Texas grand jury charges investigators behind Planned Parenthood videos
January 25, 2016
A Texas grand jury has cleared a Planned Parenthood clinic of wrongdoing, and instead indicted two pro-life filmmakers who published videos alleging the abortion organization’s á la carte fetal organ harvesting.
On Monday, a Harris County Grand Jury charged Center for Medical Progress President David Daleiden and activist Sandra Merritt with “tampering with a governmental record,” a second degree felony. Daleiden was additionally charged with a misdemeanor count regarding human organ procurement.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said they were left with no choice but to charge the filmmakers after an investigation on the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast clinic in Houston turned up clean.
“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Anderson said. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
Following news of the indictment, Daleiden released a statement affirming his organization’s First Amendment rights and noting the charges also implicate the sellers of fetal tissue as well:
“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. 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.”
The investigation into the “Planned Parenthood TX Mega-Center” was sparked by a video released last August which showed Melissa Farrell, the director of research for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, discussing how to perform an abortion in a specific way to ensure “intact fetal cadavers.”
“So, if we alter our process and we are able to obtain intact fetal cadavers, then we can make it part of the budget that any dissections are this, and splitting the specimens into different shipments is this,” Farrell says, adding, “I mean that’s — it’s all just a matter of line items.”
Hours before the indictment was announced, Daleiden published an op-ed in USA TODAY calling Planned Parenthood’s lawsuits a diversionary retaliation tactic meant to obscure their crimes.
“It is telling that in Planned Parenthood’s new anti-First Amendment lawsuit, it is suing me for everything but defamation,” Daleiden wrote in regards to another lawsuit lobbed at his organization in California.
“The truth will continue to come out through the congressional probe, through the ongoing state investigations and through the frivolous lawsuit Planned Parenthood now brings in retaliation for its exposure,” wrote the CMP president.
“The facts revealed in the videos aren’t a cute look for Planned Parenthood. And no amount of Pepto-Bismol pink can overpaint it.”
The indictment also comes days after the Center for Medical Progress published their most powerful video yet, showing a collection of high level Planned Parenthood officials speaking off the record about the secrecy behind the company’s fetal tissue trafficking in not so discreet terms, with one specifically mentioning how “the headlines would be a disaster.”
“Planned Parenthood cannot deny that its own senior leadership is caught on camera participating in a widespread and organized violation of state and federal laws against fetal body parts trafficking,” Daleiden wrote last Tuesday on his organization’s blog. “Instead, Planned Parenthood can only attempt to distract the public and cover up the evidence of its lawlessness.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who ordered an investigation into Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress videos emerged, said Monday the grand jury’s decision would not affect the state’s ongoing investigation into allegations of fetal organ harvesting.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 25, 2016
This article was posted: Monday, January 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm