MichBio Opposes Criminalization of Fetal Tissue Research

HB 5558, sponsored by Rep. Albert and others, was recently introduced and seeks that “Research shall not knowingly be performed on an organ, tissue, or cell taken from a dead embryo, fetus, or neonate obtained from an abortion.” This legislation is the latest attempt to criminalize and restrict fetal tissue research conducted legally and ethically.

MichBio submitted its opposition during a House Health Policy Committee hearing and issued the following statement:

“The Michigan Biotechnology Industry Association (MichBio) supports federal and state policies that permit use of fetal tissue in research including public funding for such research within a framework of scientific, ethical, legal and practical guidelines. Furthermore, MichBio supports laws and governmental policies that prohibit human reproductive cloning. Fetal tissue research plays a critical role in advancing medical science due to many unique properties fetal cells have that adult cells do not; the plasticity and flexibility of these cells make them incredibly valuable to research as they divide, grow, and adapt to new environments far more rapidly than adult cells. This has provided key insight into both fetal development and disease progression, and has led to important breakthroughs in understanding and developing treatments for Type I diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease and heart failure. And let’s not forget how the use of fetal cells has been central to breakthroughs in developing life-saving vaccines for children and adults – including rubella, polio, varicella, flu and especially Covid.”

The bill was voted out of Health Policy and moved to the Judiciary Committee as its companion bill, HB 5559, describes the criminal procedures for violators.

MichBio will send a formal letter of opposition to the full House when the bill comes up for a vote by the body.

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