HHS Documents Reveal Millions in Federal Funding for University of Pittsburgh Human Fetal Organ Harvesting Project Including Viable and Full-Term Babies

HHS Documents Reveal Millions in Federal Funding for University of Pittsburgh Human Fetal Organ Harvesting Project Including Viable and Full-Term Babies from Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch and The Center for Medical Progress (CMP) announced today that they received 252 pages of new documents from the US Department of Health and Human Services that reveal nearly $3 million in federal funds were spent on the University of Pittsburgh’s quest to become a “Tissue Hub” for human fetal tissue ranging from 6 to 42 weeks gestation. 

These documents were obtained as part of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which Judicial Watch represents CMP and is suing HHS after it failed to respond to an April 28, 2020, FOIA request seeking among other things, the grant applications for a University of Pittsburgh “tissue hub and collection site.” (Center for Medical Progress v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(No. 1:21-cv-00642)).

The documents reveal the following:

  • The aims of the project listed in the original 2015 proposal were to “develop a pipeline to the acquisition, quality control and distribution of human genitourinary [urinary and genital organs and functions] samples obtained throughout development (6-42 weeks gestation). … [and] generate an ongoing resource to distribute fresh developmental human genitourinary samples from various stages (6-42 weeks) to the GUDMAP [GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project] Atlas projects.”
  • In the proposal, Pitt notes that is has been “collecting fetal tissue for over 10 years … include[ing] liver, heart, gonads, legs, brain, genitourinary tissues including kidneys, ureters and bladders.”
  • Pitt noted in 2015 “we have disbursed over 300 fresh samples collected from 77 cases. The collections can be significantly ramped up as material could have been accrued from as many as 725 cases last year.”
  • The Health Sciences Tissue Bank at Pitt is “embedded within the Department of Pathology … thus providing rapid access to very high quality tissue and biological specimens.”

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