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Planned Parenthood executive: ‘It doesn’t bother me’ if StemExpress profits from fetal tissue

Anti-abortion activists take part in a protest outside of a Planned Parenthood center construction site on Jan. 21, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

A Planned Parenthood executive told investigators that “it doesn’t bother me” if StemExpress profits from the sale of fetal tissue, according to the House Select Panel on Infant Lives’ final report.

The tissue procurement company StemExpress, a former Planned Parenthood business partner, has been accused of buying aborted fetal body parts from Planned Parenthood and selling them for a profit, claims it has denied.

During the U.S House of Representatives' panel's investigation into the allegations, the unnamed executive at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who is also an abortion provider in Los Angeles, was asked by investigators about StemExpress appearing to make a profit from the sale of fetal tissue. Investigators said that the company paid Planned Parenthood $55 for an intact fetal brain, but sold it to a customer for $3,340.

According to a transcript of the interview:

Q: Three thousand three hundred and forty. Now, that—that particular brain is shipped—is shipped out of the clinic. Now, here’s the scenario, and we’ll be done. Tissue tech learns who’s available for contributing. She goes and gets the consent. She gets paid a bonus. The Planned Parenthood clinic, I believe, gets $55, but it’s in the range of [$]30 to [$]100, and StemExpress resells that brain for over $3,000.

And you’ll notice — you may notice on there [the invoice] that the shipping and maybe some other things are paid for by the customer. Now, does that bother you?

A: No.

Q: Okay. So if StemExpress made a profit by marking up what they paid for the tissue 2,800 percent, would that bother you?

A: I don’t know that they’re ma[r]king [sic] it up. I have no idea what their costs are.

Q: Well, if they — if it was a profit would it bother you?

A: It’s really none of my business, no.

Later in the interview, investigators again asked if StemExpress’ apparent profits from tissue bothered the executive:

Q: And I just want to know what’s sort of the global management perspective of a Planned Parenthood senior leader like you if that’s a 2,800 percent profit. Would that bother you?

A: So just so that I’m clear on the question[;] you’re asking me if it bothers me that StemExpress makes money reselling the tissue?

Q: Yeah.

A: It’s none of my concern. It doesn’t bother me.

The executive, identified in the report as “PP Witness #1,” was also asked what Planned Parenthood would do if an infant was born alive during an abortion procedure.

“I can tell you that none of our Health Centers provide obstetrics care,” the executive replied. “So they don’t deliver babies. So they don’t have anyone who can provide care, nor do they know what that care is. ... We don’t deliver babies at Planned Parenthood. ... [O]ur affiliates don’t provide obstetrical care. So therefore, they don’t know how to manage a term infant or a premature infant.”

When investigators asked whether “the protocol [should] be to call an ambulance right away” if a premature infant were to be born alive during an abortion procedure, the executive reiterated that “there’s no protocol for this” and said: “I’m not going to sit here and write a protocol.”

The report marks the end of a year-long investigation that was authorized by former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) after a series of undercover videos raised allegations that Planned Parenthood was profiting from the sale of fetal tissue to tissue procurement companies. Profiting from the sale of human organs — including those of the unborn — is illegal in the United States. Planned Parenthood has denied illegal conduct.

David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress and the filmmaker whose videos spurred the investigation, said in a statement that the panel’s investigation “definitively shows that Planned Parenthood and associates in their abortion empire are guilty of breaking numerous state and federal laws in their criminal harvesting and sale of aborted baby body parts”:

The report documents admissions under oath by top-level Planned Parenthood leadership that they change their abortion methods to get higher quality baby parts, use fraudulent and invalid consent forms with vulnerable pregnant women, set their prices for fetal organs and tissue without regard to actual cost, and “It doesn’t bother me” that companies like StemExpress make money off of body parts harvested at Planned Parenthood. Emails obtained by the Panel even show the National Abortion Federation sought to obtain kickback payments for each successful body parts harvesting at a NAF-member clinic. Law enforcement at all levels must now prosecute Planned Parenthood’s criminal abortion business to the fullest extent of the law, and the American taxpayer should no longer be forced to subsidize the barbarism of the abortion industry.

In a joint press release, lawmakers on the panel’s Republican majority said their work uncovered disturbing and potentially illegal activity.

Panel Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said: “It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries."

Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris, one of the lawmakers on the panel, alleged that their investigation "found evidence that several tissue procurement companies and abortion clinics may have violated federal felony laws prohibiting the sale of human fetal tissue."

"As a physician and researcher, it is my sincere hope that our investigation and the subsequent referrals have put an end to these shady and unethical practices,” he added.

Tennessee GOP Rep. Diane Black said the investigation "has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, noncompliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children."

"I have never shied away from my own pro-life views, but the findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience," she continued.

Democratic lawmakers on the panel dismissed the investigation as a witch hunt targeting Planned Parenthood and abortion access at large.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), ranking member on the panel, said in a statement, “History will not look kindly upon this Panel:”

This Select Investigative Panel leaves behind a legacy of lies, intimidation, and procedural misconduct. It will be remembered, like the House Un-American Activities Committee and McCarthy hearings for its excesses and abuses of power.

The panel made a series of criminal referrals during the course of its investigation, including Planned Parenthood affiliates and other abortion clinics, tissue procurement companies such as StemExpress, the University of New Mexico and a "late-term abortionist" in Texas.

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