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Selling and Transferring Fetuses and Fetal Tissue in Michigan May Become Illegal

May 23, 2016, by Maurice Davis in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog

This April, the republican-controlled Michigan senate passed two bills that would outlaw the transfer or sale of fetuses and fetal tissues. If the House of Representatives approves the bills, and if Governor Snyder signs them into law, pro-life activists will hail these developments as a significant victory.

The problem is, it’s been illegal to sell fetuses or fetal tissue in Michigan since 1978. According to Michigan Health Code section 333.2690, it’s illegal for any person to “knowingly sell, transfer, distribute, or give away an embryo, fetus, or neonate” for uses prohibited in other sections of the health code.

The proposed bills, sponsored by Republican Senator Phil Pavlov, would amend the existing law with the following passage:

“A person shall not knowingly financially benefit from or receive any type of compensation for the distribution of transfer of any portion of an embryo, fetus, or neonate including any organs, tissues, or cells that were obtained as the result of elective abortion.”

Are Michigan Republicans Over-legislating?

Liberal commentators have been dismissive of the efforts of Michigan republicans to strengthen the already-existing controls on the transfer of fetal materials. They view these bills as a means of publicizing their pro-life stance in the wake of a scandal involving undercover videos of Planned Parenthood employees callously selling fetal parts.

The videos have been shown to be misleading—the result of clever editing. Nonetheless, the republican voting base is upset, and their representatives in the Michigan government want to show that their concerns are being heard. As Senator Pavlov stated to the press, the bills send a strong message that “baby parts are not for sale in Michigan.

Unfortunately, there is a chance that Pavlov’s bills could hamper stem cell research by making it illegal to pay workers who transport fetal tissue to research labs. Stem cell research—despite its controversies—has been crucial in the search for cures to deadly diseases such as Alzheimer’s that have so far eluded traditional research.

Michigan Legislators Should Focus on Saving Michigan from Collapse

Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with legislators making laws that represent the views of their constituents—that’s the basic mechanism of democracy. But when time and money is spent on writing legislation that already exists, it puts into question these legislators’ judgment in using limited state resources.

Many parts of Michigan have been abandoned and the people are suffering under a repressive criminal justice system. Infrastructure is crumbling. The residents of Flint have been drinking contaminated water. What measures is the legislature taking to address these pressing issues?

Why Trust the Michican Criminal Defense Attorneys with Davis Law Group

At Davis Law Group, we take seriously our role in upholding the rights of Michigan’s citizens in these troubled times. If you are facing criminal charges, we will help you confront the criminal justice system. Call our Michigan criminal defense attorneys today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.