Rep. Love: ‘Who Protects the Minor’s Interests’ in Fetal Tissue Donation? Process ‘Not Transparent’

Lauretta Brown | April 20, 2016 | 6:08pm EDT
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Rep. Mia Love, (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

( – Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) compared organ donation to fetal tissue donation at a Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives Subcommittee hearing Wednesday. Love asked, “Who protects the minor’s interests” in a fetal tissue donation, adding that as compared to an organ donation “it is not transparent how the fetal organs will be used or by what organization.”

The congressional investigation of the sale of tissue from unborn baby parts was called for following the release of undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) last summer, which revealed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting of unborn baby parts.

“I want to contrast and focus on two different things, organ donations and fetal tissue donations,” Love said in her opening remarks. “Organ donations are done with dignity, disclosure of where and how the organs will be used, and in every hospital in the nation there are uninfluenced counselors to help with the process – and no money is made from the organ donation. The process is transparent and seen as ethical.”

“On the other hand, when it comes to fetal tissue donation, it’s different,” said Love. “A scared, vulnerable woman, including a minor who is underage, can come into a clinic on the morning of her surgery and first she needs to give consent to the procedure without any parental guidance or anyone there.”

“Then, before the event, before this invasive procedure a tissue technician comes to her and gets her to donate her baby’s body parts instead of an unbiased counselor,” said Love. “The tissue technician may be focused on making a commission rather than protecting that woman’s best interests,” she said.

“It is not transparent how the fetal organs will be used or by what organization,” she added.

Love called the contrast “astounding.”

“It is unethical for this procedure to happen this way,” she continued, “so my question is who protects the woman’s interests in each case? Who protects the minor’s interests in this case? There are no existing laws related to consent for fetal tissue donation.”

“How many organs are needed?” said Love. “How much will be paid out for each body part?”

She added that, “as a mother of two teenage girls I am absolutely astounded and outraged that we don’t have laws in place to protect our minors.”

“If you were ever in a clinic sitting in that room understanding that those protections are different, who is there advocating for you?” Love asked Catherine Glenn Foster, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute and CEO and general counsel at Sound Legal who testified at the hearing.

“In an abortion clinic? No one,” Foster replied.

“Now, furthermore, who is there advocating for a minor who this country would not let get behind the wheel of a vehicle, would not allow to vote, would not allow to join the military, would not be allowed to smoke, would not even be allowed to join a gym because there is a financially binding contract?” Love asked.

“No one,” Foster replied.

In response to an earlier question from Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), Foster said that, “As a woman, in fact, as a post-abortive woman, I am deeply offended that abortion clinics are permitting improper access by procurement organizations to really exploit us. I would add to potentially place us under duress and to put our children on display for sale in the way that chicken livers are in a grocery store. It deeply offends me.”

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