The Empire Strikes Back!
Citizen journalist David Daleiden, director of the Center for Medical Progress (cmp), exposed Planned Parenthood’s barbaric abortion practices to better harvest and traffic fetal body parts in 12 films released in 2015. The films, featuring undercover taped dialogue of top-level Planned Parenthood officials’ cold and casual lunchtime discussions of the methods to best harvest brains, hearts, livers and lungs of fetuses, and the potential prices for those parts, shocked the United States Congress, state governors and other local government officials—as well as religious leaders and all who had the stomach to watch them.
As a result, numerous federal and state investigations were launched into Planned Parenthood (PP)—the U.S.A.’s abortion empire. A majority of these investigations are still ongoing. Daleiden’s 30-month investigative efforts had slammed Planned Parenthood onto the ropes. By mid October 2015, six states—Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Texas and Utah—had taken steps to defund Planned Parenthood by eliminating its Medicaid contracts with PP affiliates. In December 2015, Congress passed legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act that included a provision to eliminate taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.
Although President Barack Obama vetoed the bill on January 8 and House Democrats squashed its override on February 3, the fact that the bill passed in both the House and Senate was an historic first. During Barack Obama’s tenure as president, previous votes to defund both Obamacare and Planned Parenthood have never made it to the Oval Office. By landing on the president’s desk, the December 2015 legislation showed that a majority of the American people’s elected officials wanted a change in funding for Planned Parenthood.
Nobody, including Planned Parenthood officials, doubts that David Daleiden and the cmp had shaken the foundation of the “Abortion Empire.” The dark underbelly of Planned Parenthood’s illegal and inhuman activities has been forced into the light for everyone to see. So what was Planned Parenthood to do? Put a stop to Daleiden and his organization. How? Make him look like the criminal!
It’s War—File Law Suits!
Planned Parenthood is a large and powerful business in the U.S. Its affiliates conduct over 27.5% percent of America’s abortions each year, which totals almost 350,000. It receives a whopping half billion in tax dollars annually. PP also has powerful friends in high places. Besides President Obama, most Democratic senators, representatives and top leaders in the party, PP has the full support of the leftist liberal American media and pro-abortion organizations like the National Abortion Federation (naf). The naf boasts an association of individuals, hospitals, physicians, private and non-profit women’s clinics and health centers in the United States, Canada, Australia, Mexico and countries throughout Europe. The president’s veto of the legislation to defund PP and the Democratic move to kill the veto’s override has encouraged PP officials to go on the offensive. The surefire way PP plans to incriminate David Daleiden and stop his effort to expose it further is unsurprising—haul him into court!
A Houston grand jury investigating the criminal allegations brought against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (a Houston affiliate) because of a released cmp video cleared the affiliate of any wrongdoing. Yet on January 25, in a stunning turn of events, the grand jury, led by Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, charged David Daleiden and cmp associate Sandra Merritt with a felony count of tampering with government record. Daleiden was also handed a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. The same day, a warrant was issued for their arrests.
“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.” The felony count was handed down to the antiabortion pair because Daleiden and Merritt used fake California driver’s licenses to gain access to Planned Parenthood facilities posing as potential fetal-tissue buyers representing a bogus company called Biomax Procurement Services. Daleiden was charged with the misdemeanor count because he offered to buy fetal body parts, which is illegal in Texas.
Guess Who’s Cheering
Immediately after the indictments were made public, the naf was effusive in its celebration. “As we have known all along, David Daleiden is the one who broke the law, not abortion providers,” said Vicki Saporta, the abortion-rights group’s president and ceo. Planned Parenthood also sang the praises of the Harris County grand jury.
“These antiabortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, lying and breaking the law,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “When they couldn’t find any improper or illegal activity, they made it up.” PP has insisted from the release of the first cmp video in July 2015 that all of the videos taken of PP officials were heavily edited. (You do not need to take PP’s word for it. You can see and judge for yourself if the videos were heavily edited at the cmp’s website. It’s worth your time.)
“Vindication for Planned Parenthood” is how the New York Times described the grand jury’s action against Daleiden and Merritt. Fully supporting PP and wanting to see Daleiden and Merritt locked up for a couple of decades, the Times reflected that not even 20 years could “undo the damage” that the videos have done to Planned Parenthood. It sounds like the Times has already tried the case, declaring Daleiden and Merritt guilty as charged. It is also clear that the Times is loading the deck in favor of PP’s requests for punitive damages.
Daleiden’s Legal Battles
Susan Merritt voluntarily turned herself into Texas authorities in Houston on Wednesday, February 3. David Daleiden did the same on Thursday, February 4. Both have been released on bond. Pro-life supporters cheered the two as they entered and exited their court hearings. Both are considered to be pro-life heroes. Daleiden and Merritt plan to plead not guilty to all charges.
On Tuesday, February 2, supporters of Daleiden and the cmp held a webcast to discuss the legal battles he and Merritt face. A replay of this webcast is available here. The webcast contains an informative, easy-to-understand discussion of the legal battles Daleiden, Merritt and the cmp are facing. Three court cases against Daleiden and the cmp are in play at this time.
In July 2015, StemExpress, llc, filed a complaint against Daleiden, cmp and others for violation of privacy and a long list of other charges because cmp released a video showing StemExpress ceo Cate Dyer discussing receiving intact fetuses for distribution to research facilities. Planned Parenthood is the major fetal-tissue supplier to StemExpress. On July 28, 2015, the Los Angeles County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order barring cmp from releasing any videos of any of the three high-ranking StemExpress officials.
Charles LiMandri, president and chief counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, a nonprofit public-interest law firm, represented Daleiden and cmp with the lawsuit. On Aug. 21, 2015, the Los Angeles Superior Court denied the application by StemExpress to prohibit Daleiden and cmp from releasing the footage captured from Daleiden’s meeting with StemExpress personnel. The court said StemExpress’s proposed order would directly undermine cmp’s rights, and that any damages StemExpress might suffer would be “insufficient to counterbalance the constitutional harms that the injunction would cause defendants.” Essentially, the court ruled that the First Amendment protects Daleiden and cmp’s rights to free speech as investigative journalists. However, the case is not over. The court must still make a ruling to dismiss other charges filed by StemExpress.
In July 2015, the naf sued Daleiden, the cmp and Biomax Procurement Services, llc. In its complaint, naf argued that Daleiden obtained videos of its officials by sneaking into “top secret” meetings. This case is still ongoing in San Francisco. Katie Short, attorney and vice president of Life Legal Defense Fund, is representing David Daleiden. On January 14, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (ppfa) and all its California affiliates filed a similar suit. This second complaint accuses Daleiden of violating federal rico laws. rico law refers to the prosecution and defense of individuals who engage in organized crime The naf’s and ppfa’s complaints attempt to criminalize Daleiden’s use of investigative journalism. Both suits claim restitution for attorney’s fees and punitive damages, which have climbed into the millions of dollars. Peter Breen, special counsel and executive vice president for the Thomas More Society, also a not-for-profit national public interest law firm, is assisting with the cases in San Francisco and Houston.
Will Fight Back
Mr. Daleiden, Ms. Merritt and cmp have an impressive and talented group of lawyers working on their behalf. Not one believes that the complaints filed against this pro-life leader and the group of people supporting him will hold up in court. Yet none deny that Planned Parenthood has loaded a death-star-sized weapon against them. David Daleiden, Susan Merritt and cmp are in a titanic battle.
Two days before Daleiden turned himself into Houston authorities, the cmp released another video of footage taken at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (ppgc). The footage focuses on an interview with Melissa Farrell, director of research for ppgc. While it is a federal crime for anyone to profit from the sale of aborted fetal tissue, the video shows Farrell telling cmp investigators how the abortion provider organizes its invoices for fetal-tissue reimbursement into two parts: “administrative fees” and “per consent” charges. Daleiden and cmp do not plan to give up the fight. They do have friends on their side.
Just after Harris County District Attorney Anderson handed down the indictment against Daleiden, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton stated that their investigations into ppgc would continue. With the release of his latest video, Daleiden has kept the light shining on PP practices.