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Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Fetal Tissue

Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Fetal Tissue

Chapter 48 of the Texas Penal Code defines offenses relating to conduct affecting public health.

“Prohibition of the Purchase and Sale of Human Fetal Tissue”, as per § 48.03 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person knowingly offers to buy, offers to sell, acquires, receives, sells, or otherwise transfers any human fetal tissue for economic benefit.

In this section, "human fetal tissue" has the meaning assigned by Section 173.001, Health and Safety Code.

It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor:

  • is an employee of or under contract with an accredited public or private institution of higher education; and

  • acquires, receives, or transfers human fetal tissue solely for the purpose of fulfilling a donation authorized by Section 173.005, Health and Safety Code.

This section does not apply to:

  • human fetal tissue acquired, received, or transferred solely for diagnostic or pathological testing;

  • human fetal tissue acquired, received, or transferred solely for the purposes of a criminal investigation;

  • human fetal tissue acquired, received, or transferred solely for the purpose of disposing of the tissue in accordance with state law or rules applicable to the disposition of human fetal tissue remains;

  • fetal tissue or human tissue acquired during pregnancy or at delivery of a child, provided the tissue is acquired by an accredited public or private institution of higher education for use in research approved by an institutional review board or another appropriate board, committee, or body charged with oversight applicable to the research; or

  • cell lines derived from human fetal tissue or human tissue existing on September 1, 2017, that are used by an accredited public or private institution of higher education in research approved by an institutional review board or another appropriate board, committee, or body charged with oversight applicable to the research.

An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Severity of Crime

State Jail Felony

  • Confinement in a state jail for not more than two years and not less than 180 days

  • In addition to confinement, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000