Select Panel Refers UNM & Late-term Abortion Facility for Criminal Charges Related to Fetal Tissue Procurement

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By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, DC – Rep. Marsha Blackburn, chairman of the House Select Panel on Infant Lives, has sent a letter to New Mexico Attorney General Hector H. Balderas, Jr., referring the University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO) for criminal charges and further investigation.

Blackburn’s 291-page letter contained attachments that document what she described as “systematic violations of the law” related to the “transfers of value” of fetal remains for “research purposes.”

“This recommendation of criminal charges against UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options is the fruit of years of research and hard work done by a tenacious community of pro-life activists,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “Seeing the fruit of that labor makes this a great day for us. All that’s left now is for law enforcement to read them their rights and take them away!”

Operation Rescue has worked extensively in New Mexico with activists Bud and Tara Shaver of ProtestABQ to expose and oppose Southwestern Women’s Options, which is the largest late-term abortion facility in the U.S., committing abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

ProtestABQ has for years called attention to Southwestern Women’s Options’ long affiliation with the University of New Mexico. SWWO is the only supplier of aborted baby tissue to UNM, and there appears to exist a “symbiotic relationship” between the two, according to Blackburn.

The letter to Banderas explained that UNM aggressively expanded abortion services in Albuquerque over the “resistance” of University officials. This eventually forced an ideological shift at the University to one that now is focused on abortion promotion, using even UNM students to further their pro-abortion political agenda.

Blackburn indicated that the Select Panel uncovered violations of New Mexico’s Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which for years has been misconstrued by UNM to allow for the donation of aborted baby remains. However, Select Panel attorneys found that the act specifically prohibits fetal remains from being donated for research or other uses, making the transfer of aborted baby remains from SWWO to UNM illegal.

The Panel also notes that SWWO staff were brought on the UNM as “volunteer” faculty and received employee benefits at UNM.

It was Tara Shaver that first uncovered SWWO’s participation in supplying aborted baby tissue after she obtained an abortion consent form that buried brief tissue consent language near the bottom of a wordy form that required a patient signature before abortions could be performed. This raised questions about whether women actually understood that their aborted baby’s remains would be used for “research.” That consent form was modified after Shaver made the initial, illegal form public.

Shaver filed a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s office seeking a criminal investigation into violations of the Spralding Act and other crimes. That complaint has been so far ignored.

“We hope that this very heavily documented recommendation from the House Select Panel will persuade Attorney General Banderas to act to enforce New Mexico laws and stop the illegal exploitation of aborted babies for ‘valuable consideration,’” said Newman. “We also hope that he will put an end to UNM’s practice of using taxpayer funds as well as UNM students to push their political agenda of abortion expansion upon an unwilling community.”

Operation Rescue also calls for the immediate closure of Southwestern Women’s Options in light of the serious criminal accusations that are now pending.

Read Blackburn’s letter to Banderas dated June 23, 2016