Guest Column

Former insider: U Pitt should face consequences for experimenting on aborted babies

embryo, fetus

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this guest post are solely those of the author and are not necessarily reflective of Live Action or Live Action News.

As pro-choice groups have a collective heart attack over the Supreme Court denying a request to freeze a Texas state law that bars abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, they haven’t batted an eye at heartbreaking revelations that aborted babies may have been kept alive within Pennsylvania’s major fetal tissue distribution hub, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

UPMC is a nonprofit health system that has the distinction of being the largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania. While the medical center boasts that they build a “culture of compassionate health care” on their website, they neglect to mention their role as one of the largest abortion providers in the state, performing over 500 operations each year. Sadly, the dehumanization process doesn’t stop on the operating table, as UPMC also houses the University of Pittsburgh’s GUDMAP project that stores and distributes fetal organs for experimentation in Pennsylvania and beyond.

I resigned from the medical center in April after reading about one particular taxpayer-funded study published last September in which the scalps of second-term babies aborted at a UPMC hospital between 18 to 20 weeks were attached to mice and rats by Pitt researchers. Even though the rodent experiment is disturbing on its own merits, there have been additional areas of ethical malfeasance.

A few weeks prior to my last day on the job, I submitted a conflict of interest report to UPMC’s Compliance Helpline regarding Professor Beatrice Chen, who oversees abortions at Magee-Womens Hospital while also serving on the University of Pittsburgh’s Institutional Review Board that approves fetal experimentation projects. Dr. Chen’s position as Magee’s director of family planning combined with her role as a vice chair on the IRB contradicts recent claims by Pitt’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications, David Seldin. The former NARAL communications director has insisted in interviews that the university has no part in medical procedures or tissue collection involving aborted fetuses.

In a further obstruction effort, the University of Pittsburgh sent Professor Jeremy Rich to appear at a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health Committee hearing on fetal experimentation held in May. Dr. Rich was appointed as deputy director of research at UPMC’s Hillman Cancer Center at the beginning of the year and has no involvement with abortions or fetal experimentation. During his testimony, he was unable to answer the committee’s basic questions about the university’s controversial research practices, and at one point he corrected a representative by falsely claiming that only mice were used in the rodent experiment.

READ: BOMBSHELL: University of Pittsburgh likely harvesting organs from abortion survivors, with quota for racial minorities

Last month brought further troubling disclosures. Judicial Watch released a 2015 grant application from the University of Pittsburgh to the National Institutes of Health which indicates the distinct possibility that women seeking abortions have unknowingly had their babies delivered alive in order to ensure an adequate blood supply from the heart to other organs during tissue collection.

UPMC’s incoming CEO and president Leslie Davis, who started her new gig two days before Judicial Watch posted the alarming documents on their website, has been unresponsive to the media on this issue. Importantly, the application was submitted to the NIH during a time when Davis was directly overseeing Magee-Womens as the hospital’s president.

Given Davis’ vow to be a “transparent leader” in an August Pittsburgh Post-Gazette interview, she should be able to explain the process used at Magee-Womens to keep the warm ischemic time “at a minimum” to ensure “the highest quality biological specimens” as described in the application. She can also clarify why the documents indicate that a disproportionate number of minority babies may have had their organs harvested.

Davis may be feeling the pressure now that Pennsylvania House Health Committee Chair Kathy Rapp has submitted a request to the state’s auditor general for a review of public funding allocated to the university. Rapp’s desire for an investigation is shared by retired PA Superior Court Judge Cheryl Allen, who is a graduate of Pitt’s law school and a past recipient of the university’s Alumni of the Year award.

As more representatives and citizens learn the details of these allegations, the demands for answers will continue to grow. Only time will tell whether the university and medical center will face consequences for their deadly decisions.

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