New Mexico lawmakers ask university to stop fetal tissue research

FILE PHOTO - In this Sept. 21, 2015, file photo, a student works on her laptop on the campus of the University of New Mexico near a statue of the school's mascot, the Lobo, in Albuquerque.  (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)
FILE PHOTO - In this Sept. 21, 2015, file photo, a student works on her laptop on the campus of the University of New Mexico near a statue of the school's mascot, the Lobo, in Albuquerque. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico Republican lawmakers are calling on the University of New Mexico to stop research involving fetal tissue that has come from abortions.

The 25 lawmakers also asked the school’s board of regents to suspend the transfer of fetal body parts to or from the university until administrators prove they’re not violating a law that bans profiting from the sale of such material. The letter also expressed concern that UNM might have an improper agreement with Southwestern Women’s Optics, one of the few clinics in the nation that provides late-term abortions.

UNM Health Sciences Center officials told the Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/2f6rzIn ) that the university has not broken any laws. They did not say whether the school will comply with the Republicans’ requests.

“UNM HSC categorically denies ever having bought or sold fetal tissue,” the center said in a statement provided to the Journal by strategic support manager Michael Haederle. “Nor has it made any reimbursement for the tissue it has received from women who consented to donate it for research purposes.”

Board president Rob Doughty said the regents received the letter Monday but have not discussed it.

The letter comes after a months-long investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives panel into UNM’s handling of fetal tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses.

Rep. Rod Montoya, a Farmington Republican, said he decided to send the letter to the regents because he found the Health Sciences leadership “a little less than forthcoming.”

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

 

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