University of Minnesota accused of using fetal tissue illegally

| October 19, 2016 | 6 Comments
Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis-based Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A., serving as special counsel for the Thomas More Society, announced the lawsuit filed against the University of Minnesota Oct. 19 due to the school’s use of aborted fetal tissue from other states. Courtesy Rick Bush/Pro-Life Action Ministries

Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis-based Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A., serving as special counsel for the Thomas More Society, announced the lawsuit filed against the University of Minnesota Oct. 19 due to the school’s use of aborted fetal tissue from other states. Courtesy Rick Bush/Pro-Life Action Ministries

 A Chicago-based nonprofit law firm charged the University of Minnesota Oct. 19 for illegal use of aborted fetuses in its research practices.

The Thomas More Society, which focuses on pro-life cases, filed a petition in the Fourth District Court of Hennepin County. The firm acted on behalf of St. Paul-based Pro-Life Action Ministries and University of Minnesota graduate student Bridget Busacker.

“The petition basically says to the Hennepin County District Court, ‘By what authority does the University of Minnesota violate Minnesota’s law prohibiting transplantation research on the remains of aborted fetuses,’” said Attorney Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis-based Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A., who served as a special counsel for the Thomas More Society in the petition. Kaardal said Minnesota statute 145.1621 requires certain treatment of aborted fetuses.

According to a medical research policy on the university’s website, the Anatomy Bequest Program will not “obtain tissue from abortions performed in Minnesota.” Earlier, the policy stated that the ABP can obtain tissue from entities “outside Minnesota that operate in compliance with federal law and applicable state laws.”

Brian Gibson, director of Pro-Life Action Ministries, said that the university could use donated fetal remains from miscarriages instead, which would create a medically ethical situation.

“That way, those who are involved in this process can freely and openly give permissions properly so that there isn’t the commodification of the human remains,” Gibson said.

The university’s medical school conducts research in major areas such as cancer, bone and marrow transplant, immunology, cardiology and neuroscience. But advancements and positive outcomes cannot justify breaking the law, Gibson said.

“The question isn’t whether research is good or bad at all,” he said.

Kaardal echoed Gibson’s claim.

“That was a circumvention,” he said. “Here you have the University of Minnesota Medical Center, their research staff and their lawyers circumventing the law. We can’t have a university that has a law school openly and notoriously violating the law.”

The university’s use of aborted fetal tissue became public in September 2015 when the Center for Medical Progress in California released one of its undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood officials and affiliates discussing the sale of body parts from aborted fetuses. Gibson requested a Freedom of Information Act to obtain university documents regarding use of the aborted fetal tissue. He obtained invoices showing the university purchased fetal tissue from other states.

“No matter where you get the bodies from, it’s still illegal to be doing this in Minnesota,” Gibson said.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Featured, Local News