How else are we to interpret what the Colorado Statesman reported yesterday?
Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn called Friday for Colorado State University to stop using fetal tissue from abortions in its research while CSU defended its work as above reproach both legally and ethically.
In a letter to CSU President Tony Frank, Lamborn cited documents released last week by the Center for Medical Progress showing that the university bought what he described as “aborted babies’ parts” on Jan. 10, 2013, from a Planned Parenthood affiliate in California…
Lamborn asked Frank to explain the purchase, including the date, “the body parts purchased, the source of the body parts purchased (including the abortion clinic which performed the abortion), the price paid by Colorado State University for the body parts.”
“I also respectfully request that, should it be true that the policy of Colorado State University permits the purchase or acquisition of aborted babies’ body parts for experimentation or for other purposes, Colorado State University immediately revoke any such policy and thereafter refrain, cease and desist from any further purchases of aborted babies’ body parts,” Lamborn said in the letter.
And here’s the kicker for those of you who have been following the (latest) Planned Parenthood hidden camera story over the past week: then-state Sen. Doug Lamborn in 2000 actually tried to pass a bill that would totally outlaw any transfer of fetal tissue, even for life-saving medical research. The original text of House Bill 00-1468 made no exceptions, not for reasonable handling expenses or anything else, mandating, apparently, that fetal tissue simply be destroyed:
No physician or institution that performs procedures for the induced termination of pregnancy shall transfer such tissue for consideration or through gift, grant, or donation to any organization or person that conducts research using fetal tissue or that transplants fetal tissue for therapeutic purposes.
Unfortunately for Lamborn (but arguably very good for the rest of us), this language was softened considerably in the final version of House Bill 00-1468 to comport with federal law–adding the key term “valuable consideration” to prohibit only true for-profit exchanges, while allowing the voluntary donation of fetal tissue for medical research to continue:
And just so everybody is clear, in the present controversy over hidden-camera videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue donations, the nominal amount of money described is strictly for the allowable handling costs indicated above. Despite the clear attempt to imply otherwise, the subjects of both videos released to date repeatedly state that the amounts are for reasonable handling costs, and that profit is not a motive.
This means that, even though the videos in question are capable of making anybody unfamiliar with the often blunt language of medical practitioners queasy, there’s nothing illegal happening. Colorado State University’s research, and the acquisition of fetal tissue with which to carry it out, appears to be perfectly legal under both federal and state law. And again–the alternative of incinerating this fetal tissue instead of saving lives with it? This whole argument seems to play on the public’s ignorance of medical advances they otherwise take for granted on a daily basis.
Instead of helping clarify what seems to us to be a very straightforward question, GOP Attorney General Cynthia Coffman responded to Lamborn’s request for an investigation of CSU with an encouraging letter stating that she was “forwarding” his request to the appropriate jurisdiction for “enforcement,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Because the law in question here is not ambiguous, we fully expect that CDPHE’s investigation (if needed) will clear CSU. In fact, Cynthia Coffman could easily have said as much in her response if the facts mattered more than the politics.
But with the anti-abortion crowd relying on your emotional response overcoming reason, facts just get in the way.