YORBA LINDA, Calif. (KABC) -- Two Yorba Linda medical companies have been accused by the Orange County District Attorney of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday evening, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said DaVinci Biosciences and its sister company, DV Biologics, profited from selling fetal tissue and stem cells donated from abortion providers.
Rackauckas said women from the abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, had no idea the fetal tissue would be sold for a profit.
While a company can charge a fee to recover its expenses, profiting from the sale of fetal tissue is illegal.
Michael Tein, the attorney representing both DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics, released the following statement to ABC7:
"DaVinci complied with these regulations and never turned a profit. Their scientists worked day and night to discover cell-based medical treatments and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from cancer, Alzheimer's and other deadly diseases. Shipments of research materials were made only to other scientists working at fully accredited universities and laboratories. This is a civil lawsuit over cost-accounting issues. We look forward to explaining the full story to the court."
Rackauckas said the lawsuit was not about whether or not it was ethical to sell fetal parts or whether fetal tissue research was ethical or legal.
"We are simply charging DV Biologics, DaVinci Biosciences, and a father and his two sons with illegally selling hundreds of fetal tissue products for profit and treating human parts as commodities instead of giving it the respect the law intended. This lawsuit is aimed at taking the profit out of selling body parts," Rackauckas said in a written statement.
The district attorney's office is seeking a $1.6 million fine and an injunction preventing future sales of fetal tissue at a profit.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.