Since October 2015, the United States House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on the Transfer of Fetal Tissue has been investigating Big Abortion.
The Panel was created soon after the release of a number of undercover investigative videos by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). These videos uncovered extensive evidence in the abortion industry of a willingness to engage in, and actual engagement in, criminal and unethical practices with regard to the sale of fetal tissue (read: aborted baby parts).
The American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) represents a former CMP board member in two federal lawsuits filed by abortion groups. In one of those cases, a federal court has prevented CMP from revealing what it learned during its investigation of the National Abortion Federation. We have appealed that ruling, which is now under review by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The Chairman and Majority Members of the Panel last week released an 88 page interim update of its work. Here is a summary of what the Panel has uncovered during the past nine months and what it plans to investigate further:
The Panel learned that StemExpress (a fetal tissue procurement business) and three abortion clinics (Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, and Family Planning Specialists Medical Group) have committed systematic violations of HIPAA (a federal privacy rule that protects a person’s health information). These violations took place when the clinics disclosed personal health information to StemExpress to assist its efforts to obtain aborted baby parts for resale. The Panel also determined that StemExpress may have violated the law, in part, by using invalid consent forms to obtain the fetal parts from women undergoing abortions. In early June, the Panel sent referral letters to the appropriate federal agencies for further action on these matters.
The Panel also learned that the University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options, a New Mexico abortion clinic, have systemically violated the law regarding fetal tissue transfers. These violations took place when university personnel procured fetal tissue (for example, the brain, heart, or lung of an aborted child) from the clinic’s patients for research purposes. In late June, the Panel issued a criminal referral to the Attorney General for the State of New Mexico to investigate this matter further. The Panel will continue to investigate the relationship between abortion clinics and schools such as Colorado State University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington.
As the Panel moves forward, it will investigate late term abortion providers to ensure that they are complying with the law. The Panel explained that during late term abortion, infants are sometimes born alive. The abortion providers are obligated to give these infants each of the protections guaranteed by law to all persons. But, “pressure from research institutions or procurement companies to provide human fetal organs and tissue at late gestations could negatively impact the treatment born-alive infants receive. Infants with congenital health problems are particularly vulnerable to neglect or abuse.”
Lastly, the Panel refutes the claimed positive medical results of fetal tissue research. The Panel points out that in “nearly 100 years of research, fetal tissue has not been directly linked to a single medical cure.” Mainstream science now uses adult stem cells in research studies rather than human fetal tissue, thus seriously bringing into question the claim that fetal tissue research is necessary for the advancement of science.
The Panel’s work is one more light exposing the ugliness of Big Abortion. We will continue to keep you posted on what the Panel’s investigation reveals, in addition to the ACLJ’s vital pro-life work.
Update 7/26/2016: A Texas judge dismissed the remaining criminal charge against the investigative journalists at the Center for Medical Progress today after the district attorney admitted that the indictments must be dismissed. This is a significant victory for pro-life investigative journalists and anyone else concerned about constitutional freedoms.
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