Missouri Bill Regarding Fetal Tissue Donation (HB 602)
This law was last updated on Oct 22, 2017
HB 602 would modify provisions relating to abortion, including donation of fetal organs or tissue, pathology fetal organs and tissue reports, abortion reports, employee disclosure policies, and inspections of abortion facilities.
Donation of Fetal Tissue
The bill would prohibit a 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.
Any person who offers any inducement to a man or woman to conceive or abort a child for the use of fetal organs or tissue, or any person who receives valuable consideration for fetal organs or tissue resulting from an abortion, would be guilty of a class C felony and subject to a fine of up to twice the amount of valuable consideration received.
The utilization of fetal organs or tissue resulting from an abortion for medical or scientific purposes 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 would not be prohibited.
Fetal Organs and Tissue Reporting Requirements
The bill would require that all fetal organs and tissue removed at the time of an abortion be ensured as nonhazardous in compliance with department of natural resources regulations and sent to a pathologist. All fetal organs and tissue reports issued by the pathologist would need to contain the following information:
- The estimated gestational age of the fetal organs and tissue;
- Whether all fetal organs and tissue were received that would be common for a specimen of such estimated gestational age;
- If the pathologist finds that all fetal organs and tissues were not received, what portion of the fetal organs and tissue 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 organs and tissue were remitted to be disposed and the location of such disposal;
- A certification that all submitted fetal organs and tissue have been disposed in accordance with state laws and regulations; and
- The name and physical address of the entity conducting the examination of the specimen containing the fetal organs and tissue.
Each specimen would need to be given a unique identification number to allow the specimen to be tracked. Each facility that handles the specimen, including the abortion facility, the pathology lab, and the final disposition site, would be required to send the Department of Health and Human Services a report documenting the date the specimen was collected, transported, received, and disposed.
The department would need to reconcile each notice of abortion with its corresponding fetal organs and tissue report.
If the department does not receive either a notice or a report, the department would be required to conduct an investigation and, if a deficiency is discovered, must perform an unscheduled inspection of the facility to ensure such deficiency is remedied. If the deficiency is not remedied, the department must suspend the abortion facility’s or hospital’s license for at least one year, subject to applicable licensure procedures.
The bill would require the department, beginning January 1, 2018, to make an annual report to the General Assembly. The report would need to include all reports and information received by the department under this law, the number of any deficiencies of each abortion facility in the year and whether such deficiencies were remedied, and the following for each abortion procedure reported:
- The termination procedure used with a clinical estimation of gestation;
- Whether the department received the fetal organs and tissue report for that abortion, along with a certification of the disposal of the fetal organs and tissue; and
- The existence and nature, if any, of any inconsistencies or concerns between the abortion report and the fetal organs and tissue report.
The department would be required to establish a fee for each abortion performed to be imposed on the abortion facility or hospital in which the abortion was performed to cover the reasonable costs of implementing the provisions of this section. The department would need to annually reevaluate the fee imposed to ensure all reasonable costs are covered.
The bill would require all inspection, investigation, and reports regarding abortion facilities to be made available to the public.
Physicians Reporting Requirements
Currently, an attending physician must submit an abortion report to the department. The bill would require the following additional information to be included in the report:
- The estimation of the gestational age of the fetal organs and tissue;
- Whether all fetal organs and tissue were removed that would be common for a specimen of such estimated gestational age; and
- If the attending physician finds that all fetal organs and tissue were not removed, what portion of the fetal organs and tissue were not removed.
The bill would require each hospital, ambulatory surgical center, pathology lab, medical research entity, and disposal facility involved in handling fetal organs or tissue from an elective abortion to establish and implement a written policy to protect employees who disclose information concerning alleged violations of applicable federal or state laws or administrative rules concerning the handling of fetal organs or tissue.
The bill goes on to describe what must be included in the policy. The department would need to have access to all information disclosed, collected, and maintained under this provision and complainants must be notified of their right to notify the department of any information concerning alleged violations relating to abortions or handling of fetal organs or tissue. The act specifies the proper disclosure procedure internally and to the department.
Beginning December 1, 2017, each hospital, ambulatory surgical center, pathology lab, medical research entity, and disposal facility involved in handling fetal organs or tissue from an elective abortion would be required to post a notice containing the disclosure policy.
Disposition of Fetal Remains
The bill would amend the current definition of “remains of a human fetus” to mean:
[…]the 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.”