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NEW YORK, November 16, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — The new chairman of New York City’s controversial Saint Patrick’s Day Parade has ties to a foundation that funds experiments using fetal tissue purchased from one of the suppliers exposed in the Planned Parenthood aborted baby body part trafficking scandal.

Dr. John Lahey, president of Quinnipiac University, who became chair of the contentious New York City event in July, is also a director of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT).

ACGT finances “cell and gene-based therapies,” underwriting federally-supported studies that use human organs that have been harvested from aborted children and sold to researchers.

ACGT is listed on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website as supporting a 2013 “humanized mice” study using human fetal liver and thymus from elective abortions, 12–23 weeks of gestational age, procured from Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc.

Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR), has shown up as a fetal tissue supplier in the undercover Planned Parenthood baby part bartering videos released over the last several months. The NIH, along with the FDA, has been paying ABR for fetal tissue for at least seven years.

The New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade made headlines last fall when the parade’s board of directors voted to allow the first ever homosexual activist group to march in the 2015 parade.

Previously throughout the parade’s 200-plus-year history no groups were allowed to march with identifying banners unless they were strictly Irish heritage-focused.

Last year’s agreement on the part of the parade board of directors to permit the homosexual activist group was also supposed to allow a pro-life group to march in the parade.

To date there had been no pro-life group admitted to the thus-far prevalently Catholic event, and a second homosexual activist group was approved to march in the 2016 parade this past September 28 by the parade board of directors.

The departure of the parade from its Catholic roots didn’t end last year with the board opening the door to homosexual activists marching in the parade.

Lahey has since suggested abolishing the honoring of Saint Patrick from the parade’s bylaws, calling a board meeting the following day to vote on several proposed bylaws changes.

The agenda for the meeting called by Lahey included consideration for eliminating the section stating, “The Parade will be held in honor of St Patrick, the Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of New York and the Patron Saint of Ireland,” along with the requirement that parade committee members be Roman Catholic, active members of a parish, and of Irish descent.

Also on the agenda was formation of a new executive committee eliminating affiliated organizations, such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians, from any decision-making function in the parade, effectively giving Lahey full control.

The meeting was cancelled pending a lawsuit filed against Lahey by former parade chairman John Dunleavy alleging financial wrongdoing.

A petition was also started and a Facebook page established by members of the parade’s affiliated organizations protesting Lahey’s proposed changes, with the petition garnering well over 5,000 signatures by press time.

Lahey’s involvement with ACGT is also troubling because the foundation sponsored a 2008 genetic therapy using the controversial human kidney cell line HEK293, which was originally collected from an aborted child and was found at one point to have been used in experiments to develop flavor enhancers for food companies such as PepsiCo and Nestle.

Eleven undercover videos shot by the Center for Medical Progress have been released since July exposing various Planned Parenthood staffers engaging in trafficking of remains of children aborted at the abortion giant’s facilities.

One video shows a technician reporting how an abortion facility took fetal body parts without parental consent and also harvested a baby’s brain while the child’s heart was still beating.

The footage has also exposed abortion staffers apparently describing use of the illegal partial-birth abortion procedure and modification of the method of abortion for the purpose of harvesting the best possible “specimens,” both of which are prohibited by federal law.