Minnesota Bill Regarding University of Minnesota Fetal Tissue Research (HF 1633)
This law was last updated on Nov 13, 2017
HF 1633 would impose requirements for fetal tissue research at the University of Minnesota, including but not limited to, prohibiting the use of fetal tissue obtained from an abortion.
The bill would require the university to obtain approval from an institutional review board (IRB) or stem cell oversight committee before conducting research using fetal tissue. In its approval process, the IRB must consider whether adult or nonhuman tissue would be sufficient for the research.
The bill would require the university to attempt to identify sources for procurement of fetal tissues that are available due to the natural death of the fetus and are suitable for use in academic research. Sources that are identified must be submitted to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The bill would require the Board of Regents to submit a report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over higher education policy and finance and health and human service policy and finance. The report would need to include the identification of suitable fetal tissue sources, any recommended updates to university policies and procedures, and whether the Board of Regents adopted the recommended updates. The report must also contain a list of all new or ongoing fetal tissue research projects at the university. For each research project, the list must include:
- the date that the research was approved;
- the source of funding;
- the goal or purpose;
- the source of the fetal tissue used;
- reference to any publicly available information about the research; and
- references to any publications resulting from the research.
Institutional Review Board Procedures
The bill would require the university to further develop and clarify existing university policies and procedures related to the lawful and ethical treatment of human subjects and fetal tissue in research activities. The university would be required to:
- institute a system of frequent, random, unannounced inspections and audits of research activities involving fetal tissue to verify compliance with applicable federal and state laws, university policies and procedures, and other professional standards related to purchasing, handling, and disposing of fetal tissue;
- conduct education and outreach programs on such laws, policies, or standards; and
- establish an anonymous reporting system to receive complaints of activities that may violate any such laws, policies, or standards.
The bill would modify appropriations to the University of Minnesota for the year 2018 to grant $1,000,000 to establish a program in ethical fetal tissue research within the Center for Bioethics on the Twin Cities campus.
The purpose of the program must be:
- to provide oversight of all research activities at the university that request the use of fetal tissue;
- to ensure compliance with applicable laws and policies governing the ethical acquisition, sale, handling, and disposal of fetal tissue;
- procure fetal tissue for use in research activities, provided that the program may only purchase fetal tissue obtained due to a natural death of the fetus; and
- advance research on stem cells derived from sources other than fetal or embryonic tissue, including adult somatic cells, cord blood, and related sources.
The bill provides actions the program may take to advance nonembryonic and nonfetal stem cell research.
Similar to HF 2865 (2016), which failed to pass.