Medicine & Science

We Deserve to Know: The Human Cell Product Labeling Act

During the pandemic, it became fairly well known that human cell lines originating from abortion were used to develop and/or test many vaccines. This gave rise to concern that tainted cell lines were being used for development or testing of other products as well. In early 2023, two state senators introduced different bills aimed at requiring labeling of such products so they could be easily identified by consumers and investors.

In Texas, Senator Bob Hall introduced SB 314, which would require labeling of food, medical, and cosmetic products that contain or are derived from aborted human fetal tissue. In Connecticut, Senator Robert Sampson introduced SB 736 to adopt a condensed version of the Human Cell Product Labeling Act, first published by American Life League on its website in 2021.

The biggest difference between the two bills is that by focusing on only aborted fetal tissue, the Texas bill leaves out products whose origins involve embryonic stem cell lines. The Connecticut HCPLA bill leaves out no type of once-living human cells. It would provide labeling information for products that are linked to aborted fetal tissue and those linked to killed human embryos. 

We learned during the pandemic to ask not only if a vaccine was produced from an aborted fetal cell line but also if it was tested with such lines. Unfortunately, the Texas bill does not explicitly cover testing, using words such as “contains,” “manufactured,” and “derived.” Certainly, one could argue that manufacturing includes testing, but not all would agree, and by not explicitly listing testing, one leaves open a possible loophole. In contrast, Connecticut’s HCPLA bill explicitly states that it covers products “developed or tested.”

Despite being much longer than Connecticut’s HCPLA bill, the Texas bill manages not to state what the warning label must include, instead punting it to some presumably future determination by an “executive commissioner.” Connecticut’s bill gets right to the point stating that the required warning “shall include (A) a disclaimer that such product was developed or tested with human cells, and (B) the address of an Internet web site disclosing (i) the origin of such human cells, (ii) the method by which such human cells were obtained, and (iii) the medical or scientific name, if any, of the human cell base line that was used to develop or test such product.”1

The Texas bill leads off with a section regarding food products rather than the section about medical products. The Connecticut HCPLA bill, in contrast, is a case where less is more. Its get-right-to-the-point text does not call out any specific tainted type of product; however, its passage will uncover them all. 

Thus, the Connecticut HCPLA model likely stands a better chance of passing somewhere in the US because it sticks to the simple point of requiring manufacturers to provide information. The judgment on what to do with that information is up to the consumer or investor. Note also that the Connecticut bill would also help identify good products that used human cells from such things, for example, as adult stem cells or umbilical cord stem cells.

At this point, we need to know definitively which products are tainted. The most efficient way to do this is to require manufacturers to tell us via a warning or label. Later, with God’s help, once the extent of the problem is known via a comprehensive enacted law in at least one state, we can turn to working toward ending the barbaric practice of using cells from killed humans to develop or test any type of product.

1. “An Act Adopting the Human Cell Product Labeling Act,” State of Connecticut General Assembly, January 2023.

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About the author

Edward Szymkowiak

Edward Szymkowiak was the national director of American Life League’s STOPP International from 2000 to 2004. A father of six and grandfather of five, he is a retired Catholic high school teacher. He now provides services for his disabled adult son.