Chilling documents obtained by a House panel investigating the fetal tissue industry detail exactly what a procurement technician does on a typical day of fetal harvesting.
“Arrive at the clinic and change into scrubs,” the tech is instructed in a StemExpress document outlining standard operating procedure to obtain desired fetus parts in the clinics. “Inform the consenting staff of which gestations to consent. Place chucks down.”
The tech should arrive at the abortion clinic armed with the necessary supplies to dissect the aborted fetuses, secure the desired parts and then pack up the parts and ship them to the researchers who ordered them. They’re to inform StemExpress — a middleman tissue procurement company — of their progress as they make their way through the list. (RELATED: StemExpress CEO Says Abortion Clinics Profit From Fetal Harvesting)
“Set up the light box, instruments, RPMI, Hepes, petri dishes and tubes or cups,” the document continues. “Set up enough blood draw bags for the day. Get out the sequential numbering labels. Print a copy of the day’s Procurement Schedule.”
The House Select Panel on Infant Lives compiled the documents as part of their investigation into the fetal tissue industry, after a series of videos released last summer exposed Planned Parenthood’s dealings in aborted fetuses and included allegations the clinics and others are illegally profiting by the industry.
Techs are instructed in the documents to keep cell phone use to a discreet minimum, maintain a “calm demeanor” and remain sensitive to the “privacy and situation” of each patient as they work. They’re paid $10 an hour, plus a bonus based on the quality of each piece of aborted fetus they secure, package and ship.
Each morning StemExpress provides the tech with a list of parts to harvest based on orders placed online from researchers. One such list from March 20, 2013, includes “Brain/16-18 wks/Complete but can be in pieces” for priority overnight shipment to Temple University, and “Liver, Thymus & Skin (Same donor)/16-20 wks” for priority overnight shipment to University of Massachusetts.
The tech reviews the list and then consults with the abortionists to figure out which women to target for donor consent, based on the abortions scheduled for that day. If a targeted woman consents, the tech obtains the remains of the abortion and pulls out the desired part for shipment.
Detailed work instructions are provided that walk the tech through every step of the shipment process from that point. “Place the liver tissue into the conical tube with the RPMI media and screw the top on tightly,” one such document instructs. “Wrap the conical tube with parafilm to prevent any leakage.”
“Place the conical tube into a biohazard bag and seal the bag,” it continues. For this order, the tech was to put the sealed bag of liver into a plastic bag liner, along with two chilled gel packs and three tubes of maternal blood. The plastic bag liner was to be tied into a knot and placed inside a Styrofoam box, which was in turn placed inside a cardboard box.
“Place completed Procurement form on top of the Styrofoam box,” the instructions read. “Tape the cardboard box shut. Adhere the FedEx shipping label to the top of the cardboard box.”
Once the tech has successfully harvested and shipped off the fetal parts on the list from StemExpress, he or she must immediately let the clinic staff and StemExpress know, as to avoid “unnecessary” work consenting more women or withdrawing their blood.
“All instruments must be sterilized once you are done for the day,” the standard operating procedure document reads. “Clean the area(s) thoroughly and discard all unused POC in the appropriate receptacle. Gather your supplies and to leave and change out of your scrubs.”
Holly O’Donnell unsuspectingly took a job as a tech for StemExpress in 2012, when she was assigned to harvest and dissect aborted fetuses in Planned Parenthood clinics, according to The Center for Medical Progress. The fetal dissection procedures were so disturbing she says she passed out in shock her first day on the job.
When O’Donnell came to, one of the nurses said, “Don’t worry, it still happens to a bunch of us,” adding, “Some of us don’t ever get over it.” (RELATED: Fetal Harvester Describes Work In Planned Parenthood Clinics)
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