Legislation that Would End Vital Medical Research

from Wisconsin State Representative Jonathan Brostoff’s 2/1/16 E-News

Poliovirus vaccines are currently estimated to save 550,000 lives worldwide every year. Many other vaccines, such as those for chicken pox, rubella, and shingles also safeguard our loved ones. These vaccines were developed through research that utilized donated fetal tissue.

Two similar, pending bills — Assembly Bill (AB) 305 and Senate Bill (SB) 260 — would cripple the use of fetal tissue for scientific research in our state. And these bills threaten not just the continued work of Wisconsin’s leading-edge and world-famous medical researchers, but everyone’s vital interest in protecting and advancing public health.

When a woman’s pregnancy must be terminated she may offer to donate the resulting fetal tissue for the advancement of science. When this occurs, multiple safeguards are in place: Thus federal regulations ensure that such tissue is harvested and used ethically, and in full compliance with established medical protocol. Solicitation of the fetal remains prior to a termination decision being made is prohibited. The medical professionals performing the procedure are not permitted to know if the tissue will be donated or not. And fetal tissue sale is already prohibited by federal law.

Nor is there evidence that fetal tissue has been sold. Such modest monies sometimes paid, have been solely to reimburse parties for tissue transportation and related fees, as is standard for any anatomical donation for transplant procedures or similar medical purposes. Thus this legislation is a supposed solution in search of a non-existent problem.

Fetal tissue has been used in medical studies since the 1930s. The University of Wisconsin-Madison alone currently has fetal tissue research active in some 100 laboratories across campus — for potentially life-saving studies on cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, blindness, diabetes, and other conditions.

But make no mistake: While the purpose of AB 305/SB 260 is to escalate the GOP’s attack on women’s health and privacy, its pernicious effects would be broader — for this proposed legislation threatens public health generally.

The attack on Wisconsin women’’s health and privacy has gone on for several years now. We have already seen an 11% decline in women’’s healthcare providers since 2008. And in 2011, 96% of Wisconsin counties had no clinic where women could access all reproductive care options. Yet these bills, with their pretextual rationale, would compound the GOP’s attack on women’s health — by attacking everyone’s health.

I will continue to fight to have all healthcare options being made available to all women who may need access to them. As for the State Legislature, it should stay away from the private medical matters that concern women and their doctors. And it should protect the public’s health — not endanger it.

Back to top
Back to Front Page

Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on February 01, 2016

Legal Information |  Designed and built by Emergency Digital. | Hosted by Steadfast Networks