A coalition of professors in the state of Wisconsin are petitioning the state legislature not to pass a bill that would ban trafficking in fetal parts.
Assembly Bill 305, currently being debated by lawmakers, would ban the sale, use, or donation of fetal body parts for experimentation. The bill was introduced in response to a series of videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress which allegedly show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal parts for profits. (RELATED: Here’s Yet Another Video Planned Parenthood Doesn’t Want You To See)
Now, PROFS, an organization representing University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) faculty, claims the bill would essentially ban important medical research occurring at the school.
“PROFS has consistently opposed legislation that limits potentially life-saving research on campus,” said PROFS president Judith Burstyn, a UW chemistry professor. “UW-Madison is an international leader in stem cell research, and this legislation could bring that research to a devastating halt.”
PROFS says that as many as 100 different researchers could be affected by the law, and that some may have to leave the state to continue their work elsewhere. Diseases and ailments they say are being researched with fetal tissue include Down syndrome, infertility, and tuberculosis.
In addition to PROFS, the Wisconsin Medical Society and a trade association of biotech companies have also come out against the proposed bill.
In testimony given on Tuesday, Dr. Robert Golden, dean of UW’s School of Medicine and Public Health, frankly admitted that abortion is crucial to his research. When asked by state Rep. Joel Kleefisch what would happen if Wisconsin women simply stopped having abortions, he replied that “It would have a substantial negative impact on our capacity to do the life-saving research that we are doing.”
UW’s media arm scrambled to downplay Kleefisch’s statement, saying they nobody at UW was trying to promote abortion.
@briansikma Out of context and inaccurate. UW puts tissue to lifesaving uses— would otherwise be discarded. No one at UW pushing abortion.
— UW-Madison Media (@UWMadisonMedia) August 11, 2015
Wisconsin professors are still smarting from a series of blows that were landed against them by the administration of Gov. Scott Walker. Walker’s most recent budget reduced state funding for the UW system by $250 million, and it also repealed a Wisconsin law guaranteeing professors the right to tenure. (RELATED: Walker Wins: New Budget Will Repeal University Tenure)
If it can clear committee, Bill 305 could go up for a final vote as soon as next month.
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