One legislator behind an effort to ban research on aborted fetal tissue expects swift action on the bill in the state Legislature, and is "extremely optimistic" Gov. Scott Walker will sign legislation to "make the procurement of aborted baby body parts illegal." [...] The bill, spearheaded by Reps. André Jacque, R-De Pere, and Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, and Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, would ban selling, donating and experimenting with fetal body parts resulting from abortions in Wisconsin.
Leaders of the state's two medical schools have said they're opposed to legislation that would shut down promising research, which would have economic as well as ethical costs if life-saving therapies aren't allowed to reach the finish line. Others note that $76 million in outside research dollars, predominantly from federal sources such as the National Institutes for Health, flow each year to UW-Madison labs that conduct research with fetal tissue. Collectively, those labs employ about 1,400 people, according to a campus spokesman. Promising young companies would also be threatened. One example is FluGen in Madison, which is developing a flu vaccine by growing the virus in HEK cells. Take that tool away and the company would be less likely to start clinical trials -- and could be forced to leave Wisconsin.