Congress Hears Testimony on Fetal Tissue

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A witness who testified that he had seen twin babies left to die in a pan when he worked in an abortion clinic came under intense questioning by lawmakers at a House Commerce subcommittee hearing last month. Dean Alberty, whose job was to procure fetal body parts for a distribution company, told members of the Health and Environment Subcommittee that some of the fetuses he obtained for research were not actually dead. But Alberty's credibility was challenged when he admitted to making false statements under the pseudonym "Kelly" on a video for Life Dynamics, a prolife group. He also accepted more than $4,000 in checks from the organization. The March 9 hearing was an effort by GOP lawmakers to investigate allegations that abortion clinics and medical research and distribution firms had collaborated to profit illegally from the sale of fetal body parts (CT, March 6, p. 58). While it is illegal to buy and sell human fetal tissue for profit, companies can be paid "fees for services."Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) says he believes hundreds of medical research companies have purchased fetal tissue at an inflated price. Coburn, who is a physician, says he plans to introduce legislation to establish payment and reporting requirements.

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