StemExpress Honcho: Researchers ‘Have Meltdowns’ Over Abortion Organ Harvests

Planned Parenthood partner denies charges it received ‘intact fetuses’

The Planned Parenthood logo is pictured outside a clinic in Boston
The Planned Parenthood logo is pictured outside a clinic in Boston / Reuters
August 24, 2015

The head of a clearinghouse partnering with Planned Parenthood to provide fetal organs to researchers joked with undercover videographers about the revulsion some personnel could experience during the process.

Cate Dyer, the CEO of StemExpress, told actors posing as fetal organ buyers that some researchers have been known to "have meltdowns" after realizing that their research specimen is recovered from aborted babies, according to a new Center for Medical Progress (CMP) release.

"It’s almost like they don’t want to know where it comes from. I can see that," Dyer said. "Their lab techs freak out, and have meltdowns, and so it’s just, like, yeah. I think, quite frankly, that’s why a lot of researchers ultimately, some of them want to get into other things. They want to look at bone marrow, they want to look at adipose—sort of adult human, kind of adult-based sampling. They want to avoid publishing a paper that says it was derived from fetal tissue."

A StemExpress spokesman said that Dyer was using a colloquialism rather than speaking literally.

"It would be upsetting, unnerving, and disturbing if they opened the box and saw what the result was" if researchers were not expecting a fetal organ delivery, the spokesman said.

Dyer also discussed the types of material StemExpress has dealt with in the past, saying "if you had intact cases, which we’ve done a lot, we sometimes ship those back to our lab in its entirety." CMP said in a release that she is referring to fully intact babies, an indication that the company has dealt with babies that underwent partial birth abortion.

"StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits that StemExpress gets intact fetuses from the abortion clinics they work with shipped to their laboratory. ‘Case’ is the clinical term for an individual abortion," CMP said in the release.

CMP pointed to recorded conversations with Deborah Nucatola, a top Planned Parenthood executive, as proof that "case" refers specifically to abortions. "Most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps," Nucatola said.

StemExpress denied that allegation, claiming that all references to "case" in the video were in reference to baby livers rather than the entire baby.

"My use of the term ‘intact cases’ is a medical term of art that refers solely to ‘intact livers,’ as there was absolutely no mention of ‘intact fetuses’ at any point," Dyer said in a company release. "Consistent with the company’s prior public statements, StemExpress has never requested, received or provided to a researcher an ‘intact fetus.’"

The term "case" comes up once more in the video when Dyer references inspecting fetuses in the hope of recovering usable organs. 

"The suction destroys everything and it gets to the point where I mean you could look at 60 cases and get nothing," she said. "It’s just red water by the time it gets to us."

CMP has interviewed Holly O’Donnell, a former StemExpress organ procurer who said that the company skirts consent laws and pressures women into handing over the remains of the aborted babies.

CMP has released seven other undercover and documentary videos capturing abortionists discussing the "less crunchy" methods used to harvest organs, as well as the use of "line items" on individual organs to maximize return on investment for organ sales. Altering abortion methods or profiting off the sales is barred by federal law, which has led to investigations of Planned Parenthood from several congressional committees and nearly a dozen states.