The Republican chairman of a congressional panel examining the fetal tissue research industry has asked New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to investigate whether the University of New Mexico and an Albuquerque abortion provider broke a state law when they transferred aborted fetuses.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the U.S. House Select Panel on Infant Lives, said Thursday that UNM Health Sciences Center and Southwestern Women’s Options appear to be in violation of a New Mexico law called The Jonathan Spradling Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, or Spradling Act. A spokesman for UNMHSC disputed Blackburn’s claim.
Southwestern Women’s Options provides UNM with tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research. The Albuquerque clinic and UNMHSC officials contend the fetal tissue transfer is legal and integral to the study of human diseases.
Lawyers working for Blackburn on the Select Panel interpret the 2007 Spradling Act, which establishes state law on the donation of body parts such as kidneys for medical purposes, as allowing for the donation or transfer of stillbirth fetuses and fetuses resulting from miscarriages. But they cite a clause that says “not including a fetus that is the subject of an induced abortion” as prohibiting the transfer of remains in such cases.