Investigative

How a public university and late-term abortion clinic worked together to aggressively expand abortion

southwestern-womens-options

It’s a match made in hell.

The revelations that the University of New Mexico (UNM) and its medical facilities, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC), have been partnering with abortion facilities for years has shown the sinister doings of a publicly-funded flagship university enmeshed in the for-profit abortion industry.

Not only does UNM obtain fetal body parts from the notorious late-term abortion center, Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO), but it also has provided university doctors to perform these abortions and hired abortionists as university faculty, as well as providing UNM doctors to a local Planned Parenthood facility. Residents from UNM are allowed to perform abortions at the clinics while being paid by the university.

The disturbing facts are laid out in 291 pages released last week by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. The documents were sent to New Mexico Attorney General, Hector H. Balderas, Jr., recommending criminal charges. In her opening letter to Balderas, Panel Chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn writes:

42 U.S. [Code] § 289g-2…requires that safeguards be in place, including a concern that too close of a relationship might be formed between an abortion clinic and researchers.

Through its investigation, the Panel has discovered that personnel within UNM’s hospital and medical school have aggressively engaged in expanding abortion in New Mexico through the offices, personnel, and resources of UNM. In particular, leadership personnel at UNM : (1) expanded UNM’s role in training new abortion doctors; (2) expanded UNM’s referral for abortion services to outside clinics, including the clinic from which it obtained fetal tissue; (3) initiated the practice of sending UNM faculty and residents to an abortion clinic during its transition from one owner to another; (4) expanded the faculty of UNM by providing “volunteer faculty” status to local abortionists; (5) supplied residents and fellows to perform abortions for SWWO during the period that UNM was obtaining fetal tissue from that clinic; and (6) leveraged their status to organize UNM employees and students for partisan political activities. UNM has stated that the fetal tissue transfer from SWWO is of great value to its research department.

The 289 pages that follow the letter are filled with overwhelming evidence supporting the Panel’s claims. The most jaw-dropping revelation of UMN’s fetal research program came when it was revealed that whole baby brains were acquired for use by summer camp students. (UNM offers various science camps, including some for middle and high school students.) A science fiction movie couldn’t have gotten away with such a morbid plot twist.

The documents show evidence that physicians listed as “Doctor #1” and “Doctor #2,” Ob/Gyn faculty, pushed the university to provide abortions, despite resistance. Slowly, they obtained medical abortion services, and then surgical ones. The documents adds: “Today, UMN Hospital provides surgical abortions for any reason through 25 weeks gestation. At or beyond 24 to 25 weeks gestation will be considered on a case-by-case for maternal or fetal reasons” (page 3).

Further, patients at UMN were referred to SWWO for late-term abortions, blurring the lines between the private and public entities. While it’s noted that UMN received grants from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation in order to fund this partnership, there remain other questions of the public university faculty working in tandem with a profitable private abortion center.

Thanks to the Buffett Foundation funds, UNM has provided physicians to do late-term abortions at Southwestern Women’s Options. The Panel’s report states:

Since the time when opposition to participating in abortion procedures was the predominant view of the UNM  medical staff, the culture appears to have changed – along with the composition of the UNM hospital and clinic personnel – to one aggressively in favor of the expansion of abortion… UNM medical faculty members engage in political fundraising and lobbying for an expansion of abortion services and public funding and support thereof – activities in which UNM students are encouraged to participate.

The report also notes that UNM continues to provide doctors for Planned Parenthood. The panel obtained Planned Parenthood contracts (from Planned Parenthood of New Mexico and Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains) which included, “house officer affiliation agreements.” According to the Panel, these offers details of the “‘close working relationship between the University’ and Planned Parenthood largely in the form of providing resident UNM physicians to staff the clinic” (Page 6).

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Schedule for UNM doctors to do abortions at Planned Parenthood

The loophole UNM appears to use is that the professors who perform abortions at SWWO and/or Planned Parenthood are performing their teaching jobs in volunteer capacities. However, the line is further blurred because even as volunteer faculty, these abortionists are provided with benefits.

One notable benefit the Panel mentions is the  “New Mexico Tort Claims Act professional liability insurance coverage provided to university employees.” This liability insurance would protect any abortionist who came under fire for any duties performed in his or her capacity as a university professor, or possibly even as an abortionist, provided a UNM official assigned the abortion work and no other insurance covered it. The abortionists who volunteer on the faculty also receive various benefits such as academic library access, fitness center access, and various discounts on goods and services.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 12.56.51 AMThese benefits are exclusively for employees of the university, and certainly amount to monetary value. Therefore, the Panel asserts that it should be appropriate to say these positions are receiving a form of pay for their volunteer duties.

UNM, too, receives benefits from its active relationship with the abortion clinics. As noted in the Panel’s report, “Since 1995, SWWO has served as UMHSC’s only source of aborted infant tissue for research purposes. … The tissue transferred from SWWO to UNM is of substantial value [a]ccording to UNM…”

Not only is the university potentially implicated in an apparent misuse of public funding and efforts to expand abortion, it is also implicated in possible violations of law, according to the Panel.

The letter to Balderes stated:

Additionally, documentation obtained by the panel in the course of its investigation reflects that the transfer of fetal tissue from SWWO to UNM for research purposes is a systematic violation of New Mexico’s Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act  (Spradling Act). These violations occurred as UNM personnel procured fetal tissue from patients at SWWO for research by UNM entities.

The Spradling Act, “prohibits making an anatomical gift of the remains of any fetus that is the subject of an induced abortion.” Despite the fact that consent forms were used to acquire the fetal parts, the report notes that under the Spradling Act, “the bodies or parts of aborted infants may not be anatomical gifts.”

The Panel’s report explains that, in another potential legal violation, even though money did not exchange hands, the university did provide SWWO with “substantial value” in offering its staff to work there. Likewise, the university gave at least three faculty positions to SWWO doctors, who received the university benefits, despite their volunteer status.

These faculty members and intern provided UNM no apparent benefit apart from the fetal tissue that came from SWWO, giving their relationship the components of an exchange of fetal tissue for valuable consideration. At a minimum, the intent and spirit of Section 289g-2  has been violated, and further investigation is necessary to determine whether criminal prosecution of UNM or SWWO should follow.

The remaining pages of the Panel documents are emails, tax forms, contracts, and agreements involving UNM, SWWO, and Planned Parenthood. There appears to be indisputable evidence of heavy-handed connections between the university and the abortion providers. Now that the Select Panel has pulled the covers off of them all to expose the inner workings of their relationship, it is in the hands of the New Mexico attorney general to determine if criminal charges are appropriate.

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