Wednesday afternoon, the House Select Panel on Infant Lives concluded its yearlong investigation and released its final report, which details many of the disturbing practices it uncovered in the abortion industry as well as recommendations for improving access to appropriate scientific models.
"It was an honor to chair the Select Investigative Panel," U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said in a statement after the report's release. "I want to thank my colleagues who are strong pro-life leaders and have worked tirelessly over the past year.
"It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries. Our hope is that these changes will both protect women and their unborn children, as well as the integrity of scientific research."
The panel's creation by the U.S. House of Representatives followed the release of several undercover videos produced by pro-life activists calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress. The final report concluded those videos were an accurate depiction of the behind-the-scenes work abortionists and tissue-procurement companies.
"Over the last year, the Select Panel's relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, noncompliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children," Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said. "I have never shied away from my own pro-life views, but the findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience."
A number of other members of the panel sounded off after the final report's release:
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.): "It has been a privilege to serve on this panel alongside such dedicated members in pursuit of the truth. I applaud the diligent work the Select Panel did in investigating the callous practices of abortion providers, the nefarious dealings of the tissue procurement industry and the atrocious disregard for the privacy and well-being of patients. The American people deserve to know these facts so responsible decisions can be made about research that respects women and protects life. I truly wish this investigation hadn't been necessary, but I am comforted and gratified knowing our work uncovered some truths I am hopeful will better inform Americans everywhere, lead to the preservation of life and promote the safety and well-being of women."
Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah): "It has been an honor to serve on the Select Investigative Committee on Infant Lives. The committee's work uncovered aspects of the fetal tissue industry few people knew about, and I look forward to tracking the progress of the criminal referrals. We must protect the unborn, and every citizen's God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.): "This select panel conducted a thorough and fact-based investigation to provide the American people answers and to hold those who facilitated these horrendous practices accountable. As a physician who has operated on babies as young as 22 weeks' gestation, I am proud of our work on behalf of the most vulnerable among us—to protect the lives of the unborn from an industry that puts profits before the value and dignity of human life."
Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (R-Md.): "The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives succeeded in uncovering shameful practices, which undermined the very foundations of ethical American scientific research and have led to 15 criminal and regulatory referrals. Over the course of its year-long investigation of fetal tissue procurement companies and abortion businesses, the Select Panel found evidence that several tissue procurement companies and abortion clinics may have violated federal felony laws prohibiting the sale of human fetal tissue. As a physician and researcher, it is my sincere hope that our investigation and the subsequent referrals have put an end to these shady and unethical practices."
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.): "I'm honored to have served on the Select Panel on Infant Lives because it played a pivotal role in uncovering the big business that is the fetal tissue procurement industry. In the course of our investigation, our panel requested the banking and accounting records from many institutions to verify those businesses' activities. Although many complied, StemExpress, a major procurement business, did not. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that they are held accountable in the 115th Congress."
Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-Ky.): "The Select Investigative Panel has worked hard to uncover the illegal and highly repulsive activities of the organizations involved in the sale and trafficking of baby body parts. Now it is up to the judicial system to hold the perpetrators accountable and up to Congress and the new Administration to see that these heinous acts are continued no longer. The way we treat our young, our weak and our voiceless does matter. History will hold us accountable for these atrocities."
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