The Facts on Fetal Tissue Sales Don’t Lie

By Marsha Blackburn Published on May 2, 2016

Since the horrific videos were released last summer, there has been a lot of heated debate about the questionable business practices of abortion clinics and fetal tissue procurement organizations. One thing that everyone can agree on is that no one should profit from the sale of baby body parts.

This debate goes back many years to the early 1990’s when Congress passed into law the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Revitalization Act. Leading that effort in the House were two distinguished Democrats — former Congressman John Dingell (D-MI), who passed the legislation out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and former Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA), who amended the bill on the House floor to make clear that profiting from the sale of baby body parts was a crime. In fact, these two Democrat leaders took the offense so seriously that they made profiting from the sale of human fetal tissue a ten-year felony. They understood that unborn children do have constitutional rights.

At our April 20th hearing on The Pricing of Fetal Tissue, the Select Investigative Panel examined business documents, invoices, marketing brochures, and management documents that reveal one for profit procurement business, StemExpress, and several abortion clinics may have violated federal law by the payments they received from the sale of baby body parts.

Title 42 USC § 289g-2 prohibits the transfer of any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration that exceeds “reasonable costs.” The statute states that reasonable costs include transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control, and storage — none of which it appears the abortion clinics did. Documents also showed that payments made by the customer to the procurement business appear to exceed the costs incurred on the procurement business by a factor of 300 to 400 percent.

Brian Lennon, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, even told the panel he believes “a competent, ethical federal prosecutor could establish probable cause that both the abortion clinics and the procurement business violated the statute, aided and abetted one another in violating the statute and likely conspired together to violate the statute.” Lennon went on to say, “in my opinion, there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

After reviewing the documents revealed during our hearing, the consensus among witnesses was that StemExpress and other entities in question should turn over their accounting documents for full review by the Select Panel.

We have learned that not only is this investigation warranted, but further examination of accounting records is needed to get the complete facts about what was actually going on. The facts don’t lie. The American people deserve nothing less than the truth and we will continue our efforts by any means necessary to compel StemExpress and other entities to turn over ALL business and accounting records that have previously been subpoenaed by panel investigators.


U.S. Congressman 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.

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