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The Marketing of Aborted Baby Parts

by Mark Crutcher

Original Release Date: February, 2000

Updated: March, 2007

In April of 1997, Life Dynamics began an undercover investigation into the marketing of body parts harvested from babies killed by elective abortions. This investigation lasted approximately 31 months. Most of the information in this report was provided by employees who worked at Comprehensive Health for Women (Comp Health) - a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic located in Overland Park, Kansas.

The System

Federal laws, and many state laws, make it illegal to buy or sell human bodies or body parts. However, they can be legally donated for medical research and certain other legitimate purposes. In such cases, the supplier is allowed to recover from the recipient any reasonable out-of-pocket expenses that were necessary to fill the recipient's order.

Some abortion industry insiders, wanting to financially profit on the growing market for fetal tissue and body parts, have devised a scheme to circumvent these restrictions. This is how the system works:

1) A baby parts "wholesaler" enters into a financial agreement with an abortion clinic in which the wholesaler pays a monthly "site fee" to the clinic. For this payment, the wholesaler is allowed to place a retrieval agent inside the clinic where he or she is given access to the corpses of children killed there and a workspace to harvest their parts. In most cases, this retrieval agent is an employee of the wholesaler. In other instances, the retrieval agent is a clinic employee who was trained by the wholesaler.

2) The buyer - usually a researcher working for a medical school, pharmaceutical company, bio-tech company or government agency - supplies the wholesaler with a list of the baby parts wanted.

3) When such orders are received by the wholesaler, they are faxed to the retrieval agent at the clinic who harvests the requested parts and ships them to the buyer via FedEx, Airborne or a similar common carrier.

4) These parts are "donated" by the clinic to the wholesaler who turns around and "donates" them to the buyer. The buyer then "reimburses" the wholesaler for the cost of retrieving the parts.

On the surface, this system does not appear to violate the legal prohibitions against trafficking in human body parts since, technically speaking, no one is buying or selling anything. The loophole is that site fees and retrieval reimbursement amounts are unregulated. The law requires that such payments be reasonable and reflect the actual cost of securing the parts, but there are no state or federal laws which establish guidelines or sets limits regarding these payments. Additionally, no governmental or law enforcement agency is charged with overseeing the system.

This means that the wholesaler is free to set site fees and retrieval fees at any amount. Despite the fact that the baby parts business is teeming with profound moral implications, and despite the fact it has enormous potential for financial abuse, it is allowed to operate on the honor system.

It is certainly no secret that this sort of self-policing never works in environments where large amounts of money are involved. In this case, the result is that the corpses of children killed by elective abortion are now marketed like old car parts salvaged from the local junkyard. Rhetoric like "site fees," "donations," and "retrieval reimbursement costs" are simply code words designed to conceal that fact.

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