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09.23.21

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), James Lankford (R-OK) and Steve Daines (R-MT), alongside Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO-03 ) and Lisa McClain (R-MI-10), called for a full investigation into abortion procedures and University of Pittsburgh research in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and the NIH director Francis Collins. Recent NIH reports show that the university may have violated federal law by changing abortion procedures solely for the purpose of obtaining fetal tissue. Worse yet, reports show university researchers may have harvested organs from babies old enough to live outside the womb.

“Exploiting the body parts of aborted children for research is repugnant and should be stopped, regardless of what researchers hope. Research using aborted fetal tissue is unethical, flawed, and has also been shown to be ineffective. Although it has been used in clinical research since the 1920s, fetal tissue has not produced a single clinical treatment, ” written to members.

Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Boozman (R-AR), John Thune (R-SD), Jim Risch (R-ID), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rand Paul (R-KY), and representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH), Jim Banks (R-IN), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Michael Cloud (R-TX), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Brian Babin (R-TX), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), William Timmons (R-SC), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Tim Walberg (R -MI), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Steve Womack (R-AR), Matthew Rosendale (R-MT), Ben Cline (R-VA), Roger Williams (R-TX), Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) ), Jody Hice (R-GA), Scott Franklin (R-FL), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), David McKinley (R-WV), Bob Good (R-VA), Andrew Clyde (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Daniel Webs te r (R-FL), Ronny Jackson (R-TX), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), David Kustoff (R-TN), Andy Harris (R-MD), John Rose (R-TN), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Mike Bost (R-IL), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) and Michael Burgess (R-TX) co-signed the letter.

Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Attorney General Garland, Secretary Becerra and Director Collins,

We are alarmed by public documents obtained from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which show that the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) may have violated federal law by changing abortion procedures to remove organs from babies who were old enough to live outside the womb. We request a full investigation into the activities of this organization and a full report of the findings and necessary corrective actions.

NIH documents detailing Pitt’s grant application were obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Center for Medical Progress. Between fiscal years 2016 and 2020, the NIH awarded approximately $ 1.5 million to Pitt for a project related to the GenitoUrinary Developmental Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP). The GUDMAP program aimed to provide the scientific and medical community with tools to study “congenital diseases of the genitourinary system (kidneys, bladder, ureter, urethra)” by obtaining such organs from aborted babies for research. In his request for funding to become a GUDMAP “tissue collection center and site”, Pitt says his Health Sciences Tissue Bank (HSTB) has been involved for years in the purchase and disbursement of parts of the tissue. bodies of aborted babies, noting that “BRI of fetal tissue [Institutional Review Board] has been in place since 2005. The application contains references in several places regarding the HSTB to the Pitt Institutional Review Board (IRB), but also indicates that the IRB forms are being amended and the review of the ‘IRB is pending.

First, Pitt’s request raises concerns that she failed to comply with federal law prohibiting modification of abortion procedures solely for the purpose of obtaining fetal tissue, which states that an attending physician may “not take part. no decision regarding when, method, or procedures used to terminate a pregnancy. “ It is not clear that Pitt complied with these legal requirements based on the following statements on Pitt’s grant application:

  • Pitt states that “time to ischemia is minimized” when he obtains fetal tissue. The NIH defines “ischemia” as “the time that a tissue, organ, or part of the body remains at body temperature after its blood supply has been reduced or cut off, but before it is cooled or reconnected to. blood supply. It would be illegal for Pitt to alter the “timing, method or procedures” of the abortion to minimize the time of ischemia.
  • Pitt states that he “adapts[s] [its] collection process on a case-by-case basis to maximize investigator needs. It would be illegal for researchers to participate in decisions about obtaining fetal tissue from elective abortions.

Second, if organs were harvested from babies born after induced abortion, we fear that some of those babies may have been born alive, may have survived with proper care, and may have died as a result of their organ harvesting. Pitt’s request says she can access the organs and tissues of unborn babies between 6 and 24 weeks gestation, but she is partnering with another organization to get unborn babies between 25 and 42 weeks gestation . Babies as young as less than 22 weeks gestation are known to survive outside the womb with proper care. The statements about “hot ischemia” raise questions about the cause of death of these babies. As noted above, Pitt states that he has sought to minimize the time between when the blood supply to an organ has been reduced and when the organ is cooled or reconnected. If the organs are removed from a baby born after an induced abortion, it is possible that the baby was born alive and the organ removal was the cause of the baby’s death.

The exploitation of body parts of aborted children for research purposes is disgusting and should end, regardless of what researchers hope. Research using aborted fetal tissue is unethical, flawed, and has also been shown to be ineffective. Although used in clinical research since the 1920s, fetal tissue has not produced a single clinical treatment.

Based on these considerations, for federal grants with project number 1U24DK110791, please provide complete and clear responses to the following requests for information dating back to the start of the grant project period until today:

  • The number of cases at each gestational age involving abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn used in the GUDMAP program during the period of the grant project
  • Detailed protocols for dilation and curettage, dilation and evacuation, and induction of labor were followed to obtain fetal tissue for the GUDMAP program;
  • The IRB request and approval for the detailed biological sample collection for the Health Sciences Tissue Bank;
  • Documentation to check the physiological state of babies born by induction of labor during tissue removal;
  • The number of fetal tissue removal procedures from babies born through induction of labor;
  • Documentation of the number of babies born by induction of labor who had died and whose heart activity had ceased before the removal of fetal organs and tissues;
  • Documentation of when the “hot ischemia” time was recorded in reference to death during organ and tissue removal from abortions, miscarriages, stillbirths and newborns;
  • Documentation of specific measures that have been taken to minimize warm ischemia time when removing organs and tissues from abortions, miscarriages, stillbirths and newborns;
  • Details of how samples are collected and transferred to the Tissue Hub and the personnel involved at each step;
  • Documentation of how compliance is ensured (including reporting and monitoring mechanisms) with respect to each of the following statutes and regulations:

o The Prohibition of Partial Birth Abortion Act (18 USC 1531);

o Research on protections for pregnant women and fetuses (42 USC 289g, 289g-1 and 45 CFR 46.204);

o Research guards for newborns (45 CFR 46.205); and,

o Prohibitions Regarding Fetal Tissue (42 USC 289g-2, 45 CFR 46.206).

We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to your prompt and complete response to each of these inquiries. We request a response before the date of October 12, 2021.

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