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Partial Birth Abortion and The Baby Body Parts Market

An image of a price list of baby body parts circulating on the Internet, combined with a list of corporations and products under boycott, suggests that foods people use every day contain fetal tissue of aborted babies.

Other articles suggest that aborted babies are being chopped up and sold to researchers all over America.

I decided to look into the story behind these allegations.

Baby Body Parts Price List

Congress banned intact partial birth Abortion in 2003 because they found it a “gruesome and inhumane procedure” that was unnecessary and dangerous. The Supreme Court upheld the law in 2007, in Gonzales v. Carhart. The price list mentioned above was included as evidence in the Supreme Court case.

The court victory was hailed as a success by the pro life movement, but the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 does not actually stop partial birth abortion — just a method of doing it, known as “intact dilation and extraction.” Intact D&E ordinarily occurs in the second trimester from  15 to 26 weeks, when a live, whole, fetus is brought out of the birth canal, either up to the head or navel — depending on which way it is facing — and is then killed by puncturing the skull and suctioning out its brain, after which the rest of the fetus is delivered dead.

A nurse describes the procedure she witnessed many times

If it’s dangerous and unnecessary, why was it instituted in the first place? As an Amicus Curiae brief filed during the case suggests…

“Follow the Money”

During the debate over an earlier Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 1999, Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire called for an investigation into whether partial birth abortions were being used for the sale of “fresh” baby body parts. “How can we get a good specimen, a baby whose organs are intact, a good cadaver?…You could have a live birth and kill it, or you could have a partial birth abortion and kill it that way, and damage only the brain so the rest of the body is good for research.” Of course, that would be against the law — unless there was a loophole.

The macabre market for fetal body parts, was also addressed during testimony at a house subcommittee hearing in 2000 (Subcommittee on Health and Environment of the House Commerce Committee, 106th Cong., 2nd Session, March 9, 2000).

Under the current law, “Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.”

Interstate Commerce…what?

How does the court decide if an offending abortion was done “in” interstate commerce? Speculations were rampant in legal circles after the law was upheld.

A Supreme Court blog ponders whether the law covers PBAs at non-profit free clinics that are not, by definition, conducting commerce.

A Cato Institute commentary noted: “…there is little meaningful testimony as to how partial-birth abortions affect…interstate commerce,” thus we are left to speculate on why it was included.

An Americans United For Life analysis explains the commerce clause inclusion: “In order for the federal ban to be triggered, the abortion provider must either be on federal property, (or a federal employee) or engaged in interstate commerce…a private individual or business must be engaged in the flow of business across state lines in order for an offense to be considered federal in nature. It is hard to imagine an abortion provider that does not in some way engage in business across state lines. Women may come from across state lines; the abortion provider…may fly in from out of state; and the clinic surely purchases items or instruments from businesses in other states.”

Baby Parts Shipped Across State Lines

None of those analysts touched on the interstate fetal tissue market. Nevertheless, most of the body parts from Intact D&E are shipped to research institutions, according to an anonymous abortion clinic whistleblower called Kelly, who was interviewed on a 20/20 expose about trafficking in fetal body parts that aired in 2000.

Procurement agents lease space in abortion clinics and are provided a list each day that shows what tissue researchers, pharmaceutical companies and universities are looking for, she said.

The teams sort out eyes, livers, brains, thymuses [lymphoid tissue], cardiac blood, cord blood, blood from the liver, even blood from the limbs. Specimens with STDs or abnormalities are screened out. After harvesting the products they are shipped to universities and other researchers by UPS, FedEx, Airborne, or special carriers. Any leftover parts are washed down the garbage disposal or picked up for incineration.

Here is the Interstate Commerce Loophole

The clinics “donate” fetal tissue to the harvesters who then donate them to the researchers. The Harvesters pay clinics a lease fee for the space they use to process the dead baby bodies. They are also allowed to charge reasonable sums associated with the transportation, implantation, processing, preservation quality control, or storage of human fetal tissue.

An email from way back in 1994 purportedly leaked from the University of Washington describes how fetal products are readied for market:

“Human embryonic and fetal tissues are available from the Central Laboratory for Human Embryology at the University of Washington. The laboratory, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, can supply tissue from normal of [sic] abnormal embryos and fetuses of desired gestational ages between 40 days and term.

“Specimens are obtained within minutes of passage and tissues are aseptically identified, staged and immediately processed according to the requirements of individual investigators.

“Presently, processing methods include immediate fixation, snap fixation, snap freezing in liquid nitrogen, and placement in balanced salt solutions or media designated and/or supplied by investigators. Specimens are shipped by overnight express, arriving the day following procurement. The laboratory can also supply serial sections of human embryos that have been preserved in methyl Carnoy’s fixative, embedded in paraffin and sectioned at 5 microns.”


Harvesters need to work quickly so the fetal material is not compromised. “In order to sustain 95% of the  cells, the live tissue would need to be preserved within 5 minutes of the abortion. Within an hour, the cells  would continue to deteriorate, rendering the specimens useless,” according to Dr. C. Ward Kischer, PhD, a leading national authority on human embryology.

“The global market for cell lines and tissue cultures brought in nearly $428 million in 1996,” according to the the consulting firm of Frost and Sullivan. Then abortion salvage exploded after President Clinton lifted the moratorium on federal funding for fetal tissue grants and awards. It was estimated after that, the market would grow at an annual rate of 13.5 percent.

At least two fetal tissue wholesalers provide baby body parts to researchers, drug companies, hospitals and universities: Opening Lines and Anatomic Gift Foundation.

Opening Lines’ fee schedule for baby body parts is the one circulating on the Internet: $150 for a spinal column; $400 for an entire embryonic cadaver; $75 for the eyeballs of an eight-week-old baby, $100 for the skin of a 12-week-old baby, etc.

Anatomic Gift Foundation was founded in 1994. “We don’t encourage abortion, but we see that good can come from fetal-tissue research. There is so much wonderful research going on — research that can help save the lives of wanted children,” according to co founder Brenda Bardsley.

Aborted Baby Body Parts Market Hits Mainstream TV

Much of this was revealed in the 20/20 show that aired the day before the subcommittee hearing.

“Millions of Americans who could have never dreamed that there are people in this country who traffic in the bodies of children killed by abortion, were stunned and horrified by what they saw in their living rooms that night.” Said Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics, an organization who tracks the fetal body parts trade.

They were horrified, even though 20/20 downplayed the gruesomeness of the fetal tissue market. The ABC producer explained to Crutcher the network could not broadcast footage of dismembered babies, baggies full of tiny human eyes or any other accurate footage of the “commodity,” so they represented it as a tiny indistinguishable tissue fragment in a petri dish instead, according to a report Crutcher wrote on

Crutcher said the 20/20 piece played down more than that. “It referred to traffickers in the baby parts market as evil businessmen.” It was clear, he said, that 20/20 wanted the viewer to perceive this was not something that occurred within the abortion industry, but that some evil profit-driven outsiders had infiltrated and taken advantage it.

“Moreover, there was never any mention of the researchers, pharmaceutical companies and universities who buy baby parts. It was like a story about the evils of prostitution that concentrated solely on the women involved and never the customers. The reality is that if baby parts are being marketed, that means there are not only sellers, but buyers as well.”

Who’s Lying?

Crutcher and his organization have likewise been accused of being deceptive. In a pro-abortion counter punch called Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic narrative of Pro Life Politics, author Carol Mason slashed at the credibility of Life Dynamics and the mysterious Kelly. She accuses Life Dynamics of making disparaging racist remarks about Jewish doctors in the abortion industry, and says: “The shadowy figure featured in an infamous and widely circulated video known as the Kelly tape who says she is afraid for her life after witnessing a doctor drown aborted twins in a steel pan — is now thought to be Crutcher’s wife.” Other accusations and conspiracy theories about Life Dynamics launched after the Congressional hearing, which Life Dynamics described as a train wreck.

House Hearing Was a Train Wreck

“In the days immediately preceding that hearing, witnesses who were scheduled to testify reported that they began receiving intimidating phone calls from lawyers associated with the targets of the investigation. A republican staff attorney warned them to stop but the calls continued. Republican members of the Committee were steamed and vowed to begin the hearing with questions about witness tampering and obstruction of justice, but nobody ever brought it up.

“We provided them with orders for baby parts, price lists for baby parts, brochures and advertising materials for baby parts, internal abortion industry financial records related to the sale of baby parts, abortion clinic protocols for the harvesting of baby parts, and much more. Then we spent hours and hours going over each of these documents with them to make certain they understood their significance.” Despite all that, Life Dynamics, says, Republicans on the Committee never introduced one single document they provided — and most bizarre of all, never discussed the marketing of baby parts.

Pro abortionists came out with guns blazing and completely dominated the hearing, Crutcher said. They eviscerated whistleblower Lawrence Dean Alberty, Jr., who according to a note on the Amicus Brief, was supposedly the mysterious Kelly going public. It does not address how Kelly turned from a woman into a man.

After the hearing, rumors and conspiracy theories about Life Dynamics escalated further, saying the organization had stolen documents exposing the baby parts industry, and that the organization had withheld documents during the hearing. Crutcher called the accusations crazy. Why would they spend years trying to achieve the visibility of a Congressional hearing then withhold evidence, he said. Another rumor said Miles Jones, the baby parts broker featured in the show, was actually an actor hired by Life Dynamics. This was asserted despite the fact that Congress had issued a subpoena for him, which federal marshals successfully delivered.

Spotlight turns to Cosmetics, Vaccines, and Food

In 2008, biotech firm, Senomyx, of San Diego, received a patent that refers to HEK 293, or Human Embryonic Kidney 293. HEK 293 is a widely available cell line originally cultured in the Netherlands in the early 1970s from a human embryo — Abortus provocatus — from a woman who simply wanted to get rid of a fetus, according to Dr. Van Der Eb, who acquired the fetus and froze some of the cells in liquid nitrogen.

In 2009, Children of God for Life, a watchdog group that monitors fetal material in various products, called for a boycott of Neocutis Inc. a company whose high-end skin creams include cultured cells from the skin of a different aborted baby. The company said its Processed Skin Cell Proteins, or PSP, were harvested responsibly to treat severe dermatological injuries.

Neocutis rationalized its product was akin to using fetal kidney cells for the polio vaccine — a widely accepted practice.

Of Merck’s current vaccines, the rubella component of MMRII, Vaqta (hepA), and Varivax (Chicken Pox) are developed in human diploid cell lines. They are invaluable in vaccines because they can be grown indefinitely and readily support viral growth. Human diploid cell lines are also used for the rabies vaccine.

The official statement by Neocutis played down the cosmetic uses of the fetal tissue in its product line.

The Washington Times ran an article in 2009 that confirmed anti-aging skin cream products  — “cosmeceuticals” (processed skin cells proteins) — are derived from fetal skin cells.

Neocutis assured it would not need any “fresh” babies because the skin cells from the postage-sized sample would adequately supply their needs for years to come.

“Cell strains from fetal organs can multiply many times and provide a cell source for many decades, serving as an ideal culture medium due to their longevity. One aborted baby can supply the source of a cell strain with a potential yield of about 20 million metric tons of cells which can be stored frozen for many years. The availability of aborted babies also presents an economic advantage over animal sources of cell cultures such as monkey, chicken, duck, dog, or rabbit, since animals must be housed, fed, maintained, and bred,” according to Dr. Jessica Farnsworth, who wrote about fetal tissue in vaccines in 2011.

Artificial Favors

In 2010 pro-life advocates became concerned with a troubling shift in commercial research involving cell lines developed from aborted embryos and fetuses. Children of God for Life publicized the use of Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK 293) in flavor enhancement tests being conducted by the biotech firm Senomyx for Pepsico and other large food corporations.

The company’s proprietary flavor chemicals are a type of genetically-modified organism (GMO) with names like names like S2383 and S6973, developed by injecting the genetic sequences of the four known taste receptors into cell cultures, some of which come from aborted fetal cell lines, according to a an article published by CBS News’ MoneyWatch.

Children of God wrote to Pepsico CEO Kent Snyder, asking the company not to use fetus cells in their research. When Senomyx ignored them, CoG sent letters to other corporate collaborators Senomyx listed on its website, warning them of public backlash and threatened a boycott. In addition to Pepsico, which had announced the $30 million deal on its website in August 2010, the list of collaborators included Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae, and Nestlé, who all provided research and development funding plus royalties on sales of products using their flavor ingredients. The list disappeared from the website shortly after CoG pulicized it.

Within hours of a CoG press release, Juli Mandel Sloves, Senior Manager of Nutrition & Wellness Communications at Campbell Soup Company issued a notice that they’d severed ties with Senomyx. “We are no longer in partnership with Senomyx. This fact was discussed during the Senomyx conference call with its investors earlier this month.”

Anti-Abortion Groups Boycott Pepsico

After a review of 77 Senomyx’s patents showed that most use fetal cell lines in its research, dozens of pro-life groups joined the boycott of Pepsi products that spread to 11 nations, including Canada, Poland and Australia, as well as much of Western Europe.

Some people thought Pepsi was being accused of using liquified baby parts in its products. In response, Pepsi emailed Children of God for Life: “Unfortunately, there is some misinformation being circulated related to research techniques that have been used for decades by universities, hospitals, government agencies, and private companies around the world. These claims are meant to suggest that human fetal tissue is somehow used in our research,” wrote Margaret Corsi, a spokesperson for Pepsico. “That is both inaccurate and something we would never do or even consider. It also is inaccurate to suggest that tissue or cells somehow are being used as product ingredients. That’s dangerous, unethical and against the law. Every ingredient in every one of our products is reviewed and approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

CoG issued a fact sheet clarifying the issue:

“They are not in the final product consumed by the public. Instead they are used in the research and development of the artificial flavor enhancers. These aborted fetal cells possess proteins that express taste receptors which produce a chemical signal that lets Senomyx researchers know they have achieved the exact flavor they are trying to develop.” The embryonic stem cell lines are descendent cells of those from the original aborted baby’s kidney 30 years ago, they said.

Dr. Mercola provided further explanation in 2011: Senomyx develops patented flavor enhancers by using proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems. Their testing system uses patented receptors made from HEK293 Human Embryonic Kidney cells that came from a healthy, electively aborted baby whose cells were then harvested and cloned.

CoG attempted to stop Pepsico from using fetal cell research in flavor enhancers by bringing a resolution on the issue before corporate shareholders for a proxy vote. Attorneys for Senomyx protested to the SEC saying they are exempt because it attempts to micromanage the company’s day to day business operations on subjects the proponents know nothing about. The SEC agreed.

The ruling stunned pro-life advocate Debi Vinnedge, executive director of CoG, who led a similar effort in 2003 against the pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co., which uses aborted fetal cell lines in the manufacture of some vaccines. In that case, the SEC allowed the proxy vote, rejecting Merck’s “ordinary business” argument.

“The SEC let us take Merck to task over using fetal cell lines in vaccines, so we’re shocked that the SEC would not allow it with something as simple as a flavor enhancer,” Ms. Vinnedge said.

The attention to the baby parts market spurred State Sen. Ralph Shortey, Oklahoma, to introduced a bill that banned the sale of any products that contain flavor chemicals derived from human fetal tissue.“ There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not,” he said. “As a pro-life advocate, it kind of disturbed me that we would use aborted embryos or aborted human fetuses to extract stem cells and use them for research to basically make things taste better,” according to a Huffington Post article.

In 2012, Children of God for Life announced an end to the Boycott on it’s website: “Pepsico will not use aborted fetal cell line HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney) in their contractual agreement with Senomyx to develop flavor enhancers for their beverages.”

That same year Pepsico again partnered with Senomyx to create more flavor enhancers for its products. According to reports, the new “mystery” ingredients are designed to enhance sweetness of Pepsi products with less added sugar.

Pepsi’s chief scientific officer, Mehmood Khan, said Senomyx would help Pepsi identify “new ingredients that can lead to healthier products” and “ultimately help people around the world live healthier lives.” Pepsi paid Senomyx $30 million upfront with another $32 million possible through 2016.



1960 – Dr. Leonard Hayflick at Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, begins experiments to obtain human cell strain cultures from aborted babies for the purposes of growing viruses to be used in vaccines.

1964 – Dr. Hayflick reports successful development of a cell line from the lungs of an 3-month old female fetus whose parents were healthy but felt they had too many children. It was named WI-38 (Wistar Institute, 38th sample used in this research). WI-38 cells are still used extensively today to produce vaccines.

In 1973 – Dr. Alex Van Der Eb generates HEK 293 cells using kidney cells of an unborn fetus. freezes some of its cells in liquid nitrogen.

1981 – 101 Uses for Dead Babies, by Olga Fairfax, published by American Life League.

1988 – The National Organ Transplant Act was amended in 1988 prohibits the sale of fetal tissue and organs. “It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human organ for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation if the transfer affects interstate commerce.” The Fetal Tissue Act also prohibits women from aborting their infants to donate the tissue for financial gain, or to benefit a relative or friend.

1993 – President Clinton lifts the moratorium on federal funding for fetal tissues.

1995 – One of Van Der Eb’s cells is thawed for the generation of the PER.C6 cells.

2003 – Senomyx files a patent for “recombinant methods for expressing a functional sweet taste receptor.”

2003 – Congress passes Partial Birth Abortion Act.

2007 – US Supreme Court upholds Partial Birth Abortion Act.

2008 – Senomyx patent is granted. It mentions HEK 293, or Human Embryonic Kidney 293.

2010 –   Children of God for Life urge boycott of Pepsi products.  Thirty five anti abortion groups join the boycott.

May 2011 – Development of Vaccines from Aborted Babies, by Jessica Farnsworth, M.D.

Oct. 2011 – CoG files shareholder resolution and is denied.

2012 – CoG announces end to the Pepsico boycott.

2012 – PepsiCo and Senomyx partner up again to create new flavor enhancers that will make Pepsi sweeter with less sugar.



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