In the wake of a national fervor following the release of a video of representatives from Planned Parenthood cavalierly discussing the sale of fetal tissue, a bill co-sponsored by dozens of Alabama state lawmakers to prohibit such sales has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
The new proposal – HB 38, whose primary sponsor is Rep. Jack “J.D” Williams – would explicitly ban any “person, entity, or association from offering or accepting money or anything of value for an aborted fetus or any portion of an aborted fetus.”
Williams told ALToday.com the bill addresses an issue more vital than the usual “pro-choice” vs. “pro-life” fault lines that often bifurcate the public debate on reproductive rights.
“I think folks on either side of the abortion debate were just shocked at the revelations that came out in the recent Planned Parenthood videos,” said Williams. “It was just troubling to me – I’m pro-life, but I don’t know that I’ve ever handled this kind of legislation… This speaks to who were are as a nation, and I felt Alabama ought to be one of the state working to stop this kind of activity.”
“When you deal with an organization like Planned Parenthood that will say they are only dealing with unwanted children and yet they wanna go and sell their parts – at some point, reasonable people have to stand up and say ‘No, that’s wrong.'”
The bill provides penalties consistent with a Class B felony – in Alabama, between two and 20 years in jail and a fine of up to $30,000 – for anyone who violates it, and creates a new crime in statute specifically related to the act of peddling parts of aborted fetuses.
Alabama – which already has some of the nation’s strictest abortion regimes including a mandatory waiting period for all abortions and limited access to clinics in most of the state – was already the site of controversy involving Planned Parenthood this year before the incendiary video was released.
As of Tuesday, the bill had been slated to be taken up by one committee of reference, the House Health Committee.