Senate passes bill banning sale of fetal tissue

NC Senate FloorRALEIGH – The N.C. Senate passed a bill 41-3 Thursday that makes it a Class I felony to sell any fetal tissue, including stem cells, harvested after an abortion or miscarriage. The vote comes after a national scandal over the summer in which an anti-abortion group released a hidden camera recording of a Planned Parenthood employee allegedly negotiating the price of harvested fetal organs. House Bill 297 adds to the existing federal law that bans the sale or purchase of fetal tissue, but does allow parents to donate the remains of a miscarriage for scientific research.

“The very least we can do is provide some level of dignity to babies who lose their lives in an abortion,” said Sen. Chad Barefoot (R-Wake), the bill’s sponsor. “We simply cannot allow abortion providers in North Carolina to profit from the death of unborn children.”

In addition, the measure reinforces efforts already in the budget by a banning taxpayer money from going to organizations that also provide abortions. It forbids state agencies that provide teen pregnancy prevention or family planning services from contracting with groups such as Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has denied that it profits from fetal tissue use in biomedical research.

House Bill 297 is slated to go to the House on Monday for concurrence.