Democrats: Fetal tissue profit proof is fake
Abortion | Abortion supporters on House panel investigating sale of baby body parts try to dismiss evidence of illegal activity
by Evan Wilt
Posted 4/20/16, 05:12 pm
WASHINGTON—Republicans marched into today’s meeting of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives armed with new evidence of businesses profiteering from aborted baby body parts. Rather than address the allegations, Democrats continued attempts to discredit the investigation by dismissing the evidence as fake.
Democratic committee members tried to curtail the hearing before it even started, raising numerous procedural and technical objections. They claimed panel staff members altered the documents used during the hearing to paint a misleading picture.
Committee Chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., had to quash motions to throw out evidence before she could even read her opening statement. But Blackburn and other Republican members insisted they are following the facts and will continue to dig for the truth about the fetal tissue procurement industry.
“You do not have to be a lawyer to see what’s going on here,” Blackburn said after summarizing the new evidence, made available yesterday. “This does not sound to me like tissue donation for research—this sounds like someone who wants to make money, a lot of money, selling baby body parts.”
Republicans presented a paper-trail from an anonymous business, which Democrats claim is StemExpress, that shows it violated the non-profit model Congress set up in 1993 for the provision of fetal tissue to researchers.
The new exhibits showed profits between 300 and 400 percent made by middleman businesses from the sale of baby organs harvested from abortion centers. During the hearing, committee members showed screen grabs of the company’s website, which allowed customers to purchase the baby parts they wanted from specific gestational periods.
“For crying out loud, this is the Amazon.com of baby body parts,” said Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., after going through the details of the website. “This is absolutely repulsive.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., one of the hearing’s witnesses, told the committee everyone, regardless of their opinion on abortion, should question a website containing a drop-down menu listing every organ of a baby’s body for sale.
“Our disagreement over abortion will sometimes be heated, but wherever possible, we should look for consensus,” he said. “Babies are not the sum of their body parts. Babies are not meant to be bought. Babies are not meant to be sold.”
But Democrats did not budge, insisting StemExpress and other companies have done no wrong and are providing labs with priceless specimens for life-saving research.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., called the Republican-controlled committee a kangaroo court—basing arguments on stolen and misleading documents intending to end all fetal tissue research.
“Perhaps we should change the name of the committee to ‘the select investigative panel on stopping research and letting people die,’” Speier said. “This hearing belongs in a bad episode of House of Cards. I’m sure Frank Underwood is hiding somewhere.”
Democrats produced a letter from StemExpress that claims the documents are inauthentic and accuses David Daleiden and the Center for Medial Progress of feeding Republicans false information.
Blackburn denied claims any of the information presented during the hearing came from Daleiden. She said all materials came from the committee’s own investigation. Republicans plan to continue digging for information, with the goal of presenting the findings to Congress by the end of the year.
During a post-hearing press conference, Democratic committee members said they agree no one should profit from the sale of fetal tissue. But they claimed biased Republicans are overstepping their authority and pressuring the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation based on suspect evidence.
“I absolutely think it is time to end this witch hunt,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., the panel’s top Democrat. “This is nothing more than an attack on clinics, on scientific research, and women’s access to reproductive rights.”
But the panel’s Republicans are not the only governmental body interested in investigating the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industry.
On Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) granted a request from Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and others to audit Planned Parenthood and determine whether the nation’s largest abortion provider should continue to get federal dollars.
“For years Planned Parenthood and their pro-abortion allies have deceived the public on how they spend their taxpayer dollars,” Vitter said. “I suspect the forthcoming GAO report will confirm our fears of Planned Parenthood’s inexcusable misuse of taxpayer dollars for abortion.”
Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.