IMPORTANT UPDATES AT END OF ARTICLE
Outrage is growing across the nation after a grand jury in Harris County, Texas returned two charges yesterday afternoon against David Daleiden, the pro-life activist behind undercover sting videos that revealed Planned Parenthood’s ongoing scheme to traffic aborted fetal body parts but found no wrongdoing on the part of the abortion giant.
The Federalist is reporting on the indictment which was handed down after a two month investigation into Planned Parenthood’s practice of selling aborted baby parts. In spite of numerous videos depicting Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the price of baby parts, the grand jury dismissed all allegations of wrong-doing against the abortion giant and indicted the videographer instead.
“For more than two months, the 232nd Grand Jury extensively reviewed the joint investigation into allegations of misconduct by PPGC [Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast],” stated a press release from Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. “This grand jury cleared PPGC of breaking the law. However, the grand jury did hand down indictments for two individuals who were involved in making the allegations against PPGC public via covert recordings made in April 2015.”
Daleiden was charged with the purchase and sale of human organs, a misdemeanor, and with tampering with a governmental record, which is a felony. Sandra Merritt, one of Daleiden’s associates, was also charged with tampering with a governmental record. If convicted, they face prison terms of up to 20 years.
“As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” Anderson insisted during an interview with reporters. “All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.”
However, Texas governor Greg Abbott says his investigation of Planned Parenthood continues and is unaffected by the Harris County ruling.
“The Health and Human Service Commission’s Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office have an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions,” Governor Abbott said in a statement. “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, ethical questions are being raised about Lauren Reeder, one of the prosecutors in the Harris County district attorney’s office, who is a member of the board of directors for one of the Planned Parenthood affiliates targeted by Daleiden.
Pro-life activists warned last year that Reeder represented a potential conflict-of-interest, but Anderson reassured the Houston Chronicle that she was not involved in any way with the investigation.
“[Reeder] will not be involved in any manner in this investigation. If at any time in the future, reliable and credible information is brought to my attention that would question our ability to continue to perform a fair, thorough and independent investigation of this matter due to her board membership, I will revisit the issue of seeking the appointment of an independent prosecutor and act accordingly.”
As expected, Planned Parenthood executives are boasting about the indictment and are continuing to perpetuate the myth that the videos were somehow edited even though they were proven to be authentic by forensic experts.
“These anti-abortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, lying, and breaking the law,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “When they couldn’t find any improper or illegal activity, they made it up.”
Meanwhile, David Daleiden issued a statement in which he notes the irony of the grand jury’s decision to indict him for pretending to buy fetal tissue but not Planned Parenthood for selling it.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Texas Right to Life agrees, as do millions of pro-life Americans.
“When a grand jury indicts the very people who report a crime, rather than indicting the criminals, something goes clearly wrong,” the organization said in a statement issued on Monday. “Today in Harris County, rather than prosecuting the people who butcher and sell preborn children, a grand jury set sights on investigative reporters from the Center for Medical Progress. Instead of raising questions about criminal practices in abortion mills, the grand jury penalized the Center for Medical Progress for exercising their First Amendment rights.
They added: “The outcome conceals the greater crime of dismembering preborn children and demonstrates the need for a law to stop these brutal, inhumane practices. Texas Right to Life is proud that Governor Greg Abbott re-affirmed his commitment to investigate the criminal activity at the abortion mills, and we are confident that he and his team will achieve what the Harris County kangaroo court failed to do.”
UPDATE: According to an email sent out by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, the tampering charge brought against Daleiden is for the use of a California identification in order to enter the Planned Parenthood clinic for the purpose of investigation. “It is the same charge that would be leveled at a minor who used a fake ID to purchase alcohol. However, the law also provides a defense where the false information has ‘no effect on the government’s purpose for requiring the governmental record’.”
LifeSiteNews.com has launched a petition demanding that the charges against Daleiden be dropped and the the DA’s office focus their efforts on bringing Planned Parenthood to justice. In less than 24 hours, the petition has already acquired more than 30,000 signatures. Click here to add your voice!
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