Pro-Life Victory: Baby Body Parts Researcher Barred from Lab, Emails Obtained by NMAFL Reveal Possible Criminal Conduct
The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC) has permanently suspended neonatologist Dr. Robin Ohls and all other researchers under her supervision from transferring, harvesting or conducting fetal tissue research. An investigation was conducted after Ohls was caught begging for compensation for her lab assistant who harvested and shipped human fetal eyes across state lines.
NM Alliance for Life has spearheaded the investigation into the partnership betweeen UNMHSC and the scandal-ridden late-term abortion clinic, Southwestern Women's Options harvesting aborted baby parts for research. We've also pointed out that Ohls and her lab assistants are already paid employees of the university, and additional payments could be a violation of federal statute. A federal law prohibits the exchange of baby body parts for any value above the cost of shipping and handling, the law also carries criminal penalties.
"UNM officials must immediately turn their investigation over to federal authorities to ensure that these abuses will no longer harm women and commodify unborn children. If they won't, we will," stated NMAFL's Elisa Martinez in a press release.
Dr. Ohls has been UNM HSC's leading human fetal tissue researcher since 1995, where she has been conducting research with the scandal ridden late-term abortion clinic Southwestern Women's Options. Ohls and other UNM employees have harvested aborted infant body parts from 10 weeks up to 35 weeks from the clinic for the UNM DREAM Lab.
In Ohls' DREAM Lab, baby parts were harvested without proper consent and various studies used fetal eyes, fetal skin and heart vessels. Some baby body parts harvested were listed as "intact" and shipped to other universities across the country. Brains from a 27-week baby were ordered by lab employees to dissect at a summer camp with high school students at UNM. In other cases, NMAFL exposed UNM lab employees making depraved comments, including "entire pancreas - whoo hoo!!" showing a callous disregard for human life.
NMAFL obtained shocking emails between Ohls, recently retired UNM DREAM Lab director Suzanne McCoghany and Tammy Movsas, an adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University and heads Michigan-based Zietchick Research Institute (ZRI).
Movsas offered up to $7500 reimbursement of $150 per tissue samples using a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant to Ohls and her assistant. Movsas assures Ohls in the emails of monetary payment for "all your sample acquisition costs" in exchange for fetal eye samples. She adds: "I hope to reimburse you for more of your time and effort as further grant money is acquired."
Ohls and her assistant are employed by the university, but Ohls still emailed Movsas pleading for compensation, "our collaboration is really the only compensation we receive to cover the amount of time needed for tissue collection."
"The burden now lies on UNM to prove that Dr. Ohls and her research team did not profit from the transfer of aborted baby body parts, which would be considered criminal conduct," said NMAFL's Elisa Martinez. "Why would an internal policy violation spur the closure of a 20 year program, that Dr. Roth [UNM HSC Chancellor] once defiantly touted in the midst of criminal investigations?"
"It should be easy enough for UNM to disprove whether or not the $7500 fee was paid to reimburse UNM for shipping," said New Mexico state Rep. Rod Montoya (R - San Juan). "All they need to do is to provide shipping invoices, especially since they are required to keep records of bio-hazard shipments. If not, it would appear UNM violated federal law by receiving valuable consideration."
Martinez concludes, "we applaud the closure of the research program using aborted baby parts under Ohls, however it is shocking that UNM's veteran researcher in this area was wholly unaware of a long-standing federal statute, this along with the criminal referrals from Congress reveals an institution wide problem under the leadership of Paul Roth at UNM Health Sciences Center."
In 2016, a congressional panel found potential violations of both state and federal statutes in the fetal tissue program between UNM and the SWO clinic. The Panel referred UNM and SWO to the Department of Justice and Attorney General Hector Balderas for criminal investigation for previous violations.