Missouri Bill Regarding Aborted Fetal Tissue (HB 194)
This law was last updated on Nov 13, 2017
HB 194 would amend current Missouri law regarding fetal tissue obtained from abortion procedures.
The bill would prohibit any person from knowingly donating or making an anatomical gift of the fetal organs or tissue resulting from an abortion to any person or entity for medical, scientific, experimental, therapeutic, or any other use.
The final disposition of aborted fetal tissue may not include any donation or anatomical gift of fetal organs or tissue.
Any person who violates the provisions of this section would be guilty of a class C felony, and the court may impose a fine in an amount not less than twice the amount of any valuable consideration received.
Fetal organs or tissue resulting from an abortion may only be used for medical or scientific purposes when attempting to determine the cause or causes of any anomaly, illness, death, or genetic condition of the fetus, the paternity of the fetus, or for law enforcement purposes.
Fetal Tissue Reporting
The bill requires all fetal tissue and remains removed at the time of abortion to be ensured as nonhazardous in compliance with department of natural resources regulations.
Current law requires aborted tissue to be submitted to a board eligible or certified pathologist who is required to file a copy of the tissue report with the state department of health, the facility where the abortion was performed, and be made part of the patient’s permanent record.
HB 194 would require the report to include:
- The gestational age of the fetal remains;
- Whether all tissue and remains of a human fetus were received that would be common for a specimen of such estimated gestational age;
- What portion of the fetal tissue and remains were not received;
- A gross diagnosis and detailed gross findings of what was received including the percent blood clot and the percent tissue;
- The date the fetal tissue and remains were remitted to be disposed and the location of such disposal;
- A certification in the report that all submitted tissue has been disposed in accordance with state law; and
- The name and address of the entity conducting the examination of the specimen containing the fetal remains.
The bill would require each specimen containing fetal remains to be given a unique identification number to allow the specimen to be tracked from the abortion facility or hospital where the abortion was performed or induced to the pathology lab and to its final disposition location.
Additionally, a report would need to be created and submitted to the department for each specimen containing remains of a human fetus at each facility that handles the specimen, including the abortion facility or hospital where the abortion was performed or induced, the pathology lab, and the location of final disposition. It would need to include the date the specimen containing remains of a human fetus was collected, transported, received, and disposed.
The bill requires the department to reconcile each notice of abortion with its corresponding pathology report. If the department does not receive the notice of abortion and the pathology report, the department would need to conduct an investigation. If the department finds that the abortion facility or hospital where the abortion was performed or induced was not in compliance with the provisions of this section, the department would be required to consider such noncompliance a deficiency requiring an unscheduled inspection of the facility to ensure the deficiency is remedied. If such deficiency is not remedied the department would suspend the abortion facility’s or hospital’s license for no less than one year.
HB 194 would require the department to make an annual report to the general assembly that includes, but not be limited to, all reports and information received by the department under the provisions of this section, the number of any deficiencies of each abortion facility in the calendar year and whether such deficiencies were remedied, and the following for each abortion procedure reported to the department the previous calendar year:
- The termination procedure used with a clinical estimation of gestation;
- Whether the department received the tissue report for that abortion, along with a certification of the disposal of the remains; and
- The existence and nature, if any, of any inconsistencies or concerns between the abortion report and the tissue report.
Physician Reporting Requirements
HB 194 would require an abortion report to be completed by the physician performing the procedure. The report would need to include:
- The gestational age of the fetal remains;
- Whether all fetal tissue and remains were removed that would be common for a specimen of such estimated gestational age; and
- What portion of the fetal tissue and remains were not removed.
HB 194 would provide whistleblower protections for employees who work in facilities that handle aborted fetal remains.
Any facility involved in handling fetal remains from an elective abortion would be required to establish and implement a written policy relating to the protections for employees who disclose information concerning alleged violations of applicable federal or state laws or administrative rules concerning abortions or the handling of fetal remains.
HB 194 prohibits employers from prohibiting employees from disclosing such information. It also prohibits employers from threatening to use their authority to knowingly discriminate against, dismiss, penalize, or in any way retaliate against or harass an employee because the employee disclosed any of the above information.
The bill goes on to describe the program that should be put in place at each facility to manage this policy and for employees to report the information they wish to disclose.
Fetal Remains Definition
HB 194 would amend Missouri state law regarding the final disposition of fetal remains to change the definition of “remains of a human fetus” to include tissue obtained from an abortion.
Under current law, “remains of a human fetus” are defined as:
the fetal remains or fetal products of conception of a mother after a miscarriage, regardless of the gestational age or whether the remains have been obtained by spontaneous or accidental means.
The new definition would now also include the following:
fetal remains…of the dead offspring of a human being that has reached a stage of development so that there are cartilaginous structures or fetal or skeletal parts after an abortion or miscarriage, whether the remains have been obtained by induced, spontaneous, or accidental means.