WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) - A fetal tissue supplier mentioned in the controversial Planned Parenthood videos showing employees discussing the sale of body parts from aborted babies has contracts with federal government agencies, Politico reported today. The paper confirmed they contacted government officials to confirnm the link between the supplier and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Adinistration (FDA).
Politico cannot confirm fetal tissue sold by Advanced Bioscience Resources of Alameda, California to government agencies was actually obtained from Planned Parenthood, but it reports confirmation by federal officials at NIH have paid Advanced Bioscience Resources $257,000 since 2009, including $53,000 in 2014, for studies conducted at the Bethesda, Maryland campus.
Officials did not specify how much was spent for fetal tissue versus other supplies and services, but Politico states tissue from fetuses of 17-22 weeks gestation was used in research for HIV and eye disease treatments.
The National Institutes of Health had a research budget of approximately $3.4 billion for its Maryland campus in 2014 and a $30 billion nationwide research budget of which $76 million went to fetal tissue projects.
Advanced Bioscience Resources has also received approximately $73,000 since 2009 from the FDA for liver and thymus tissue used to develop human-like immune systems in mice to test new drug therapies.
Politico claims Advanced Bioscience Resources is the primary provider of fetal tissue to the federal government. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked the company and two other tissue procurement companies mentioned in the videos to provide information about sales revenue and communications with Planned Parenthood.
Despite Planned Parenthood officials being caught on video negotiating prices for body parts with comments such as "I just don't want to lowball" and "I want a Lamborghini" and referring to the body parts as budget line items, Planned Parenthood denies selling fetal tissue and claims instead to donate tissue for research with patient consent accepting only fees to cover its costs.
While Advanced Bioscience Resources did not reply to Politico's requests for comment, Health and Human Services spokesman Kevin Griffis issued a statement: "Voluntary donation of tissue for research has helped understand, treat and cure a number of conditions and diseases that affect millions of Americans, and it has enjoyed bipartisan support and the support of leading scientists and disease groups. We make clear to all our grantees and researchers the legal obligations they are under and we know of no violations of laws in connection with the research done at our agencies."
Advanced Bioscience Resources was mentioned in one of the Planned Parenthood undercover videos by Katharine Sheehan, identified in the video as the former medical director of Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest. "We have already a relationship with ABR. We've been using them for over 10 years . . . They're doing the big collection for government-level collections."