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Why Is HHS Partnering with an Organization Under Federal Investigation for Harvesting Aborted Fetuses?

Hands holding a digital tablet showing an ultrasound image of a fetus in surgery room

A recent news story revealed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) still contracts with Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), a company that is under federal investigation for working with Planned Parenthood to procure aborted baby body parts which it then sold to government-funded researchers.

In 2015, the Center of Medical Progress (CMP) released a shocking series of undercover videos showing senior-level Planned Parenthood leadership discussing the illegal harvesting and sale of aborted fetal organs and tissues. The series included interviews with representatives of ABR, whose technicians worked inside Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics to dissect fetal body parts from abortions and package and ship them to customers, including government-sponsored labs.

Some of CMP’s previously released footage shows employees of ABR discussing the fact that some babies were alive and already in the birth canal before being aborted. ABR harvests aborted fetal specimens at Planned Parenthoods in California for $60 per specimen and then resells them to taxpayer-funded researchers for up to $6,000 per specimen, an activity which is expressly illegal. CMP’s new report shows that ABR sold aborted fetal specimens at prices far higher than its legally reimbursable costs.

Last year, a district attorney in southern California credited CMP’s investigative reporting because it prompted the successful civil prosecution of companies like ABR that illegally sold fetal organs and tissue from the local Planned Parenthood. Those companies, DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences, admitted guilt in a $7.8 million settlement.

Unfortunately, this summer the FDA renewed a purchase order with ABR for nearly $16,000 so they could receive “fresh” aborted fetal organs and tissues to implant into lab mice. Last year, the NIH spent nearly $100 million on projects using aborted fetal body parts, $20 million of which went to intramural, government-run projects engaging in fetal experimentation.

In a statement, CMP's David Daleiden said, “It is unconscionable that the United States government is still paying top-dollar in taxpayer money for the freshest, most high-quality dismembered baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains. By custom-ordering late-term aborted baby body parts for sale from Planned Parenthood partners like ABR, the FDA is directly complicit in these abortions.”

HHS — which has supposedly turned over a new leaf in terms of leadership and goals — has no business partnering with an organization like ABR, which is not only under federal investigation but which so clearly violated the law by partnering with Planned Parenthood to sell aborted baby parts in the first place. If this is merely an example of a failure to streamline information and HHS is somehow unaware of their partnership with ABR, HHS needs to take steps to sever their ties with ABR. Otherwise, if HHS is knowingly partnering with a dishonest, immoral organization despite their being under investigation, all the talk about HHS making positive changes is just that.