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Anti-abortion extremists could be jailed for up to 20 years

Anti-abortion extremists could be jailed for up to 20 years

Anti-abortion filmmaker David Daleiden, 27, above, is in deep trouble.

The man who was lauded last year by Christianity Today for his efforts to bring down ‘abortion giant’ Planned Parenthood, has been indicted by a Texas jury, along with cohort Sandra Merritt, for tampering with a governmental record.

According to The Guardian, Daleiden, who received a second indictment under a law prohibiting the purchase and sale of human organs, is the founder the Center for Medical Progress, an organisation that filmed and released a series of “sting” videos edited so they appeared to show Planned Parenthood employees selling foetal tissue in violation of federal law.

David Daleiden and Susan Merritt in photos provided by Planned Parenthood from fake driver’s licences the anti-abortion extremists used.

David Daleiden and Susan Merritt in photos provided by Planned Parenthood from fake driver’s licences the anti-abortion extremists used.

In a surprise move, the Texas grand jury investigating Planned Parenthood wrapped up on Monday by issuing several indictments – not to the women’s healthcare provider, but to Daleiden and Merritt.

According to this report, Daleiden and Merritt each face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the charges of tampering with a governmental record.

Planned Parenthood has denied the accusations, saying it donates foetal tissue to medical research companies at no cost. The only money it has received, it says, has been reimbursement for transportation and storage costs. (Planned Parenthood recently announced that it would no longer accept reimbursements.)

In a separate lawsuit, filed earlier this month, Planned Parenthood accused Daleiden and his group in court of:

Engaging in wire fraud, mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording, and trespassing.

The accusations in the videos have been disproved, including by a string of state-level investigations that found no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood. Still, the videos resulted in five separate congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood and unsuccessful efforts by Republicans in Congress to strip the group of some half a billion dollars in federal family planning funds.

Conservatives in some half-a-dozen states also attempted to strip the group of hundreds of thousands of dollars of state and federal family planning funds and Medicaid contracts.

In Texas, the indictments conclude a two-month investigation into video taped at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston operated by Planned Parenthood of the gulf coast. Daleiden and Merritt introduced themselves as executives at a biomedical research company and presented fake California drivers’ licenses.

The investigation began at the urging of Republican lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. It ultimately involved Harris County’s DA, the Texas Rangers, and the Houston police department. The district attorney, Devon Anderson, said:

We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. 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.

Daleiden defended his actions in a statement released on Monday night.

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.

Abbott, the Texas governor, said a state investigation of Planned Parenthood would continue unimpeded.

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.

The state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, said:

The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing.

These are not the first legal troubles to face Daleiden and the center. Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit, filed in California, accuses the group of violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act.

The center has also been blocked by a federal judge from disclosing video footage of an annual conference held by the National Abortion Federation. NAF President, Vicki Saporta,  said:

As we’ve known all along, David Daleiden is the one who broke the law, not abortion providers.

StemExpress, a biotech firm conducting tissue research, won a restraining order against the center in Los Angeles superior court and has vowed to sue the group over invasion of privacy. The firm had ties to Planned Parenthood, and the “sting” videos caused the company’s CEO to receive online death threats.

The restraining order prevents the center from releasing any video footage it took of StemExpress employees.

In a statement on Monday, Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s Vice-President of Communications, applauded news of the grand jury indictment.

These anti-abortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, lying, and breaking the law. These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda. As the dust settles and the truth comes out, it’s become totally clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the criminals behind this fraud, and we’re glad they’re being held accountable.

Hat tip: John Dowdle and AgentCormac

16 responses to “Anti-abortion extremists could be jailed for up to 20 years”

  1. Broga says:

    The anti-abortion extremists, while lying, faking and breaking the law, wrap themselves in religious righteousness. At the core of their behaviour is that they know best and anyone who doesn’t agree must be wrong. This is typical of a religious belief based on biblical fictions.

  2. Ivan says:

    This guy expresses my feelings perfectly in three seconds flat:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7wtNOkuHo

  3. Laura Roberts says:

    Also typical is the violence they incite, as myriad terrorist attacks, including the one last year in Colorado, amply demonstrate. Someone once said it is far more dangerous to be right when others are wrong, than wrong when others are right. These reprehensible cowards will lie, cheat, steal and murder and the worst they will ever face is due process. On the other hand, family planning providers who protect women’s autonomy live in fear of summary and unlawful execution.

  4. jo says:

    These anti-women people would rather see women and babies die, or women forced to carry a dead or deformed fetus, just to have control of them. It’s none of their business, and what makes them think that anyone would want to submit to them.

  5. Cali Ron says:

    Facts will not stop the RW politicians and evangelicals from continuing there attack on women’s rights as they try to force there religious beliefs onto Americans. They have an agenda and talking points, regardless of the actual facts of the case. Planned Parenthood has been under attack for a long time so they have been especially careful to follow the laws and avoid any appearance of questionable actions. To date very one of the numerous investigations Republicans have launched on both the federal and state level have found nothing, yet they continue to make baseless accusations. Religion poisons everything.

  6. Justin Badby says:

    As we all know the pious are disingenous lying cheating and often criminal. So much for obedience to the commandments.

  7. barriejohn says:

    Christians lying? Shome mishtake, shurely! And if you think that their “God” gives a toss for the welfare of children, read this:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-35408967

  8. barriejohn says:

    Remember this from last year?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27710206

    Abortion is “murder”, of course.

  9. Angela_K says:

    Texas and California retain the death penalty thanks to the right wing religious nutters; that is OK in their perverted ideology but abortion isn’t. I bet these women hating vermin ignore the fact that their god is the biggest abortionist of all.

  10. AgentCormac says:

    Sadly, there are plenty of people out there, including those in office, who are willing to accept the accusations made in films like this at face value without once questioning the integrity of the people behind them. And of course you have the sanctimonious fuckwits who will actually take to the streets in the name of their gawd to express their ‘anger’ and ‘disgust’ without giving a second thought to whether they are being duped by con artists. (But then, I guess truth and proof aren’t terribly important to people who believe in an invisible man in the sky.) And you only have to look at them to see the kind of nutjobs we’re talking abut here!

    http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/right-to-life-advocates-block-4th-st-n-e-during-a-sit-in-in-news-photo/489451168

  11. John Dowdle says:

    It really is astonishing to see just how far these people will go to bend and distort the truth to get their version of reality accepted in the USA.
    They truly are frightening people, are they not?
    It reminds us all just how extreme such people were in the past, are now and just how bad they could easily become in the future.
    We all must remain vigilant to ensure such people never get anywhere near the levers of power in any society at any time in future.

  12. jay says:

    You realize that the laws used against them can be used against many whistle blowers. PP took a page from the corporate lawyer handbook to silence criticism ( whether justified or not).

    Despite supporting abortion rights, this incident is frightening.

  13. John says:

    I am not sure who Jay’s comments above refer to.
    Is it the alleged criminals David Daleiden and Susan Merritt ?
    They are being investigated and charged under criminal law.
    What they have been involved in had nothing to do with whistle blowing.
    They lied and misrepresented themselves – and lied about others.
    That is why they are under investigation – not for whistle blowing.

  14. John says:

    These religious extremists are cheats, liars and fraudsters.
    Call them what they are – criminals.

  15. Caleb says:

    He’s NOT a ‘whistle blower’. A WB is someone who already works for an org.
    He’s not an ‘investigative journalist’ either. He’s a do-it-yourself ESPIONAGE agent with NO immunity for breaking the law.