A five-member Senate committee voted 3-2 on party lines to advance three abortion-related bills Tuesday.
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services passed two bills that affect Planned Parenthood funds. The third bill upholds the ban on using aborted fetal tissue for research.
One of the Planned Parenthood-related bills takes away federal funding from the organization, requiring the Department of Health Services to instead apply for Title X funding and allocate it to the Wisconsin Well-Woman Program.
The second Planned Parenthood bill limits how much the organization can receive in reimbursements when they acquire prescription drugs through a Medicaid program.
Tanya Atkinson, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, said in a statement the organization knows how much Wisconsin needs affordable reproductive care after serving communities for 80 years.
“This is a clear political agenda to block access to reproductive health care at the state’s most trusted provider,” Atkinson said.
Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, voiced his support for the fetal tissue ban legislation in a statement, saying it provides “necessary ethical boundaries” for scientists. He said throughout the committee process researchers testified their support for the bill, saying research is moving in a different direction away from using fetal tissue.
“Throughout this process we have made every attempt to maintain open lines of communication with the research community as well as our pro-life allies,” Stroebel said.
But Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said the fetal tissue ban will hurt patients across the state who could benefit from life-saving research.
In a statement Erpenbach said if the bill becomes law, delayed research will cause patients to die, and Wisconsin will lose world-class researchers.
Rep. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, originally announced plans for the three bills in July.
The state Assembly voted 60-35 Sept. 24 to approve the bill re-allocation Planned Parenthood’s federal funds to the Well-Woman Program. The other two bills passed in Assembly committees but haven’t reached the chamber’s floor yet.
Senate leaders may now schedule the bills for the Senate floor’s agenda.