Last week, Representative Abigail Whelan (R – Anoka), brought a bill before committee that would cut the budget for the University of Minnesota’s medical school and restrict the type of medical research allowed. The U of M is currently a leader in using fetal tissue for research purposes – which has the potential to find cures for certain types of cancer, HIV, ALS, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. Recently, fetal tissue research has been used to rapidly advance doctors’ knowledge about the Zika virus, raising hopes for the development of a vaccine.
The push to restrict fetal tissue research stems from the release of a number of misleading videos released last year as part of smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. The videos, which have been found by independent experts to be deceptively edited, resulted in many statewide and federal investigations – none of which found that Planned Parenthood had committed any wrongdoing.
Republicans refuse to accept the evidence and have used absurd hyperbole to push for this legislation.
Rep. Whelan, comparing herself to abolitionists, said, “As I reflected on this issue, I began to feel what I imagined William Wilberforce must have felt when he was battling the slave trade.”
This bill is obviously not comparable at all to efforts to ban slavery.
Republicans, long known for their enthusiastic dedication to science, can add this bill to the stack of other countless measures they’re spending time on this session that won’t make it into law and won’t build a better future for working families.