PEARCE ASKS SESSIONS TO INVESTIGATE SWWO

Sep 7, 2017

Washington, DC (September 7, 2017) Congressman Steve Pearce this week sent a letter to the United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request an investigation into the wrongdoings between the University of New Mexico Health Service Center (UNMHSC) and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO).

“I’ve worked tirelessly with New Mexico officials and Members in Congress to ensure the rights and liberties of women and the unborn are protected. In 2016, an investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Panel on Infant Lives raised serious concerns of ethical and legal violations by the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO), all at the taxpayers’ expense. The violations unearthed lead to two separate criminal referrals to the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, yet to date no action has been taken allowing multiple cases’ statute of limitation to expire. The state of New Mexico must stand for the rule of law. I believe the Department of Justice has a legal responsibility to look into these violations if the New Mexico Attorney General refuses to take action,” stated Rep. Pearce.

Background
The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives was tasked with discovering information on the medical practices of abortion service providers and procurement practices of organizations who sell baby body part across the nation.  Of the 15 criminal referrals, 2 of them were sent to the New Mexico Attorney General's Office.

The first criminal referral was sent to the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas in June of 2016 after finding the University of New Mexico violated the Spradling Act – prohibiting the exchange of fetal parts produced through an induced abortion.  In December 2016, the Panel sent a second criminal referral after discovering more evidence that the Southwestern Women’s Options did not acquire proper consent by women prior to using their unborn infant tissue for UNM research.

On April 19, 2017, Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) attended a press conference with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Chairwoman of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, New Mexico State Legislators and pro-life leaders in New Mexico on the House Select Panel’s findings of ethical and legal violations at UNM and SWWO.  The final report released by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives can be found here.

On April 20, 2017, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas stated his office was taking further action to consider the legal violations uncovered at the University of New Mexico, yet no action was taken.

A PDF of the letter can be found here. The full text is below.

September 5, 2017

The Honorable Jeff Sessions
Secretary
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Secretary Sessions:

On October 7, 2015, the United States House of Representatives passed H. Res. 461 in response to horrific videos that depicted the immoral procurement of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood. The Resolution created the Select Panel on Infant Lives (Panel) chaired by Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Charged with investigating the medical procedures related to abortions and the practices of institutions procuring fetal tissue, the Panel examined the relationship between the University of New Mexico Health Service Center (UNMHSC) and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO).

On January 4, 2017, the Panel released their yearlong investigative report highlighting the illegal activity that occurred between UNMHSC and SWWO (attached). The evidence uncovered was enough for the Panel to make two criminal referrals to New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas. The criminal referrals are related to improper consent procedures as well as the violations of fetal procurement.

It has come to our attention that the statute of limitation is expiring on many of the cases involved in the Panel’s report. While the New Mexico Attorney General’s office has stated that “there is an ongoing investigation” on the actions between UNMHSC and SWWO, we fear the investigation is being stalled intentionally to allow the potential violations by these two entities to reach the statute of limitation.

On February 4, 2017, a woman tragically died at SWWO facilities after receiving a late-term abortion. This raises more questions about the reckless behavior of the SWWO. In 2016 alone, the National Abortion Federation reportedly referred more than 200 Texas patients to New Mexico for abortion related procedures. With hundreds of women flocking to New Mexico to receive these dangerous procedures, something must be done.

We formally request your office conduct an investigation on UNMHSC and SWWO practices related to the Panel’s findings and the unfortunate tragedy mentioned above. We also ask that your office prosecutes, to the fullest extent of the law, any violations that are uncovered. It is entirely unacceptable for these institutions to continually violate 42 U.S. Code § 289g–2 as well as other state and federal laws, especially in-light of the interstate commerce that is generated from these abortions and the research that is conducted with the subsequent fetal tissue.

Thank you in advance for your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Steve Pearce
Member of Congress

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