Blackburn: Americans Must Know the Truth About Fetal Harvesting and Planned Parenthood
When you are in a clinic or hospital waiting for surgery, the last person you expect to approach you is a tissue harvester, especially one who works for a for-profit company. Imagine that this tissue harvester, who has access to your confidential patient information, will get a bonus for each organ and does not work for your doctor or even the medical facility. Imagine further that they ask you to donate human body parts with the assurance that they have found cures for diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s with similar tissue.
If you are a woman facing the difficult decision of abortion and have chosen a Planned Parenthood clinic, this is exactly what can happen.
When undercover investigative journalists discovered that a market had been created to sell baby body parts for a profit, they revealed what pro-lifers have known for many years — the hardened, callous, money-focused face of the abortion industry in America.
Millions of Americans were astonished and outraged when they learned that in order to supplement their budgets, some abortion clinics had contracted with fetal tissue procurement organizations like StemExpress to create a market for the sale of leftover parts of children they have aborted.
Indeed, many could hardly stomach watching lab technicians and abortionists sift through trays of body parts, callously talking about their monetary value.
One year ago, I accepted the task of chairing a fact-finding committee, the Select Investigative Panel, which has been working tirelessly to investigate what the videos began to uncover. Throughout our research, we have seen both patients and the integrity of our nation’s tissue and organ donation programs exploited for financial gain.
The key federal statute at the core of our investigation is 42 USC § 289g-2. It allows for the transfer of fetal tissue, but strictly prohibits profit. And even though Planned Parenthood has dipped into their vast pockets to pay for a slick PR campaign during this year of their 100th anniversary to deny they made any profit, our committee has repeatedly found cases where payments for tissue exceeded any reasonable cost.
We recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, legislation I support, which has served as a major protection against the use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortions through programs like Medicaid.
Americans consistently show strong support for prohibiting public funding for abortion on demand. That does not seem to matter to those like Hillary Clinton, who support abortion on demand and now want to repeal the Hyde Amendment, reversing decades of bipartisan support for the measure.
No organization that exploits women and babies in the interest of making more money should ever receive our tax dollars. Rather, we should be funding women’s clinics that offer more comprehensive care than Planned Parenthood; clinics, for example, that provide mammograms.
Moreover, anyone who sells baby body parts for a profit should be barred from receiving federal funds for any purpose. We do not give federal funds to those who violate our criminal statutes.
That is exactly why we are continuing to work diligently at the Select Investigative Panel to expose the real face of America’s abortion industry. The American people deserve to know the truth.
Marsha Blackburn serves as Chair of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and is Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. She represents the Seventh Congressional District of Tennessee.
The op-ed above was published at The Stream on October 14, 2016.