N.C. House passes bill banning sale of fetal body parts

housefloorRAEIGH – The House had a full calendar Monday as lawmakers try to wrap up legislation before possibly adjourning later this week. Members are expected to reconvene Monday evening to complete the calendar, but did vote not to concur with the Appointments Bill. They also withdrew the regulatory reform bill from the calendar, with insiders saying it is supposed to go back to committee for editing and return to the floor on Tuesday.

The House also passed a bill Monday afternoon 79-29 that bans the sale of aborted fetal tissue. The Senate passed the measure last week and it now goes to the governor. The bill sparked debate because it also bans any organization that performs abortions from getting state money for pregnancy planning services, which would affect Planned Parenthood.

“How do you distinguish what’s state money and what’s not when you are paying rent?” asked Rep. Pat McElraft (R-New Hannover) on the floor.

Opponents of the bill defended the organization, saying that Planned Parenthood has assured them that it does not profit from harvesting fetal tissue and that the tissue is used for medical research. The bill does still allow parents to donate tissue from a miscarriage to science.

“Not one person is going to vote against selling body parts. We wouldn’t be talking about this at all if it weren’t for section three,” said one opponent, referring to the section that stops abortion providers from getting taxpayer money for other services.

The bill was sponsored by Reps. Justin Burr and Sarah Stevens following a scandal this summer in which a Planned Parenthood employee was caught on hidden camera allegedly negotiating the price of fetal body parts. Defenders of the organization say that while the video clearly shows representatives of the organization negotiating prices, it is incorrect to say that Planned Parenthood “profits” from the sales, since at the prices they were negotiating the organization would not turn a profit; the revenue would merely help defray costs.

The House has not yet passed the Adjournment Resolution that ends the session on Tuesday, even though the Senate passed it last week. On Monday evening the House is expected to debate the $2 billion N.C. Connect bond package, along with the Farm Act, a regulatory reform bill for the agriculture industry.