Assemblyman Patterson introduces bill to defund Planned Parenthood locations involved in tissue donation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Republicans try to defund Planned Parenthood on the national stage, California Assemblyman Jim Patterson has a bill of his own that would strip state funding away from Planned Parenthood locations that donate fetal tissue for research.

"We have all seen the video tapes," said Patterson, referring to the controversial undercover videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the donation of fetal tissue. He says those videos have pulled back the curtain on the organization and its practices. He says what was slippery slope has become an immoral landslide.

"Surely, this is an area where all Californians can agree, that harvested, pre-born, human body parts cannot and should not be given toward questionable research, taxpayers should not be burdened and forced to pay, and that the loophole, that allows this to take place, is a loophole that we must close," Patterson said.

His newly proposed fetal tissue exploitation prevention act calls for an end to state funding of Planned Parenthood sites that donate fetal tissue to research, like the one on Fulton Street in Fresno.

A local Planned Parenthood spokesperson says the site has offered a tissue donation program since 1997.

In a statement, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California President and CEO Kathy Kneer said:

"There is no reason for the so-called Fetal Tissue Exploitation Prevention Act, and absolutely no reason to defund Planned Parenthood. For the two affiliates in California that currently offer their patients the opportunity to participate in a tissue donation program, Planned Parenthood has followed all federal and state laws and operates under the strictest ethical procedures."

"The question is whether it's right, whether it's moral, not whether it's legal," Patterson said in a press conference Monday morning.

Patterson believes his bill will make what Planned Parenthood does illegal, by closing a loophole that he says allows the organization to make money off fetal tissue donations.

But Fresno State Political Science Professor Tom Holyoke says this is mostly symbolic politics destined to fail.

"His bill is probably dead on arrival in the legislature," Holyoke said. "This is another round in a very long ongoing battle. Conservatives have been trying to essentially end abortion since Roe V. Wade in 1973."

On Monday, Senate Republicans came up short on the number of votes needed to stop federal funding of Planned Parenthood.
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