RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/WNCN) – A state Senate committee has cleared legislation filed in response to recent undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue for research.
The panel voted Wednesday for a measure to prohibit the sale of the remains of aborted fetuses.
State health regulations direct how facilities permitted to terminate pregnancies and medical and research labs must dispose of those remains by burial, cremation or incineration.
But state law doesn’t specifically ban the sale of these remains.
The bill would make such activity a low-grade felony.
Sen. Chad Barefoot of Wake County says the legislation would bring “some level of dignity to unborn children” who were aborted.
“The videos are utterly gruesome, callous and represent a very dark and depraved part of our culture, a part of our culture that many Americans did not know existed. I certainly didn’t,” Barefoot said.
The North Carolina Planned Parenthood affiliate calls the bill another “political attack on safe and legal abortion” in the state.
“I was very surprised to see this bill. It’s just another in a long series of political attacks that extremists in this legislature are waging against women’s healthcare,” said Melissa reed with Planned Parenthood South Atlantic.
Sen. Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) questioned the impact the bill could have on medical research and said will increase the rate of abortions.
“This will increase abortion rates, not decease abortion rates,” Van Duyn said.
The bill also restates a stance that is mentioned in the state budget. The bill says the state won’t contract for pregnancy prevention programs through any organization that provides abortions.
That is something Planned Parenthood said clearly targets the organization.
Barefoot said teen pregnancy prevention can be handled by groups that don’t provide abortions.
The bill goes to the House next week.