Advocates confront university hospital board, call for transparency
Pro-life groups continue to apply pressure on the University of Pittsburgh to end its research on tissue from unborn babies killed in elective abortions.
This fall, they have demanded answers from the university hospital’s board, advocated for legislation, filed open records requests, and continued to raise awareness about what they say are “extremely disturbing” abortion practices.
Ryan Navarro, a former employee at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, or UPMC, is one of the leaders of the effort. He became involved in 2021 after coming across a study in which university researchers attached scalps from aborted babies to rodents to study the human immune system.
Navarro told The College Fix he runs the X account @pittfetal to keep the public updated and informed about the university’s experiments with aborted babies.
His account drew attention to pro-life leaders last month when they challenged the UPMC Magee-Women’s Hospital Board of Directors during its first public meeting since 2021.
During the Oct. 9 meeting, pro-life leaders asked the board many questions about the university’s abortion and research practices, including how a hospital elevator could take one baby to a life-saving surgery while another transports an unborn baby to be killed in an elective abortion, The Federalist reported.
Retired Superior Court Judge Cheryl Allen, who is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Family Institute, told the board that she was “extremely disturbed” to learn about the university’s experiments with aborted babies.
Allen said these experiments are being justified in much the same way Nazi scientists did when they claimed their unethical research was for society’s good, according to The Federalist.
Navarro, who was in attendance and reported on the meeting, asked the board to release its meeting minutes from the past several years, noting how meetings started to be held behind closed doors after its fetal tissue research practices came to light.
He told The Fix the board denied his request.
It was not the first time. While working at the university, Navarro said he attempted to ask questions and raise concerns about the ethics of using human tissue from babies killed in elective abortions for scientific research.
Navarro told The College Fix he was stonewalled.
“I submitted a resignation letter the following month, citing ethical differences, and left the organization that April,” Navarro said.
Now, through his X account, Navarro continues to keep the issue in the public eye.
“The page primarily links to articles, including pieces published by The College Fix, that offer an alternative viewpoint to the perspective put out by the university,” Navarro said.
The Center for Medical Progress, an undercover investigative organization, also continues to seek answers from the university. In 2021, it exposed evidence of babies potentially being born alive in abortions and other disturbing practices at the university.
Since then, the University of Pittsburgh has been doing damage control and attempting to cover up its partnership with Planned Parenthood, the center’s project lead David Daleiden told The College Fix.
Daleiden said his organization and Judicial Watch have been continually seeking answers from the university through Freedom of Information Act requests.
Recently, Judicial Watch obtained 90 pages of documents that show National Institutes of Health officials asking university leaders about “policies and standard operating procedures related to human fetal tissue.” The NIH raised the questions in the fall of 2021, not long after the Center for Medical Progress released its investigation, the documents show.
The University of Pittsburgh received roughly $657 million in taxpayer-funded grants in 2022 from the National Institutes of Health, ranking at No. 3 in the top 25 educational institutions, according to research by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Daleiden said the Center for Medical Progress has had success in drawing attention to the problem at the grassroots, state, and national levels, and that, in turn, is helping drive the conversation about policy, protections for infants and children, and human rights.
“The Center for Medical Progress would love nothing more than to see institutions like the University of Pittsburgh commit to ethical research only, that does not rely on exploiting the unequal and vulnerable status of children in the womb and women or couples experiencing a challenging pregnancy,” Daleiden told The College Fix.
Leaders at the Pennsylvania Family Institute agree.
“We certainly advocate for ending all experiments on babies from elective abortions. Sadly, that continues at Pitt through their biospecimen core,” communications director Dan Bartkowaik told The College Fix.
The institute is advocating for legislation, “Stop Experiments and Trafficking of Electively Aborted Babies Act,” introduced in 2022 in the Pennsylvania House, that would prohibit harvesting and experimenting on the bodies of unborn babies who die due to an elective abortion.
Explaining the need for such legislation, the institute states on its website: “Pitt’s taxpayer-funded experiments are using baby parts from elective abortions for experiments like grafting a baby’s scalp onto lab rats. Pitt and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) jointly operated a Pitt Tissue Bank, which supplied parts of aborted babies to Pitt.”
The College Fix contacted the University of Pittsburgh for comment several times over the past few weeks asking for its response to concerns about its fetal tissue research, but the university never responded.
Daleiden at the Center for Medical Progress told The Fix that they have “only begun to uncover the full picture of how infants in the womb are harvested and trafficked like a commodity for the commercial and experimental benefit of the privileged.”
He also noted that Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Secretary of Health Xavier Becerra are “extremists” who control the government agencies sponsoring such activities.
“There is much more work to be done to stop the criminal sale of aborted babies,” Daleiden said.
IMAGE: Noah Manalo