Vanderbilt University Won’t Say Where It Buys Body Parts From Aborted Babies for Research

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Aug 17, 2015   |   3:55PM   |   Nashville, TN

The Republic reports that Vanderbilt University in Tennessee was one of nearly 100 research institutions in the United States to receive federal funding for fetal tissue research between 2011 and 2014. In fact, the National Institutes of Health gave $10 million in grants to the university in 2011 and 2012 for their research efforts. The majority of that money went toward the school’s Coordinating Center for Beta Cell Biology Consortium, which focused on finding new treatments for diabetes.

Vanderbilt spokesman John Howser explained, “The grants were to support VUMC’s portion of research that contributed to a national consortium seeking to answer questions about the biology of the pancreas and its relationship to diabetes.” He added, “The goal of this research was to shed new light on, and hopefully find new treatments, to help the nearly 30 million people here in the U.S. suffering from diabetes.”

Vanderbilt has not disclosed where they received the aborted babies from; but they did say their university’s policy requires women to give consent before they use any “tissue” for research. The grants that went toward fetal tissue research funded a diabetes study that won a national award for its director, Mark Magnuson, last year.

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As LifeNews previously reported, a handful of universities in the United States have faced criticism for participating in research on aborted babies after videos surfaced exposing Planned Parenthood’s negotiations with organ harvesting companies. The CEO and president of Planned Parenthood of East and Middle Tennessee, Jeff Teague, said the abortion company does not participate in tissue donation anywhere in the state. However, in other states Planned Parenthood executives have made similar claims that have turned out to be false.

For example, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast sent a letter to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) claiming that they are not involved in organ harvesting at any of their facilities. Then, a week later, a video released by the Center of Medical Progress showed the Director of Research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, bragging about the Texas branch’s long history with fetal tissue sales and their ability to deliver fully intact aborted babies.

In 2013, Colorado State University purchased fetal body parts from Planned Parenthood’s flagship abortion facility in San Jose, California via a company called Stem Express. In total, nine specimens were harvested from eight different aborted babies killed in abortions at that Planned Parenthood clinic and the purchase order reveals CSU bought two body parts, including an aborted baby’s liver. Unfortunately, the University of Massachusetts, the University of Wisconsin and Oregon Health & Science University have participated in research on aborted babies as well.

Here’s more about Vanderbilt’s involvement in research on aborted babies:

The Associated Press reported this week that 97 research institutions — mostly universities and hospitals — received a total of $280 million in federal grants for fetal tissue research from the National Institutes of Health between 2011 and 2014.

Gov. Bill Haslam this week sent a letter to fellow Republicans this week seeking to reassure them that fetal tissue sales are illegal in Tennessee and explaining that the state only provides money to Planned Parenthood indirectly as a subcontractor to other groups receiving state money for contraceptive services and HIV testing. Haslam’s administration tried to end those subcontracts in 2011 but was prevented from doing so by a federal court order.

Haslam said in the letter that he had heard from many caucus members who “share our shock and concern at the callous disregard for life displayed in undercover videos of persons employed by Planned Parenthood.” “You understandably want to make sure the activities discussed in these videos are not happening in Tennessee.”

Jeff Teague, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of East and Middle Tennessee, said the organization does not participate in tissue donation anywhere in the state.

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Mark Magnuson, the Vanderbilt professor who headed the consortium involving 185 investigators from 106 institutions around the world, received a national leadership award for his work from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases last year.

According to a Vanderbilt press release at the time, a major focus of the consortium was to learn how to turn human embryonic stem cells into functional beta-like cells and other hormone-producing cells of the pancreas. The aim was to use beta-like cells to replace those destroyed by type 1 diabetes on a larger scale — and in a more cost-effective way — than transplanting donated islets.

The cells were also used to study the development of diabetes and test new drugs and ways to protect cells.