The top Republican in the state Assembly says a controversial proposal that would ban researchers from using most tissue from aborted fetuses likely does not have the votes needed to pass out of his chamber right now.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said Tuesday that concerns were raised in a GOP caucus that lead him to believe it does not have the 50 votes that would be needed to pass. Vos said that if the sponsors show they have votes required, he would bring it to the floor for a vote. However, he added “I don’t believe at this point that, without some changes, that that would be likely.”
Vos said the GOP is “trying to find some sort of middle ground that would allow us to continue to have potentially lifesaving research, but do it in a way that is ethical and doesn’t require women to have abortions in order to procure those body parts.”
AUDIO: Speaker Robin Vos talks about Assembly support for the ban (1:03)
The bill has faced an often contentious path at the Capitol and was again the focus of a lengthy hearing at the Capitol Tuesday, with a Senate committee taking hours of testimony. Backers argue the ban is needed to prevent the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. However, University of Wisconsin officials and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state chamber of commerce, have warned it could harm the state’s biomedical industry.
The legislation has been introduced in previous sessions, but gained momentum this year after a series of undercover videos were released by an anti-abortion group that claim to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses. Planned Parenthood has denied it profits off abortions and argues the videos were heavily edited to misrepresent their operations. The provider has also indicated none of its clinics in Wisconsin collect tissue from abortions that is used in research.