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Your voice is needed at State Capitol Print E-mail
Editorial
Thursday, Nov. 02, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

As Catholics, we believe that life begins at conception. So when babies die in miscarriage or stillbirth, their parents should be able to have a service for them.

Elizabeth Ministry, headquartered in Wisconsin, is also working with more cemeteries to set aside an area for babies who have died before birth.

In Wisconsin, there are two pieces of proposed legislation which seek to demonstrate greater respect for unborn children.

Heal Without Harm

The Heal Without Harm Initiative is a package of two complementary bills, the “Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act” (SB 424/AB 550) and the “Fetal Remains Respect Act” (SB 423/AB 549).

These bills propose to advance scientific research and demonstrate respect for unborn children by 1) providing families, doctors, and scientists with ethical sources of fetal tissue; 2) requiring final disposition for human fetal remains; and 3) prohibiting the future exploitation of aborted children for fetal body parts.

The Heal Without Harm website (www.healwithoutharm.org) provides information on these bills.

Why bills needed

Heal Without Harm points out that Wisconsin has an extraordinary opportunity to lead the nation by championing research that is ethical, innovative, and effective. Such a commitment to heal without harm would make our state a destination for scientists who wish to pursue research free of ethical controversy.

Currently, some research at both public and private labs around the state utilizes fetal tissue derived from aborted children. This has caused ethical dilemmas for researchers who do not want to experiment on this type of tissue.

It has also disturbed many members of the public who do not want to receive medicines and medical treatments that are derived from the unjust taking of human life.

Importance of research

No one disputes that fetal tissue is used to advance treatments for diseases and chronic conditions. Currently, fetal tissue is being used to find cures for many diseases, from autism and cancer to diabetes and schizophrenia, to name a few.

The issue is the source of the fetal tissue. It can either come from intentional deaths, namely abortion, or from natural or accidental deaths, namely stillbirths and miscarriages (commonly referred to as fetal loss).

Scientists currently have a greater supply of fetal tissue from abortion clinics, whereas there are fewer places that collect and distribute tissue from fetal loss. This gap is what the Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act seeks to address.

Donating bodies

Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that abortions are now about the same number as stillbirths/miscarriages. In Wisconsin, the DHS reports that in 2014, 317 stillbirths occurred after 20 weeks gestation.

DHS also reports that in 2015, 359 abortions occurred between 16-20 weeks and 56 after 20 weeks, for a total of 415 abortions. However, as with other organ and tissue donation, many people are not aware that this gift is possible. This is why the Unborn Child Disposition and Anatomical Gift Act is so vital.

Your voice is needed

Your voice is needed at the State Capitol to register in support and even testify in favor of the Heal Without Harm Legislative Initiative, SB 423 and SB 424.

A hearing will be held on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 10 a.m. in the Wisconsin State Capitol, Room 411 South.

If you plan on attending the hearing, email the coalition at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it so you can get more resources.

Can’t make it to the hearing? Consider submitting written testimony. Email the coalition at news@healwith outharm.org for more information.

Or contact your legislators and ask them:

• To co-sponsor the Heal Without Harm Legislative Initiative.

• Ensure public hearings are held in the Assembly.

• Ensure the bills are passed in both houses.

If you don’t know who your legislators are, go to www.legis.wisconsin.gov and type in your home address under “Find My Legislators” or call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-362-9472.

This is an important issue dealing with respect for all life. Please do what you can to make sure this legislation is passed in our state.

 
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