Documents presented at hearing reveal operational details of fetal tissue procurement business

By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D. NRL Director of Education & Research

selectpanel45rePro-abortion Democrats did all they could yesterday to sidetrack a hearing of the U.S. House’s Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives on the topic of “The Pricing of Fetal Tissue.” They challenged the process, the witness list, and particularly the validity of key documents –and understandably so, for these sources revealed a well-developed commercial enterprise (see “Majority Exhibits”).

The defense of abortion advocates is not that babies aren’t being killed and their parts harvested, but rather to assert that it is all entirely legal. While this troubles us and may shock many in the public, to those who have long disregarded the humanity and rights of the unborn child, the collection and marketing of fetal organs is simply a logical next step.

The documents were redacted, meaning company names were not shown.

What the documents reveal is that researchers can go online to a website where they can specify what type of tissue (or organ) they want to order – the number and type of organs, the gestational age of the “specimen,” and their shipping preferences and options (no indication of “free shipping” for regular customers, though).

From such orders, the fetal tissue company develops a “procurement schedule,” informing technicians what parts are to be collected and processed for shipping, e.g., “Liver/18-22 weeks/RPMI/Wet Ice/FedEx Priority Overnight/UCLA.”

Someone (it is unclear if it is the clinic or the procurement technician, or it may just vary by clinic) tracks the number of patients coming in for their abortion appointments, the number of patients per range of gestation, and the number of consents obtained(for maternal blood or fetal tissue). Also tracked is the numbers of consents without “procurable tissues” (presumably, because too damaged from the abortion process) or consents where usable tissues where obtained but there was no identified researcher seeking the parts at the moment.

Instructions given to the tech detail the processes that need to be followed for collecting and labeling maternal blood, the forms that need to be filled out with every specimen, and consent forms.

“Clinic Procedures and Policies” tell the tissue procuring tech how to behave and interact with abortion clinic staff. For example, “Upon arrival, inform the staff clearly what you are procuring for the day.”

Techs are told how to identify and number samples, with helpful advice such as “if you procure multiple organs from a single case, they would all be identified as the same POC number.” For those who may not know, “POC” means “products of conception,” which is the abortion industry’s dehumanized shorthand jargon for the baby.

Special instructions in one case tell the tech how to prepare and package fetal liver tissue for shipping. A detailed “Supply Inventory” insures that the tech has all the appropriate tubes, needles, cotton balls, tape, ice packs, shipping labels, FedEx pouches, etc., that are required.

A company “Compensation Policy” rewards techs for obtaining more of the most sought-after tissue. While “maternal blood” and other blood items in “Category C” only bring in $10 a specimen for the first ten (it goes as high as $30 per specimen if there are more than 40), fetal brains, hearts, lungs, livers, eyes, spinal cords, ovaries, etc., bring in $35 a specimen for the first ten.

If the tech gets over 40, he or she can obtain $75 for each additional organ from “Category A.” (Items from “Category B” like fetal ears, kidneys, intestines, nose, tongue, or scalp, start at $15 per specimen and go as high as $35 a piece for higher volumes.)

One partially redacted document shows invoices for August 2012 listing charges of $2090 for 38 “POCs” from Fresno, $3740 for 68 “POCs” from Sacramento “B” Street, and $3575 for 65 “POCs” from San Jose.

On the other side of the business, a purchase order for “4 Human Fetal Brains” is shown for 14-Nov-2014 with “Unit Price” of $3,340.00 and an “estimated tax” of $292.25.

A bill sent 1/19/2012 seeks $2,860 for samples for some researcher’s “Fetal Brain Procurement Project,” exposing these to “environmental factors” like smoking, drug abuse, alcohol, etc. The invoice notes that the “Sample to be provided intact or in 4 parts/tube (anterior, middle, posterior cortex, and brain stem.”

A designation identifies these specimens as “POC #01, 02, 04, 05.” The cost for FedEx Priority Overnight shipping is $85.00.

One page listing “Fetal Tissue Sales by Client Detail” shows some 66 transactions for “Human Fetal Tissue” brains, hearts, limbs, livers, pancreases totaling $42,535.00. Again, whether this reflects transactions between the tissue procurement company and researchers, or between the tissue company and a clinic; whether this involves one research institution, one clinic, or multiple, is not clear from the redacted document.

Though the Select Investigative Panel did not publicly identify any of the clinics or the tissue procurement company (or companies) involved, a Politico reporter said that the documents are clearly talking about StemExpress (Politico, 4/19/16).

StemExpress did not deny that it had engaged in the practice of harvesting and selling fetal organs, but claimed in a later Politico story from 4/20/16 that documents it submitted to the panel demonstrated that the group had not profited from such activities.

Profitable or not, these documents make clear that this is no casual, small-time operation, but an established commercial enterprise. And whether or not it is a major or minor part of the business (StemExpress tells Politico that fetal tissue represents only about 1 percent of its gross revenues each year), the point remains the same – that babies are being chopped up in American abortion clinics and their parts are being harvested and sold.

It’s an awful, bloody business.