WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House committee that is investigating the fetal body parts harvesting industry are accusing a late-term abortion business and the University of New Mexico (UNM) of breaking federal law.
In a letter released on June 23, Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., accused the university of violating a federal statute preventing “valuable consideration” for the donation of unborn baby parts. Likewise, wrote Blackburn, the university violated a state law regulating the use of body parts for research.
UNM has a long-standing relationship with late-term abortionist Dr. Curtis Boyd and his Southwest Women’s Options abortion facility to procure body parts. The center engages in abortions in all stages of pregnancy, and Boyd was an unpaid faculty member for some time.
Shortly after the House letter was released, New Mexico Alliance for Life Executive Director Elisa Martinez said she and her group “expect Attorney General [Hector] Balderas to enforce the law before protecting the abortion industry.”
“It is apparent in the Select Panel’s report today … a detailed investigation must take place to uncover where the law is being violated,” continued Martinez in a statement. “UNM HSC’s Paul Roth’s stonewalling inquiries into their harvesting program with Curtis Boyd, along with potential violations of the law, is a breach of public trust and should be a concern to all New Mexicans.”
Martinez’s group has previously released documents raising concerns about the relationship between Boyd and UNM.
The letter came less than a week after Blackburn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and panel member Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., told The Daily Caller they intend to continue pushing for further transparency into whether the fetal harvesting industry is indeed violating federal law.
Black and Blackburn also spoke to the Register about the work the House panel is doing.
“The efforts of our panel have spurred an important conversation in this country about how we treat the most vulnerable among us,” Black said. “For example, documents received by our panel show that StemExpress [a company that markets fetal parts to medical researchers] marked up the price for aborted babies’ body parts between 400% to 600% when selling the samples to researchers.”
According to Blackburn, “The Select Panel consists of a group of dedicated pro-life members who are determined to complete our work by year’s end.”
That work includes wading through the large network of abortion businesses and other groups with connections to fetal harvesting. “There are currently 512 surgical abortion clinics; 218 RU 486 clinics; and 1,018 doctors who perform abortions,” Blackburn said. “There are eight procurement organizations we are looking at — companies that pay money for tissue and resell it. Also, some procurement is done by universities, some by clinics for universities and some by clinics for companies. These companies have hundreds of customers. The transactions number in the thousands.”
While Democrats continue to pressure Speaker Ryan into disbanding the panel, claiming it is “partisan” and “dangerous,” pro-life leaders stood behind the committee in emailed comments to the Register.
“The abortion industry’s commodification of our brothers and sisters reverberates back and makes everyone choose, on some level, whether we really believe ‘all men are created equal,’” said the Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden, whose undercover Planned Parenthood videos led to the congressional investigation.
“Respecting and protecting our unborn brothers and sisters is foundational to respecting and protecting anyone else. The pro-life movement’s message to care for an unwanted, unexpected or inconvenient baby is precisely the kind of message that teaches our society to accept people where they are and to care for other marginalized or stigmatized groups. That’s why this is so important for all Americans from every walk of life.”
David Bereit, the founder of the multi-national 40 Days for Life prayer vigil group, said that “the exposé videos, which caught Planned Parenthood red-handed harvesting and trafficking in aborted baby body parts, have had an unprecedented effect on awakening and mobilizing pro-life Americans.”
But Bereit also stressed that pro-life mobilization must turn into effective action. “It’s crucial for pro-life Americans to stay informed on these issues and publicly stand together for life — in record numbers — to make our voices heard loud and clear.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said religious leaders and prosecutors are key to pro-life victories over the abortion industry. “Sometimes this information is best processed behind the scenes, where only the prosecutors know about it and can gather more information from more witnesses, before the perpetrators realize they are being investigated,” he said.
Taxpayers Shouldn’t Pay
“Scandal-ridden organizations like Planned Parenthood have demonstrated utter disregard for human dignity, as the authenticated undercover videos at various Planned Parenthood facilities clearly show,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Casey Mattox.
He said taxpayers should not be on the hook for Planned Parenthood’s activities, “especially when much better and more comprehensive health alternatives for women and families outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities 20 to 1 throughout the country.”
Media Research Center fellow Katie Yoder agrees.
“One taxpayer dollar is too much for an abortion giant that rips the limbs from babies, never mind $500 million. Human life is priceless,” she said.
Black said the House select panel intends to illuminate the abortion industry’s problematic practices.
“As our investigation continues, I am confident that we can bring the truth out into the light of day,” Black told the Register. “We can hold responsible parties accountable, and we can deliver answers for the American people.”
Dustin Siggins writes from Washington.