What to Know about the Select Panel’s Criminal Referral against UNM and Southwestern Women’s Options

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By Cheryl Sullenger

Albuquerque, NM — Last week in their 291-page letter to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, the House Select Panel on Infant Lives laid out a clear and convincing argument for criminal charges against the University of New Mexico (UNM) and a late-term abortion facility, Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO), related to the acquisition of aborted baby remains.

The report and accompanying documentation included with the letter highlight eight important points.

1. Two UNM abortionists created a radically pro-abortion climate at the “resistant” university and created a cultural shift that now aggressively promotes abortion.

Two UNM abortionists (identified only as “Doctor 1” and “Doctor 4”) set out to force their abortion-expansion agenda on what was at first an unwilling university. The Select Panel stated:

“Since the time when opposition to participating in abortion procedures was the predominant view of UNM medical staff, the culture appears to have changed — along with the composition of UNM hospital and clinic personnel — to one aggressively in favor of the expansion of abortion.” [Page 5]

Those who opposed this new abortion agenda were marginalized and/or punished.

“In January 2016, a medical student filed a lawsuit against the UNM Board of Regents alleging that he was referred to a disciplinary committee by Doctor #1 and sanctioned by UNM for posting his personal views against abortion on his Facebook page, despite the fact that the posts did not mention UNM.” [Page 5]

Doctors 1 and 4 were known to “leverage their status” at UNM to recruit UNM employees and students to participate in political activities that would further their personal abortion agenda.

“Doctor #1, Doctor #4, and other UNM medical faculty members engaged in political fundraising and lobbying for an expansion of abortion services and public funding in support thereof—activities in which UNM students are encouraged to participate. [Page 12]

2. Taxpayers partially fund UNM and SWWO’s abortion businesses

The panel noted that the UNM doctors who were involved in procuring the remains of aborted babies for “research” and other purposes and who oversaw the transformation of that university into one with an aggressive abortion expansion agenda have salaries that are paid for by the taxpayers of New Mexico.

Other funding for UNM’s abortion programs came from the Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, which contributed over $2.5 million since 2001 [Page 14], and aided in the formation of the UNM School of Medicine Fellowship in Family Planning, which served as the vehicle through which UNM residents were deployed to SWWO.

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Taxpayers also footed the bill for abortion services at Southwestern Women’s Options, the largest late-term abortion facility in the U.S. In the attachment, “New Mexico Medicaid and SCI Reimbursements Received by Southwestern Women’s Options, 2010-2015” on page 159 it noted that SWWO received over $5 million in tax money in reimbursement for abortion services.

Operation Rescue earlier released evidence that New Mexico Medicaid would pay SWWO $16,000 to abort a 30-week Down syndrome baby, which also documented state tax-funding of abortions.

3. The primary goal of UNM’s partnership with SWWO was to increase the volume of second trimester abortions, presumably to provide the UNM Health Sciences Center with an ample supply of aborted infant remains for “research” and other purposes. [Page 4]

Second trimester babies were most desirable for UNM because they provided organs and tissue that was big enough for “research” purposes. They were also less likely to have been injected with digoxin, a drug that is used in later abortions to stop the heart prior to the extraction process. Digoxin renders fetal “specimens” unsuitable for research.

4. SWWO is the sole provider of “aborted infant tissue” to the UNM Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC). [Page 8]

UNM collected hundreds of aborted infant remains during 39 procurement sessions since 2010, (about once every six weeks).

Those babies’ gestational ages ranged between 11.5-30.5 weeks.

• 14-18 weeks (second trimester) were most numerous.
• 20 aborted infants were beyond 20 weeks (5 months).

Harvesting took place on the following:

• 16 week twins with clubbed feet.
• 20 week twins (with intact brains).
• 22.5 week infant diagnosed with Downs syndrome.
• 25.3 week baby girl with an orofacial cleft.
• 30.5 week baby born “intact.”

Collected remains included: brain/head, heart, lung, eyes/retina, kidney, spleen, adrenal gland, intestines, bone marrow, and stomach.

UNM also acted as a distribution hub for aborted infant remains procured at SWWO, which were sent to other institutions such as the University of Florida, University of California San Francisco, and the University of Ottawa in Canada.

5. Whole brains from aborted babies were used for dissection by “summer camp” students.

“Research” wasn’t the only way aborted baby remains were used by UNM. Other applications were more grisly. On pages 9-10 of the Select Panel’s letter, it states the following:

The procurement notes provided to the Panel by UNM further confirm their acquisition of aborted infant tissue from SWWO for research purposes. References to specific studies were written in the notes along with lists of infant parts harvested. The lab tech wrote in May 2012 that someone from UNMHSC “asked clinic for digoxin treated tissue 24-28 weeks for methylation study + because [redacted] wants whole, fixed brains to dissect w/ summer camp students. Clinic est. 27 and 28 weeks.” [Emphasis in original.]

There was no word as to the age of the summer camp students, but if they were minors, subjecting them to Mengele-like dissection of human babies’ brains is inexcusable.

6. UNM’s training agreement with SWWO violated UNM’s own policies and procedures on such contracts.

UNM’s policies and procedures are very clear that UNM’s president, Chancellor of Health Sciences, or member of the Board of Regents were required on contracts. [Page 51]

Nevertheless, UNM’s contract with SWWO to provide training for UNM residents carried only Doctor #1’s signature – the same doctor who was one of the original abortion committee members who set out create a climate at UNM where abortion was aggressively promoted.

After public outcry over the trafficking of aborted baby body parts depicted in videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, UNM terminated its apparently illegal training contract with SWWO.

However, there is no evidence UNM’s practice of procuring aborted baby remains from SWWO ever ended, and the Select Panel assumes that it continues today.

7. UNM granted faculty status to SWWO abortionists that included employee benefits that provided professional and financial benefit. These benefits may qualify as ‘valuable consideration.” [Pages 6-7]

It is a violation of Federal Statute 42 U.S.C. § 289g-2 “for any person to “knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any fetal tissue for valuable consideration if the transfer affects interstate commerce.”

UNM and SWWO insist that no money changed hands in return for aborted baby parts. However, the Select Panel recommends further investigation to determine whether the employee benefits received by SWWO workers qualifies as “valuable consideration” under the law.

While SWWO abortionist were designated as “volunteers” and were not directly on the payroll of UNM, the benefits they received were the same as paid faculty, including some of the following:

• Free use of UNM’s gyms, handball court, tennis court, weight room, and Olympic-sized swimming pool.
• Free access the UNM libraries.
• Free admission to several museums.
• Discounted for tickets to sporting and cultural events.
• Discounted membership at a 9-hole golf course.
• Discounted leisure sporting equipment rentals.

There was only one thing that UNM got out of this arrangement with SWWO abortionists: aborted baby remains.

8. New Mexico’s Spradling Act was violated. [Page 11]

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.

According to this law, anatomical gifts may only come from “decedents.” The Spradling Act clearly states that “’decedent’ means a deceased individual whose body or part is or may be the source of an anatomical gift. ‘Decedent’ includes a stillborn infant and, subject to restrictions imposed by law other than the Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, a fetus but not including a fetus that is the subject of an induced abortion.”

Violation of the Spradling Act constitutes “a third degree felony and upon conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000) or imprisonment not exceeding six years, or both.”

Given what could be hundreds of violations, this has become a very serious criminal situation of UNM and SWWO.

Will the New Mexico Attorney General enforce the law?

It remains to be seen as to whether the New Mexico Attorney General’s office will actually take steps to prosecute the University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options. New Mexico is a very liberal state that has traditionally ignored or dismissed complaints against its abortion businesses.

Tara Shaver of ProtestABQ previously filed a formal complaint with the Attorney General’s office seeking a criminal investigation into violations of the Spradling Act and other crimes, but has told Operation Rescue that she has not been notified that any investigation ever took place.

“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 Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “Due to the serious allegations of criminal conduct, we also hope that he will begin immediate proceedings to shut down the dangerous late-term abortion facility, Southwestern Women’s Options, for good.”

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

UNM Doubles Down on Preventing The Truth From Coming Out About Their Abortion Involvement

[A new round of subpoenas issued by the Select Panel on Infant Lives focuses once again on the University of New Mexico and their association with Southwestern Women’s Options, the largest late-term abortion facility in the U.S. Pro-life activists Bud and Tara Shaver were the first to discover and provide evidence that Southwestern Women’s Options was improperly consenting women for fetal tissue “donation” to be used in “research.” -OR Staff]

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By Tara Shaver

Albuquerque, NM- The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives has issued 12 additional subpoenas to fetal tissue procurement organizations who continue to refuse full compliance with the panels investigation into the practice of fetal tissue harvesting and the use of the remains in research.

According to the NY Times, “Committee investigators say they have uncovered evidence of possible illegal profiteering, questionable consent forms and inappropriate collusion between scientists seeking fetal tissue and abortion providers.”

Three new subpoenas come to New Mexico focused on individuals at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Southwestern Women’s Options. The subpoenas ask for information such as: studies, research or experiments that individuals have participated in, the number and type of fetal tissue obtained from Southwestern Women’s Options, personnel that procured tissue from SWO and documents proving benefits or compensation for providing fetal tissue.

UNM as a publicly funded institution bears the responsibility of transparency, yet, at every turn they avoid accountability and fight to keep the truth from being exposed about how deeply entrenched their radical abortion agenda is. Whether through our and other pro-life attempts to obtain public records or congressional attempts, UNM just doubles down and is petrified about the consequences of allowing even basic facts about their abortion involvement from seeing the light of day.

Bud Shaver, executive director of Protest ABQ issued the following statement, “Just this week, we mailed postcards into Albuquerque neighborhoods because we believe the community deserves to know who is responsible for UNM’s radical abortion agenda they are funding with their tax dollars. Of all of the postcards that we have dropped over the past five years, we had to battle to get this one out. UNM tried to prevent the post office from mailing out our postcards. UNM wields a mighty hand over local businesses and our printer was weary about completing the order for us after being notified by the post office that UNM was attempting to block our postcard from going out but Tara did what she does best and had the post office directly email our printer once all the legal issues were resolved and clarified. Here is what the post office said to our printer, ‘Our legal department says we cannot refuse the mailing if it is brought to us as long it is properly prepared and paid for.’ Free speech trumps UNM and their strangle hold over the truth from reaching the community. This is clearly a battle over hearts and minds and that is why we fight so hard…and never back down.”

Rep. Marsha Blackburn says it best in her statement after issuing this new round of subpoenas, “The Select Investigative Panel is working in a thoughtful and thorough manner to find the facts about what exactly is going on at these abortion businesses and procurement organizations. Unfortunately, some of these organizations have so redacted documents — even after being subpoenaed — that it is impossible for us to get the complete picture of what is actually going on. Others have refused to produce documents required under previous subpoenas, and have threatened to withhold additional subpoenaed information. There should be no resistance to letting all the facts come out — but some abortion supporters seem to be clearly rattled with basic facts coming to light. Therefore, in the interest of completing our investigation pursuant to H. Res. 461, we will continue to issue subpoenas when necessary to ensure information can be gathered in a timely fashion.”

Some claim that aborted fetal tissue harvesting is necessary to make strides in medical research and defend the use of aborted fetal cells in vaccines. We maintain the position that utilizing and capitalizing on the death and body parts of innocent children for any reason is immoral and unethical and should therefore cease immediately.

Please join us in contacting UNM President Robert Frank and ask him to urge the Board of Regents to terminate the contracts of Dr. Paul Roth, who is responsible for all aspects of UNM abortion participation and Dr. Eve Espey, an abortionist who directs UNM’s free-standing abortion business, the UNM Center for Reproductive Health, and who also interfaces with Southwestern Women’s Options, the largest late-term abortion facility conducting third trimester abortions in the U.S.

Robert G. Frank, UNM President
Voice: 505-277-2626
E:Mail unmpres@unm.edu

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*Life Ministries U.S. is an Umbrella Non-Profit Organization that includes: Protest ABQ, Pro-Life Witness, and Protest ChildKilling.