6 Key Takeaways from Planned Parenthood-StemExpress Baby Parts Contracts

Today, the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives released a huge set of documents on the illicit aborted baby body parts harvesting scheme between StemExpress and three large Planned Parenthood affiliates in California (and Family Planning Specialists in Oakland).

The Panel finds evidence of severe HIPAA and patient consent violations and outright fraud committed in the 5-year course of this scheme to profit off aborted body parts. They are alerting both the HIPAA office and the Human Research Subjects Protection office in HHS to begin enforcement action:

“The Panel’s investigation has uncovered information indicating that stemExpress and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (“PPMM”), Planned Parenthood Shasta pacific (“PPSP”), and Family Planning Specialists Medical Group (“FPS”) (hereinafter “the abortion clinics”) committed systematic violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) privacy rule from about 2010 to 2015. These violations occurred when the abortion clinics disclosed patients’ individually identifiable health information to StemExpress to facilitate the TPB’s efforts to procure human fetal tissue for resale.” (pg. 2, Letter to HIPAA Case Management Operations)

Six key takeaways from the documents attached to the HIPAA letter:

1) Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (Attachment L), Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, and Planned Parenthood Santa Barbara, Ventura, & San Luis Obispo (Attachment J) all signed contracts with StemExpress to sell aborted fetal organs and provide private patient health information to StemExpress in order to facilitate harvesting of organs.

2) Planned Parenthood Mar Monte is the biggest PP affiliate in the entire country, and the very first affiliate StemExpress began business with in April 2010.

3) The StemExpress contracts pay Planned Parenthood per “product of conception” (“POC”), defined as “any fetal organ” taken during an abortion. The contracts only pay Planned Parenthood if the fetal organ is “determined in the clinic to be usable.” The PPMM and PPSP contracts pay $55 per body part, while the SB/Ventura/SLO contract pays $75 per body part.

4) The StemExpress contracts indicate that Planned Parenthood is not expected to incur or bill for costs, but rather is being paid specifically for market-value fetal organs. The contracts make reference to payment for “removal” of fetal organs, which is not an allowable cost under the federal statute. The contracts say PP will invoice StemExpress specifically for fetal organs: “invoice StemExpress monthly for the number of POC’s and number of maternal bloods procured”–there is no invoicing for actual costs to Planned Parenthood.

5) The StemExpress contracts specify that Planned Parenthood will provide private patient information to StemExpress “as necessary to obtain patients’ consent for use of POCs,” indicating that StemExpress is handling patient consent, not Planned Parenthood. It also shows that PP is being paid to provide HIPAA information–they are literally being paid multiples of $55 for each HIPAA violation.

6) Select Panel Chair Marsha Blackburn sums this all up very well: “The key to understanding the HIPAA and consent violations that we’ve referred to HHS is that there’s a business contract between StemExpress and the abortion clinics under which both sides make a profit from the baby body parts inside the young woman’s womb. The contract changes the way both entities view the young woman: her baby is now a profit-center. This betrayal of a young woman’s trust should disgust us all. It takes financial advantage, obtains consent through coercion, and deceives the woman, all in violation of federal privacy laws.”