Judicial Watch is representing The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, suing HHS following its failure to respond to a FOIA request on April 28, 2020, which sought information including University of Pittsburgh grant applications for a “tissue hub and collection site.” CMP and Judicial Watch have now obtained 252 pages of new documentation from HHS as part of the lawsuit. The documents uncover the university’s project to “become a ‘Tissue Hub’ for human fetal tissue ranging from 6 to 42 weeks gestation.”
The documentation concerning the University of Pittsburg (Pitt) project has numerous bombshells.
“The aims of the project listed in the original 2015 proposal were to ‘develop a pipeline to the acquisition, quality control and distribution of human genitourinary [urinary and genital organs and functions] samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation). … [and] generate an ongoing resource to distribute fresh developmental human genitourinary samples from various stages (6-42 weeks) to the GUDMAP [GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project] Atlas projects.'”
In the proposal, Pitt said that it had in fact been “collecting fetal tissue for over 10 years … include[ing] liver, heart, gonads, legs, brain, genitourinary tissues including kidneys, ureters and bladders,” and in 2015 said, “we have disbursed over 300 fresh samples collected from 77 cases. The collections can be significantly ramped up as material could have been accrued from as many as 725 cases last year.” The documents further say that Pitt’s Health Sciences Tissue Bank is embedded in the Department of Pathology, which thus provides “rapid access to very high quality tissue and biological specimens.”
Pitt in fact brags of its internal connections and its “strong working relationship” both with the Department of Pathology, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and three of the UPMC flagship hospitals’ laboratories. One of these laboratories has a “ButcherBoy band saw for sectioning bone,” as well as a “frozen section room [which] has digital video feed to and from the operating rooms. This also allows for instantaneous discussions with the surgeons as well [as] immediate ‘show and tell’ for them.” The proposal also includes a boast about the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh laboratories.
According to Pitt scientists, “All fetal tissue is collected through a collaborative process including Family Planning, Obstetrics and Pathology. . .the numbers of consents and collections has been steadily increasing…and we are in an excellent position to expand our services to include the needs of the GUDMAP Atlas projects.” This means that Pitt can anticipate its ability both to harvest and to distribute “quality” human tissue and cells, while it does not anticipate any serious problems connected to acquiring and distributing those tissues.
Pitt’s stated target goal is in fact “to have available a minimum of 5 cases (tissues and if possible other biologicals) per week of gestational age for ages 6-42 weeks.” References to the “warm ischemic time” on Pitt’s samples indicate that the elapsed time is “minimal” between the abortions and collection.
The University of Pittsburgh’s proposal even included a “racial target” in its human fetal parts harvesting, wanting 50 percent of the aborted “subjects” to be minority babies. Pitt’s proposal indicates this desire for a “racial target” is inspired by the city of Pittsburgh’s diversity.
The HHS’s NIH provided millions to Pitt’s project. “Pitt’s proposal requested more than $3.2 million over a five-year period. The documents show NIH has funded at least $2.7 million so far for Pitt’s human fetal tissue harvesting and hub.”
A federal court in March 2021 ordered HHS to “release additional information” concerning its purchases of harvested aborted human fetal organs. The court further found that “there is reason to question” if these same transactions violate federal law, which bars the selling of fetal organs.
Judicial Watch had announced in May 2021 that it had uncovered Food and Drug Administration (FDA) records proving the agency spent taxpayer money up to tens of thousands of dollars to purchase human fetal tissue from Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), based in California. The tissue purchased was used to create “humanized mice” in order to test “biologic drug products,” and the shipments were ordered by the agency to be “fresh; shipped on wet ice,” according to records.
As far back as June 2020, Judicial Watch released records which showed that, between 2012 and 2018, the FDA and ABR entered into eight contracts, altogether worth $96,370. The contracts were meant to obtain for the FDA “fresh and never frozen” tissue, taken from aborted fetuses in the first and second trimesters, for the purpose of “ongoing research” connected to the creation of humanized mice. Additional records concerning the humanized mice had been made public in February 2020 by Judicial Watch.
“‘These documents show taxpayer money is being used to turn the University of Pittsburgh is a one-stop human fetal tissue shop – from procuring the tissue from elective abortions, ‘subdividing’ the human remains, to distributing and shipping the harvested tissue,’ stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.”