Bell Lauds Haslam’s Handling of Planned Parenthood Fetal Tissue Controversy

Press release from the Republican Caucus of the Tennessee State Senate, Nov. 18, 2015:

Senate and House Government Operations Committee Chairmen praise efforts by Governor Haslam to prevent the selling of human fetal tissue from aborted fetuses in Tennessee

NASHVILLE – Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and House Government Operations Committee Chairman Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) today praised the efforts of Governor Bill Haslam to help prevent the selling of human fetal tissue from aborted fetuses. Bell and Faison held a hearing of the Joint Government Operations Committee in August to look at enforcement of Tennessee’s law banning the sale of tissue or organs from an aborted fetus.

The Joint Operations Committee meeting was called after the release of videos by the Center for Medical Progress allegedly showing executives of Planned Parenthood discussing prices for intact fetal specimens and methods to destroy a fetus without harming organs or tissues considered valuable for sale to vendors.

“The deplorable lack of respect for human life shown in the Planned Parenthood videos has no place in any civilized society and we appreciate the substantial steps taken by Governor Haslam to strengthen Tennessee’s law to ensure it is followed,” said Senator Bell. “I look forward to continuing to work with him on this important issue during the upcoming legislative session.”

In a letter to members of the General Assembly, Haslam listed the administrative actions he has taken since the Joint Government Operation Committee meeting. This includes making the process for filing a complaint against a surgery center more transparent and accessible, strengthening the record keeping requirements related to the disposition of fetal remains, and conducting periodic inspections of all licensed health care facilities.

Governor Haslam also stated in the letter that he anticipates legislative action to further enhance inspection procedures and record keeping, as well as a prohibition on reimbursement of any costs associated with the transport of an aborted fetus.

“The Governor has made important changes that will help to deter the sale of fetal tissue and organs in Tennessee,” added Representative Faison. “We applaud his efforts and appreciate him working with us to ensure that we can identify and prosecute violations of our law.”

Tennessee law states no person, agency, corporation, partnership or association shall offer or accept money or anything of value for an aborted fetus. The law is punishable as a Class E felony which carries a one to six-year jail term and a fine of up to $3,000.