UPDATE: Group launches ads calling for vote on fetal research bill

Madison Wisconsin - Capitol Building

UPDATED Monday, January 4, 2016---2:46 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An anti-abortion group has started airing a television commercial calling on Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to hold a vote on a bill that would prohibit research using tissue taken from aborted fetuses.

Wisconsin Family Action says the commercial began airing in Milwaukee on Monday and will run later this week in the Green Bay area as well. The ad asks views to call Vos and tell him to schedule a vote on the bill.

Wisconsin Family Action President Julaine Appling said in a news release using fetal tissue in research is unnecessary and horrific. Researchers have countered that banning experiments using such tissue could chill work on potentially life-saving cures and treatments.

Vos spokeswoman Kit Beyer didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the ad.

Copyright 2016: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 13, 2015---4:33 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Senate's health committee has approved a bill that would outlaw research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses.

The Republican-controlled committee passed the bill 3-2 along party lines Tuesday. The votes clear the way for a vote in the full Senate. It's unclear how much support the bill has in that chamber, however.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and private scientists oppose the measure. They argue it could end ground-breaking medical research that relies on fetal tissue cells. Republicans have amended the bill to outlaw research on fetal tissue cell lines obtained from abortions after Jan. 1 of this year, but the researchers say they need new lines.

The state's largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, also opposes the measure.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, October 13, 2015 --- 4:43 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Senate's health committee is set to vote on a bill that would outlaw research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses.

The Republican-controlled committee is slated to consider the bill Tuesday in the state Capitol. Passage looks all but certain and would clear the way for a vote in the full Senate.

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers and private scientists oppose the measure. They argue it could end ground-breaking medical research that relies on fetal tissue cells. Republicans have amended the bill to outlaw research on fetal tissue cell lines obtained from abortions after Jan. 1 of this year, but the researchers say they need new lines.

It's unclear how much support the bill has in the Senate. The state's largest business group, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, opposes the measure.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press
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UPDATED Thursday, September 24, 2015---1:48 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he's optimistic the chamber will vote on a bill outlawing research on tissue taken from aborted fetuses.

The GOP-authored measure would ban research on tissues, organs and cells from fetuses killed in elective abortions after Jan. 1, 2015, and ban the commercial sale of fetal tissue. Republicans in both the Assembly and Senate, however, have expressed concerns that the bill could chill research efforts.

Vos, a Rochester Republican, said earlier this week he doesn't have the votes to move the bill out of the Assembly. On Thursday he said members of his caucus have been trying to craft a compromise and he hopes to bring the bill to the floor by Oct. 22. He declined to comment on what changes might be coming.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 22, 2015---10:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The authors of a bill that would outlaw research on tissue from fetuses aborted are trying to persuade the state Senate's health committee to approve the proposal.

Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Andre Jacque, both Republicans, told the committee during a public hearing Tuesday that the bill will stop atrocities and aborted children should be treated like humans, not specimens.

Dr. Robert Goldman, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's vice chancellor of medical affairs, told the panel that the bill would be devastating to researchers and drive them to other states. He also said the measure won't reduce the number of abortions.

The bill is ready for a vote in the Assembly but it's unclear how much support the proposal has among Senate Republicans, who are concerned the measure's effect on research.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 22, 2015---9:33 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin legislators are set to hold another public hearing on a bill that would outlaw research on tissue taken from aborted fetuses.

The Senate's health committee was scheduled to hold a hearing on the Republican-authored measure Tuesday morning in the state Capitol. The Assembly's criminal justice already has held a hearing and approved the bill, clearing the way for a full vote that chamber but it's unclear how much support the proposal has among Senate Republicans, who are concerned the measure's effect on research.

The bill would make experimenting on tissue taken from aborted fetuses after this Jan. 1 a felony. The measure has drawn widespread opposition from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, private-sector scientists and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state's largest business group.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 15, 2015---10:01 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Republican leader of the Wisconsin state Senate says he wants to pass a bill banning the sale of tissue obtained from aborted fetuses, but he doesn't know yet how it would apply to research.

A bill recently approved by a state Assembly committee would bar all research on aborted fetal tissue obtained after Jan. 1 of this year. The measure has drawn strong opposition from University of Wisconsin leaders and researchers, as well as the state chamber of commerce.

They say such a ban would hurt their research and put UW at a competitive disadvantage.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told The Associated Press on Tuesday he doesn't know what form the bill will take, but his goal is to get something passed in both the Senate and Assembly.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 9, 2015---11:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin state Assembly committee has passed a Republican-backed bill opposed by the University of Wisconsin that would prohibit research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses.

Wednesday's vote makes the bill available for a vote by the full Assembly as soon as later this month. It's unclear whether the measure has enough support to pass the Senate, where Republican Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald has not commented on its chances.

The proposal would make it a felony to sell, donate or experiment on cells, tissues, organs obtained from fetuses that were aborted after Jan. 1.

The bill would allow research to continue on cell lines and tissue obtained before this year.

University researchers continue to oppose the bill saying it will impede their work by cutting off access to new tissue.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin state Assembly committee plans to vote on a Republican-backed bill that would prohibit research using tissue obtained from aborted fetuses.

The measure up for a vote Wednesday in the Assembly's criminal justice committee is opposed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and researchers who say it will impede their work.

The proposal sponsored by Republican Rep. Andre Jacque from DePere would make it a felony to sell, donate or experiment on cells, tissues, organs obtained from fetuses that were aborted after Jan. 1.

Supporters of the ban say that will allow research to continue on cell lines and tissue obtained prior to this year.

But researchers continue to oppose the bill, say existing cell lines can't be used as substitutes for new ones in the future.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press
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UPDATED Friday, September 4, 2015---11:22 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republicans pushing a bill that would make it a felony to perform research using tissue from aborted fetuses have amended the measure to allow some work.

The bill would outlaw selling, donating and experimenting with cells, tissues, organs or other fetal body parts. University of Wisconsin researchers and private scientists have expressed concerns that bill would have a chilling effect on their work.

The proposal's authors, Reps. Andre Jacque and Joel Kleefisch, introduced an amendment Friday that apply the research ban to tissue obtained from abortions after Jan. 1, 2015.

They say the amendment would allow research on widely used cell lines from the 1960s and 1970s.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 12, 2015---10:39 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker isn't saying whether he supports the current version of a bill in the Legislature that would ban research involving aborted fetal body parts.

Walker was asked Wednesday about the measure, which drew opposition from University of Wisconsin and private researchers at a public hearing Tuesday.

Walker says his focus is on stopping what was shown on undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials that raised questions about whether the organization was profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.

Walker says "we'll certainly watch throughout the process as to how they get something like that."

Bill co-sponsor Rep. Joel Kleefisch says he is "extremely optimistic" Walker will sign a bill making the procurement of aborted fetal body parts illegal.

The Legislature could vote on the bill next month.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 -- 6:15 p.m.

Madison, Wis. -- Supporters of the bill at Tuesday's public hearing said it allows people to end lives to save lives, and that needs to stop. The opposition says this won't stop abortions from happening, it will just stop lifesaving research.

One person who testified is Dean Robert Golden of the UW Medical School. He says fetal tissues have been used for decades to save thousands of lives, and have eradicated polio.

"This is incredibly important because there is incredibly important potentially lifesaving research conducted here in Wisconsin that relies on fetal material that is received from licensed and regulated tissue banks," added Golden.

But the bill's author's say fetuses need to be treated with dignity and respect. That's something former Texas Planned Parenthood worker Abby Johnson said didn't happen at her clinic.

"POC stands for products of conception in the abortion industry we used to joke that it stood for pieces of children," claimed Johnson.

Johnson says her Texas clinic made more than $1 million on the sale of fetal body parts. But Representative Jocasta Zamarippa says she worked at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and nothing like that happens here. Fellow Representative Andre Jaque says her word isn't good enough.

"I don't know if they have, I don't know if they're doing it currently, and I don't know if they have plans to do it in the future. but this legislation would prohibit it," added Jaque.

The bill would allow for research if the fetus died naturally, and was donated. However, Dean Golden says that's not usable. The bill still needs to go through an executive session before the committee decides whether to pass it on to the full legislature.

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 11, 2015---10:34 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican state lawmakers pushing a bill that would ban research on aborted fetal tissue in Wisconsin say it will not affect ongoing research using existing cell lines.

The Assembly's criminal justice committee held a hearing on the measure Tuesday, with Republican backers saying they hope to have votes on the measure before the full Legislature as soon as next month.

The bill would outlaw selling, donating and experimenting with fetal body parts in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Medical Society, the Medical College of Wisconsin and a trade association representing biotech companies are all lobbying against the measure.

The bill's authors say it is a reaction to recently released videos showing a Planned Parenthood medical director in southern California meeting with people posing as potential buyers of fetal tissue.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, August 11, 2015---8:52 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican state lawmakers are pushing a bill that would ban research on aborted fetal tissue, a proposal that's attracting widespread opposition from Wisconsin's medical community.

The measure was scheduled for a public hearing before the Assembly's criminal justice committee Tuesday, a sign that Republicans who control the Legislature hope to vote on it as soon as next month.

The bill would also outlaw selling, donating and experimenting with fetal body parts in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Medical Society, the Medical College of Wisconsin and a trade association representing biotech companies are all lobbying against the measure.

The bill's authors say it is a reaction to recently released videos showing a Planned Parenthood medical director in southern California meeting with people posing as potential buyers of fetal tissue.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press

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Posted Monday, August 10, 2015---10:54 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers oppose a bill that would ban the use of aborted fetal tissue in Wisconsin.

Federal law already bans the sale of fetal tissue, but donation is allowed. The bill scheduled for an Assembly committee hearing Tuesday would ban the use of aborted fetal tissue in experiments.

The lead sponsor, Republican Rep. Andre Jacque, says he's changed the proposal from an earlier version which also banned research using cells derived from fetal tissue.

UW School of Medicine and Public Health officials say about 100 labs on campus use cells derived from fetal tissue for research on cancer, heart disease and other conditions. The State Journal says about six to eight labs use fetal tissue in studies on diabetes and other conditions.

Copyright 2015: Associated Press