2017 | Week of March 6 | #1193
A year ago at this time, pro-life organizations were doing last-ditch efforts to try to get the state legislature to pass a bill that would ban the trade and use of the body parts of aborted babies. All efforts failed. In spite of having strong conservative majorities in both houses, too many legislators, and Republican leadership in particular, were too nervous about the bill to schedule it for a vote in either house. Thus, the bill died.
It all started in the summer of 2015 when the Center for Medical Progress released a series of undercover videos showing that Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers were trafficking in the body parts of the babies they so hideously abort, basically selling them to the highest bidder.
All across the country, pro-life leaders and citizens began calling for bills that stop this heinous practice. In Wisconsin, pro-life champion Representative André Jacque from De Pere, quickly responded to the situation, introducing the bill that would ultimately die at the end of the session, along with two others dealing with defunding Planned Parenthood. These two defunding bills did ultimately pass and Governor Walker signed them into law last year.
Now it’s a new legislative session. Conservative majorities are even stronger in both the Assembly and the Senate. And bills dealing with this issue of how we in Wisconsin view aborted babies, are beginning to surface.
As a result of the prominence of this issue, a pro-life coalition was formed last year in order to use the full weight of all four pro-life groups as being completely in agreement on this matter. Heal Without Harm is a coalition of organizations and citizens dedicated to working with the scientific community to encourage it toward ethical research. The coalition is composed of member organizations Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Wisconsin Family Action and Pro-Life Wisconsin, among others.
Heal Without Harm supports legislation that fully ends the trade and use of the body parts of aborted babies, including for research. Heal Without Harm is not opposed to fetal tissue research, but it does strongly advocate for the material used in such research to come from an ethical source. With that position, Heal Without Harm supports legislation that encourages ethical fetal tissue research.
Already this session, two Republicans, Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Cindi Duchow, joined by a few of their peers as co-sponsors, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, have introduced a bill that purports to stop the sale and use of the body parts of aborted babies. However, close examination of the bill reveals that it does not fully stop the trade and use of the body parts of aborted babies, and it also has some very problematic exceptions. It is significant that none of the state’s pro-life groups, all of which are members of Heal Without Harm, were consulted on this bill. Had they been, perhaps this situation would be different.
The concerns the pro-life groups have about this bill are substantial enough that all four groups have registered in opposition to the bill.
Senator Darling and Representatives Duchow and Amy Loudenbeck circulated their bill for co-sponsorship with an unheard of 24-hour deadline. In response to the co-sponsorship memo, The Heal Without Harm Coalition sent a memo to all legislators asking them to refrain from co-sponsoring the Darling/Duchow legislation until they had more clarity regarding their concerns.
In the meantime, the Heal Without Harm Coalition is working with several legislators to introduce a package of bills that clearly end the trade and use of the body parts of aborted babies while also supporting a means by which researchers can get fetal tissue from ethical sources, including from stillborn or miscarried babies.
This pro-life Coalition is unprecedented in Wisconsin. Rarely do all four major pro-life groups come together in such solid unity around a bill. However, on this issue that is ultimately about the dignity of the human baby who has been horrifically aborted, the groups are in absolute solidarity and lockstep. The Coalition is urging all pro-life citizens to be ready to engage with their legislators when the legislation is introduced. Will Wisconsin respect the humanity and dignity of aborted babies—or once again take a pass?
For Wisconsin Family Council, I’m Julaine Appling, reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”