WASHINGTON — The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has called for an investigation into the abortion giant Planned Parenthood and one of its baby body parts buyers as new evidence has surfaced that allegedly suggests the entities violated patient privacy laws.
Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn recently sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to request the investigation, as she included concerning evidence from email correspondence between Planned Parenthood representatives and buyers such as Stem Express.
“During the course of our investigation, we have uncovered documents and received testimony from confidential informants indicating that Stem Express … violated 45 CFR 46 by using appearance of compliance with the regulations while fraudulently using invalid consent forms and misleading customers to believe it had a valid Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval,” she wrote.
“Through its corporate existence, StemExpress’ activities were obtaining contractual relationships with abortion clinics for the purpose of embedding a StemExpress employee inside the clinic,” Blackburn explained. “The employees had access to confidential patient medical records, which they used to obtain consent and procure fetal tissue. StemExpress then resold that tissue to researchers.”
Blackburn explained that customers would place an order for “fetal tissue” using an online portal on the StemExpress website, and then Planned Parenthood representatives would fax a schedule of the next day’s patients to StemExpress. The company would in turn notify the customer if it could fulfill its order that day.
Email correspondence provided to the Congressional panel by StemExpress shows conversations such as, “We have a trisomy patient scheduled for this week and could try to procure a brain sample for you,” and “How is the pancreas forecast today—any possible procurements?”
One client who ordered a skull and limbs was told, “There is one case currently in the room. I will let you know how the limbs and calvarium look to see if you are able to take them in about fifteen minutes.”
Minutes after the abortion, the technician notified the client, “The calvarium is mostly intact, with a tear up the back of the suture line, but all pieces look to be there. The limbs, one upper and one lower, are totally intact, with one upper broken at the humerus and one lower broken right above the knee. Please let me know if these are acceptable.”
The StemExpress technician on duty sought out specific patients to obtain their consent to harvest their child’s organs and were paid both an hourly wage and “per tissue” bonus for fulfilling client orders, Blackburn outlined in her letter.
“StemExpress paid the abortion clinic (Planned Parenthood) a per tissue fee and then marked up the tissue four to six hundred percent for sale to the researcher,” she wrote.
Blackburn said that while HIPPA requires that all identifying health information be kept private, Planned Parenthood granted StemExpress access to patient records to obtain consent for harvesting organs, which is a violation of federal rules.
“The disclosures of PHI (protected health information) that the abortion clinics made to StemExpress are neither required nor permitted by law,” she explained. “StemExpress was not involved in the treatment of patients, in the payment for treatment, or in clinic operations. Rather StemExpress wanted patients’ PHI to facilitate the procurement of human tissue from aborted infants for resale to researchers.”
“The key to understanding the HIPAA and consent violations that we’ve referred to HHS is that there’s a business contract between StemExpress and the abortion clinics under which both sides make a profit from the baby body parts inside the young woman’s womb,” Blackburn also explained in a statement.
“The contract changes the way both entities view the young woman: her baby is now a profit-center,” she said. “This betrayal of a young woman’s trust should disgust us all. It takes financial advantage, obtains consent through coercion, and deceives the woman, all in violation of federal privacy laws.”
Blackburn has consequently requested that that HHS investigate the matter further to determine if Planned Parenthood and StemExpress were indeed in violation of the law. The Planned Parenthood locations specifically mentioned were Planned Parenthood Mar Monte in San Jose, California and Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific in San Francisco, California. Family Planning Specialists Medical Group in Oakland, California was also cited in the correspondence.