Friday, August 14, 2015

California's StemExpress Cuts Links with Planned Parenthood in Anti-Abortion Flap

A California stem cell/human tissue firm has severed its ties with Planned Parenthood in the wake of a national, anti-abortion controversy, the Politico Web site reported late today.

Politico writer Jennifer Haberkorn cited a statement from StemExpress LLC of Placerville, which said,
“We value our various partnerships but, due to the increased questions that have arisen over the past few weeks, we feel it prudent to terminate activities with Planned Parenthood. While we value our business relationship with Planned Parenthood, that work represents a small percentage of our overall business activity and we must focus our limited resources on resolving these inquiries.”
The statement has not been posted on the company’s Web site as of this writing.  (Shortly after this item was published, a spokesman released the text of its statement, which can be found here.)

The company has said in court that it has suffered damage and its executives have been threatened with violence as a result of Internet videos that were made surreptitiously by anti-abortion activists. The activists used fake names and a fake company to gain access to Planned Parenthood officials. StemExpress was identified as one of the purchasers of fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

Investigations into the company and Planned Parenthood have been launched by the Senate and the House. The issue has come up in the 2016 presidential race. The U.S. Department of Justice and the California attorney general are looking into whether privacy laws were violated by the anti-abortion activists.

The company has been vilified on the Internet. The latest posting involved a video of a former employee of StemExpress, Holly O’Donnell, who said that “she once saw another technician appear to obtain fetal tissue without a patient’s consent,” Politico reported. StemExpress “unequivocally” denied the claim two days ago.

“Like all of their previous material, (the) video by (the activists) is deceptively edited and falsely worded to suggest impropriety or illegality where none exists. (Their) continued efforts to malign StemExpress—a life-sciences company that predominantly supplies adult cells, blood and tissue to the nation’s leading researchers—will only serve to slow the pace of life-saving medical research aimed at curing disease and extending quality of life for millions of Americans.”
Earlier this week, the activists lost a bid to overturn a temporary restraining order against them. StemExpress said they also “refused to produce witnesses for depositions or respond to document requests previously ordered” by the Los Angeles superior court.

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