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New Planned Parenthood Video: Former Worker Says Fetal Remains Sold Without Patient Consent

John Burger - published on 08/12/15 - updated on 06/07/17

StemExpress implicated in latest video from Center for Medical Progress

Technicians collaborating with Planned Parenthood clinics in order to procure aborted babies for scientific research sometimes harvested body parts without obtaining consent from the patients, a new video from the Center for Medical Progress asserts.

The second episode in a web-based documentary series, released Wednesday, highlights a young woman’s eyewitness narrative of the daily practice of fetal body parts harvesting in Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, describing tissue procurement workers’ coordination with abortion providers, the pressure placed on patients, and disregard for patient consent.

“If there was a higher gestation, and the technicians needed it, there were times when they would just take what they wanted," Holly O’Donnell, a former blood and tIssue procurement technician for StemExpress, a start-up biotech company from northern California that partners with Planned Parenthood clinics to purchase their aborted fetus parts and resell them for scientific experimentation. O’Donnell’s job was to identify pregnant patients matching the specifications of StemExpress customers and to harvest the fetal body parts from their abortions. "And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”

In a statement issued to Aleteia, StemExpress "unequivocally" denied O'Donnell's and CMP's allegations. The Placerville, Calif.-based company "has never obtained blood or tissue samples from a patient without first obtaining consent," the statement said. "Ensuring that patients have provided consent for blood or tissue donation to support medical research, education, or treatments is a threshold issue that is non-negotiable for StemExpress."

The “Human Capital” documentary series, produced by the Center for Medical Progress, explores various themes connected to Planned Parenthood’s sale of aborted fetal tissue. 

“It’s not an option, it’s a demand,” StemExpress supervisors instructed O’Donnell about approaching pregnant women at Planned Parenthood for fetal tissue “donations.”

Federal laws on the procurement and use of human fetal tissue require that patients consent to the tissue donation subsequent to consenting to the abortion procedure.

According to O’Donnell, Planned Parenthood gave StemExpress workers access to patient records and schedules so that the harvesting company could plan for the days when patient “supply” would be greatest. “They give you a sheet, and it’s everybody for that day, who’s coming in for an ultrasound, who’s coming in for an abortion, medical or a late-term abortion,” O’Donnell explains. Even patients just seeking a pregnancy test at Planned Parenthood were considered part of the supply: “Pregnancy tests are potential pregnancies, therefore potential specimens. So it’s just taking advantage of the opportunities.”

StemExpress charged that CMP's videos, including the latest, are "deceptively edited and falsely worded to suggest impropriety or illegality where none exists."

"CMP’s continued efforts to malign StemExpress—a life sciences company that predominantly supplies adult cells, blood and tissue to the nation’s leading researchers—will only serve to slow the pace of life-saving medical research aimed at curing disease and extending quality of life for millions of Americans," the company said.

On Monday, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge denied the Center for Medical Progress’s motion to dissolve a temporary restraining order awarded to StemExpress on July 28. The company said that CMP has refused to produce witnesses for depositions or respond to document requests previously ordered by the court. 

AbortionPlanned Parenthood
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