The proposed legislation comes after Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program was targeted in a series of misleading videos released this summer by the antiabortion-rights group Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities. The organization said it does not profit from fetal tissue donations and only receives reimbursement for costs associated with such donations, which is legal. In August, the organization submitted a report to Congress that found the videos were manipulated, making them unreliable for official inquiries into the organization.
Last week, Planned Parenthood announced that while it will maintain fetal tissue donation programs at some clinics, it no longer will accept reimbursements for the cost of the program (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/14).
Planned Parenthood in Michigan does not participate in a fetal tissue donation program, according to officials with the organization. Further, Michigan officials earlier this month completed an investigation into Planned Parenthood in the state and found that the organization did not mishandle any fetal tissue.
The measure, proposed by state Sen. Phil Pavlov (R), would make it illegal to "financially benefit from or receive any type of compensation for the distribution or transfer of any portion of an embryo, fetus, or neonate including any organs, tissues, or cells that were obtained as the result of an elective abortion." A companion bill (SB 565) would impose up to a five-year prison sentence on individuals who violated the measure.
Pavlov said he is considering additional legislation regarding fetal tissue (MLive, 10/17).