Legislative committee chairs call hearing on aborted fetuses

News release from Sen. Mike Bell and Rep. Jeremy Faison
NASHVILLE — Senate Government Operations Committee Chairman Mike Bell (R-Riceville) and House Government Operations Committee Chairman Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) announced today that they will hold a joint fact-finding meeting to look at enforcement of Tennessee’s law banning the sale of an aborted fetus. The Joint Operations Committee meeting was called after the release of two videos by the Center for Medical Progress allegedly showing executives of Planned Parenthood discussing prices for intact fetal specimens and methods to destroy a fetus without harming organs or tissues considered valuable for sale to vendors.

Bell and Faison have requested that Tennessee Commissioner of Health John Dreyzehner appear at the meeting set for August 19 in Nashville.

“The gruesome videos released by the Center for Medical Progress have implications at Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide, including those located here in Tennessee,” said Senator Bell. “The executives filmed were in national leadership roles in the company. We want the facts about who is watching to ensure that the trafficking of baby parts is not happening in Tennessee and whether or not we need additional rules and regulations to make sure federal and state laws against this horrific practice are enforced.”

Tennessee law states no person, agency, corporation, partnership or association shall offer or accept money or anything of value for an aborted fetus. The law is punishable as a Class E felony which carries a one to six-year year jail term and a fine of up to $3,000.

Rep. Faison said, “Regardless of where you stand on abortion, we can all agree that what we have seen Planned Parenthood do is abhorrent! The Tennessee Department of Health must take all precautions to see that his never happens in our state.”

The Government Operations Committee is responsible for reviewing rules and regulations dealing with Departments, Agencies and other entities of state government. The General Assembly passed a law earlier this year to give the Department of Health more authority to inspect basic health and safety standards at abortion clinics beginning July 1; however, U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp issued a temporary restraining order blocking its implementation.

“The deplorable lack of respect for human life shown in this video has no place in any civilized society,” added Bell. “We have a lot of questions that need answers about how we can make sure that this is not happening in our state.”