FETAL TISSUE TRAFFICKING: Coburn Offers Monitoring Bill
Following last week's congressional hearings on fetal tissue trafficking, Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) yesterday introduced a bill that would require any person or organization acquiring fetal tissue for any purpose to file a disclosure statement with HHS (Coburn release, 3/15). The statement would include: information regarding the source of the fetal tissue, including the names and addresses of those involved in the transaction; what the tissue will be used for; a description of the type and amount of fetal tissue involved, including whether the tissue was obtained from an induced abortion; verification that the "fetal tissue was obtained with the legal consent of the donor"; and the financial terms of the deal. The legislation would not permit the disclosure of the identity of any health care professional involved in abortion services or the identities of women obtaining abortions (bill text, 3/15). Coburn said: "One effective way to end the black market in fetal tissue is to establish better monitoring of legal transfer of fetal tissue. That way, researchers, government agencies and other interested parties can be sure they have not been taken advantage of by some shady operator. I think this step represents a consensus of opinion among members of the Commerce Committee and I hope it can be passed quickly and signed into law" (Coburn release, 3/15). The "Human Fetal Tissue Reporting and Disclosure Act of 2000" would make failure to file the documents a crime punishable by a minimum penalty of $10,000 (bill text, 3/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.