VIDEO: Taxpayer-Funded University Had Students Dissect ‘One or Two Fetal Brains’
The University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Health Sciences Center (HSC) is under renewed criticism after a pro-life activist recorded the center’s chancellor admitting that students had “dissected … one or two fetal brains” as part of a summer program.
According to Elisa Martinez, the head of the New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL), the video confirms her suspicions that the university may have violated state law.
Martinez explained: “This activity is arguably a violation of the Jonathan Spradling Uniform Anatomical Gift Act,” a New Mexico regulation, as well as a federal statute that “prohibits the use of fetal tissue donated for research.” The statute states that “Individuals engaged in the research will have no part in any decisions as to the timing, method, or procedures used to terminate a pregnancy,” while the New Mexico provision prevents the donations of aborted babies.
Martinez’s accusation is based upon a series of connected factors that go back several years. UNM has had a longstanding relationship with late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd, who owns Southwestern Women’s Options near the university — and has also been a volunteer faculty member. Boyd has provided the university with tissue and parts — and, possibly, whole bodies — from aborted babies for years. According to documents procured by a House of Representatives panel investigating the fetal harvesting industry, the university requested from Boyd “whole, fixed brains to dissect w/summer camp students” on May 24, 2012.
A memo from Boyd dated May 5, 2015 that NMAFL provided The Stream shows that the abortionist told UNM’s Dr. Robin Ohls that he would “continue to facilitate your collection of samples from my clinic.”
In addition to accusations of lawbreaking filed by Martinez and the investigative committee, Martinez told The Stream that UNM is engaging in deceptive practices. In December, the university told the Albuquerque Journal that it did not know how much fetal tissue Boyd sent to the university, contrary to its 2012 request and Boyd’s 2015 memo. Notes procured by the House committee show that other body parts were received, including brains for experimentation by university students.
Reactions to the Roth Admission
Martinez told The Stream that Roth’s comments were made as he left a university meeting where the “disposition of tissue” was under discussion.
“NMAFL found out that the UNM HSC meeting would be addressing … the disposition of fetal tissue, presented by Vice Chancellor of research Dr. Richard Larson,” Martinez wrote in an e-mail. “Marcie May, a staffer for NMAFL, confronted Dr. Roth about something Chancellor Richard Larson said during the public meeting.”
She urged New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to investigate the university’s practices.
Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who chairs the House Committee that recently recommended Balderas bring criminal charges against UNM, told The Stream that “it is beyond my comprehension that any of the university’s leadership would have thought this was an acceptable practice. How could anyone with an ounce of compassion and respect come to a decision that having students dissect baby brains was a moral and acceptable activity?”
The head of UNM’s student pro-life group told The Stream that “the root problem is that UNM has been the heart of the abortion industry in NM for years, and Dr. Paul Roth has been its driving force.” Jessica Roseman continued: “Until the university divests itself of its abortion business, we believe these types of revelations will continue.”
Roseman also provided a press release first to The Stream that her group will be sending to the press next week. In the release, UNM’s Students for Life urged university leaders to “reconsider our university’s involvement in an industry that performs abortions for any reason from conception until the day of birth and endangers the health of pregnant mothers.”
“The national and local publicity brought on by this involvement is having a devastating negative effect on the reputation of the university,” continued the release. “The revelations of the last year, seen in the media on a weekly basis, have become a serious distraction to the students of the university and clearly will have an effect on the value and integrity of any degrees our students may attain.”
Their Worst Suspicions
Students for Life of America president Kristan Hawkins also condemned the university in a statement to The Stream, joining Blackburn and Martinez in urging the state’s Attorney General to examine charges leveled by the House Committee.
“It confirms our worst suspicions, that the fetal tissue for-profit industry goes far deeper than anyone could guess. This operation should have been shut down long ago. We urge New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to investigate and prosecute UNM and the Southwestern Women’s Center for engaging in activity that is not only grossly immoral but elevates them to the status of active criminals.”
Hawkin said that her national group is “currently coordinating with our Students for Life group on the UNM campus on a new project to put significant pressure on the school to drop is abortion affiliations.”
“There is no reason the public university should be affiliated with such heinous practices,” concluded Hawkins.