Democrats on Monday slammed the panel and its tactics, however, saying the panel had not “found wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.”
In particular, they said the panel’s work was adversely affecting the amount of fetal tissue procured for medical research that is “indispensable…in advancing our understanding and treatment of a staggering array of conditions” like Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and Zika fever.
A panel spokesman told CNA that “our Panel was tasked with investigating the facts and completing a report by the end of the 114th Congress, which we plan to release in the coming weeks. After a year of diligent work, we look forward to sharing our findings with the American people.”
When the bill funding the panel was being considered by the House, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) said on the House Floor last week that “since the panel’s investigation, we have uncovered alarming revelations,” and added that “because of this, there have been criminal and regulatory referrals” bringing about “numerous investigations around the nation.”
The panel referred Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to the Texas attorney general for a criminal investigation after it “learned that Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast violated both Texas Law and US Law when it sold baby body parts to the University of Texas.”
Also, the panel said it had “discovered that the University of New Mexico was violating their state’s Anatomical Gift Act by receiving tissue from a late-term abortion clinic,” and the matter had been “referred to the Attorney General of New Mexico.”
A “forensic accounting analysis” had found that StemExpress – the California-based tissue procurement company featured in the undercover videos that procured fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood clinics – had profited from the fetal tissue trade. The Department of Justice and the local district attorney are investigating the matter.
The panel also asked the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate their finding that “StemExpress and certain abortion clinics were violating the HIPAA privacy rights of vulnerable women for the sole purpose of increasing the harvesting of fetal tissue to make money.”
There are several other examples the panel has given of abortion clinics, tissue procurement companies, and other entities allegedly breaking state or federal law in the fetal tissue trade.
“The minority report claims that they have proven not only that Planned Parenthood didn’t profit, but they’ve proven that Planned Parenthood lost money off of the transfer of fetal tissue. You won’t find a single shred of evidence, no documents, no testimony, nothing in the entire report that backs up that conclusion,” Daleiden said.
Rather, they relied “a statement from someone who wasn’t even connected to Planned Parenthood from over a year ago” for that “assertion,” he added.
(Story continues below)
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“The bottom line is that this is not an actual report from the panel minority, this is not an actual analysis of the evidence,” he said.
“This is a propaganda piece that’s meant to try and do some very desperate eleventh hour public relations on the part of Planned Parenthood before the really, really damning evidence that I think we can expect to see in the numerous criminal referrals that the panel majority has made to different law enforcement agencies, and of course the final end-of-the-year reports from the panel are revealed for all the world to see.”
Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph. D., director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, has also written about the serious ethical and moral concerns with fetal tissue procurement from aborted babies, in a 2015 column “Consenting to the Unconscionable.”
The use of human tissue in medical research can be morally acceptable in certain circumstances, he said, but may never be procured from an aborted baby, even with good intentions like using the tissue for medical research.
“Sometimes these tissues and organs can be obtained after routine surgeries like gall bladder removal from adults or foreskin removal during the circumcision of newborns,” he noted, and “the use of such tissues and organs can be morally acceptable if the patient (or the parents of the newborn) provide informed consent.”
Also, in cases of “a natural miscarriage,” he said, “the use of cells and tissues from fetuses can also be morally acceptable” when the consent to do so is given by the parent of the dead baby.