2015 | Week of September 28 | #1117
Last Thursday our State Assembly voted along party lines to redirect taxpayer money away from Planned Parenthood of WI. That was an encouraging vote for sure. But that’s not the only vote regarding life or Planned Parenthood that we need in Wisconsin.
In the wake of the videos that Center for Medical Progress has released over the last couple of months exposing Planned Parenthood clearly trafficking in the body parts of the babies their gruesomely abort, Rep. André Jacque, a Republican from De Pere, has introduced two other bills dealing with unborn babies and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. These two bills aren’t getting the traction they should be getting in our state Assembly. In fact, there appears to be some pretty significant stonewalling among the Republican leadership.
Assembly Bill 311 would prohibit family-planning organizations, including Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and STD clinics from overbilling the state for drugs these organizations buy cheaply through a Medicaid drug program. Audits have shown these organizations have been asking the state to reimburse them for 3 and 4 times more than what they actually paid for the drugs. Estimates show this comes to about $4 million a year of taxpayer money going directly to increase the profits of these organizations. Assembly leadership has been reluctant to put this bill on the floor because counties and others say they overbill the state too and don’t want to have to stop doing so. Wouldn’t you think Republicans who claim they are fiscal conservatives and are all about the taxpayers would stop such gross overbilling no matter who’s doing it?
The other bill, Assembly Bill 305, would ban the sale, use and/or experimentation involving the body parts or tissue of aborted babies. At the hearings in both the Assembly and the Senate, the UW research leadership was joined by the president of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Their basic argument is that banning research using the body parts of babies aborted after January 1, 2015, and imposing penalties on those who knowingly do such experimentation would cripple their research, cause researchers to leave the state, deprive the state of federal grants and national recognition in the bio tech industry, thereby causing bio tech companies to either leave the state or not come to the state in the first place.
Mind you, the research they are trying valiantly to protect has, to date, produced no cures or treatments. That’s not just me saying that. At the Senate hearing last week, four distinguished scientists and researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin testified on their own behalf and said just that. They talked passionately about the truth that using abortion-derived fetal body parts or tissues for experimentation was not the best place and certainly not the only place to look for treatments and cures of diseases and illnesses. They also indicated that many of their peers shared their belief but out of fear would not speak up. In addition, they said some researchers would want to come to Wisconsin because we had ethical research practices.
The UW and Medical College of Wisconsin say they don’t want anyone to “profiteer” off the body parts of aborted babies; but they don’t have any problem with organizations that assist in the supply chain getting “reimbursed” for any costs associated with the transportation, handling, packaging and so forth of these body parts.
My response to that argument is who will ensure and how will they ensure that those involved in this gruesome business will charge only actual costs without padding their pockets with fabricated expenses and charges? After all, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has already shown a distinct willingness to pad their pockets with funds from overbilling the state for drugs they purchase cheap and then dispense. If they’ll do it for drugs, why not for the body parts of babies?
I believe this bill is about the character of Wisconsin. It’s fundamentally about how we view and value human life. Without the bill, we’re saying we are more than willing to treat humans as a commodity if it brings money and perceived status to an institution. Apparently Assembly Republican leadership is more concerned about protecting the right to experiment on the body parts of aborted babies than they are about respecting the dignity of human life.
Getting one of these three bills passed in the Assembly is a step in the right direction. But there’s a lot more that should be done. Assembly leadership needs to put principle above politics and pass these timely, reasonable and responsible proposals.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”