Congressional Investigation: Planned Parenthood Broke HIPAA Law to Sell Aborted Baby Parts

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 1, 2016   |   5:08PM   |   Washington, DC

New evidence has surfaced that the company StemExpress and a number of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics shared patients’ private health information potentially in violation of the law while harvesting aborted baby body parts.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Wednesday that the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives discovered evidence that StemExpress and the Planned Parenthood abortion clinics appear to have violated the HIPAA privacy rule and Institutional Review Board regulations. There also is evidence that they appear to have pressured women into consenting to donate their aborted babies’ body parts, Blackburn said.

“The key to understanding the HIPAA and consent violations that we’ve referred to HHS is that there’s a business contract between StemExpress and the abortion clinics under which both sides make a profit from the baby body parts inside the young woman’s womb,” Blackburn said. “The contract changes the way both entities view the young woman: her baby is now a profit-center. This betrayal of a young woman’s trust should disgust us all. It takes financial advantage, obtains consent through coercion, and deceives the woman, all in violation of federal privacy laws.”

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Blackburn is calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the potential violations.

In a letter to HHS, Blackburn wrote:

The Panel’s investigation uncovered a series of business contracts between StemExpress, a tissue procurement business, and several abortion clinics. These contracts included provisions for the payment of fees by StemExpress to the abortion clinic for fetal tissue and maternal blood. StemExpress then resold the fetal tissue and blood to researchers.

… In particular the Panel’s investigation has uncovered information indicating that StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (“PPMM”), Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific (”PPSP”) and Family Planning Specialists Medical Group (“FPS”) … committed systematic violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPPA”) privacy rule from about 2010 to 2015. These violations occurred when the abortion clinics disclosed patients’ individually identifiable health information to StemExpress to facilitate the TPB’S efforts to procure human fetal tissue for resale. This complaint is against each of these entities, and we request a swift and full investigation by the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Health and Human Services.

According to the panel, StemExpress put tissue procurement technicians inside abortion clinics to work harvesting aborted babies’ body parts. These procurement technicians received patients’ private medical records and were permitted to interview patients, according to the letter.

“… StemExpress did not have a medically valid reason to see, and the abortion clinics did not have a reason to provide patients PHI [protected health information],” Blackburn said in the letter. “Instead, the abortion clinics shared patients’ PHI with StemExpress in furtherance of contractual agreements that financially benefited StemExpress and the clinics.”

The procurement technicians were paid hourly and a per tissue “bonus” for each item they procured; and then StemExpress paid the abortion clinic for each fetal tissue and blood sample, according to the panel’s investigation.

StemExpress technicians also appeared to be negotiating sales with customers while abortions were taking place – “presumably before they obtained informed consent to procure the fetal tissue,” Blackburn said in the letter. She referred to a series of graphic emails between a StemExpress employee and a potential buyer who wanted an aborted baby’s skull and limbs. In one email exchange, an employee wrote, “There is one [abortion] case currently in the room, I will let you know how the limbs and calvarium [skull] look to see if you are able to take them in about 15 minutes.”

In addition, the Select Panel’s investigation also shows that StemExpress violated federal regulations governing Institutional Review Boards by using the appearance of compliance with the regulations, while fraudulently using invalid consent forms, and misleading scientific researchers to believe it had a valid IRB approval. Misleading scientific researchers violates one of the core values of the IRB system, enacted by Congress to engender integrity in scientific medical research.

As a result, Blackburn also is asking HHS Office for Human Research Protections Director Jerry Menikoff to conduct a thorough investigation into whether StemExpress and the abortion clinics violated the regulations.

The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives formed after a series of undercover videos revealed Planned Parenthood selling aborted babies’ body parts, potentially in violation of the law. Since then, the panel has uncovered a growing list of evidence that abortion facilities have violated federal laws.

The expose’ videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all twelve:

  • In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
  • In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
  • In the third video: Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
  • In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
  • In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
  • In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
  • In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
  • In the eighth video: StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits Planned Parenthood sells “a lot of” fully intact aborted babies.
  • The ninth video: catches a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing how the abortion company sells fully intact aborted babies — including one who “just fell out” of the womb.
  • The 10th video: catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts — including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies. The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby body parts for profit.
  • Unreleased Videos: Unreleased videos from CMP show Deb Vanderhei of Planned Parenthood caught on tape talking about how Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliates may “want to increase revenue [from selling baby parts] but we can’t stop them…” Another video has a woman talking about the “financial incentives” of selling aborted baby body parts.
  • The 11th video: catches a Texas Planned Parenthood abortionist planning to sell the intact heads of aborted babies for research. Amna Dermish is caught on tape describing an illegal partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term unborn babies which she hopes will yield intact fetal heads for brain harvesting.
  • The 12th video in the series shows new footage of Jennefer Russo, medical director at Planned Parenthood in Orange County, California, describing to undercover investigators how her abortion business tries to harvest intact aborted babies’ bodies for a local for-profit biotech company and changes the abortion procedure to do so.