New Developments in UMN Fetal Tissue Lawsuit

The University of Minnesota could be headed back to court.

Credit: Alexius Horatius

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota (UMN) could be headed back to court over the school’s alleged use of aborted fetal tissue for research.

The lawsuit, Pro-Life Action Ministries, Incorporated, Brian Gibson and Bridget Busacker v. Regents of the University of Minnesota, was originally filed in October 2016, and claims UMN’s use of aborted fetal tissue was in direct violation of a Minnesota Statute.

In April, a Hennepin County District Court judge dismissed the lawsuit against UMN, citing a lack of evidence from the petitioners. Now, the Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm, is pushing back on the decision, filing a motion for relief from the dismissal.

Erick Kaardal, Thomas More Society Special Counsel, believes the district court order dismissing the action should be reopened, citing new evidence that proves the university has been circumventing the Minnesota legislature’s intended restrictions on use of aborted fetal tissue for research.

“We believe that even at the time of the hearing on the university’s motion to dismiss, the university knew it was conducting legally unauthorized experimentation on fetal tissue at taxpayers’ expense,” Kaardal said in a press release. “The court dismissed the case based on the university attorney’s incomplete representations to the court, not on the facts which we discovered after the court hearing in an email from a university official acknowledging that the legally unauthorized research on aborted fetal remains continues.”

The new evidence reveals UMN was taking part in fetal tissue research during a time the university denied any involvement in the practice.

The issue originally came to light in 2015 following the release of undercover videos recorded by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, exposing the sale of the remains of aborted babies at Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities. Lawmakers questioned UMN about their participation in fetal tissue research to which the school originally denied any involvement. It was not until Alpha News discovered purchase orders of fetal tissue by UMN that they admitted to the practice.   

Kaardal acknowledges the university’s denial of their actions prior to being exposed, saying they then manipulated policy after the fact in an apparent “effort to avoid criminal liability under law.”

“We intend to pursue this on behalf of all Minnesotan taxpayers, as well as our clients Brian Gibson, Bridget Busacker, and Pro-Life Action Ministries,” Kaardal said. “The University of Minnesota is funded by taxpayers and should be held legally accountable in its policies and practices.”

Christine Bauman