This morning, Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s office released her opening statement for the Hearing on the Pricing of Fetal Tissue. Blackburn is the Chairman of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives that is investigating the facts behind the fetal parts industry and the late-term abortion industry where babies are sometimes born alive. The hearing began at 10am ET and can be watched live here.
Opening Statement of Chairman Marsha Blackburn
“Welcome to all the witnesses who are here today. I will be introducing each of you in a moment and I look forward to hearing your testimony on The Pricing of Fetal Tissue. As part of my opening statement, I will present a narrative about the exhibits that today’s hearing will discuss. I have said many times, my hope is that both parties can work together on some things and today’s subject matter should be a perfect opportunity to do so for two reasons:
First, at our initial hearing on Bioethics and Fetal Tissue, all witnesses from both sides agreed that no one should profit from the sale of baby body parts. No one.
Second, the Democrats overwhelmingly supported a prohibition on profiting from fetal tissue sales during the 1993 passage of the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act.
Former Congressman Dingle passed out of the Energy and Commerce Committee and former Congressman Henry Waxman amended the NIH bill on the floor to make clear that profiting from the sale of baby body parts was a crime. Folks those two Democrat leaders took the offense so seriously that they made profiting from the sale of fetal tissue a ten year felony. They understood that unborn children do have constitutional rights.
Now there has been a lot of heated debate about the horrible videos that came out last year, but today’s hearing will present business documents, invoices, marketing brochures, and management documents that reveal that one for profit Procurement Business and several abortion clinics may have violated the intent of the statute and the Waxman prohibition passed overwhelmingly by a Democrat controlled House. We have invited former US Attorneys and others to help us understand this conduct in light of the existing statute. We look forward to working through this material in a thoughtful way and I ask my colleagues on the other side to join in a productive discussion about the statute your side passed.
Before I turn to introducing the documents, I want to call your attention to five posters that will help to visually follow the discussion.
(1) The first chart presents three entities involved in the business of selling baby body parts. That chart depicts that the middleman Procurement Business pays the Abortion Clinic for fetal tissue and is then paid by the Researcher or Customer.
(2) The next chart is a website screen grab from the Procurement Business of how to buy baby body parts on line. That chart shows the drop down box for every part imaginable, heart, eyes, scalp, liver, hands, — then you click on the next box and pick the gestation period of the part, then you click and proceed to checkout to select your form of shipping.
(3) The third chart shows the daily tasks performed by the Procurement Business employee inside the Abortion Clinic. Once the order is communicated, the Procurement Tech starts her work: checking gestation periods, getting consent, procuring tissue, and sending it to the Customer.
(4) The fourth chart summarizes several sample payments from the Procurement Business to the Abortion Clinic and from the Customer to the Procurement Business. These are just samples for our discussion today—they do not present the entire financial picture.
(5) And the fifth chart shows who bears the responsibility for the reasonable costs involved in the procurement and sale.
Next I want to walk the witnesses through the exhibits. I know that all the lawyers in the room like to focus on every detail and that is why you are here, but it is also important to understand the big picture of what the Procurement Business was trying to do – especially in light of the Waxman prohibitions against profiting from the sale of baby parts in the 1993 NIH revitalization Act.
Please turn to the B Exhibits beginning with B2.
This is the procurement company Brochure that it handed out at national conferences where Abortion Clinic managers were in attendance. Notice it says “financially profitable . . . fiscally rewards . . . financial benefit to your clinic.”
Look at Exhibit B3 which is a website screen grab of the Procurement Business. Once again “Financially Profitable . . . while also providing a financial benefit to your own clinic.”
Evidently the Procurement Business is not familiar with the Waxman prohibition.
Now turn the page and look at Exhibits B4 and B5.
The Procurement Business started in 2010 with 3 clinics. In 2 years it was up to 30 and in two more years it had nearly 100. Further, they were negotiating a contract to have over 250 clinics by this year, but the co-marketing negotiations with a national abortion trade organization fell apart about the time the videos came out last year.
Now you do not have to be a lawyer to see what’s going on here. You put up a website that offers any baby body part imaginable – and why on earth do they need a baby scalp? Then you pick the gestation period and then check out.
To offer that service you need abortion clinics – a lot of abortion clinics – so you grow your number of clinics and you offer the clinics money to sign up – you offer them “financial benefit” to join in. You tell the clinic that you will do all the work – all the items on the chart that show the work flow of the procurement technician.
This does not sound to me like tissue donation for research – this sounds like someone who wants to make money, a lot of money selling baby body parts.
Welcome to our witness. I look forward to hearing from each of you.”
The Majority Memorandum, a White Paper on The Pricing of Fetal Tissue, Majority Exhibits, a witness list and testimony for the hearing are available HERE. A live webcast of the hearing will also be available at the same link.