StemExpress, the California-based company that facilitates access to biological specimens for research purposes, has made headlines in the last few weeks for its questionable partnership with Planned Parenthood. Undercover videos have showcased multiple scenes that feature Planned Parenthood doctors and executives haggling over the sale price of fetal body parts harvested after abortion procedures. StemExpress has been named several times as the “broker” that needs certain body parts for the research firms it supplies.
But if Planned Parenthood is selling and StemExpress is the middle man, who is buying? Not to put too fine a point on it, if you pay federal taxes, you are.
StemExpress supplies many research facilities worldwide, according to the company website. Among those are Ariosa Diagnostics, BD Biosciences, Dartmouth College, Duke University, the FDA, Genentech, Harvard Medical School, The Jackson Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University, Novartis, University of Pennsylvania, Perkin Elmer, Pfizer, Quest Diagnostics, Roche, Stanford University, UCLA, UCONN, and Yale University.
Several of the buyers listed are medical research companies that are either foreign based or foreign owned. But quite a few of the others, particularly the schools, are located in the United States and are the recipients of federal research grant monies. What that means, in a nutshell, is that their research is funded at least in part by the federal government. And the federal government is financed, almost in its entirety, by American taxpayers.
Duke University, for example, collects $585 million annually in federal research grants. Harvard collects $608 million. Stanford collects $656 million, while University of Pennsylvania gets $707 million. UCLA weighs in at $543 million, UCONN gets a much smaller $90 million, and although Yale University does not have a figure published, the Dean acknowledges that most of their research funding comes from the federal government. Johns Hopkins University is the standout among the listed schools, however, at $1.88 billion in research grants funded by the federal government.
The real story isn’t the schools, even though combined they account for over $5 billion.
I’ll say that again: $5 billion.
If that’s not the real story, what is? Buried between the private research laboratories and schools on the StemExpress list of clients were three little letters: FDA. The United States Food and Drug Administration. The FDA’s annual budget is slightly less than the $5 billion going out to schools, but the FDA is a government entity. As such, it is entirely funded by taxpayers.
There is one more thing that we would do well to remember: when George W. Bush was President, embryonic stem cell research was illegal. Barack Obama overturned the Bush era policy by executive order during his first 100 days in office (on March 9, 2009).
The for-profit sale of dismembered human fetuses has therefore been made possible by Barack Obama, perpetrated (for profit) by Planned Parenthood, facilitated (for profit) by StemExpress, and paid for (at great loss both financial and moral) by you and me.
*Update: StemExpress is beginning to feel the impact of their association with Planned Parenthood. Citing the current videos, Colorado State University has halted the purchase of fetal tissue from StemExpress and other companies linked to the national controversy.