The chairwoman of a U.S. congressional panel wants New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to investigate whether practices at two clinics here break state law.
Specifically, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, claims that the fetal tissue donation policies at the University of New Mexico and Southwest Women’s Options are breaking a 2007 state law.
That law, known as the Spradling Act, regulates body part and organ donations for science.
In a press release, the U.S House Select Panel on Infant Rights claims that “under the Spradling Act the bodies or parts of aborted infants may not be anatomical gifts.”
“Documentation obtained by the Panel in the course of our investigation reflects the transfer of fetal tissue from Southwestern Women’s Options to UNM for research purposes is a systematic violation of New Mexico’s Spradling Act,” Blackburn said in the release.
But the actual provision of the law Blackburn cited about abortion occurs under the law’s definition of “decedent,” which in other words means a dead person.
The law defines “decedent” as “a deceased individual whose body or part is or may be the source of an anatomical gift.”
The law continues to read: “‘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.”
In a statement released to the public, UNM Health Sciences Center spokesman Billy Sparks “categorically” denied Blackburn’s allegations “in every respect.”
“This act only applies to ‘decedents,’” Sparks said. “The act specifically excludes fetuses from induced abortions from the definition of ‘decedents.’”
Indeed, the law’s line about “induced abortion” comes under the definition of “decedent,” which is written as “a deceased individual whose body or part is or may be the source of an anatomical gift.”
A spokesman from the Attorney General’s Hector Balderas told the Albuquerque Journal that the office had received the request from Blackburn.
The call comes after Blackburn’s Select Panel on Infant Lives subpoenaed UNM and Southwest Women’s Options earlier this year in its own investigation of the alleged selling of terminated fetuses for profit.
Those allegations, popularized by an infamous undercover video of Planned Parenthood from an anti-abortion group last summer, have been widely discredited.
When an investigation looked into the videos, the prosecutors not only exonerated Planned Parenthood, but they indicted two of those involved in the making of the undercover videos.