LANSING, Mich. — Senator Vincent Gregory (D–Lathrup Village) released the following statement after today’s Republican-led passage of Senate Bills 564 and 565:

“The passage of SB 564 and SB 565 are steps backward for the people of Michigan. It is legislation solving a problem that doesn’t exist, and instead making things worse.

“The bills are a knee-jerk reaction to widely discredited videos. Those videos have been investigated by multiple states and nobody has found actual illegal activity as suggested in the videos. Instead, the producers of the videos have been indicted on criminal charges related to the production.

“Today’s votes are more examples of the majority party ignoring the will of the voters. The use of fetal tissue for research was overwhelmingly supported by Michigan voters in 2008. More than 2.5 million people voted for an amendment to our state constitution specifically authorizing the donation of fetal tissue for medical research. Contrary to the claim by one of my colleagues on the floor today, the debate on that 2008 amendment centered on the use of fetal embryonic tissue.

“The voters said ‘yes.’ Today the Senate said ‘no’ to the voters.

“This backward legislation threatens medical research which has already brought breakthroughs in treating disease, and work continues on such horrific diseases as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy. The legislation could effectively end that research by prohibiting the long-accepted practice of reimbursing expenses associated with the transfer of fetal tissue to research facilities. It also could be used to intimidate women who want their fetal tissue used for research.

“This is another example of how this body refuses to take the personal healthcare needs of women seriously. Even when faced with no votes on amendments seemingly as non-controversial as advancing access to birth control, some members brush it off with comments about sexual abstinence. Such indifference is unacceptable.

“It is outrageous that the Senate spent so much time attacking women’s access to healthcare and vital medical research, yet has postponed serious solutions on such issues as the Flint water crisis, Detroit’s dilapidated schools, issues with the Grand Rapids Veterans home, and the failures of the Unemployment Insurance system.

“We need to get on with the work of the people of Michigan and stop wasting time with pandering to interest groups on non-issues such as this.”

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