Two years ago, anti-abortion activists released undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing their program that provides fetal tissue, donated by women who have an abortion or miscarriage, for use in medical research.
In the wake of the release of the highly-edited videos, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) released documents showing that Colorado State University (CSU) had possibly obtained fetal tissue indirectly from Planned Parenthood, and the university suspended the purchase of such tissue from all suppliers “implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional investigation.”
Now, about two years later, CSU’s policy is still in place, even though Congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood have stalled or ended and there’s been no proof of wrongdoing or lawbreaking by Planned Parenthood.
CSU’s suspension of purchases from certain fetal-tissue suppliers hasn’t been lifted because “there is no practical need to readdress it,” according CSU spokesman Mike Hooker.
Hooker says the university’s research with fetal tissue has continued “uninterrupted” since 2015, using ADM as its supplier.
CSU has not used Stem Express, which provides fetal tissue obtained from Planned Parenthood and other sources, since 2013, and “no plans are in place to change that,” Hooker said via email.
“This research has continued uninterrupted, and we support our researchers in their work battling diseases like HIV/AIDS,” wrote Hooker.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which does not have a fetal-tissue donation program, did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
But pro-abortion advocates have emphasized that federal and state regulations prohibit profit-making from fetal tissue sales, and all tissue must be donated by women, who must be informed that it will be used in medical research. Unused tissue of this type is typically treated as medical waste.
Anti-abortion activists continue to oppose CSU’s research with fetal tissue. Two years ago, Congressman Lamborn called on the university not to stop the acquisition of such tissue from suppliers who obtain it from women who have abortions, but to completely ban the use of “aborted babies’ body parts in research.” Lamborn introduced legislation to mandate this.
“Well of course CSU wants to simply dismiss this issue,” said Susan Sutherland, a well-known anti-abortion activist in Denver, via email to the Colorado Times Recorder. “Because God has placed a conscience in every man, even they know that fetal tissue research is a despicable practice. Perhaps they’re hoping for a breakthrough, like the ability to create lampshades. Oh wait…”
When anti-abortion activists pressured the University of Colorado (CU) in 2015 to suspend the purchase of fetal tissue from Stem Express, the university stood by its policy of obtaining such tissue from any supplier as needed and re-emphasized its commitment to following all federal and state guidelines.
So CU’s policy on the matter is quite different than CSU’s. A CU spokesman said at the time, “At this moment we’re not [using companies allegedly offering fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood], but we will if we need to. We do have other sources, as I’ve said, but those are the two major companies that many investigators order from.”