Select Panel to HHS: Planned Parenthood and StemExpress Broke the Law

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By Cheryl Sullenger

Washington, D.C. — Two letters have been sent to the Department of Health and Human Services by the Select Panel on Infant Lives seeking further investigation and remedies for violations it uncovered in the course of its investigation into Planned Parenthood’s trade in aborted baby remains. The investigation was initiated after the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials haggling over the price of aborted baby remains.

Committee Chairman Marsha Blackburn notified HHS officials that it had obtained evidence that for over a five-year period, two Planned Parenthood organizations and a third abortion facility violated HIPAA privacy laws by allowing employees of the organ procurement company StemExpress to access private patient records that clearly identified women by name and birth date.

The abortion businesses at issue are all located in California. They include:

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, based in San Jose.
Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, based in Concord.
Family Planning Specialists Medical Group, based in Oakland.

Each patient record shared constitutes a separate violation of HIPAA, noted Blackburn.

Concerns were also expressed that coercion may have been involved in obtaining consents from vulnerable pregnant women for the donation of their aborted babies’ remains. Each StemExpress procurement technician received a bonus for every organ or other body part obtained. In addition, technicians were instructed to inform women that the remains would be used to cure various diseases, (for which, in some cases, researchers are not actually using fetal remains), as a means of persuading women to consent.

The second letter focused on evidence that StemExpress violated regulations by “fraudulently using invalid consent forms, and misleading customers to believe it had valid Institutional Review Board (‘IRB’) approval.”

“The so-called IRB used by StemExpress appeared to be phony as a three-dollar bill,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, who served as a founding board member for the Center for Medical Progress. “This gave Planned Parenthood and StemExpress’ body parts business an illusion of legitimacy that it did not possess.”

The Select Panel is asking the HHS to conduct additional investigation into these offenses and take “all appropriate actions” if it agrees violations occurred.

Nearly 80 pages of documentation accompanied the letters to support the Select Panel’s conclusions that Planned Parenthood and StemExpress broke the law.

“The Select Panel has provided irrefutable evidence that Planned Parenthood violated the privacy of patients and that StemExpress fraudulently portrayed its organ procurement as legitimate,” said Newman. “The Panel’s investigation confirms what the Center for Medical Progress videos showed; that this was nothing but a scheme to exploit women and their babies for financial gain,” said Newman.

Read Blackburn’s Letters:

Planned Parenthood HIPAA Violations
StemExpress’ IRB Regulation Violations