New legislation filed in the Texas Senate would require companies to label cosmetics, food, or medical products containing ingredients derived from aborted human fetal tissue.

In a statement, State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood), the author of Senate Bill 314, explains that his intent is to provide transparency to consumers.

Cell lines created from tissue derived from aborted children are used in research, development, and in the manufacture of consumer goods. Common uses include vaccines, artificial flavorings in foods, some cosmetics products, and a variety of biologics to treat multiple medical conditions. … Unfortunately, many Texans are unknowingly consuming products that either contain human fetal parts or were developed using human fetal parts. While some may not be bothered by this, there are many Texans with religious or moral beliefs that would oppose consumption or use of these products. They have the right to know what is in the products they are consuming.

SB 314 would prohibit the sale of products that contain human fetal tissue or were manufactured or developed using human fetal tissue unless they are “clearly and conspicuously labeled” as such. In the bill, “human fetal tissue” is defined as “tissue, cells, or organs obtained from an aborted unborn child.”

Hall’s statement provides several specific examples of cell lines derived from human fetal tissue that are used in the manufacture and development of various products. Their mundane names obscure the brutality of the procedures by which they were obtained: WI-38, MRC-5, WALVAX-2, PER.C6, and HEK-293.

Hall also provides numerous examples of products that are made using these cell lines. Among these are the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine; Merck’s MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella), chicken pox, and Hepatitis A vaccines; anti-aging creams that contain “processed skin cell proteins”; and food products containing certain flavor enhancers developed by the company Senomyx, which used HEK-293 to create a compound that mimics human taste receptors.

While many have dismissed concerns about such products as a non-issue and nonexistent, Hall disagrees.

Hall argues that labeling products in the manner prescribed by his bill would give “consumers the ability to purchase products that align with their preferences or religious requirements,” much like industry practices for labeling products as “organic,” “cruelty-free,” “vegan,” “halal,” “kosher,” or “all-natural.”

Ultimately, Hall insists his bill aims to “[protect] individuals’ personal freedoms by giving them the information they need to make informed decisions.”

Concerned citizens can use Texas Scorecard’s Elected Officials Directory to contact their elected representatives and ask how they plan to vote on such legislation.

Soli Rice

A journalist for Texas Scorecard, Soli is a new Texan with a passion for politics. She's excited to hone her writing skills and help spread truth to Texans.