National Catholic Register

Culture of Life

‘Body Parts Trade’ Triggering Outrage

BY Jim Cosgrove

December 5-11, 1999 Issue | Posted 12/5/99 at 1:00 AM

 

Alone voice has been joined by a growing chorus decrying the sale of human body parts.

In August, evidence that appeared to show companies harvesting and profiting from the unborn babies removed in late-term abortions was released by a Denton, Texas, pro-life group, Life Dynamics.

On Nov. 9 the U.S. House by voice vote called for hearings to investigate the “trafficking of baby body parts for profit.”

Then, on Nov. 23, the Boston Globe suggested that law enforcement agencies should be investigating as well. Referring to the anonymous woman who tells of life in the fetal-body parts trade, a Globe editorial said, “The practices Kelly describes, if true, must be stopped. She and Life Dynamics owe it to the nation, and to the babies they want to protect, to fully disclose all they know.”

Recently, Gail Quinn, a spokes-woman for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, talked with Register Radio News correspondent Rich Rinaldi about the claims.

Rich Rinaldi: How have the allegations about a fetal parts trade come to the attention of the U.S. bishops’ office?

Gail Quinn: It's been coming to light mainly through a pro-life group out of Texas, Life Dynamics. They seem to show a rather strong collusion between the abortion industry and people who traffic in the sale of fetal body parts. It was brought to light before Congress by Sen. Bob Smith and to the House of Representatives within a matter of days. They took a vote — not to affirm that that is in fact happening, although I'm sure it is — but to verify what is actually happening. That's what we are looking forward to in Congress come the early part of the year, hearings to find exactly what's going on.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said babies “are being taken apart piece by piece, limb by limb and even being skinned.” Is this true?

Well, it's not a very pleasant thing to talk about, but he is right. From the reports that are coming out, we have people who are putting these body parts into the hands of researchers. They are going into abortion clinics, paying a clinic in what they call a “site fee.”

They basically pay rent for the area they are going to use to dissect the babies, and they do that dissection right there.

Isn't that illegal?

You're not allowed to sell human bodies or human body parts in this country, but they get around it, apparently, by paying a site fee, by paying for services.

If they are paying for generic site fees, then how are they paying for particular body parts?

If you look at some of the orders that have been made public, you have researchers ordering specific parts of a specific gestation age. So, for instance, if you have a researcher who orders fetal eyes or ears or lungs, a lot of them are for 24 weeks and older.

It's hard to believe that this happens.

It blows a great big hole in the assertion that late abortion are done because there is something wrong with the child. Most of these orders specify that they have to be in basically perfect condition. They don't want specimens, if I can call them that, where the abortion is done with chemicals ... because chemicals taint the specimen.

So what a lot of these researchers seem to be looking for are fetuses, dead fetuses of an older gestational age. They are looking for those specific parts, and some of them do say they are looking for only the skin of the baby, which means the baby has been skinned and that the material is then sold and shipped out.

I have a price list in front of me. Correct me if this is not true: “Pancreas, $100 under 8 weeks; ears under 8 weeks, $75; brains, $999.” They “offer” a “30% discount” if the material is “significantly fragmented.” Is this new or has this been going on for a while?

Yes, that list is true. The specifics are new to us. We have heard things like this in private, where people were talking about things like this going on, but no one really knew or had facts. No one could prove it. Now this pro-life group has gathered this information for the last two and a half years. We have it now in black and white.

We have the advertising brochures of abortion clinics [telling clients] to “Turn your patients’ decision into something wonderful.”

When they have a woman coming in for an abortion they say they can offer her the possibility of helping someone else by allowing her child to be dissected and sold.

Rich Rinaldi is director of Register Radio News.