In an unexpected development, the video released from the Center for Medical Progress on Tuesday may land both Planned Parenthood and Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) in legal hot water. ABR procurement manager Perrin Larton told CMP investigators that they work with clinics in several states (starting at 4:35 in the video), including in Minnesota. There’s only one problem with that — fetal tissue donation is illegal in all instances in Minnesota, whether compensated or not, as LifeSiteNews reports:
Somebody in the abortion industry is breaking a Minnesota law that bans the sale or donation of aborted babies’ body parts.
That’s the conclusion of numerous elected officials, who are renewing calls to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos about the harvesting and sale of fetal organs and tissue.
Dozens of Republican state legislators asked Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to investigate the abortion provider after the Center for Medical Progress released videos detailing the little-known practice. The sale or donation of fetal organs or tissue is illegal under state law.
Just from a cultural standpoint, that’s a curious anomaly. This is a liberal state, as conservative Minnesotans such as myself are constantly reminded, and also a state with a significant amount of medical research taking place. We have a large medical-device manufacturing sector in Minnesota as well, plus a number of universities at which top-flight, cutting-edge services are offered. Minnesota manages to do all that without allowing fetal tissue to be harvested. Hmmmmm.
LifeSiteNews links to the law covering the disposition of fetal remains, whether from abortion or miscarriage, Section 145.1621. The law only allows remains to be disposed through “cremation, interment by burial, or in a manner directed by the commissioner of health,” the latter option applying only when the first two are somehow impossible. If that isn’t clear enough, subdivision 4 also states that tests can be performed on the remains only to “complete laboratory tests necessary for the health of the woman or her future offspring or for purposes of a criminal investigation or determination of parentage[.]”
A month ago, the regional Planned Parenthood affiliate in Minnesota and the Dakotas (PPMNS) insisted that they do not participate in fetal organ harvesting. In response to a letter from a state legislator, PPMNS CEO Sarah Stoez flatly denied working with procurement companies like ABR. Governor Mark Dayton called it a fishing expedition and refused to authorize an investigation, and Lt. Gov Tina Smith publicly supported her former colleagues at PPMNS.
This admission, however, puts Dayton and Smith on the spot. LifeSiteNews did some digging and found out that ABR has been registered as a non-profit in Minnesota since 2009, and at least one of their former Minnesota employees lists herself as a former procurement specialist on LinkedIn. So what was ABR doing in Minnesota? House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) wants to know that, too. He’s calling for an investigation — again — to find out what ABR’s doing in a state where fetal tissue donations are illegal, and who their suppliers here might be. There are other abortion clinics besides PPMNS, but it seems unlikely that they would open an office in Minnesota just to work with one or two clinics in the region.
In other news, Wisconsin legislators want their state out of the fetal organ-harvesting business, too:
About $7.5 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin would be cut under two Republican-backed bills heard Wednesday by a state Assembly committee, measures that come as the Legislature also considers criminalizing research on aborted fetal tissue.
Supporters defended the measures as reasonable steps to prevent taxpayer money going to a group that provides abortions. But opponents said halting the funding would adversely affect the women’s health services, including cancer screenings and wellness checks, which Planned Parenthood also provides to about 60,000 men and women a year.
Gov. Scott Walker — who has been touting the fact he cut state funding to Planned Parenthood on the presidential campaign trail — has said he supports efforts to curtail federal funding as well.
It’s not a slam-dunk on criminalizing organ harvesting; one Republican state senator objects that it would impede work at the University of Wisconsin. It doesn’t appear to slow down work in Minnesota, though, so perhaps Sen. Alberta Darling should take a hint from their more liberal neighbors to the West.
Update: Second paragraph after the excerpt edited for clarity.