California hits activists with felony charges for documenting Planned Parenthood practices

by WorldTribune Staff, March 29, 2017

California’s attorney general on March 28 announced felony charges against two pro-life activists who filmed themselves attempting to buy fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who made the videos for the Center for Medical Progress. Prosecutors said that the activists, who used a fictitious bioresearch company to meet with Planned Parenthood representatives, invaded the privacy of medical providers by filming without consent.

David Daleiden, left, and Sandra Merritt. /AP

Related: The wine-sipping butchers of Planned Parenthood, July 15, 2015

In January 2016, Daleiden and Merritt were indicted in Texas on similar charges, but all of the charges were eventually dropped as prosecutors said a grand jury had overstepped its authority. The grand jury had originally been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood, but after finding no wrongdoing turned around and indicted Daleiden and Merritt instead.

California prosecutors said Daleiden and Merritt allegedly filmed 14 people without permission between October 2013 and July 2015 in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties. One felony count was filed for each person and a 15th felony count was filed for criminal conspiracy to invade privacy.

Daleiden called the charges “bogus” and that they were coming from “Planned Parenthood’s political cronies.”

“The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners,” Daleiden said.

Planned Parenthood said in a tweet that the charges send a “clear message… You can’t target women & health care providers without consequences.”

The House Select Panel on Infant Lives released a report in January saying that the videos were an “accurate depiction” of the work between abortionists and tissue-procurement companies.

“Over the last year, the Select Panel’s relentless fact-finding investigation has laid bare the grisly reality of an abortion industry that is driven by profit, unconcerned by matters of basic ethics and, too often, non-compliant with the few laws we have to protect the safety of women and their unborn children,” Rep. Diane Black said. “I have never shied away from my own pro-life views, but the findings of this panel should incense all people of conscience.”

The panel was created after the release of the videos from the Center for Medical Progress. The House Select Panel worked for about a year on its investigation.

In its report, the panel also provided recommendations for changes.

“It is my hope that our recommendations will result in some necessary changes within both the abortion and fetal tissue procurement industries,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn. “Our hope is that these changes will both protect women and their unborn children, as well as the integrity of scientific research.”