House Select Panel Refers Abortion Clinics, Biomedical Companies for Investigation for Potential Violations

In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, Cate Dyer, chief executive officer and founder
AP photo

The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives is making 15 criminal and regulatory referrals of abortion clinics and fetal tissue procurement companies to federal, state, and local authorities for further investigation into possible violations of the law.

The Select Panel’s chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) released the list of the referrals. Biomedical procurement company StemExpress is the subject of four of the referrals. Other similar companies referred for further investigation are DV Biologics, Advanced Bioscience Resources, and Novogenix.

Various abortion clinics are referred for further investigation as well, including Southwestern Women’s Options and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

A press release from the Panel states:

Evidence uncovered by the Panel shows that a number of middleman tissue procurement businesses and abortion clinics may have violated 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2, a federal statute that makes it a 10-year felony to profit from the sale of human fetal tissue. The Panel discovered that StemExpress may have destroyed documents that were the subject of congressional inquiries, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519 and referred the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice. The Panel also discovered that some entities may have violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rights of vulnerable women, as well as federal regulations governing Institutional Review Boards (IRBs), for the sole purpose of increasing the harvesting of fetal tissue to make money.

One referral is for a late-term abortionist in Texas to both the state’s attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice. The redacted referral letter to Texas attorney general Ken Paxton states that the unnamed late-term abortionist allegedly “would terminate the lives” of infants born alive during abortions.

According to the referral letter, employees of the late-term abortionist’s clinic reported they witnessed:

[S]nipping the infant’s spinal cord with scissors; cutting the neck with Sopher forceps or similar instruments; twisting the infant’s head; using forceps, other instruments, or his finger to crush the “soft spot” of the infant’s head, or crushing it by the same means through its stomach; or inserting his finger down its throat. If the infant’s cranium was coming out first, he would usually use his index finger to puncture its head, but if it was coming out feet first, he would instead insert an instrument in the back of the infant’s head.

In another referral letter to New Mexico attorney general Hector Balderas, Jr., Blackburn states the panel “has discovered that personnel within the University of New Mexico’s hospital and medical school have aggressively engaged in expanding abortion in New Mexico through the offices, personnel, and resources of UNM.”

“Speaking as a woman, I am deeply troubled by what we have learned about the mistreatment of patients at a particularly difficult and vulnerable time in their lives,” Blackburn said in a statement. “They are being treated with a disregard for their best interests and their rights as patients.”

She continued:

We have seen instances in which profit-driven procurement businesses acting in conjunction with clinics violate women’s privacy rights under HIPAA. We have seen consent forms misrepresenting to women that cures for still uncured diseases have resulted from fetal tissue. It is disturbing to see so many cases where there is barely the pretense of consent or no consent at all before the remains of a baby are taken by researchers.

“Women deserve better than this,” Blackburn said. “They deserve better than to face any level of deception or pressure.”

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood to both the FBI and the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution.


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