GOP politicians say University of Pittsburgh fetal tissue probe is ‘bleaching’ and not good enough
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The recent survey of the University of Pittsburgh was not sufficient to address the allegations of illegal and unethical activities surrounding his fetal tissue researchseveral GOP politicians have indicated.
“The University of Pittsburgh investigation is a whitewash,” Rep. Chris Smith, RN.J., told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“A truly transparent and comprehensive assessment would not have evaded the questions raised by public records, particularly and notably whether the University of Pittsburgh used the body parts of babies born alive and who died after their organs were removed, as well as whether individuals procuring the baby’s body parts for college changed abortion procedures based on their gruesome research,” added Smith, who chairs the House Pro-Life Caucus.
“It is high time for the HHS Federal Office of Inspector General to conduct a full audit to determine if infanticide or other misconduct is occurring.”
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Smith’s comments echoed previous concerns that the survey — conducted by DC-based Hyman, Phelps and McNamara (HPM) — would not probe the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Pitt said his fetal tissue came from UPMC, and many — including nearly 100 members of Congress — have raised questions about the nature of the abortions that produced tissue for the university.
The law firm’s report, released last month, said “our findings confirm that the university’s activities in support of research involving human fetal tissue are conducted in accordance with federal and state laws.”
He, however, acknowledged that he had not investigated UPMC and cited a wall of separation between him and Pitt.
“[W]We did not examine clinical decision-making or the provision of medical care, such as abortion, by individuals serving in their capacity as employees of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC),” the report said. report.
“UPMC is a private, not-for-profit corporation that operates hospitals and employs physicians, residents, and fellows…Pitt has no role in managing or supervising the provision of medical services by UPMC staff. ‘UPMC; therefore, our review did not include activities carried out by persons acting in their capacity as employees of UPMC.
A spokesperson for Pitt told Fox News Digital about an earlier statement about the investigation. “This review is now complete and confirms that the University of Pittsburgh’s activities ‘related to the procurement, disbursement, and use of human fetal tissue in research are in full compliance with applicable laws,'” the statement read.
Pitt has long denied any wrongdoing and maintained that his researchers were not involved in medical procedures related to tissue collection for the GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project (GUDMAP), which sought to “develop a pipeline acquisition, quality control and distribution of human genitourinary devices [urinary and genital organs and functions] samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation).”
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However, it remains unclear why Pitt commented on the tissue collection and said in his application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that he was able to minimize ischemia time. Asked about the reference to ischemia, David Seldin, the university’s deputy vice chancellor for news, previously told Fox News Digital: “In this case, ischemia time refers to the time after the procedure of tissue removal and prior to cooling for storage and transport.”
Seldin’s comments prompted many doctors to say that he was essentially acknowledging that the fetuses were alive during the organ extraction – something Seldin and the university vehemently denied. According to NIH, ischemia is a “[l]lack of blood supply to any part of the body.”
Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., told Fox News Digital that the university needs further scrutiny.
“It is clear that the company that conducted this review, which already had potential conflict of interest issues, relied heavily on the word of the University of Pittsburgh and the simplistic ‘understanding’ that the fabric fetal was properly used,” Kelly said.
“I am not satisfied with these results, which did not produce hard evidence of appropriate use. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and National Institutes of Health (NIH ) have not responded to a letter I directed with more than 50 of my colleagues in Congress asking for more transparency on the issue. I continue to call on all parties to provide detailed responses to our inquiries and to shed light on this incredibly important issue.”
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Kelly’s conflict of interest charge appeared to refer to HPM attorney Michael Heeters, a former Pitt who graduated from pharmacy school in 2004. Pitt said the conflict of interest charges were “completely unfounded”.
Besides Heesters, Pitt’s professor, Dr. Beatrice Chen, has also raised concerns as she has held leadership positions at Pitt, UPMC and Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania (PPWP).
In its report, HPM said the company “understood that no fetal tissue was removed during abortions performed at [PPWP].” The firm also noted “ambiguity in the signature field of consent forms [for fetal tissue donation] which led to errors on the part of the healthcare professional describing their role in the tissue collection process. »
State Rep. Natalie Mihalek, R-Upper St. Clair, and Carla Sands, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former ambassador to Denmark, expressed concern about the moral issues involved and said meeting legal thresholds does not was not enough.
“The issue here is not one of legality,” Sands said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Friday. “It’s a question of morality. The fetuses they operate on are human beings who had their lives ahead of them. Not a penny of our tax dollars should go to this research, and those who conduct this research should be held accountable. .”
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Mihalek told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that an investigation “cannot and should not simply be a test of whether or not the university has complied with state and federal requirements.”
Mihalek is also a Pitt alum, sits on the university’s board of trustees, and helped publicize the investigation. It is unclear why she supported the probe with its limited range or was aware of this limitation before HPM released its report. Mihalek did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
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Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden, along with the watchdog group Judicial Watch, drew national attention to the university’s GUDMAP research, which identified the Pitt biospecimen nucleus as the source of its tissue. Pitt himself acknowledged that UPMC provides tissue for its core of biological samples and hosts several tissue bank locations.
HPM’s report notes appear to contradict what the university has previously said about the source of tissue used for an experiment involving fetal scalps transplanted into rodents. While the scientific paper said the tissue came from the core of Pitt’s biological sample, the HPM report said it came from Advanced Biosciences Resources.
On Tuesday, HPM sent Fox News Digital a statement saying it inadvertently had mismatched references in its report.
“In our report, we inadvertently reversed references to two studies conducted by the same researcher,” said attorney Anne Walsh. “The discussion on page 22 should not have cited the study that was published in Scientific Reports; instead, the citation should have been to the other study conducted by the researcher, who procured tissue from the ABR.
“This error does not alter the substantial content of the report or its conclusions: the Pitt IRB [Institutional Review Board] reviewed the study protocols for these two studies and appropriately determined that they complied with federal and state law.
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HPM did not respond to comments from GOP politicians. Pitt referred Fox News Digital to its earlier statement on the investigation and said HPM spoke for itself.
While Walsh’s comments may provide some clarity, state and local defenders are already calling for more action.
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“This investigation was clearly an attempt by the university to obscure and cover up the barbaric reality of UPMC’s fetal tissue research projects,” Herb Geraghty, a Pittsburgh resident and director of Rehumanize International, told Fox News Digital.
“We are obviously not satisfied with the few answers provided by the report. We plan to continue to organize and mobilize students, elders and community members to demand justice for the victims of this extreme violence.”
The offices of Governor Tom Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., and Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pa., did not responded to Fox News’ request for comment. The offices of Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., declined to comment.