By Melanie Hunter | August 26, 2016
The House Select Panel of Infant Lives has accused the University of New Mexico’s medical school of illegally transferring fetal tissue after reports surfaced that students dissected aborted baby brains among other body parts during a summer program in 2012 and 2014, Fox News reported Friday.
In a letter to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), chair of the panel, reportedly accused the school of breaking New Mexico law as it pertains to the use of aborted fetal tissue provided by Southwestern Women’s Options, an abortion clinic that provides late-term abortions.
“Documentation obtained by the panel in the course of its investigation reflects that the transfer of fetal tissue from SWWO to UNM for research purposes is a direct violation of New Mexico’s Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act,” Blackburn wrote.
According to the Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, “‘Decedent’ includes a stillborn infant and, subject to restrictions imposed by law other than the Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, a fetus but not including a fetus that is the subject of an induced abortion.”
Section 4 of the Act, titled “Who may make anatomical gift before donor’s death,” says “an anatomical gift of a donor’s body or part may be made during the life of the donor for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research or education.”
It further says the anatomical gift may be made by: “the donor, if the donor is an adult or if the donor is a minor and is: (1) emancipated; or (2) authorized pursuant to state law to apply for an instruction permit because the donor is at least fifteen years of age; B. an agent of the donor, unless the power of attorney for health care or other record prohibits the agent from making an anatomical gift; C. a parent of the donor, if the donor is an unemancipated minor; or D. the donor's guardian.”
The House subpoenaed records from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and Southwestern Women’s Options, which included procurement notes.
In one notation dated May 24, 2012, a lab assistant wrote: “Asked clinic for digoxin treated tissue 24-28 wks. for methylation study & because [name redacted] wants whole, fixed brains to dissect w/ summer camp students,” the Albuquerque Journal reported.
According to the Albuquerque Journal, university officials acknowledged that the “six-week ‘Neuroscience Summer Experience’ in 2012 and 2014 involved fetal brain dissections” but said it was not a summer camp, but an educational research program attended by undergraduate and graduate students as well as children of faculty members.
Thank You Ms Hunter and CNS.