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UW-Madison responds to Assembly action on fetal tissue research ban

September 9, 2015

Marsha Mailick, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, released the following statement:

“The people of Wisconsin — particularly those who face grave illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s — deserve access to lifesaving biomedical research. For many years, our state has been a leader in this field. The proposal advanced out of committee today threatens this progress and sends a chilling message to our scientists, to the biotechnology industry, and to our fellow citizens. It does nothing to reduce abortions. The significant bipartisan opposition and closing arguments signal that legislators on both sides of the aisle have grave concerns.

“Stopping the clock by limiting research to cell lines developed prior to 2015 effectively tells many patients and their families still waiting for a cure that they are out of luck. It makes no sense to foreclose the possibility of finding future treatments or cures by creating an artificial end date for advancing certain areas of scientific research.

 “UW-Madison strictly follows federal law and our own additional guidelines to ensure no one profits from the fetal tissue used in our research. We support tough standards for the ethical donation of tissue and strong enforcement, and have worked with others to develop statutory language that accomplishes both. We urge lawmakers to vote against AB 305 as passed by the committee and permit the research of today and tomorrow to proceed, knowing that the beneficiaries will be the patients and families.”