On April 20 the U.S. House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives held a hearing titled “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue.”
Before the hearing the panel released documents showing how the tissue procurement company StemExpress would advertise their services as providing abortion businesses with “financial profits” and “financial benefits.” Selling fetal tissue for a profit is a federal crime.
Planned Parenthood has claimed that any dollars that changed hands over the aborted babies’ body parts were only reimbursements, which are allowed under federal law. The released documents and prior evidence however point to the tissue procurement company as doing practically all of the work associated with fetal organ harvesting.
The Planned Parenthood undercover videos repeatedly do show the abortion clinics willing to do the additional work of changing abortion procedures in order to harvest more intact organs. Changing procedures for the purpose of harvesting tissue is against the law, however.
Other issues brought up by the panel include potential HIPAA privacy law violations and improper informed consent practices.
The pro-abortion members of Congress on the panel—most of whom have received campaign donations from Planned Parenthood—began the hearing by trying to stonewall the proceedings and objecting to the documents provided. They also continued to falsely claim the Planned Parenthood undercover videos were fabrications.
They defended harvesting the organs of aborted babies as medically necessary to save lives, while denying the abortion businesses were engaged in trafficking. Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) at one point suggested that the panel continuing to investigate the issue would result in the death of children.
Abortion supporters seemed confused at two points during the hearing. Noted pro-abortion attorney Fay Clayton claimed the StemExpress brochure was only about adult tissue donations, despite the fact the brochure specifically mentioned “fetal” tissue multiple times. When confronted with this fact, Clayton claimed that somehow the profits mentioned on the brochure only referred to adult tissue.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said that the documents provided showed the abortion clinics actually had to do additional work to harvest the organs, justifying a reimbursement fee. It was pointed out to him, however, that the documents referred to the tissue procurement company, not the abortion clinic.
A new argument used to oppose the investigation was that there was an unrelated and unsuccessful investigation into fetal tissue trafficking in 2000. This argument attempts to attack the credibility of the undercover journalists who had nothing to do with an investigation 16 years ago. The lead undercover journalist, David Daleiden, would have been about 11 at the time.
Click here for a replay of the hearing.