Wisconsin Senate Health Committee Votes On Fetus Tissue Research, Planned Parenthood Bills

Oct 13, 2015

The Wisconsin state Senate's health committee is set to vote today on a bill that would outlaw research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses.

Credit Vijay Kumar Koulampet, CC BY-SA 3.0 / via Wikimedia Commons

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and private scientists oppose the measure. They argue it could end ground-breaking medical research that relies on fetal tissue cells.

Republicans amended the bill to outlaw research on fetal tissue cell lines obtained from abortions after Jan. 1 this year, but the researchers say they need new lines.

It's unclear how much support the bill has in the Senate.

The state's largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, also opposes the measure.

Meanwhile…that same Wisconsin committee is expected to vote on a pair of bills that would strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding and raise its Medicaid expenses. One measure would require the state to apply for $3.5 million in federal grant money, which currently all goes to Planned Parenthood.

The bill would forbid abortion providers from getting any of that money and instead give it to the state's Well Woman program that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings.

The bill passed the state Assembly last month.

The other proposal would cost Planned Parenthood about $4 million annually by raising the cost of birth control drugs it receives through Medicaid.