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UW BDRL Refuses to Cooperate Despite Congressional Subpoena

Planned Parenthood affiliates and related organizations profited from the sale of aborted baby parts, according to a congressional report released last week.

The 418-page report, released by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, concludes a year-long investigation into the gruesome and oftentimes illegal practices of the abortion industry. The Panel’s report will likely have resounding implications for Washington State relative to Attorney General Ferguson’s review of Planned Parenthood in 2015 and the University of Washington’s relationship with Planned Parenthood.

Here are three important takeaways from the report, which can be read here:

  1. Criminal Referrals

The Panel made 15 criminal referrals to law enforcement officials, recommending criminal charges against Planned Parenthood affiliates and other organizations, including Stem Express, a tissue procurement company that made 2,800 percent profit on baby brains.

The report documents the illegal behavior of abortion providers, tissue procurement companies, and medical researchers by detailing how the abortion industry profits from the sale of aborted fetal tissue, changes abortion procedures to maintain the monetary value of profitable aborted baby parts, and violates laws protecting the safety and privacy of patients.

“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, non-compliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children,” said Congresswoman Diane Black, a member of the Panel. “The findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience.”

  1. UW’s Business Relationship with Planned Parenthood and Attorney General Ferguson’s Seemingly Incomplete 2015 Review of Planned Parenthood

Eight pages of the report detail the questionable activities of the University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory (UWBDRL), the nation’s largest fetal tissue bank that often acts as a middleman between abortion clinics and medical researchers. UWBDRL secures aborted fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics in Washington State, which it then sells to other medical researchers across the nation.

This section of the report validates concerns raised by the Family Policy Institute of Washington in late-2015 about UWBDRL and Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s investigation of Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Following the conclusion of Ferguson’s review of abortion providers, which claimed that Washington abortion providers had not engaged in illegal activity, FPIW filed a public records request to obtain documents and written communications relevant to the review.

FPIW’s examination of the documents appeared to indicate that the attorney general’s review was incomplete, especially concerning the relationship between Planned Parenthood affiliates and UWBDRL.

Most concerning from FPIW’s perspective was an email exchange between Deputy Attorney General Paige Dietrich and Ian Goodhew, Government Relations Director at the University of Washington.

This correspondence, quoted verbatim in the Panel’s report, details Dietrich’s request for business agreements between Planned Parenthood and UWBDRL as part of the then-ongoing attorney general review. Goodhew responded to this request by seeking assurances that “[the attorney general’s office] will hold those confidential and not share with anyone without consent?” After Goodhew had voiced his concerns about the agreements going public, Dietrich rescinded her request, replying, “I don’t think we’ll need copies of the agreements.”

After discovering this exchange, FPIW filed a public records request to obtain the business agreement.

But after months of foot-dragging by UWBDRL, who repeatedly delayed releasing the documents, Planned Parenthood eventually filed a lawsuit against FPIW to prevent the release of the business agreement. That lawsuit is currently playing out in a federal court.

Astonishingly, UWBDRL failed to provide the business agreement to the Panel’s congressional investigators, despite congressional subpoenas and a court preliminary injunction enabling the university to provide the House committee with the business agreement.

The congressional report concluded that “UW’s incomplete production raises more questions than it answers and demonstrates the need for further investigation.”

The report also details the failures of Ferguson’s 2015 review. It claims Ferguson’s office made conclusions “without apparently conducting” a forensic analysis of UW’s practices. The report asserts the attorney general’s inquiry “apparently ended without an examination of an agreement between UW” and Planned Parenthood clinics.

That congressional investigators reached many of the same conclusions as FPIW serves only to further vindicate FPIW’s concerns about the attorney general’s review and the relationship between UWBDRL and state abortion clinics.

  1. UW’s Close Relationship with Abortion Clinics

The Panel’s report identifies a cozy relationship between UW faculty and staff and Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics.

Several UW faculty members perform abortions at Planned Parenthood and Cedar River abortion clinics, and the former medical director for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and Northern Idaho now serves as a UW clinical associate professor.

The University of Washington also places medical students at outside abortion clinics, including some that perform abortions well into the second trimester.

Furthermore, the University of Washington provides abortions through its family planning program at the UW Medical Center.

 

 

What’s Next for the Abortion Industry?

Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry are facing some major challenges after the November election, including the revelation that groups in several states, including the University of Washington, have indeed been profiting from the sale of fetal body parts.

Listen to today’s podcast here:

BREAKING NEWS: UW Sold Fetal Brains to Indiana University, Still Blocking Release of Public Records

The University of Washington’s Birth Defects Research Laboratory (UWBDRL) sold brains from aborted babies for $200 each to Indiana University, according to an invoice recently uncovered by Indiana Right to Life.

The invoice, dated July 25, 2013, records the sale of two shipments of brain tissue.

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The Birth Defects Research Laboratory at the University of Washington often acted as a middleman between abortion clinics and medical researchers, securing aborted fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics in Washington State that it then sold to other medical researchers across the nation.

Some critics have questioned whether UWBDRL violated federal human trafficking laws that prohibit the sale of fetal tissue.

The recently released invoice showing UWBDRL’s sale of aborted fetal tissue to Indiana University is concerning, especially since there are questions still remaining about UWBDRL’s business arrangement with Planned Parenthood clinics in Washington State.

When Zach Freeman, FPIW’s Communications Director, filed a public records request soliciting the business agreement between Planned Parenthood and UWBDRL, Planned Parenthood sued, effectively delaying the release of the business agreement indefinitely.

Without the business agreement, which is not being made public because of Planned Parenthood’s ongoing federal lawsuit, we cannot know whether UWBDRL engaged in illegally selling aborted fetal tissue. Since UWBDRL is a public entity, the public deserves to know the extent of UWBDRL’s relationship with Planned Parenthood, as well as whether any laws regarding trafficking aborted fetal tissue were violated.

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What in the World is Going on at UW?

CNBC Contributor and University of Washington student Benji Backer sat down with Joseph Backholm and Zach Freeman this week for a discussion on the University of Washington and their efforts to ensure that every students gets a button to wear that clearly shows their preferred gender pronoun.  Teachers are also being asked to add their preferred pronoun to their email signatures.

Of course, the University of Washington has not been known in recent days to have the most discerning policies in regards to privacy and safety, nor do its students appear able to take a stand on, well…anything.

Why Planned Parenthood is Suing FPIW

 

Two days ago, FPIW’s communications director, Zach Freeman, was served legal papers naming him as a defendant in a lawsuit. The suit was filed by 10 unnamed plaintiffs, identified only as “Jane and John Does”, asking the court to prohibit the University of Washington from releasing public records that had been requested by Mr. Freeman.

Those asking for their personally identifying information to be withheld include four current or former employees of Planned Parenthood, one employee of Cedar River Clinic (a controversial late term abortion clinic) as well as an employee of Evergreen Hospital and the University of Washington.

David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, was also named as a defendant because he made a similar public records request.

Mr. Daleiden made national news last year with the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood and abortion industry executives discussing how to harvest the organs of aborted babies and maximize revenue.

Shortly after those videos were released, a group of Washington State legislators wrote two letters to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson asking him to investigate whether the parts of aborted babies were illegally being sold for a profit. (A copy of those letters can be found here and here).

After a couple of months had passed, the Attorney General wrote a memorandum to the legislators notifying them that he had done an investigation and Planned Parenthood had done nothing wrong. (A copy of that memorandum can be found here).

It is no secret that Bob Ferguson is a strong political ally of Planned Parenthood. Therefore, we thought it would be wise to verify that the evidence supported the Attorney General’s office conclusion that nothing illegal had taken place.

As a result, Mr. Freeman filed a public records request seeking information relevant to the AG’s investigation into Planned Parenthood.  That request provided a number of documents, including an interaction between the AG’s office and the University of Washington from September 2015 that caught our attention.

In that correspondence, Deputy Attorney General Paige Dietrich asked Ian Goodhew, Government Relations Director at the University of Washington for “the contract you mentioned”.

Mr. Goodhew responded to this request by seeking assurances that “You will hold those confidential and not share with anyone without consent?”

In response, Ms. Dietrich said, “I don’t think we’ll need copies of the agreements.” (A copy of this correspondence can be seen here.)

While we don’t know what this contract they were referring to is, it seems plausible given the context that it would be an agreement UW had with an outside entity to procure aborted body parts.

The fact that the Attorney General’s office rescinded their request for information after UW expressed concern about that information becoming publicly available was interesting enough to warrant further investigation.

That, in addition to other things, is the reason Mr. Freeman filed the public information request with the University of Washington. Even if the Attorney General was not interested in those contracts, we decided we were.

Since they are public records, the public is has the right to inspect them.

It is entirely possible that those records are innocuous and/or irrelevant to the investigation. We simply don’t know.

Still, the response to our request for those records as well as others has done nothing to dampen our curiosity.

While the requests were not intended to gather information about any individual, it is inevitable that public records will reveal the identity of people involved in public work. As a general matter, if you are having conversations with public entities you can expect that the public might discover that through public records.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that their safety would be in jeopardy if their identities became public. They argue that because Mr. Freeman and Mr. Daleiden are pro-life that they intend to harass and/or commit violence against the individuals who might be identified in these documents.

Coming from an industry built on violence to others, this is deeply ironic. But that is beside the point.

The conversation about who is a bigger threat to whom is irrelevant to the legal question about whether anyone in Washington was illegally profiting off the sale of baby body parts.

It is possible that all relevant information will be turned over once this distraction is resolved and the public will be able to see if anything illegal is happening. It also possible that this is just an initial attempt to keep information away from the public.

We don’t know. Yet. But we intend to find out.

We anticipate a hearing to be scheduled soon.   We will be sure to let you know what happens.

One more thing.

Thank you for your support that allows us to ask important questions like these. The abortion industry in Washington has been operating free of accountability for decades and Planned Parenthood is a billion dollar tax-payer funded giant.

We are still a ways away from our first billion and receive no money from taxpayers. Friends like you make it all possible.  If you want to support this effort, please consider partnering with us.

Thank you for standing with us so we can continue to fight for what is good, true, and beautiful. When the dark side is agitated, you know you’re doing something right.

‘Disturbed’ UW Grad Student Angry Over FPIW Video

 

Last month, I interviewed some students at the University of Washington discussing identity in the context of the recent debate over bathrooms.  It was published in video form as College Kids Say the Darndest Things.  The response to this video has been diverse, as you would expect it to be.

Today, however, I received maybe my favorite response of all from someone named Katie W., who claims to be a graduate student at the University of Washington.

Here it is.


To Whom is [sic] May Concern,

I am a graduate student at the University of Washington. I recently viewed a video in which the director of your ‘institute’ interviewed students on my school’s campus and was extremely disturbed. I came to this website to read his bio and was further concerned by the work that he and this group are attempting to accomplish.

Perhaps you should take another view of your own video, 5’9 white guy, in an attempt to hear what these young people are trying to say about identity, their opinions are much more developed and thought out an than your fixed idea of how people are allowed to be.

I’m unsure if you have taken any kind of history class, or learned about how Western civilization has been developed, but white dudes like yourself have been attempting to control and fix identities for a pretty long time. And this video is a clear example of the anxiety they begin to feel when human beings push the borders of their attempted control.

I would encourage you to do some anti-oppression race and gender training, maybe led by someone who in not a straight white man. There are other people in the world that have allowed themselves to think outside your boundaries. Even though that gives you extreme fear, anxiety, discomfort, they still get to be alive, and surprise: their lives and being are still valuable.

The questions you pose in these videos deserve thought, attention, and reflexivity. The way you present the issue of identity is a reductionist attempt at control.

Signed,

Katie W.


The thing Katie and I agree on is that we were both “extremely disturbed” by what we witnessed, but for different reasons.

It appears that merely questioning the wisdom of logic that allows anyone to be whatever they want whenever they want is simply a “reductionist attempt to control.”

Apparently, this is what we learn in grad school.