- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire lawmakers reacting to last summer’s undercover Planned Parenthood videos are considering making it illegal to buy, sell or experiment upon fetal tissue resulting from abortions.

The activists who made the videos alleged that they showed Planned Parenthood officials agreeing to sell fetal tissue for profit, but a grand jury in Texas recently cleared the officials. Instead, two anti-abortion advocates were indicted on charges of tampering with government records and a misdemeanor offense related to purchasing human organs.

On Wednesday, New Hampshire’s House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on a bill that would make it a felony to donate, sell, purchase or perform experiments on fetuses or tissue resulting from abortions. The bill’s main sponsor, Republican Rep. Kathleen Souza of Manchester, said she was motivated by the “cruel” conversations featured in the videos.

“Taking babies’ body parts and treating them in the callous way we saw in these videos was horrendous,” she said. “We may not be able to protect their lives, but we should be able to give them some dignity in death.”

Opponents of the bill said it would block important medial research that could lead to better treatment or cures for diseases that affect millions of people, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

“We cannot allow political agendas to undermine medical and scientific innovation that has already saved and improved the lives of countless people,” said Devon Chaffee, director of the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union.

Jennifer Frizzell of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England said her organization does not offer abortion patients the opportunity to donate fetal tissue but stands behind other health centers that do so.

Similar legislation is pending in a handful of other states. The sale of fetal tissue already is illegal under federal law, but donation is not.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, almost half of the states restrict the sale of fetuses or embryos, and many states restrict research on aborted fetuses or embryos.

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