Congressional Hearings on Selling Baby Body Parts

by Jay Johansen

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A Congressional hearing on the sale of body parts from aborted babies went very badly for the pro-life side when the star witness was made to look foolish.

Lawrence Alberty was a medical technician for a company called the Anatomic Gift Foundation. His job was to dissect aborted babies to "harvest" their organs for sale to medical researchers. But one day the abortionist brought him twins who, as he later described it, were "cuddling each other and gasping for breath". When he pointed out to the abortionist that they were still alive, the abortionist poured water into the pan they were in and drowned them. He decided he couldn't stomach this job anymore, and ended up telling his story to Life Dynamics, a pro-life organization. He then spent two years "under cover" collecting documentation of practices like this.

But at the hearing on March 9, 2000 opponents pointed out contradictions in statements he had made at different times, and he was forced to admit that he had exaggerated some of the facts that he told to Life Dynamics. This seriously damaged his credibility. Other accusations that might have been brushed off were then given added weight, like the fact that he was paid $10,000 by Life Dynamics for his two years of undercover work, or that he did not personally witness any money for body parts actually changing hands.

The embarrassment of Mr Alberty was cleverly used to gloss over the fact that, while he might have stretched the truth to make his story sound more dramatic, the core of his charges are backed up by documentary evidence. Committee members were shown a price list from one company listing specific body parts, like "Eyes ... $75", or "Brain ... $999" with an offer of a "30% discount if significantly fragmented". An advertisement promised "Fresh fetal tissue harvested and shipped to your specifications, where and when you need it!", and "All that you need to initiate service is a purchase order number, payment type, and your billing address."

The committee had also subpoenaed Dr Miles Jones to appear. Jones had appeared on ABC's "20/20" where he was caught on a hidden camera boasting about how much money he made selling fetal parts, and commenting that he would like to move his business to Mexico where he could set up what he called "the equivalent of the invention of the assembly line". But Jones never showed up. The committee voted unanimously to cite him for contempt, a federal crime punishable by a $1000 fine and a year in jail. He later explained that he was treating patients at the time and couldn't make it.

Another person suspected of being involved in selling baby parts, James Bardsley, voluntarily agreed to testify, and so the committee did not subpoena him. He didn't show up either.

Pro-abortion members of the committee had originally tried to make the hearings closed to the public, but this effort was beaten back.

The FBI has announced that it has begun an investigation. Under present US law, while it is legal to "harvest" body parts from aborted babies, this cannot be done for profit: the harvester may only charge amounts necessary to cover their expenses.

Posted 6 Sep 2000.

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Copyright 2000 by Jay Johansen
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