Will Congress Vote to Hold Baby Part Profiteer and Planned Parenthood Partner in Contempt?
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Sept. 21, 2016 — The Select Congressional Panel created to investigate Planned Parenthood voted unanimously today to recommend that Congress hold StemExpress and its CEO, Cate Dyer, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas.
House Democrats on the Select Panel attempted unsuccessfully to adjourn the con-tempt resolution meeting and left the meeting prior to the vote. Nevertheless, the requisite quorum of Select Panel Members was present and the contempt resolution passed by a vote of 8-0.
Life Legal client David Daleiden initially exposed StemExpress’ role in the purchase and sale of aborted babies in a video showing PPFA Medical Director Deborah Nucatola casually discussing her provision of organs and tissues to procurement companies. StemExpress filed a lawsuit against Daleiden in July 2015, just two weeks after that video was released, in an unsuccessful bid to prevent the release of a video of Stem Express CEO Catherine Dyer explaining the financial benefits of fetal tissue trafficking.
StemExpress is a human specimen broker that purchased aborted babies from Planned Parenthood and sold them to universities and research facilities across the nation. In May, the Select Panel issued subpoenas requesting documents relating to those transactions. StemExpress has failed to produce many of the documents required by the subpoenas.
StemExpress, along with its business partner Planned Parenthood, has also come under scrutiny for the illegal sharing of patients’ records and other patients privacy violations such as entering operating rooms during abortion procedures. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) protects patient privacy by prohibiting the disclosure of private health information.
“StemExpress buys aborted baby parts from a federally-funded corporation and sells them to federally-funded research facilities yet is attempting to stonewall a federal investigation into its activities,” stated Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “We expect no less than full transparency from businesses that profit from taxpayer money. StemExpress needs to comply with the investigation or face criminal penalties for obstructing justice.”
If Congress votes to hold StemExpress and Dyer in contempt, the matter will be referred to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia, who has a duty to bring the case to a grand jury. Contempt of Congress is a federal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison.
The last person to be held in contempt of Congress was former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who resigned his position subsequent to the contempt charge.