Colorado State University stops fetal tissue purchases from StemExpress

Colorado State University (CSU) has come under fire since being accused of purchasing baby body parts for use in its research. While CSU denied having purchased the body parts, Colorado Citizens for Life published an order form from CSU for a liver and thymus, which prompted public outcry.

Now the university has halted all purchases of fetal tissue from StemExpress and other places associated with the Planned Parenthood investigation.

The outcry came through social media criticism, but it really exploded when U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn addressed it with the school. Lamborn wrote this in a letter to the president of CSU, Dr. Tony Frank:

If these allegations are true, Colorado State University appears to have violated or aided and abetted in the violation of Colorado law. Specifically, C.R.S 25– 2–111.5, enacted in 2000 and resulting from a bill I introduced when I served in the Colorado State Senate, prohibiting the purchase of fetal tissue from induced termination of pregnancy.

He asks Frank to respond within 15 days and explain all of CSU’s acquisition of aborted babies’ body parts for experimentation, and he says he expects the explanation to come with accompanying documents and  to include “the date of any such purchase, the body parts purchased, the source of the body parts purchased (including the abortion clinic which performed the abortion), the price paid by Colorado State University for the body parts, and all other relevant information about the purchase by Colorado State University of these body parts.” He continues:

I also respectfully request that, should it be true that the policy of Colorado State University permits the purchase or acquisition of aborted babies’ body parts for experimentation or for other purposes, Colorado State University immediately revoke any such policy and thereafter refrain, cease, and desist from any further purchases of aborted babies body parts.

He concludes by saying that since it appears there is a violation of state law, he has provided a copy of his letter to the Colorado attorney general to launch an investigation.

President Frank’s response came only a few days later. He writes to Lamborn:

In light of your and other concerns, and while CSU has appropriately followed all state and federal laws in regard to conduct of this research, I am accepting the recommendation of CSU’s Bioethics Advisory Committee to suspend any further acquistion of fetal tissue from Stem Express or other vendors implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional inquiry.

But Lamborn said, “President Frank did indicate that Colorado State University will be taking some positive actions in response to my investigation. … These steps are definitely headed in the right direction. However, they simply aren’t far enough.”

Partly, Lamborn says this in response to the fact the university is currently using human fetal tissue in an HIV/AIDS research project. But Frank contends CSU has not broken any laws. He adds that they don’t actually buy whole organs, despite the order form that was posted online showing the university’s purchase of a liver and thymus.


Frank writes:

The tissue is obtained in very minute sample sizes for research conducted at the cellular level using cells extracted from these small amounts of liver and thymus tissue. We do not obtain or use full organs or body parts in this research program, although we can understand how someone could mistakenly reach that conclusion based on the wording of the Stem Express invoices in question.

With that said, Frank still has halted purchases from StemExpress or any other place currently under investigation in wake of the Planned Parenthood scandal, which shows the fallout from the allegations and investigations is snowballing.

StemExpress has a temporary restraining order against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) so it cannot release any videos that show StemExpress leadership, leading many to believe the fetal procurement agency has something to hide. CMP President David Daleiden said on CNN that StemExpress may be trying to cover up the videos because they could be damaging:

In a meeting with their top leadership where their leadership admitted that they sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics they work with, and that could be prima facie evidence of born alive infants. And so that’s why they’re trying to suppress that videotape and they’re very scared of it.

One thing is becoming clear in all of this: The web of entanglement and complicity in fetal parts procurement runs deep in the nation, from medicine to education to business.

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