Last summer, Americans were exposed to the flesh and blood realities of abortion through the Center for Medical Progress’ undercover videos exposing several abortion centers’ trafficking and profiting off of the sale of aborted babies’ organs.

On these undercover videos, high level Planned Parenthood officials were seen casually discussing how abortion procedures were performed to extract brains, livers, and hearts. These videos shocked millions of Americans to the core. Concerned pro-life Americans then asked their Members of Congress to investigate the ugly truth exposed in the videos: abortion centers were profiting off the sale of unborn children’s organs. Members of Congress responded by convening the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives.


Last week, this panel held a hearing continuing its investigation into whether abortion centers and baby body part procurement businesses were profiting from the sale of baby body parts in violation of federal law. It is against the law for any person to make a profit from this kind of sale, to “acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any fetal tissue for valuable consideration” (42 USC§ 289g-2).  Three former U.S. prosecutors on the witness panel testified that there is sufficient evidence (i.e., probable cause) to launch a federal investigation based on the exhibits provided. 

While the Republicans went to great lengths to redact the information provided, during the hearing Democrats revealed that this information related to the company that was subpoenaed, StemExpress.

The Select Panel gathered primary source documents listed as exhibits, including invoices from Planned Parenthood to StemExpress (exhibit D1-D3), order forms (C3), purchase orders (E1-E4), emails with body part orders (C4), compensation policies for procurement technicians and a list of procurable baby body parts (C14), brochures promising “financial profits” to abortion centers (B2-3), an agreement where StemExpress promises to make a “donation” of $10,000 to an abortion center to undertake its activities (B6), instructions for StemExpress technicians on how to procure and ship the baby body parts (C6, C12), and sales spreadsheets amounting to $42,000 on baby brains, livers, hearts for one customer alone (F). 

Let’s take a closer look at some of these orders.  Purchase order E1 was for “four human fetal brains.”  Purchase order E2 was for body parts for babies at 12-20 weeks of gestation. Even more gruesome, purchase order E3 was for an 18-19 week old baby with “upper and lower limbs with hands and feet” and a second order for a head “matched to upper and lower limbs.”  Invoice E4 was for baby brains from babies 5-24 weeks gestation that were “exposed to environmental factors.”  The researcher requested that they be “provided intact or in four parts.”  These four purchase orders (E1-4) brought in over $14,000 in sales for StemExpress. 

These invoices and purchase orders are just a few examples of the aborted baby body parts industry.  Presented with the evidence, one has to wonder, “How much more did procurement businesses and abortion centers profit in one single year from all of their orders of baby body parts?”  Further investigation is imperative. 

Companies like StemExpress have a built-in business model.   The StemExpress technicians involved in baby body part procurement did all the work and there was no cost to abortion centers like Planned Parenthood.  The workflow shows that it is the procurement business  (StemExpress) that bore the overhead cost of baby body part procurement, not the abortion center (C1-2,G)—so why was Planned Parenthood Mar Monte compensated $35-55 per each “product of conception/POC” (D1-D3)?  Since StemExpress did all of the work, any money paid to Planned Parenthood sure looks like profit.

The Panel’s findings also revealed that StemExpress was working with about 100 abortion centers nationwide in 2015 (B4).  Considering the fact that there are 513 surgical abortion centers in the U.S., this means StemExpress was working with about one in every five surgical abortion centers, or about 20 percent of the surgical abortion centers in the entire country.  According to the released data, StemExpress was poised to grow its partnerships with a total of 250 surgical abortion centers in 2016 (B4), expanding to about 50 percent of the surgical abortion centers in the U.S. 

Then the videos came out last summer and its expansion plans suddenly ground to a halt.  The initial Center for Medical Progress videos were disturbing enough.  Sadly the problem has been revealed to be even more pervasive and widespread than previously thought and we are just now delving beneath the tip of the iceberg.

These exhibits show serious evidence of violations of federal law from profits derived from the sale of unborn baby organs. Clearly this warrants further investigation by the Select Panel to compel StemExpress and other entities to turn over all business and accounting records that have been previously subpoenaed.  Even Fay Clayton, one of the Democrats’ star witnesses, told the panel that StemExpress should turn over accounting records.  These entities are required to cooperate.

All of this further demonstrates the need for a federal Department of Justice investigation to uncover the truth about the abortion industry’s sale of baby body parts.

Arina O. Grossu, M.A. is the director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council