Anti-abortion bills on ultrasound, fetal tissue withdrawn

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday withdrew two anti-abortion bills, reports the Times-Free Press. One sought to require a woman to have an ultrasound before she could undergo the procedure and the other barred the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses.

No explanations were given for taking the ultrasound bill, sponsored by Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, and the fetal tissue bill, sponsored by Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Gray, off notice.

Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, said the organization wasn’t backing either one and had swung its support to Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s legislation to regulate abortion clinics, as well as tissue donations.

The pro-life group has said it supports legislation that isn’t likely to spur a federal lawsuit.

Tennessee Planned Parenthood officials say their facilities do not engage in tissue donation for medical purposes.

Controversies over the use of fetal tissue and organs for medical purposes exploded last year. That was when the anti-abortion group, Center for Medical Progress, released portions of secretly recorded videos. They purported to show a national Planned Parenthood official discussing with CMP members, who posed as researchers, the procurement of fetal tissues for medical purposes.

The video appeared to show Planned Parenthood affiliates seeking to profit from fetal tissue transfers. But Planned Parenthood officials charged the video was selectively edited and falsely portrayed abortion clinics charging fees beyond legally permissible tissue donation costs like transportation.