Planned Parenthood has been embattled since the release of viral videos depicting employees discussing the transfer of fetal tissue surfaced online. A criminal investigation was opened up in Houston, Texas, but the grand jury determined that the women's health organization did nothing illegal. Instead, the jury indicted two of the anti-abortion activists who created the videos.
The Center for Medical Progress, an organization fiercely opposed to abortion, infiltrated Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast’s inner circle to secretly film executives discussing giving fetal organs for medical research.
Reviewing evidence from the case, the Houston grand jury came to the decision that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast had not violated any law but that the Center for Medical Progress had broken quite a few, The Washington Post reports.
The activist group’s director, David Daleiden, was indicted on Jan. 25 on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record. One of his workers, Sandra Merritt, has also been indicted for the same crime.
“These anti-abortion extremists spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, lying and breaking the law,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America official Eric Ferrero.
“As we’ve known all along, David Daleiden is the one who broke the law, not abortion providers,” said National Abortion Federation President Vicky Saporta. “In order to launch his smear campaign, Daleiden engaged in a long-running illegal conspiracy and he should be held accountable for his actions, which have put abortion providers at risk.”
Daleiden claimed Planned Parenthood sold fetal human tissue for profit and his viral videos suggest as much. But the Houston grand jury determined that this was not true. Moreover, some of the more damning segments in Daleiden’s videos have been debunked as separate video he had edited in.
In November 2015, Colorado resident Robert Dear stormed his local Planned Parenthood clinic and allegedly killed three people, telling police upon his arrest, “No more baby parts.”
While his lawyers are preparing an insanity defense, Dear has protested in court that he knew what he was doing and that he was dealing vengeance for what he deems Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of child organs, reports The Washington Times.
In the statement in response to the indictments, the Center for Medical Progress declared that “Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see.”
The viral videos had been used as a talking point for Republican presidential candidates. Several have already weighed in on the indictments.
“I’m disturbed,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told CNN. “We'll need to learn more, but I'm disturbed that while Planned Parenthood, who are the ones that were actually selling off these [body] parts were found having done nothing wrong, the people who tried to expose them are the ones that are now facing criminal charges.”
Former Minnesota Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted that “its a sick day in American when our govt punishes those who expose evil w/ a cellphone — yet accommodates those who perform it with a scalpel.”