By Tara Shaver

Albuquerque, NM- Abortion Free New Mexico together with fellow pro-life advocates and state leaders, issued a statement thanking Congressman Steve Pearce for his steadfastness in moving pro-life efforts forward in New Mexico. Pearce issued an appeal to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in September asking that the Department of Justice investigate two criminal referrals from the Select Panel on Infant Lives and with regard to the abortion related death of Keisha Atkins in February of this year.

On December 7th, the DOJ sent a letter to Congressman Pearce letting him know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation will now be investigating the criminal referrals and specifically the University of New Mexico and Southwestern Women’s Options regarding violations of state and federal law and the use of fetal remains.

For far too long this matter has been ignored by Attorney General Hector Balderas who received an initial complaint filed by Tara Shaver in July 2015.

Congressman Steve Pearce’s Press Release can be read below:

Washington, DC (December 11, 2017) The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that the Criminal Investigative Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will review the two criminal referrals sent to the New Mexico Attorney General by the U.S. House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives regarding violations made by the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO).

“I’ve worked tirelessly with New Mexico officials and Members in Congress to ensure the rights and liberties of women and the unborn are protected. After violations were unearthed between the University of New Mexico Health Center and the Southwestern Women’s Options, the New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas took no action to hold those accountable. The state of New Mexico must stand for the rule of law. I applaud the action taken by the U.S. DOJ to take up not only the criminal referrals that were sent to New Mexico, but all fifteen criminal referrals that were sent out but not acted upon at the conclusion of the Select Panel’s investigation. These infant lives are precious, and it is completely disgraceful and negligent to sit back while the rights of unborn lives are disregarded,” stated Rep. Steve Pearce.

“We are thankful that the findings from our work with the Select Panel on Infant Lives are now being investigated by the Department of Justice [before the statute of limitations runs out],” stated Elisa Martinez, Executive Director of New Mexico Alliance for Life. “These are serious violations of the [federal and state] law where baby body parts were treated like commodities, women were deceived for years and nobody has held the abortion industry accountable, including Attorney General Hector Balderas. It’s time for women, babies, and taxpayers to receive some justice and anyone found in violation of the law to be held accountable, whether they are abortionists, researchers or university officials, no one is above the law.”

“I thank Congressman Pearce along with the Select Panel on Infant Lives for uncovering violations against unborn infants and mothers, and tirelessly fighting to hold those responsible for the wrongdoings accountable. This action is long-overdue; however, I’m pleased to see the U.S. Attorney General take action against these heinous acts. We must protect the unborn children of New Mexico,” stated Pastor Brian Alarid, Co-Chairman, New Mexico Prays.

“I applaud Attorney General Sessions and the Department of Justice for taking the atrocious practices between Southwestern Women’s Organization and University of New Mexico Health Center seriously. The House of Representative’s Select Panel on Infant Lives made two criminal referrals for New Mexico Attorney General (AG) Hector Balderas to pursue. It is reprehensible that New Mexico AG Balderas has sat back and watched over 100 cases’ statute of limitation expire. We must stand united and safeguard the well-being of the women and children of New Mexico,” stated State Representative Rod Montoya, New Mexico State House Republican Whip.

“I cannot thank Congressman Pearce enough for bringing the attention of the DOJ to all the issues surrounding the extreme preborn child killing in New Mexico. It has been proven that SWWO has been doing tax payer funded abortions well into the 3rd trimester and has been conspiring with the University of New Mexico in numerous illegal activities. Hopefully this will be the end of the decade long conspiracy of silence and complicity in NM that has caused our state to be known as the late term abortion capital of the U.S.,” stated Father Stephen Imbarrato, Priests for Life.

“Abortion Free New Mexico would like to thank Congressman Steve Pearce for bringing this important matter to the attention of the U.S. Attorney General’s office. We are pleased that the Department of Justice is taking this matter seriously and referring it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It has been over two years since we filed an initial complaint with the New Mexico Attorney General’s office and during this time at least one woman has died from abortion related complications sustained at Southwestern Women’s Options late term abortion facility in Albuquerque, NM. It is our hope that the FBI will investigate in a timely manner and that their investigation leads to a Department of Justice Federal prosecution,” stated Tara Shaver, Spokeswoman for Abortion Free New Mexico.

On April 19, 2017, Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) attended a press conference with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (TN-07), Chairwoman of the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, New Mexico State Legislators and pro-life leaders in New Mexico on the House Select Panel’s findings of ethical and legal violations at UNM and SWWO.  Of the 15 criminal referrals filed by the Select Panel, 2 were sent to the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. The final report released by the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives can be found here.

On April 20, 2017, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas stated his office was taking further action to consider the legal violations uncovered at the University of New Mexico, yet no action was taken.

On September 7, 2017, Rep. Pearce sent a letter to the United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request an investigation into the wrongdoings between the University of New Mexico Health Service Center (UNMHSC) and Southwestern Women’s Options (SWWO).

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