- -- The controversial fetal tissue research industry is
under fire for what many call the "booming trade in human baby parts."
Although selling baby parts is illegal, new evidence has emerged showing
"price lists" for parts and even reports that babies are being
born alive and then cut up for their tissue and organs. Mark Crutcher,
president of Life Dynamics, a pro-life group in Denton, Texas, says the
abortion industry has found a legal loophole that lets them get away with
selling the bodies of aborted babies.
- "They're being sold like used cars," Crutcher
says. Crutcher mass-mailed a videotape to reporters, along with scores
of research orders from scientists -- orders requesting everything from
eyes to livers to whole babies -- most requesting healthy specimens with
no abnormalities, and some calling for tissue retrieval within ten minutes
of the abortion.
- Also on the tape is a disturbing interview with a woman
who calls herself "Kelly" (not her real name), who claims to
be a former fetal tissue technician or "harvester." She told
her horrifying story to Life Dynamics after realizing the babies she was
about to cut up for parts were still alive.
- "The doctor came back and basically looked at us
and said, 'Gotcha some good specimens -- twins.' And I looked at him and
said, 'There's something wrong here. They are moving. I don't do this;
this is not in my contract.' So, he basically got a bottle of sterile water
and poured it in the pans and let the fluid run up to their mouths and
nose and basically let them drown themselves, which didn't take very long.
I left the room. I would not watch those fetuses moving," says Kelly.
- Kelly's shocking story found its way to the floor of
the U.S. Senate.
- "It's been reported that live births are occurring
at these clinics," says Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire). "Oh,
that's the dirty little secret we don't want anybody to talk about."
- Here's how it works: Wholesalers, like the Anatomic Gift
Foundation, headquartered in Laurel, Maryland, place workers or technicians
inside abortion clinics to "harvest" fetal tissue and organs
for researchers such as universities and pharmaceutical companies. The
wholesaler or middleman pays the abortion clinic for access to the aborted
babies. They call it a "site fee." The researcher then pays the
wholesaler for the parts, and since it's illegal to sell baby parts, they
call it a "fee for services," technically skirting the law. "It
says "fee for services", but if it's fee for services, why is
it $600 for a cadaver, while a spinal cord is only $325?" asks Sen.
- That's a question House members are also asking. Says
Rep. Vito Fossella (R-New York), reading from a price list, "A brain
is $999, a kidney is $125, eyes at 8 weeks, $50." Congressman Fossella
is referring to the price list by a company called Opening Lines headquartered
in West Frankfort, Illinois, and one of two major wholesalers of baby parts.
CBN News tried to contact the company, but their phone lines had been disconnected,
and we were told they might have gone underground due to the media storm.
Meanwhile, the Anatomic Gift Foundation maintains it's playing by the rules
and is just making the best of a bad situation. I spoke with co-founder
Brenda Bardsley, a professed born-again Christian, and asked her how a
Christian could be involved in the selling of baby parts. Bardsley told
me, "Don't think I haven't prayed long and hard on the subject, but
I never felt led to stop because of the good that comes of it." Bardsley
also insists AGF does not have a price list, again, referring to it as
a "fee for services" schedule. While not as detailed as Opening
Lines, prices vary depending on the age of the baby and whether it's fresh
or frozen. Bardsley says fetal tissue research is only 10 percent of AGF's
business, which had revenues of $2 million last year.
- Protestors gathered here outside the Anatomic Gift Foundation
say the dissecting of baby parts for profit may finally put a human face
- Says Rev. Pat Mahoney, of the Christian Defense Coalition,
"People who would not consider themselves pro-life at all are absolutely
horrified and disgusted that human body parts are on the auction block
around the country."
- "This goes even beyond abortion. This is a human
rights issue," says protestor Wendy Wright, of Concerned Women for
- Pro-abortionists have been unusually quiet on the subject.
Planned Parenthood officials refused our request for an interview, but
did release this statement saying, "We support individuals' rights
to consent to organ, cadaver, or fetal tissue donations for the purpose
of medical research in the pursuit of saving lives and treating and curing
diseases," the statement of Gloria Feldt, president, Planned Parenthood
Federation of America.
- Dr. David Stevens of the Christian Medical and Dental
Society says sacrificing children for science is akin to cannibalism.
- "What if we could save every person's life in the
country who has cancer if we just sacrificed 1000 people or 100 people
or a single person? It still doesn't make it right," says Dr. Stevens.
And what's more, Stevens says there's really no proof that fetal tissue
is helping find cures for diseases like AIDS or Parkinson's disease. "So
people hold out all these promises to drive the agenda to get the tissue,
but there's really no evidence that it makes a difference."
- Stevens and many others say partial-birth abortions are
what's fueling the fetal parts market, since this procedure allows the
baby to be born nearly intact.
- "Partial-birth abortion was introduced onto the
scene almost immediately after it became known that there was a lucrative
market for fetal tissue," says Crutcher.
- "The thing that is driving this is greed,"
says Stevens. "There is a lot of money to be made." "And
they have the gall to stand out here and tell you that they care for the
women. They care for the profit," says Senator Smith. "They can't
make it because abortions are going down. They can't charge these women
any more because they are too poor to pay it, so they take it from their
- Senator Smith is vowing to do whatever it takes to, in
his words, "force the abortion industry to come clean." Meanwhile,
the House is expected to hold hearings in the spring on what many on both
sides of the abortion issue say is an immoral and barbaric practice that
must be outlawed.