The University of Pittsburgh recently announced that they have retained a firm to perform an independent review of their fetal tissue research. The firm, Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, is already underway at Pitt and “once complete, the firm’s members will brief University senior leadership of their findings,” reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

While we are thankful to citizens across our Commonwealth — thousands of whom signed our open letter at — and some elected officials for mounting pressure on the University of Pittsburgh in their inhumane, unethical and taxpayer funded fetal experimentations, there’s also concern over what this review will actually uncover, a review initiated by the University and not by outside elected officials or law enforcement; especially after evidence revealed possible illegal activity.

There are many questions still left unanswered by Pitt that we do hope will be cleared up by this independent review and evidence provided to the general public. Here are ten important questions that taxpayers deserve to have answered:

1. What is the process from start to finish for fetal experimentation – when a woman decides to have an abortion to when the fetal tissue is being experimented on? The representative from Pitt at the House Health Committee hearing on fetal experimentation held earlier this year could not answer the following question from Rep. Kate Klunk, 

“Could you walk us through from start to finish from when the mom comes in and decides to have an abortion, what is the process once that woman decides she’s going to have an abortion what is the discussion that takes place about donating the baby and the tissue?”

2) What is the relationship between Planned Parenthood, the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC? This would include any affiliation agreements or other contracts for medical services, agreements for research on or transfer of fetal tissue, and any agreements with Planned Parenthood physicians. 

3) What are all of the communications from all fetal tissue projects Pitt is associated with? This would include the GUDMAP project, the study published in Nature about the scalping of aborted babies, and Dr. Jörg Gerlach’s work with fetal liver tissue. It also would include any connections with UPMC and Magee Womens Hospital, which performs more abortions than any other hospital in Pennsylvania.

4) What are the contracts and documents from the NIH or other HHS entities concerning fetal tissue projects connected to researchers from Pitt? Millions in taxpayer funding has been provided to the University of Pittsburgh, as they have become a national hub for fetal experimentation.

5) What are the communications from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Western Pennsylvania concerning the University of Pittsburgh? If there are services being rendered between a publicly funded university and the largest abortion business in the state, taxpayers should know in full what they are. 

6) What is the role of the Pitt’s Health Sciences Tissue Bank and the Pitt Biospecimen Core concerning fetal tissue and student researchers at the university? The tissue bank is responsible for connecting with Magee Women’s Hospital for obtaining aborted babies. Better understanding this relationship is necessary to understand what Pitt researchers communicate for obtaining fetal body parts.

7) What is the connection between the Family Planning Fellowship and Ryan Residency Program at the University of Pittsburgh and other related entities? As described by Pitt, residents “have access to family planning-focused didactics and expanded opportunities for hands-on clinical experience.” Using staff that are also employed by Planned Parenthood, full disclosure of this program from a publicly-funded university is necessary. 

8) What are the protocols and policies from Magee Women’s Hospital and the Fetal Tissue Bank concerning fetuses born alive pursuant to abortion? This would include the details surrounding tissue collection procedures, as a spokesperson for the University revealed that the procedure of ischemia time “refers to the time after the tissue collection procedure and before cooling for storage and transport.” According to many OB/GYNs, this means babies were alive when their organs were harvested. 

9) What are documents of proof related to past and current experiments, along with the protocols and policies, from the University of Pittsburgh and other related entities concerning compliance with the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (18 U.S.C. 1531)? A concern with fetal experimentation is while late-term abortions often use a lethal solution like digoxin to kill the baby, this solution to taint the fetal tissue being procured. Documentation and full understanding of these procedures is needed.

10) What is the list of experiments Pitt is involved in this school year using fetal tissue? Taxpayers should know what type of experiments are being funded using tax dollars, including anything like their past experiment of scalping aborted babies and grafting their scalps to lab rats.


Take Action

We still encourage you to go to to sign our open letter and to ask Auditor General DeFoor to investigate Pitt.