Investigative

Fetal Parts for Sale (Part 2): When human trafficking meets abortion

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This is the second part of a series; you can read part 1 here.

Vicki Evans, who in 2009 wrote a startling piece of research on the financial ties between abortion and the fetal parts industry, has been watching the Planned Parenthood drama unfold with fascination.

Since Evans delved into all the research on this years ago, she might be topping the list of people who are unsurprised at the current Planned Parenthood fetal parts exposé, Yet even Evans found some of it more revealing than she expected.

While she wasn’t shocked at what was revealed in the videos, Evans said in an interview this week:

This public revelation about Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in human body parts obtained as a by-product of abortion was long overdue. But in reading the full transcript, I have to say I was surprised by how prevalent the ‘donation’ of fetal parts has become across the abortion industry.

It appears that a very large majority of abortion providers engage in the practice for a variety of reasons: to fulfill patient requests to ‘do some good’ with the aborted tissue; to increase their bottom line or facilitate ‘trades’ with laboratories; to find a way to dispose of their ‘medical waste’ which has become more difficult because of its volume and the limited number of available disposal companies.

But this is problematic, for reasons Evans detailed in her 2009 thesis. She said then:

“Few questions are asked about what happens to the millions of fetuses that are by-products of abortion. In general, the public would rather not know the answers to these practical questions. Instead, assumptions are made or the aftermath of abortion is not consciously considered. The abortive mothers in particular are not the ones asking what becomes of the fetal remains. They understandably want to walk away from their experience quickly and quietly.” (27)

Now, of course, people are asking questions and the nation is rumbling with voices, asking for answers to exactly what happens to those fetuses – babies – after an abortion. Evans doesn’t think these questions will just go away, and she sees Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, and her evasive comments as ineffective this time around:

Cecile Richards’ comments about Planned Parenthood helping women who wish to ‘donate fetal tissue for medical research’ and denying that it profits ‘in any way’ from tissue ‘donations’ are simply damage control.

One of the biggest questions Evans has is in relation to the supposed “informed consent” that Planned Parenthood claims to have. In her thesis, she writes, “Realistically, informed consent about the disposition of the fetus has little significance. Legal documents required to be signed before the abortion procedure takes place are frequently signed without understanding, under stress or even under duress. Consent may not always be free and informed.” Today she says the same and adds insight into the situation that goes far beyond Richards simply saying women checked a box and agreed to donate tissue.

Planned Parenthood may have a signed informed consent form in its files for tissue donation, but realistically, I doubt that many women bring up this issue on their own. As the video implies, they are told that this is a possibility and given the ‘choice’ to do it; then reminded again as they await the abortionist – either by Planned Parenthood staff or on-site harvesting company personnel.

Legal documents required to be signed before the abortion takes place are frequently signed without understanding, under stress, or even under duress. Consent may not always be free and informed, particularly when the consent form reads, ‘I agree to give my blood and/or tissue from the abortion as a gift to be used for education, research or treatment.’ This would not automatically lead one to believe they were signing away the baby’s limbs, liver, heart, torso, brain, etc.

When Life Dynamics did its own investigation, 20/20 showed an interview with Dr. Miles Jones, a fetal parts wholesaler. In the interview, Jones said, in relation to informed consent, “If you have someone trained to ask properly, you can get eighty, ninety percent consent rates.” Having a checked box and a signature might cover the legal trail, but the questions remain about the extent of the “informed” aspect of “informed consent.”

How many women actually realize they are selling the parts of their babies?

Evans adds another powerful question that hasn’t been given much attention yet, but may in days and weeks to come:

A related ethical question is whether morally-legitimate consent for fetal part donation is even possible in this case, when it is the next of kin (the mother) who is intentionally causing the death of the fetus.

She also offers comments on the legal debate over Planned Parenthood and the money it takes in from fetal donations:

As far as the legality of these extra dollars inuring to Planned Parenthood from tissue donation, this is what the various state and Congressional investigators and their accountants will be looking into. It is legal to collect only reimbursement for ‘costs associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of human fetal tissue.’ This, however, does not explain the published fixed-price lists available on the internet. More likely it is supply and demand driving the pricing structure – plus the condition of the parts, their stage of development, and their freshness.

Not all fetal tissue research is unethical or uniformed. Evans points out in her research that “fetal tissue can be obtained ethically from ectopic pregnancies or spontaneous abortion (miscarriage),” but she adds that that isn’t the way it is usually obtained. She says, “the most available and functional source is induced abortion. Its uses include research, experimentation and product development.”

To that end, the Planned Parenthood videos have revealed deep relationships between the “research” arm of the abortion giant and their research partners who procure the fetal tissue and body parts.

These strong ties call into question the purity of the acquisition, and the “informed” consent on the part of the women involved.

Editor’s Note: This is Part Two in our Fetal Parts for Sale series. In part three of our interview with Evans, we’ll she what she says about the fetal procurement agencies, the laws – some of which are not enforced – and the history of fetal research.

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