Planned Parenthood has been embattled with both federal and state governments for months thanks to a series of horrific but questionable videos put out by the Center for Medical Progress – an anti-abortion group founded a few years ago by David Daleiden.
Daleiden now faces felony charges for tampering with government records as well as an indictment under a law that prohibits the sale or solicitation of human organs. Turns out, Daleiden and fellow employee Sandra Merritt posed as researchers from the made-up company “Biomax Procurement Services” in order to spy on Planned Parenthood officials and record discussions about the harvesting of fetal tissue.
While his heart may have been in the right place, Daleiden went way too far in his efforts to thwart Planned Parenthood.
Meanwhile, a grand jury in Harris, Texas has found Planned Parenthood innocent of any wrongdoings. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson.
“The Center for Medical Progress uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws,” argued Daleiden. “We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”
Planned Parenthood argues that the videos were pieced together to form a misleading idea of what was actually going on and celebrate Daleiden’s indictments as proof of its claims.
“These anti-abortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, lying, and breaking the law. When they couldn’t find any improper or illegal activity, they made it up,” said Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s VP of communications.
While this ruling is a huge success for Planned Parenthood, the clinic still faces the threat of slashed funding and ongoing investigations. Several states have cut funding altogether in the wake of the gruesome videos. The court’s decision is also a stunning reversal for the pro-life activists who had seized the false videos as a means to shut down the clinic for good.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott considers the indictments a first step. “The Health and Human Service Commission’s Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office have an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions,” he said. “Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation. The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has filed a racketeering lawsuit against CMP. The case has been assigned to US District Judge William H. Orrick, who is currently handling a second case against CMP filed by the National Abortion Federation.
According to Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, Sandra Merritt posed as Biomax CEO Susan Tennenbaum. Her alter ego was supported by a false driver’s license and a liberal Facebook page. Daleiden posed as Biomax VP Robert Daoud Sarkis.
Tampering with government records is considered a felony in the state of Texas.