StemExpress, a for-profit company, bills itself as “the leading biospecimen provider of human bone marrow, cord blood.” But in July 2015, CMP released a series of undercover videos exposing StemExpress as a major illegal vendor of aborted fetal organs and tissue from some of the biggest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country.
StemExpress advertised to abortion clinics that supplying fetal tissue would be “financially profitable.” This advertisement was endorsed by Dr. Dorothy Furgerson, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, where StemExpress harvested and purchased body parts. StemExpress’ longtime Medical Director, Dr. Ronald Berman, was also an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte.
StemExpress filed a retaliatory lawsuit against CMP in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles on July 27, 2015. The tissue vendor sought an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech with a preliminary injunction gag order to prevent the release of undercover video of a business dinner with its Founder and CEO, Cate Dyer. In the video, Dyer made several shocking admissions about StemExpress obtaining fully intact fetuses from abortion cases, seeking “another 50 livers a week” from a “volume institution” like Planned Parenthood, and asserting that supplying fetal tissue should be “profitable” for abortion clinics.
Dyer’s recorded statements corroborated the whistleblower interview testimony of Holly O’Donnell, who worked as a procurement technician at StemExpress in Planned Parenthood clinics and observed profit motive between StemExpress and Planned Parenthood and the harvesting of intact fetuses.
StemExpress’ request for a gag order was denied in August 2015, and CMP released the footage. Less than a month after the release of the video, StemExpress counsel at McDermott, Will & Emery first approached CMP seeking a settlement in the case, and less than a year later, McDermott, Will & Emery withdrew from representation of StemExpress.
In January 2017, StemExpress dismissed its complaint. The dismissal came within days of the release of the final report by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Investigative Panel. In the report, the panel refers StemExpress for criminal prosecution for violating multiple federal and state laws.
The panel’s findings allege that StemExpress:
- destroyed documents that were the subject of congressional inquiries.
- profited from the sale of fetal body parts.
- violated HIPAA (privacy) laws when collecting fetal body parts.
The House Select Investigative Panel has since reported that StemExpress was engaged in widespread document destruction shortly after they filed their lawsuit, in violation of document retention rules and Congressional subpoenas.
“This victory for free speech and citizen journalism was made possible by our masterful and indefatigable legal representation in this case by Chuck LiMandri at the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, and Katie Short at Life Legal Defense Foundation. StemExpress’ surrender sends an unmistakable message to Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and all their political cronies who would dare to attack the First Amendment to cover up their crimes.”David Daleiden, CMP Project Lead
StemExpress, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America have been referred by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Select Investigative Panel to the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. The sale or purchase of human fetal tissue is a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $500,000 (42 U.S.C. 289g-2).
“StemExpress was the first of Planned Parenthood’s accomplices to file a retaliatory lawsuit against citizen journalists and the first to seek an unconstitutional prior restraint on our First Amendment rights to speak and publish. Now, the video is out for all the world to see, StemExpress faces criminal referral in multiple jurisdictions, and they are walking away from their own lawsuit empty-handed.”David Daleiden