LANSING (ChurchMilitant.com) - The State of Michigan has enacted the Fetal Organ Trafficking Ban, with Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signing it into law Wednesday, December 28 — the Feast of the Holy Innocents. The law will forbid anyone from compensating abortion mills for aborted babies' parts.
The new law consists of two separate bills. Senate Bill 564 prohibits compensation for fetal tissue or body parts. Senate Bill 565 sets forth legal punishments for trading in fetal organs or tissue.
Right to Life of Michigan (RTL) spoke with Church Militant about the new measures.
"There will be no fetal tissue trafficking in the state of Michigan," said Chris Gast, Director of Communication and Education for RTL. "We all saw those undercover videos; we responded and got the job done. The ban caps off a successful year for state legislation, providing momentum for what could be a truly special 2017 for pro-life citizens."
In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress rolled out undercover footage of Planned Parenthood officials bartering over the sale of fetal tissue and organs, a violation of federal law.
When asked how this law came about and if there was significant opposition to it, Gast commented,
The lead sponsor in the Michigan Senate, Sen. Phil Pavlov, was immediately interested in pursuing this after the first videos from the Center for Medical Progress were released. Usually our legislation takes several sessions to work its way through the system, but this got done in a single session. The bills received very little opposition, and even got support from a few pro-abortion legislators. Planned Parenthood in Michigan was extremely muted. Abortion supporters know exactly where the public stands on buying and selling body parts of aborted babies, and that’s why they tried to keep these transactions behind closed doors.
When asked how faithful Catholics can help to end the scourge of abortion, Gast replied, "Talk about abortion. Don't let abortion be an issue saved for one presidential debate every four years or a controversial legislative fight. Abortion is happening daily on a massive scale all around us, and we need to bring attention to it."
He further commented, "Many churches — even some Catholic churches — ignore abortion or reference it slightly a couple select times a year. Abortions are happening within churches, so it's an issue that needs to be addressed more by both pastors and the laity."
Barbara Listing, president of Right to Life of Michigan, remarked on the RTL blog, "The undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood haggling over the broken bodies of developed babies rightly disgusted our nation. Trafficking in human body parts has no place in the state of Michigan."
"We welcome the opportunity to work with anyone who can agree with us on a particular issue," she continued. "Most people broadly agree that buying and selling human body parts is beyond the pale."
This is the third pro-life bill passed in the 2016 legislative session in Michigan. The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act and the Coercive Abortion Prevention Act were both signed into law earlier this year.
The first bill allows women who become pregnant as a result of rape to appeal for the end of parental rights for the rapist, even without a criminal conviction. The second bill makes coercing a woman to abort her child a crime, provides penalties for coercion, and requires abortion mills to screen for coercion and domestic abuse that may lead to pressure to abort the child.