Select Investigative Panel Chairman Marsha Blackburn is calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to investigate potential violations of federal law by StemExpress and a number of abortion clinics.
In a letter to the Office of Centralized Case Management Operations at HHS, Chairman Blackburn asks Director Jocelyn Samuels to examine evidence uncovered by the Select Panel’s investigation that shows StemExpress and the abortion clinics violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The HIPAA privacy rule is a patients’ rights law, designed to empower the patient to determine when and where their private medical information will be disclosed.
The Select Panel’s investigation also shows that StemExpress violated federal regulations governing Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) by using the appearance of compliance with the regulations, while fraudulently using invalid consent forms, and misleading scientific researchers to believe it had a valid IRB approval. Misleading scientific researchers violates one of the core values of the IRB system, enacted by Congress to engender integrity in scientific medical research. As a result, Blackburn is asking HHS Office for Human Research Protections Director Jerry Menikoff to conduct a thorough investigation into whether StemExpress violated the applicable regulations; and, if any violation is found, to take all appropriate actions.
“The key to understanding the HIPAA and consent violations that we’ve referred to HHS is that there’s a business contract between StemExpress and the abortion clinics under which both sides make a profit from the baby body parts inside the young woman’s womb,” Chairman Blackburn said. “The contract changes the way both entities view the young woman: her baby is now a profit-center. This betrayal of a young woman’s trust should disgust us all. It takes financial advantage, obtains consent through coercion, and deceives the woman, all in violation of federal privacy laws.”
Click here to read the letters and accompanying documents from Chairman Blackburn to HHS.
Click here for more from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.