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Published On: Tue, Jul 11th, 2017

University of Minnesota fetal tissue acquisition called into question

The Thomas More Society thinks that the University of Minnesota may have some explaining to do. Attorneys at the national public interest law firm are hoping to get answers with a motion filed this week in the Fourth Judicial District of Minnesota in Hennepin County. The motion seeks relief from an April 2017 order dismissing a lawsuit brought to put a stop to the University of Minnesota’s alleged illegal purchase of fetal tissue from aborted babies.

photo: 14 week fetus photo/ Your Pregnancy week by week

According to Erick Kaardal, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, the university’s policy of obtaining fetal tissue from out of state has been circumventing the Minnesota legislature’s intended restrictions. .  The dismissal of the lawsuit allowed the University of Minnesota to continue procuring and using human fetal tissue for research in alleged direct conflict with Minnesota law.

The motion seeks to reopen the district court order dismissing the action because of newly discovered evidence that the University of Minnesota continues to perform research on aborted fetal parts. The university took the position in the court that it was not currently procuring fetal tissue for legally unauthorized research. Nor did counsel for the university deny that taxpayer funds were presently being used for the procurement of fetal tissue for legally unauthorized experimentation, coyly claiming instead that the petitioners who filed the lawsuit had not identified any illegal disbursement of funds.

Kaardal stated, “We believe that even at the time of the hearing on the university’s motion to dismiss, the university knew it was conducting legally unauthorized experimentation on fetal tissue at taxpayers’ expense. The court dismissed the case based on the university attorney’s incomplete representations to the court, not on the facts which we discovered after the court hearing in an email from a university official acknowledging that the legally unauthorized research on aborted fetal remains continues.”

Newly discovered evidence demonstrates that the University of Minnesota was engaged in fetal tissue research during the time it claimed that it was not involved in it. For example, one record of fetal tissue acquisition is dated October 21, 2016, during a period in which the university explicitly denied making any acquisitions.

“We intend to pursue this on behalf of all Minnesotan taxpayers, as well as our clients Brian Gibson, Bridget Busacker, and Pro-Life Action Ministries. The University of Minnesota is funded by taxpayers and should be held legally accountable in its policies and practices,” added Kaardal.

Kaardal also pointed to the U.S. Congress’ “Interim Update to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Chairman and Majority Members of the Select Investigative Panel on The Transfer of Fetal Tissue and Related Matters,” which found that the university had engaged in denial of its actions until exposed, then manipulated policy after the fact in what appeared “to be an effort to avoid criminal liability under law.”

Read the Petitioners’ Notice of Motion and Motion for Relief from Judgement filed July 6, 2017, with the Fourth Judicial District of Minnesota in Hennepin County in Pro-Life Action Ministries Incorporated, Brian Gibson and Bridget Busacker v. the Regents of the University of Minnesota here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Notice-of-Mot-Mot-for-Relief-from-Judgment-7-6-17.pdf] and the accompanying Petitioners’ Memorandum in Support of Relief from Judgement here [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Memo-for-Relief-from-Judgment-7-6-17.pdf].

See supporting evidence in the submitted Declaration of Erick G. Kaardal here. [https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Declaration-of-EGK-6-23-17-w-Exs-for-review-1.pdf].

About the Thomas More Society

The Thomas More Society is a national not-for-profit law firm dedicated to restoring respect in law for life, family, and religious liberty. Headquartered in Chicago and Omaha, the Thomas More Society fosters support for these causes by providing high quality pro bono legal services from local trial courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. For more information, visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.

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