Newly released documents shed more light on the Food and Drug Administration‘s practice of spending tens of thousands of dollars to procure fetal tissue, and one federal judge has said the government agency may have been involved in an illegal procurement process.
The watchdog group Judicial Watch announced they had received 575 pages in documents from the FDA, including emails, that show the federal employees discuss particulars of obtaining fetal tissue, in one case requesting the tissue be “fresh; shipped on wet ice.”
“These fetal organ trafficking documents shock the conscience and show potentially illegal use of tax dollars to purchase organs of the unborn killed through abortion,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
The FDA used California-based Advanced Bioscience Resources for years to procure fetal tissue for research, but they ended their relationship in 2018 over allegations that the group was profiting off of the sales.
Records show the National Institutes of Health spent thousands and the FDA spent tens of thousands on fetal tissue procurement to create “humanized mice,” a process where mice tissue is altered to make it more useful for research.
“HHS was not sufficiently assured that the contract included the appropriate protections applicable to fetal tissue research or met all other procurement requirements,” the department said after ending the contract in 2018.
A federal court ruled last month that the Department of Health and Human Services must release documents related to their procurement of fetal tissue.
From the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s decision:
“Advanced Biosciences Resources [ABR] partnered with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to dismember fetuses and sell their parts for research. It sold second-trimester livers and thymi for hundreds of dollars apiece. The same for brains, eyes, and lungs. After tacking on fees for services like shipping and cleaning, ABR could collect over $2,000 on a single fetus it purchased from Planned Parenthood for $60. The federal government participated in this potentially illicit trade for years.”
Judicial Watch has been investigating this issue with formal information requests and lawsuits. More information is likely to surface as they continue to uncover documents.
The group released the documents which show discussion over pricing and the sex of the fetuses involved.
From Judicial Watch:
The records include the following communications between ABR procurement manager Perrin Larton and FDA research veterinary medical official Dr. Kristina Howard between January 2011 and April 2018:
Howard’s September 27, 2012, application sent to Larton indicating that ABR would be paid $12,000 up front for “tissue purchases.” The contract provided for the provision of human fetal tissue with a gestational age of 16 to 24 weeks, including “One set of tissue (thymus/liver) approx. twice monthly.” It was to be shipped “Fresh; shipped on wet ice.”
Howard’s May 10, 2012, email to Larton bearing the subject line “Tissue Delivery” and saying, “Just wanted to follow up with you regarding the tissue deliveries. We have three batches of mice that still need to be humanized, so please keep us on the schedule every week until we manage to receive three sets of tissue.”
Howard’s October 17, 2012, email to Larton about the gender of an aborted fetus from which an organ was harvested: “I wanted to check with your records on the sex of the tissue we received today. It was Liver #4505.” Larton responded, “The techs were not able to identify the gender. We only check external genitalia and if it’s not there … due to the nature of the termination procedure… we have no way of telling.” Howard replied, “Thank you for explaining that to me. I have some leftover cells to sex it.”