Politics & Policy

In New Mexico, a Flagrant Violation of Law and Fetal Remains

(Dreamstime image: Steve Allen)

The series of sting videos released last summer by the Center for Medical Progress exposed the ghoulish reality of America’s abortion industry, but few were interested in admitting it. Planned Parenthood waged an all-fronts defensive campaign, declaring that the videos were “deceptively edited” (they weren’t) and that CMP did not provide any evidence that the nation’s foremost abortion provider or its affiliates broke the law (they did). Planned Parenthood was aided by a conspicuously incurious mainstream media, and they even received the help of prosecutors in Texas and California, who decided to press charges against not those engaged in wrongdoing but those who revealed it.

In June, to little notice, the House Selective Investigative Panel, set up to probe the accusations made in the CMP videos, sent a letter to New Mexico’s attorney general, Hector Balderas, charging that the University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options, an Albuquerque abortion clinic, had “systematically violated” state law, and potentially violated federal law governing the transfer of fetal remains, by providing and using the remains of aborted infants for research. Amid the 250-plus pages of documentation included by the panel is the text of procurement notes provided by the university. In May 2012, a lab technician noted that UNM’s Health Science Center “asked clinic for digoxin treated tissue 24–28 weeks for methylation study + because [redacted] wants whole, fixed brains to dissect w/ summer camp students” (emphasis added).

Now comes this horrifying headline, from Lifenews.com: “Official Admits High School Students Dissected the Brains of Aborted Babies.” The official is Paul Roth, chancellor of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and dean of the School of Medicine, who recently explained on camera to a staffer with the New Mexico Alliance for Life: “We had a faculty member who obtained some tissue, and during one of these summer workshops, uh, dissected I think one or two fetal brains.”

Should this story ever find its way to mainstream outlets, it will be shrouded in euphemism, so let us be candid: Under the aegis of “education,” the University of New Mexico arranged to have children dissect the brains of younger children. That is not the work of a “medical community”; it is the work of individuals and institutions who have all but surrendered their capacity for fellow-feeling. A corpse is not “meat gone bad.” But it has become incontrovertibly clear that that is how the abortion industry and its allies treat it. That cannot, and should not, be tolerated.

The State of New Mexico long ago made a special provision in its law to prevent such outrages. According to the state’s Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, enacted in 2007, “a fetus that is the subject of an induced abortion” cannot be donated “for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research or education.” (Maternal permission to do so, to which defenders are now appealing, is irrelevant.) As the House panel wrote in June: “Based on the information obtained and reviewed by the Panel, SWWO’s provision of tissue from aborted infants, and the reception and use of the tissue by UNMHSC, arguably violates the Spradling Act.” Roth appears to have confirmed their conclusion. Anyone involved in this ongoing, illegal relationship — at Southwestern Women’s Options and at the university — should be subject to immediate investigation, termination, and prosecution.

Whatever Attorney General Balderas, a Democrat, believes about abortion, he should be able to recognize that a society that treats the dead as disposable is, in short order, likely to treat the living the same way.