Congressional Investigative Panel's First Hearing on Bioethics & Fetal Tissue as UNMHSC Harvested Heart Vessels from 57 Babies Aborted at Late-Term Clinic Owned By UNM Professor Curtis Boyd
Wednesday, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn announced the first hearing of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives will be held on Wednesday, March 2. Members of the panel will hear testimony from expert witnesses on the issue of bioethics and fetal tissue. This comes as citizens across the state along with New Mexico Alliance for Life have serious concerns regarding the ethics of harvesting organs, body parts and tissue from aborted infants used at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC) for research, especially as the university continues to withhold public documents surrounding this issue.
"UNMHSC's research studies involving organs, body parts and tissue from aborted babies up to 24 weeks gestation gives rise to many ethical concerns, especially considering UNM's lack of documents evidencing their protocols and procedures," said Elisa Martinez, NMAFL executive director. "The UNM study using heart vessels from 57 babies harvested within 30 minutes of the abortion procedure raises serious ethical concerns and highlights the need for the Congressional panel's investigation, as UNM professor Curtis Boyd performs the abortions in his private clinic and is then thanked in UNMHSC studies as tissue collector, when does one role end and the other begin?"
Arthur Caplan, director of the New York University Langone Medical Center's Division of Medical Ethics, who was quoted in Live Science, referred to fetal tissue research as "the ticking time bomb of medical ethics," and argues that fetal tissue donation at abortion clinics presents a conflict of interest for clinicians because it "shifts the focus away from women and their needs."
The study obtained by NMAFL (view here) explicitly references different aspects of the abortion procedure, which questions if there was any separation between the harvesting of organs and the abortion procedure.
The incentive for abortionists to harvest organs for research, which is often funded by private and taxpayer grants, presents an alarming bioethical concern.
1) Study uses "human fetal ductus..and aorta," yet deemed "non human" by UNM
2) 57 aborted babies up to 22 weeks (5 months) from "healthy women"
3) Abortion procedure referenced in the actual study
4) Results of study: theoretical
UNM HEART VESSEL STUDY RESULTS: THEORETICAL
The scientific merit of the UNM study is also suspect. Dr. David Prentice, a stem cell research expert states after reviewing, "The results are strictly theoretical and make no headway toward actual knowledge of whether the genes studied may work in humans toward closure of the ductus arteriosus at birth. Not of much practical value." Martinez asks, "If these studies have little scientific merit, why go to great lengths to harvest body parts from aborted babies--are the millions of taxpayer dollars in research grants an incentive to harvest body parts for research at UNM, which may also compromise women's health in the process?"
The Select Panel's Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. A live webcast will also be available at the same link on the day of the hearing.
ARE YOU DISGUSTED BY THE TOTAL DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE IN UNM'S NEEDLESS STUDIES?
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