A big win for life in New Mexico had a small beginning: believers willing to speak out.
For years, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center has performed research using fetal body parts. And for years, they might have been violating federal law which prohibits the exchange of fetal tissue "for any profit or benefit of valuable consideration."
That's why it's great news that the University of New Mexico has announced that, following its own internal investigation, all research using fetal body tissue has been suspended.
The University maintains no laws were violated, but emails obtained by the New Mexico Alliance for Life suggest otherwise. Those emails reveal that the head of the fetal research program, Dr. Robin Ohls, discussed reimbursement for sending samples to an adjunct professor at Michigan State.
And everyone thought it was just Planned Parenthood.
Here's some other good news: The House Select Panel on Infant Lives has now referred the case to the Department of Justice.
While the New Mexico Alliance for Life's Elisa Martinez is applauding the decision to shut down the research, she and the Alliance are also demanding that UNM officials "immediately turn their investigation over to federal authorities to ensure that these abuses will no longer harm women and commodify unborn children. If they won't," she promises, "we will."
But there's even more to this story than potentially illegal fetal tissue research. It's the University of New Mexico's active promotion of abortion.
Eric Pillmore, a long-time friend of Chuck Colson and a member of the Colson Center's Board of Directors, is a graduate of the University of New Mexico. He and his family foundation helped established the Pillmore Room for Ethics at the University's Anderson School of Management.
In 2017, the University asked Eric for another major donation. But Eric had something else in mind: using the university's request to him in order to obtain a meeting with the then-interim president of the university to discuss UNM's abortion culture.
Eric went into the meeting prepared and his presentation was straightforward. He consulted with Elisa Martinez at the New Mexico Alliance for Life and with pro-life apologist extraordinaire Scott Klusendorf.
The president had been assured that the university hospital only performed abortions when the mother's life was at stake. But he was misled. The University's hospital in fact performed late-term abortions, and its doctors performed abortions at Planned Parenthood. The university had only referred students to abortion provider Southwestern Women's Options and had never referred them to the local pro-life care center. And, of course, Eric expressed his disgust with the University's lack of cooperation with the congressional investigation of its fetal research program.
Eric then explained why he supports the culture of life—and how the university could begin to do so as well. And, of course, he explained how it would be impossible for him and his family to make any additional contributions to the university unless the institution ended its support for abortion. He then offered specific recommendations for UNM to change course.
All of this helped put into motion the closing of the fetal research program, something that was just announced by the new president. And Eric stands ready to talk with her about ending the University's commitment to abortion, as well.
So what's the takeaway here? First: You have to find out what's happening at your alma mater, and then, like Eric, do something about it. We have to stop supporting institutions that promote evil and evil ideologies with our donations, even if they are our alma maters. Second, like Eric, we can all learn to make the case for life. The resources are there. Use them. Third: Support those organizations in your area that champion life.
And finally, we've got to remain vigilant. More may turn up at UNM. But the New Mexico Alliance for Life will be watching. And so will Eric Pillmore.