No Federal Law Broken In Sale of Fetal Body Parts, US Attorney Says

By John Rossomando | July 7, 2008 | 8:19pm EDT

( - A US Attorney in Kansas has decided that a man who sold fetal body parts from an Overland Park, Kan., abortion clinic did not violate any federal laws.

Miles Jones, the owner of Opening Lines, a West Frankfort, Ill., company involved in the sale of fetal body parts to researchers, had been placed under investigation by the FBI following media accounts that he had been selling the body parts for profit, which is against federal law.

Acting US Attorney Jim Flory decided "after a thorough review of the issues involved," that there were no violations of federal statutes, indicating that the investigation had drawn to a close.

Opening Lines had a price list that advertised costs for various fetal body parts, such as: $999 for the brain of a fetal child between 22-23 weeks, $150 for skin, $325 for a spinal cord, $550 for reproductive organs, and $75 apiece for eyes, according to March 2000 accounts of ABC's 20/20 and the Kansas City Star.

Jones told 20/20 producers during an episode that aired on March 8, 2000, that he was able to make $50,000 a week from the sale of fetal body parts.

Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri voiced his reaction, saying, "We are pleased that our patient's trust wasn't violated with any illegal activity."

"Planned Parenthood wasn't targeted in this investigation, but our patients are encouraged to donate tissue," he said. "We're glad that decision on their part wasn't abused in any way."

According to 20/20, the "donated tissue" procured by Jones from Brownlie's clinic was put up for sale at a profit during a 10-week period in 1998 when Jones' company held a contract with Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri to dispose of the clinic's fetal tissue.

Flory's decision has renewed pro-lifers' calls to outlaw the sale of fetal body parts.

"What this points out is we need either an executive order, or we need a law that states that federal funds should not be used for fetal tissue experimentation, even beyond that there should be a ban on fetal tissue being used for experimentation," said Wendy Wright, director of Communications for Concerned Women for America.

"President Bush needs to look beyond the federal funding, to the actual research itself, and this research is immoral," Wright said.

Pro-life members of Congress such as Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) and Rep. Jim Ryun (R-Kan.) have also voiced their disgust with the Jones case and have suggested that a ban might be necessary to end the practice of selling fetal body parts.

"The selling of tissue from pre-born children is nothing short of gruesome," Ryun said in a statement. "Federal law already prohibits anyone from profiteering from the sale of aborted fetal tissue."

"It is important that the spirit of the law as well as the letter be followed," he said.

"We really ought to ban all traffic and body parts of aborted babies, and there ought to be a comprehensive ban on organs from aborted babies," Pitts said in a statement.

Brownlie voiced his hope that Congress would not outlaw fetal tissue research saying, "I certainly think it would be unfortunate for the medical community and for people that suffer from tragic diseases to benefit from potentially life saving research."

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) was contacted for reaction, but offered no comments.

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