The University of Pittsburgh just hired a law firm to review its scientific research practices after allegations surfaced that aborted babies may be being born alive and their organs harvested for a taxpayer-funded research project at the university.
But pro-life leaders are questioning why the university does not plan to release the investigation results to the public.
The university is facing growing scrutiny after Judicial Watch and the Center for Medical Progress exposed evidence of babies potentially being born alive in abortions and other disturbing practices at the university earlier this summer. The evidence came from documents they obtained from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a Freedom of Information Act request.
State and federal lawmakers are calling for an investigation, and, although university officials have denied any wrong-doing, they recently announced plans to conduct their own investigation to ensure its scientific research programs are complying with the law, The College Fix reports.
“The University routinely conducts reviews to ensure that its research activities—across all areas of research—comply with internal policies as well as all relevant federal and state laws,” the University of Pittsburgh said in a Sept. 9 press release.
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The university hired the law firm Hyman, Phelps & McNamara to conduct an independent review of its research involving aborted baby body parts to ensure that it is complying with state and federal laws, according to the release.
However, the release states that only university senior leadership will be briefed about the findings.
The College Fix said it sent multiple requests to the university for comment on the decision, but did not receive a reply.
State Rep. Natalie Mihalek, a Republican and member of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees, said she supported the university’s decision to hire an independent third party to conduct an investigation. In her press release, Mihalek said the report will be made public, but her statement does not align with the university’s.
Pro-life leaders are calling on the university to be transparent and release the investigation.
Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, said Americans are funding the university with their tax dollars and they deserve to know what is going on.
“In the interest of transparency, we are calling on the University of Pittsburgh to make public its investigation into the disturbing allegations involving scientific experimentation using the body parts of aborted babies,” Gallagher told LifeNews.com. “The public deserves to know how its tax money is being spent. It should not be spent on any experiments that involve grisly research that sounds like something out of a horror movie.”
One experiment involved scalping second-trimester unborn babies and then implanting their scalps onto rodents to study the human immune system. University of Pittsburgh researchers published the results of the study in 2020 in the journal “Scientific Reports,” as well as photos that show tufts of babies’ hair growing on the rodents.
Earlier this summer, the Center for Medical Progress and several doctors, including one who supports abortion, also pointed to documents and statements from university officials that suggest some aborted babies’ hearts still may be beating when their organs are harvested for scientific research.
This week, David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, expressed doubt about the independence of the university’s investigation in an interview with The Fix.
“Tellingly, the University of Pittsburgh thinks that hiring a law firm somehow counts as an ‘independent’ review of their barbaric experiments with aborted baby body parts,” Daleiden said. “Anyone who wants a real investigation should look at the document requests nearly 100 congressional representatives made last week concerning Pitt’s experiments on aborted babies.”
He urged the university to be transparent and release the documents immediately.
State and federal lawmakers, pro-life organizations and others have been calling for an investigation of the university for months ever since the Center for Medical Progress and Judicial Watch released their FOIA documents.
In August, a University of Pittsburgh spokesman called the allegations “irresponsible and false” in a statement to Fox News. He said the university and its partners comply with all laws, and the university itself does not perform abortions.
But the university has been using Americans’ tax dollars to become a “tissue hub” for aborted baby body parts for scientific research for years. According to the documents obtained by Judicial Watch and the Center for Medical Progress, the university requested $3.2 million over a five-year period in 2015, and it has received at least $2.7 million so far.
The Center for Medical Progress said the university documents and statements confirm that some aborted babies’ hearts still are beating while their kidneys are harvested for scientific research. The documents also show that the university program has racial quotas for aborted baby body parts.