Local medical school accused of purchasing fetal tissue from abortions

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is accused of buying aborted fetal tissue for research.

CBS4 uncovered new documents alleging the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is buying aborted fetal tissue for research, fetal tissue that may be linked to Planned Parenthood abortions.

A Houston-based attorney, Briscoe Cain, said he obtained the information from a Freedom of Information request. He said he found evidence of four Texas medical schools purchasing fetal tissue from a California bioscience company.

TTUHSC El Paso is among those listed as purchasing fetal tissue from Advanced Bioscience Resource Center.

Cain claims the tissue could be coming from abortions at Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood gives fetuses to ABR.

"What can be said that tissue purchased from ABR is from aborted babies," said Cain.

Documents given to CBS4 show TTUHSC allegedly purchased parts of fetuses from ABR.

Invoices from ABR to TTUHSC show the school paid at least $4,000- $5,000 for fetal parts/tissue.

The invoices are dated in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and make reference to 2015 requests.

The school allegedly purchased fetal livers, spleens and thymuses (it's a gland in the base of the neck).

Emails between the researchers and ABR make reference to their specific requests and process for shipping.

CBS4 Investigates asked the school what type of research the fetus parts were used for, but did not receive a response.

In the e-mails obtained, researchers reference using the tissue for "a humanized mouse."

"The research being done is humanized mice. Scientists inject the mouse with fetal tissue so the mouse is genetically altered to accept the graphing of human tissue," said Cain.

Cain represents the activists that made secret recordings involving Planned Parenthood in Houston. His clients now face charges of tampering with a government record.

But Cain claims this new discovery of documents brings to question the link between Planned Parenthood abortions and Texas medical schools.

"Public universities who receive tax dollars are using the tax dollars to purchase these babies' parts," said Cain.

CBS4 asked TTUHSC for an interview and whether it was aware the aborted tissue may be coming from Planned Parenthood.

KFOX14 also asked how the school funds those purchases and how much money has been spent buying fetal parts.

TTUHSC did not answer those questions but sent a statement.

"Research at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is committed to strictly following all federal and state guidelines. The physicians and scientists at TTUHSC El Paso respect and cherish life. They work tirelessly toward treating patients, as well as developing and finding effective treatments and cures for human diseases," said Dr. Peter Rotwein, the assistant vice president for research at TTUHSC El Paso.

It is against federal law to sell human fetal tissue for profit. Tissue can be donated with the woman's consent.

Planned Parenthood has claimed it does not sell parts of fetuses but does donate them.

Some scientists and universities have been working with fetal tissue for years, explaining that it provides invaluable information about the beginning stages of cells.

Cain said his clients next step is to "pass legislation prohibiting the purchase of fetal tissue in Texas."

Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to support any legislation to prohibit the use of fetal tissue for research.EL PASO, Texas-- KFOX14 Investigates uncovers new documents alleging the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is buying aborted fetal tissue for research, fetal tissue that may be linked to Planned Parenthood abortions.

A Houston-based attorney, Briscoe Cain, said he obtained the information from a Freedom of Information request. He said he found evidence of four Texas medical schools purchasing fetal tissue from a California bioscience company.

TTUHSC El Paso is among those listed as purchasing fetal tissue from Advanced Bioscience Resource Center.

Cain claims the tissue could be coming from abortions at Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood gives fetuses to ABR.

"What can be said that tissue purchased from ABR is from aborted babies," said Cain.

Documents given to KFOX14 Investigates show TTUHSC allegedly purchased parts of fetuses from ABR.

Invoices from ABR to TTUHSC show the school paid at least $4,000- $5,000 for fetal parts/tissue.

The invoices are dated in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and make reference to 2015 requests.

The school allegedly purchased fetal livers, spleens and thymuses (it's a gland in the base of the neck).

Emails between the researchers and ABR make reference to their specific requests and process for shipping.

KFOX14 Investigates asked the school what type of research the fetus parts were used for, but did not receive a response.

In the e-mails obtained, researchers reference using the tissue for "a humanized mouse."

"The research being done is humanized mice. Scientists inject the mouse with fetal tissue so the mouse is genetically altered to accept the graphing of human tissue," said Cain.

Cain represents the activists that made secret recordings involving Planned Parenthood in Houston. His clients now face charges of tampering with a government record.

But Cain claims this new discovery of documents brings to question the link between Planned Parenthood abortions and Texas medical schools.

"Public universities who receive tax dollars are using the tax dollars to purchase these babies' parts," said Cain.

KFOX14 asked TTUHSC for an interview and whether it was aware the aborted tissue may be coming from Planned Parenthood.

KFOX14 also asked how the school funds those purchases and how much money has been spent buying fetal parts.

TTUHSC did not answer those questions but sent a statement.

"Research at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso is committed to strictly following all federal and state guidelines. The physicians and scientists at TTUHSC El Paso respect and cherish life. They work tirelessly toward treating patients, as well as developing and finding effective treatments and cures for human diseases," said Dr. Peter Rotwein, the assistant vice president for research at TTUHSC El Paso.

It is against federal law to sell human fetal tissue for profit. Tissue can be donated with the woman's consent.

Planned Parenthood has claimed it does not sell parts of fetuses but does donate them.

Some scientists and universities have been working with fetal tissue for years, explaining that it provides invaluable information about the beginning stages of cells.

Cain said his clients next step is to "pass legislation prohibiting the purchase of fetal tissue in Texas."

Gov. Greg Abbott has pledged to support any legislation to prohibit the use of fetal tissue for research.

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