A highlight of this year’s Oregon Right to Life Conference was keynote speaker and citizen journalist David Daleiden, best known as the journalist who broke the story about Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby body parts for profit. Daleiden has nearly a decade of experience in conducting investigative research on the abortion industry. In 2013, he started The Center for Medical Progress as a vehicle through which to pursue sophisticated and in-depth investigative journalism projects dealing with contemporary bioethical issues.
CMP released 11 videos showing Daleiden and another journalist discussing the procurement of aborted baby brains, lungs, livers, hearts and lower extremities from Planned Parenthood to sell to medical researchers. In the videos, Daleiden played the “nerdy science geek,” which he prepared for by learning background information about tissue procurement at regenerative medicine and stem cell science meetings, trade shows, and conferences.
Five months after the videos were released, a Texas grand jury indicted Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. The two were charged with a felony (for using California identification to enter the Planned Parenthood facility) and a misdemeanor (for allegedly offering to purchase fetal tissue). Daleiden says he has no interest in making a plea deal against the bogus charges; he wants an apology from District Attorney Devon Anderson. Interestingly, a Planned Parenthood board member works as an assistant DA in Anderson’s office and Anderson’s political campaign received $25,000 from the attorney who works for a late-term abortionist.
Ironically, Daleiden, the one who exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal activities, faces 20 years in prison and is being treated as a criminal, while Planned Parenthood officials face no consequences for their illegal actions. Pro-life groups have demanded that DA Anderson drop the charges. Pro-abortionists are calling the indictment a “vindication” of Planned Parenthood.
Many, including some supporters of Planned Parenthood, have real concerns about the implications for free speech rights if Daleiden is prosecuted. In a CNN op-ed, Cornell University law professors Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf explained that “the criminal prosecution of Daleiden, even if they did break the law, could chill undercover journalists and activists everywhere. We oppose efforts to criminalize undercover investigations regardless of the investigators’ ultimate motives.”
On April 5, the California Attorney General’s office of Kamala Harris, whose election was funded with tens of thousands of Planned Parenthood money, raided Daleiden’s home and seized all video footage, along with personal information. They ignored documents showing the illicit scheme between Planned Parenthood and StemExpress.