StemExpress says it has cut ties with Planned Parenthood

By Dave Andrusko

Cate Dyer, founder and CEO, Stem Express LLC

Cate Dyer, founder and CEO, Stem Express LLC

A week ago Sunday, Heather Saunders Estes, CEO and president of Planned Parenthood’s Northern California chapter, told Phil Matier of KPIX 5, “What we do is legal and ethical and we’re proud of it.”

Estes was, of course, referring to the tremendous backlash against PPFA stirred by the shocking remarks made by Planned Parenthood officials on recorded undercover videos taken by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

In the first video, released July 14, StemExpress was mentioned, as it was in subsequent videos. Since that time the company has come under intense scrutiny.

On Saturday Stem Express ostensibly cut ties with Planned Parenthood.

“Due to the increased questions that have arisen over the past few weeks, we feel it prudent to terminate activities with Planned Parenthood,” a company statement said. “While we value our relationship with Planned Parenthood, that work represents a small percentage of our overall business activity and we must focus our limited resources on resolving these inquiries.”

StemExpress, a five-year-old company based in Placerville, California, notified Planned Parenthood and Congress on Friday of its decision to end the relationship, a source told POLITICO. The statement was released Saturday after POLITICO had reported the decision to sever the relationship [www.politico.com/story/2015/08/planned-parenthood-fetal-tissue-company-cuts-ties-videos-121371.html].

StemExpress recently described itself as “the largest provider of maternal blood and fetal tissue globally,” adding that it offers “special discounts to the academic community.” More recently it has portrayed itself as a much smaller player.

But in a July 28 New York Times article we read

Fetal tissue sales are not limited to cells in a vial. More than a dozen research papers published since 2012 acknowledge obtaining intact fetal eyes, hearts, livers and kidneys from StemExpress.

Noel Neuburger reporting for Sacramento Business, wrote today

The company has won a temporary court order preventing release of further videos involving the company. A hearing is scheduled on Wednesday to determine if that will continue.

Much of the furor has focused on Planned Parenthood, but StemExpress has caught national criticism as well. Last week Colorado State University said it has halted purchase of fetal tissue from the company. Protesters have targeted the company’s office and some in the local community have criticized it.

The Center for Medical Progress was skeptical. On its webpage they wrote

Earlier [last] week, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Northern California said they were “proud of” their baby parts program with StemExpress. Now, StemExpress claims it is terminating its “business relationship” with Planned Parenthood . Yet StemExpress leadership confirmed to CMP investigators in May they are struggling to meet demand for intact fetal livers. Was there a dispute about money with Planned Parenthood? Or is StemExpress following orders from Planned Parenthood National to save face? Does Planned Parenthood abortion doctor Ronald Berman continue to serve as Medical Director of StemExpress? Planned Parenthood and StemExpress should both answer questions about this shady move, and the full details of their “business relationship,” under oath before Congress and the American people.