Select panel: Rein in baby body part buyers
Abortion | Final report also recommends Congress defund Planned Parenthood and enact 20-week abortion ban
by Evan Wilt
Posted 1/04/17, 05:39 pm
WASHINGTON—The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released its final report today, calling for an overhaul to the abortion and fetal procurement industries, including defunding Planned Parenthood and a federal 20-week abortion ban.
Formed in response to undercover videos released in 2015 by the Center for Medical Progress, the House panel set out to examine the connection between abortion and the fetal procurement industry. During the last 12-months, panel members investigated abortion providers, fetal tissue buyers, and the middleman procurement businesses in between. Today, the panel released a 471-page report detailing its findings and recommendations for the new Congress.
Chief among the proposals is a request to block federal funds from going to the nation’s largest abortion provider: Planned Parenthood.
Over the course the investigation, the panel found Planned Parenthood affiliates violated privacy rules by sharing women’s individual health information with tissue procurement companies so they could better sell the body parts of aborted babies.
Planned Parenthood also persuaded women to donate their babies’ organs post-abortion using inflammatory consent forms. Abortion providers falsely led women to believe fetal tissue helped find cures for cancer, AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease.
“Congress should end taxpayer subsidies of an abortion business that has enjoyed nearly a billion dollars in profits over the last decade while taking more than $4 billion from American taxpayers,” said Steven Aden, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom. “It’s time to end this immoral partnership that has been forced upon the American people.”
Other recommendations include barring abortion for babies after 20 weeks gestation and blocking federal funding of research involving tissue from abortions. The panel recommends finding an ethical alternative, such as only doing fetal tissue research on miscarried or stillborn babies whose mothers consent.
“Over the last year, the Select Panel’s relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, noncompliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., a panel member.
Nearly every entity and individual from whom the panel sought documents refused to fully comply with the investigation, even when subpoenaed. Last year, the panel issued a criminal referral for tissue procurement company StemExpress after it refused to release its accounting records in response to a subpoena.
Democrats claim the panel’s request caused undue hardship for the individuals and businesses in question. They claim spotlighting abortion providers and fetal tissue researchers has left them vulnerable to harassment. The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said Congress should throw out the final report because panel Republicans left the minority in the dark.
“The panel’s so-called ‘final report’ is illegitimate,” she wrote in a statement. “Under the resolution, the panel—not just its chair or majority members—must issue the report. Republicans refused to give Democratic members the opportunity to review the report.”
President-elect Donald Trump has promised pro-life groups he will support legislation defunding Planned Parenthood and implementing a 20-week abortion ban.
“It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries,” said panel chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. “Our hope is that these changes will both protect women and their unborn children, as well as the integrity of scientific research.”
Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.