently legal to receive a procurement fee for removing and delivering fetal organs and tissue, the videos show a picture of profiteering and greed. Because there are no guidelines within the law for fees that can be collected, this legislation will simply prohibit any exchange of money in Michigan, but will allow the practice of fetal tissue and organ donations.
Fetal tissue research is nothing new. Since at least the 1920s, scientists have used fetal tissue for various medical reasons. However it wasn't until elective abortions became legal that the ethics of fetal tissue experimentation became hotly debated. Last year alone the National Institutes of Health spent $76 million of projects involving fetal tissue. Any existing or potential funds from the federal government for research projects in Michigan will not be affected by these bills, but the exchange of money to abortion providers who are selling fetal tissue for profit will end once these bills are signed into law.