On Monday, a Texas grand jury indicted David Daleiden, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt for their roles in the release of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood executives appearing to negotiate the sale of aborted fetal body parts.
Both Daleiden and Merritt were indicted for tampering with a governmental record, and Daleiden was also indicted for prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs.
The grand jury did not indict anyone connected to Planned Parenthood.
Pro-life activists were quick to show their support for the filmmaker.
A petition posted on the pro-life LifeSiteNews.com urging that charges against Daleiden be dropped and investigations of Planned Parenthood continue garnered more than 40,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), a member of the House select investigative panel on Planned Parenthood, stated that the indictment had a political motivation:
It is a sad day in America when those who harvest the body parts of aborted babies escape consequences for their actions, while the courageous truth-tellers who expose their misdeeds are handed down a politically motivated indictment instead. Just days after tens of thousands of pro-life Americans participated in the March for Life to urge legal protection for the unborn, this senseless decision is a grim reminder of the work yet to be done. I am profoundly disappointed in this miscarriage of justice but it will not deter our efforts in Congress to hold Planned Parenthood accountable.
Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said in a statement that there is a conflict of interest in the district attorney’s office and that they should have recused themselves from the case.
“David Daleiden and his team have done a tremendous public service by exposing the horrific crimes against humanity that Planned Parenthood hides behind closed doors,” Rose said. “CMP’s investigation forced Planned Parenthood, a tax-funded billion dollar corporation, to admit it was harvesting and selling aborted baby parts.”
“The district attorney’s office was asked months ago about recusing itself from this case because one of its prosecutors serves as a board member of the Planned Parenthood affiliate involved in the case,” Rose added. “It is unacceptable that the office did not recuse itself to eliminate any and all questions of potential bias. A special prosecutor should be appointed now to review this entire investigation.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, who recently granted Daleiden one of the organization’s “Defender of Life” awards, said in a statement: “It’s horrifying that the Houston grand jury failed to indict the organization who was willing to sell baby body parts yet somehow manages to indict the journalist who caught them in the act.”
“The fact that an employee of the District Attorney is on the board of Planned Parenthood confirms an incestuous relationship between corrupt officials in the Harris County DA’s office and the nation’s largest abortion provider, whose livelihood is on the line should they be criminally charged with selling the body parts of aborted babies,” Hawkins added. “I’m proud to stand with David, the Center for Medical Progress, and journalists everywhere on this one.”
Others noted that an indictment is not a guilty verdict and that Planned Parenthood will have questions to answer during the course of the trial.
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee turned pro-life activist, posted on Facebook:
Yesterday, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the affiliate involved in the Daleiden case, denied that the organization is trafficking in aborted fetal body parts.
“As we have always said, Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, compassionate health care and has done nothing improper. Planned Parenthood has never ‘sold’ fetal tissue or facilitated fetal tissue donation in order to profit. These claims are completely false and unfounded,” Melaney Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said in a statement.
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