Tennessee Abortion Clinics One Step Closer To Disclosure Rule On Fetal Remains | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee Abortion Clinics One Step Closer To Disclosure Rule On Fetal Remains

Mar 22, 2016

Tennessee senators advanced a bill Tuesday that would require physicians to report how they’ve disposed of fetal remains after abortions.

Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, said the state hasn’t been equipped to track the remains — leaving uncertainty about whether fetal parts are being sold for research.

“The problem is that no one in the Department of Health could say whether it’s happening or not in Tennessee, because we didn’t have the framework in place,” he said.

Roberts says SB 2568 does nothing to restrict abortions.

“It’s really about the remains and how we’re handling the remains, so that they’re not sold,” he said.

The bill comes in response to controversial undercover videos released last summer in which filmmakers tried unsuccessfully to buy fetal parts at clinics. They were later discredited, and indicted, for tampering with a government record.

The only mention of the videos in the Senate Judiciary Committee came just before the vote, when Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, said that he wants to give his constituents “comfort to know that those horrible practices that we saw in the videos are not taking place in Tennessee.”

Senators amended the bill slightly after a 30-minute discussion with health officials about different types of abortion — and words like “medical” and “surgical.” The committee decided that such descriptors could be confusing. They moved to use the general term “abortion” to ensure all types would be subject to the reporting requirement.

The measure awaits discussion in a House committee.