Federal officials were investigating a research project at the University of Pittsburgh that had come under fire for its use of fetal tissue from aborted babies, according to newly released documents.
Emails and other documents made public last week by Judicial Watch include a reference to an investigation that was being conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.
According to a Nov. 21 message, Rob Rutenba, senior vice chancellor for research at Pitt, disclosed that investigation to Michael Lauer, deputy director for extramural research at the National Institutes of Health, who at the time was asking for information about the university’s fetal tissue projects.
“With regard to your request for documentation/information, please be aware that we received a subpoena from HHS OIG requesting similar documentation on October 28, 2021,” Rutenba wrote.
“We are happy to provide the requested information to both you and the HHS OIG, however, [redacted] instructed us not to provide the documentation you have requested information until he has had the opportunity to speak with you,” he wrote.
Judicial Watch, working in partnership with the Center for Medical Progress, had filed a Freedom of Information Act request in 2022 to obtain the documents.
David Daleiden, president of the Center for Medical Progress, noted there is much that remains to be known.
“We don’t know the results of the OIG investigation yet. We don’t know if the OIG has further referred that investigation to the FBI or the Department of Justice. The University of Pittsburgh has been completely in damage control mode,” Daleiden told The Daily Wire.
The HHS Office of the Inspector General told the outlet it would “neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation, should there be any.”
The GenitoUrinary Development Molecular Anatomy Project ran from 2016 to 2021.
Daleiden called the program “an NIH-sponsored program for harvesting and distributing late-term aborted fetal kidneys and other body parts to other NIH-funded projects across the country.”
When controversy erupted over the program in 2019, with the Center for Medical Progress accusing Pitt of misconduct, the university hired an outside firm that reviewed the project. It issued a report saying no laws were broken.
“Pitt’s own statements indicating its Planned Parenthood partners use criminal partial-birth abortions to harvest fetal organs to sell for NIH grant money are serious enough that a federal law enforcement agency opened a formal investigation following CMP’s reporting,” he said.
🚨BREAKING: Newly released FOIA documents confirm the existence of a federal law enforcement investigation of an NIH-funded program at the University of Pittsburgh that harvested fetal kidneys from late-term abortions performed by Planned Parenthood doctors. @PPFA @PittTweet @NIH… pic.twitter.com/g3QgiZNDYt
— Center for Medical Progress (@CtrMedProgress) December 12, 2023
“If this investigation has been conducted honestly, the facts uncovered may be more horrifying than we ever imagined,” Daleiden said.
“Planned Parenthood has cloaked its human atrocities committed against vulnerable mothers and infants under its ‘research’ program for decades — it is time for justice under the law for every level of the taxpayer-funded enterprise of selling aborted baby body parts,” he said.
In the release, the center said Pitt has a history of harvesting fetal kidneys and has a longstanding connection to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading abortion provider.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.