House Bill No. 5131 is a bill to amend four sections of the 1978 Public Act 368, "Public health code". It also proposes to add two additional sections. The first section it proposes to change states that a person cannot use a live human embryo, fetus, or neonate (newborn child) for research or experimentation if the research is not designed to improve the health of the research subject. It further goes on to state that said action also cannot be done if the experimentation might jeopardize the life of the embryo, fetus, or neonate. Lastly, the section states that the person performing the research or experimentation cannot do so if the subject results from a planned abortion that is not required to save the mother's life. This can be ascertained by a statement from the mother.. The proposed change to this section states the current law would still apply if the following conditions from the added section (3) do not apply:
- The research must be permitted under Federal Law and performed following the requirements of said law.
- The human embryos must either be extras not used in fertility treatment, or exhibit characteristics that make successful implantation of the embryo less than 50% likely.
- The human embryo was voluntarily donated for research with the written consent of the donor.
- Excluding time frozen, the embryo has not been allowed to develop more than 14 days after cell division begins.
- Embryonic stem cells are the only thing that can be extracted or utilized from the human embryo.
- A researcher permitted to conduct research under Section (3) must file an annual report.
The bill goes on to state that a person is not allowed to knowingly transfer, distribute, or donate an embryo fetus, or neonate for any use that violates sections 2685 to 2689. In addition, a person is forbidden from purchasing or selling an embryo for stem cell research, therapies and cures, or for any other purpose. Violation is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
The bill continues by clarifying that "created for fertility treatment purposes" means created with the intention of implantation and gestation in a woman's uterus. It further clarifies that a "Human Embryo" must consist entirely of biological components of the species Homo sapiens. The bill prohibits the creation or attempted creation of a human-animal embryo, consisting of biological components of Homo sapiens and one or more other species.
The bill concludes with reporting regulations. As previously stated, any person conducting research using human embryos is required to submit an annual report. The report must include the name of the company, corporation, academic institution, or other person overseeing the research. They must include the name and address of the establishment from which the embryos were donated, the number of embryos thawed for use in research, the number of embryos discarding without being used in research, and the number of embryos being stored at the beginning and ending of the reporting year.
Once the researchers have reported their information, the department to which they reported must compile the information and make it available in print and electronic forms. It must be an aggregate summary of the information submitted by the individual researchers that excludes any indentifying information. The reports are to be used for statistical analysis for medical and health purposes, and each report will be destroyed after five years. Anyone in violation said regulations is guilty of a felony punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000. They can also be held liable to a civil fine of no less than $5,000 per violation.