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Friday, February 23, 2024

UW-Madison officials have said an amendment passed Friday banning the use of fetal tissue could hamper research efforts. 

Fetal tissue amendment would allow already obtained tissue for research

Fetal tissue acquired before 2015 could be used for research under an amendment proposed Friday to a bill which would have banned that practice along with future acquisition of fetal tissue.

However, UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Marsha Mailick said in a statement the change would still hinder research efforts.

"Setting a 2015 sunset would close the door on countless treatments and cures and put our scientists and state biomedical industry at tremendous disadvantage," Mailick said in the statement. "Our researchers must continue to have access to, and be involved in the discovery of, the tools that can help advance scientific progress and help find cures for patients."

Many Republican lawmakers introduced and backed the bill after videos were released by anti-abortion activists that they say show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of fetal tissue to research groups.

UW-Madison has been among those opposing the bill since it was introduced last month, with Bob Golden, dean of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, testifying against the proposal at a public hearing in August.

State Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, co-authored the bill and argued the amendment is an appropriate compromise.

"I think this is a fair approach; one, I think, we all can live with," he said in a statement Friday.

The bill with the proposed amendment is scheduled for a vote Wednesday before the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, has said that the bill will come before the full Assembly this fall, although Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, has been noncommittal about the fate of the bill in the upper house.

Gov. Scott Walker has expressed support for the measure and has indicated he would sign it.

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