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Fetal Experimentation Essay Research Paper Melissa VelezSeptember

Fetal Experimentation Essay, Research Paper

Melissa Velez

September 28, 2000

Law Report

Fetal Experimentation


As set forth in section 3216 of Title 18 in the Pa. C.S.A., it is a criminal offence to perform any type of experiment on an unborn fetus or live child. Except abortion, any person who knowingly performs non-therapeutic experimentation or medical procedures on an unborn or live child is found guilty of a third degree felony. However, experimentation can be performed on a dead child only with the written consent of the mother. Any person who defies this knowingly is held guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. This law was originally written in 1982, yet has been dramatically revised in 1989.

Law as it reads:

The Fetal Experimentation law reads as follows:

(a) Unborn or live child- Any person who knowingly performs any type of non-therapeutic experimentation or non-therapeutic medical procedure (except abortion) upon any unborn child, or upon any child born alive during the course of an abortion, commits a felony of the third degree. “Non-therapeutic” means that which is not intended to preserve the life or health of the child upon whom it is performed.

(b) Dead Child- The following standards govern the procurement and use of any fetal tissue or organ, which is used in animal or human transplantation, research or experimentation.

(1) No fetal tissue or organs may be procured or used without the written consent of the mother. No consideration of any kind for such consent may be offered or given. Further, if the tissue or organs are being derived from abortion, such consent shall be valid only if obtained after the decision to abort has been made.

(2) No person who provides the information required by section 3205 (relating to informed consent) shall employ the possibility of the use of aborted fetal tissue or organs as in inducement to a pregnant woman to undergo abortion except that payment for reasonable expenses occasioned by the actual retrieval, storage, preparation and transportation of the tissues is permitted.

(3) No remuneration, compensation or other consideration may be paid to any person or organization in connection with the procurement of fetal tissue or organs.

(4) All persons who participate in the procurement, use or transplantation of fetal tissue or organs, including the recipients of such tissue or organs, shall be informed as to whether the particular tissue or organ involved was procured as a result of either:

a. Stillbirth:

b. Miscarriage;

c. Ectopic pregnancy;

d. Abortion; or

e. Any other means.

(5) No person who consents to the procurement or use of any fetal tissue or organ may designate the recipient of that tissue or organ, nor shall any other person or organization act to fulfill that designation.

(6) The department may assess a civil penalty upon any person who procures, sells or uses any fetal tissue or organs in violation of this section or the regulations issued there under. Such civil penalties may not exceed $5, 000 for each separate violation. In assessing such penalties, the department shall give due consideration to the gravity of the violation, the good faith of the violator and the history of previous violations. Civil penalties due under this paragraph shall be paid to the department for deposit in the State Treasury and may be enforced by the department in the commonwealth Court.

Definition of terms:

Abortion- Spontaneous or artificially induced expulsion of embryo or fetus. As used in legal context, usually refers to induced abortion.

Accompanying- To be or go with as a companion. To add; supplement. To coexist or occur with.

Act- Something done or performed voluntarily; a deed.

Any- One, some, every, or all without specification; exceeding normal limits as in size or duration; one or more persons, things, or quantities; some of whatever kind, quantity, or number. Often used either in singular or plural, as a pronoun, the person or thing being understood.

Assess (assessment)- Determination of the rate or amount of something, such as a tax or damages. Imposition of something, such as a tax or fine so imposed.

Born Alive- Refers to product of conception after complete expulsion or extraction from mother, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy which breathes or shows any other meaning of life such as pulse, beating heart, definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached. Each product of such birth is considered live born and fully recognized as human person.

Child- Offspring of parentage. Unborn or recently born human being. At common law, one who had not reached the age of 14, though the meaning now varies in different states.

Civil Penalty- Punishment imposed on a wrong doer; especially in from of imprisonment or fine.

Commit- To perpetrate as a crime; to perform as an act; to entrust; to pledge.

Compensation- Remuneration and other benefits received in return for services rendered; especially salary or wages.

Condone- To voluntarily pardon or over look.

Conducted (conduct)- to manage; direct; lead; have direction; carry on; regulate; do business.

Consent- A concurrence of wills. Voluntarily yielding the will to the proposition of another; compliance there with; agreement; approval; permission; act or result of coming into harmony or accord. Consent is an act of reason.

Consideration- Inducement of contract. The cause, motive, price or impelling influence which induces a contracting party to enter into a contract. The reason or material cause of a contract. Some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to one party or some forbearance, detriment, loss or responsibility given, suffered or undertaken by other.

Construed- To analyze and explain the meaning of (a sentence or passage).

Course- In surveying, the direction of line with reference to a meridian.

Dead- Cessation of life; permanent cessation of all vital functions and signs. Numerous states have enacted statutory definitions of death, which include brain related criteria.

Department- Division of a greater whole; subdivision.

Deposit- Act of giving money or other property to another who promises to preserve it or to use it and return it in kind; especially the act of placing money in a bank for safety and convenience. The money or property so given.

Derived- To obtain from a source; to originate. To deduce or infer. To trace to origin or development of (a word). To produce or obtain another substance by chemical reaction.

Designate (see designee)- Person who has been designated to perform some duty or carry out some specific role.

Died- to expire; cease to live; to the phrase “to lose his life”

During- throughout the course of; throughout continuance of; in time of; after commencement and before expiration of.

Ectopic Pregnancy- Implantation and subsequent development of a fertilized ovum outside the uterus as in a fallopian tube; out of place.

Either- The one or the other; Used before the first of two or more coordinates or causes linked by “or”.

Embryo- A developing, but unborn or un-hatched animal; especially an unborn human from conception until the development of organs (8th week of pregnancy).

Employ- To engage the services of; to put to work. To put to use or service.

Enforced- To give force or effect to; to compel obedience to. Loosely to compel a person to pay damages for not complying with (a contract).

Examination- The questioning of a witness under oath. Questioning of a bankrupt, especially at the first meeting of creditors, concerning such matters as the bankrupt’s debts and assets; an inquiry.

Experimentation (experiment)- Trial or special test or observation made to conform or disprove something doubtful; the process of testing.

Felony- Crime of graver or more serious nature than those designated as misdemeanors. Under many state statutes, any offense punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

Fetal- Of or relating to a fetus.

Gravity- The natural force of attraction exerted by a celestial body, such as Earth, upon objects at or near its surface, tending to draw them toward the center of the body. Natural force of attraction between any two massive bodies, which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them; gravitational.

Health- State of being hale, sound, or whole in body, mind or soul; well being. Freedom from pain or sickness.

Inducement (induce)- To persuade or move to action; influence. To bring about or encourage the action of; cause.

Intend (Intended)- to design, resolve, propose. To plan for and expect certain result. To apply a rule of law in the nature of presumption; to discern and follow the probabilities of like cases.

Knowingly- With knowledge; consciously; intelligently; willfully; intentionally. An individual acts knowingly when he/she acts with awareness of the nature of his/her conduct. Act is done knowingly or purposely if it is willed, product of conscious design, intent or plan that it be done, and is done with awareness or probable consequences.

Life- That state of animals, humans and plants or of an organized being, in which its natural function and motions are performed or in which its organs are capable of performing their functions. The interval between life and death; sum of forces in which death is resisted.

Live- To be alive; exist.

Miscarriage- Premature expulsion of a nonviable fetus from the uterus; mismanagement.

Misdemeanor- Offences lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture of imprisonment, otherwise than in penitentiary. Under federal law, and most state, any offences other than a felony is classified as a misdemeanor.

Mother- Woman who has born a child. Female parent. The term includes maternity during pre-birth period.

Non-Therapeutic- That which is not intended to preserve a life or health.

Nor- And not; or not; not either.

Occasioned- Part time; especially marked by certain circumstances.

Offered- To present for acceptance or rejection; proffer; to put forward for consideration; propose.

Or- Used to indicate an alternative, usually only before the last term of a series; indicates the second of two alternatives, the first being preceded by “either” or “whether.”

Organization- A body of persons (such as union or corporation) formed for a common purpose.

Pathological (pathology)- Branch or medical study that examines the origins, symptoms and nature of disease.

Performs- To perform an obligation or contract is to execute, fulfill or accomplish it according to its terms.

Person- Living human being. Often used in combination. Individual of specified character. The composite of Characteristics that make up individual personality; the self. Physique and general appearance. Human or organization with legal rights and duties.

Preparation- The act or process of devising the means necessary to commit a crime.

Preservation (preserve)-Keeping safe from harm; avoiding injury, destruction or decay; maintenance. It is not creation, but the saving of that which already exists, and implies the continuance of what previously existed.

Procedure- Specific method or course of action. Judicial rule or manner for carrying on civil lawsuit or criminal prosecution.

Procurement- Act of getting or obtaining something. Act of persuading or inviting another, especially a woman or child, to illicit sexual act.

Prohibit- To forbid by law. To prevent or hinder.

Provided- word used in introducing a proviso. Ordinarily signifies or expresses a condition; but this is not invariable for according to the context, it may import a covenant or a limitation or qualification or a restraint, modification or exception to something which proceeds.

Regulation- Act or process of controlling by rule or restriction. Rule or order having legal force, issued by administrative agency or local government.

Remuneration- Payment; compensation. The act of paying or compensating.

Separate- Individual; distinct; particular; disconnected.

Shall- Used before a verb in the infinitive to show; simple futurity. An order, promise or obligation; inevitability.

Still Birth- The birth of a dead child or fetus.

Third Degree- Term used to describe the process of securing of confession or information from a suspect by prolonged questioning, the use of threats, or actual violence.

Tissue- A group of cells that is similar in form or function. Cellular matter in general.

Transfer- Any mode of disposing of or parting with an asset or an interest in an asset, including the payment of money, release, lease or creation of a lien or other encumbrance.

Transplantation- To transfer to one place or residence to another.

Transportation- To carry from one place to another. To move to strong emotion; enrapture.

Type- Number of people or things having in common traits or characteristics that distinguish them as a group or class. General character or structure held in as a group or class. Person or thing having features of a group or class.

Unborn Child- The individual human life inexistence and developing prior to birth.

Unborn- Not yet born; not yet appeared; future; not yet brought into life; being still to appear.

Upon- To be situated; to occupy a certain place. To abide; remain for a longer or shorter time to be in a certain state or condition; to be or exist; to belong or pertain—within.

Valid- Legally sufficient; binding; meritorious.

Violates- to break or disregard; to assault; to do harm to; desecrate or defile; to disturb rudely or improperly.

Editorial Note:

In conclusion, to perform non-therapeutic experimentation on unborn or live children is a criminal offence. To do the same with dead children is legal only if the mother gives written consent. Personally, I agree with this law in saying only experiments that help better the child’s or fetus’s life is acceptable. What’s more, if the child dies within the womb, or is killed by abortion, the doctor should not possess the right to perform any type or experiment on the fetus or child even with consent from the mother. Babies from Partial Birth abortions are more commonly used for fetal experimentation. Babies are being transported from other states in order for these doctors to complete medical research; I think this is an immoral and heinous act, and I feel it should be outlawed completely with or without the mother’s consent.


Pa. C.S.A., section 3216, title 18