FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – A congressional investigation has Colorado State University changing how it gets fetal tissue for medical research.
The investigation began after a group posted three videos to YouTube allegedly showing Planned Parenthood executives talking about selling the tissue.
CSU says it has only one research project that uses human fetal tissue and that it has not violated any federal laws in obtaining the tissue. But in response to questions, university President Tony Frank convened the university’s Bioethics Advisory Committee and has decided to suspend some of its fetal tissue acquisitions.
The decision by CSU comes after an anti-abortion group called Center for Medical Progress released the videos, with the latest being released on Tuesday, claiming to show Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of “intact” fetal tissue. Since then a Colorado pro-life group and Republican congressman have questioned CSU’s January 2013 acquisition of tissue from a California Planned Parenthood vendor now caught up in the controversy.
Colorado Citizens for Life cites a copy of an invoice that it says proves the university purchased a fetal liver and thymus. U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn wrote Frank demanding an explanation, saying he was “shocked by the allegation.” Frank denies the claim, writing Lamborn that the university did obtain donated fetal tissue, not organs, in compliance with federal law; but “understands how someone could mistakenly reach that conclusion” based on the invoice’s wording.
Cells extracted from the tissue were used in a project researching a cure for HIV/AIDS. The university says it hasn’t obtained any tissue from that vendor since 2013 and will “suspend any further acquisition of fetal tissue” from sources implicated in the congressional inquiry — and look for alternatives to aborted fetal tissue that still allow research to continue.
Both the university and a spokesman for Lamborn declined to speak on camera for CBS4’s story. On his website, Lamborn wrote that CSU’s action does not go far enough.
Planned Parenthood maintains it does not sell fetal organs, and that the videos that started the allegations against the organization and its vendors were edited to fit an agenda.