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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, February 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – University of New Mexico (UNM) researchers used 57 aborted babies for a study they say used “human tissue” – but did not employ “human subject research” – from “elective terminations.”

“Human tissue was obtained under the oversight of the Institutional Review Board at University of New Mexico (which determined that the study did not constitute human subject research since no identifiable patient data were collected),” says the study. “Mid-gestation (11–22 wk, n = 57) human fetal ductus arteriosus and ascending aorta were obtained at elective terminations of pregnancy in healthy women.”

The 2010 study was originally highlighted by New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) in a press release this week about the university's seemingly contradictory claims.

UNM Health Sciences Center did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the study's conclusions that the obtaining of “human tissue” did not mean the study included “human subject research.”

The 2010 study “looked at several genes that they suspected might be involved in closure of the ductus arteriosus, a shunt in the main blood vessel from the heart to the lungs that normally closes at birth when the baby's lungs fill with air,” Charlotte Lozier Institute vice president and research director David Prentice told LifeSiteNews. “The research was supposedly aimed at learning how normal closure occurs, and how closure might be initiated in cases where an infant is born and the shunt does not close.”

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“The researchers used a total of 57 aborted babies, ranging in age from 11 to 22 weeks gestational age,” he explained. However, “after all this, the authors said they can only 'speculate' whether these genes play any role in closing the arterial shunt. Their results are strictly theoretical and make no headway toward actual knowledge of whether the genes studied may work in humans toward closure of the ductus arteriosus at birth. Not of much practical value.”

Additionally, “despite the number of human beings used in the research as sources of experimental tissue, and in contrast to reasonable medical ethics, the scientists noted that this 'did not constitute human subject research since no identifiable patient data were collected.'”

In her group's press release, NMAFL Executive Director Elisa Martinez condemned UNM's study. “If these studies have little scientific merit, why go to great lengths to harvest body parts from aborted babies … which may also compromise women's health in the process?” she asked.

The abortions were done at the Southwest Women's Options (SWO) abortion center in Albuquerque. According to The Albuquerque Journal, the clinic is owned by late-term abortionist Curtis Boyd, whose contract to provide abortion training to residents was cancelled in 2015. Boyd is listed as a volunteer faculty member at UNM, according to the university website.

Operation Rescue's Cheryl Sullenger pointed LifeSiteNews to a document obtained by Protest ABQ's Tara Shaver she said “shows abortion consent and fetal tissue donation consent are on the same document, meaning that a woman can't get an abortion without consenting to donate her baby's remains, too.”

NMAFL has obtained another consent form they say was given, with permission for use, from a former patient of Boyd's.

Both SWO and UNM have been notoriously uncooperative with Congress' Select Panel that is investigating the abortion industry's fetal harvesting trade. A SWO spokesperson cited safety concerns in a media statement defending the refusal to turn over a five-year list of employees requested by the panel. “It's not just about the personnel,” said Heather Brewer. “It's about their family. It's about everyone in their lives being impacted by people who disagree with a woman's right to a safe and legal abortion.”

The panel holds its first hearing this Wednesday, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time in the Capitol Visitors Center.