In a bizarre development, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, which had been investigating Planned Parenthood has instead indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt: the prolife activists who with their undercover videos exposed Planned Parenthood officials allegedly negotiating over prices for human fetal tissue. The two film-makers are members of the Center for Medical Progress. Commenting on the political implications of the case against the film-makers, author Ann Coulter connected the dots to both immigration and the rise of Hispanic Democrats in Texas, posting on Twitter, Coulter wrote: “Think who votes doesn’t make a difference. County that just indicted Planned-Parenthood-body-parts FILMMAKERS is 42% Hispanic, 31% White.” Planned Parenthood has the largest abortion facility in the Western Hemisphere in Harris County.

In Houston, a grand jury announced criminal charges against the film-makers on January 25. Following a widespread outcry against Planned Parenthood, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) called for a criminal probe of Planned Parenthood in August 2015 and suggested that the organization was “dismembering aborted babies” and “selling babies fully intact.” During a press conference at the time, Patrick said “The people of America and the people of Texas will not accept this callous attitude toward human life, and I will not accept it.” The Houston jurors, however, thought otherwise and saw no illegal behavior on the part of Planned Parenthood. Instead, the grand jury decided to indict the film-makers for violating the "prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs."

Daleiden and Merritt were both indicted for “tampering with a governmental record.” Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast representative Rochelle Tafolla told the Houston Chronicle, "It is an affirming day for Planned Parenthood," and added, "We feel vindicated." This month, in a separate case, the abortion provider filed a federal lawsuit against film-maker Daleiden and accused the Center for Medical Progress of unlawful behavior ranging from secret taping to trespassing.

A Republican-led committee in Congress is continuing its investigation of Planned Parenthood's practices even while state governments have cleared the group. The leader of that panel is Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). 

Activist James O’Keefe, who became known in the conservative world for his undercover videos exposing ACORN and other groups, tweeted: “Dear media: someone who reports facts via tape is not an ‘accuser’ -- they're a ‘reporter.’"

From the time of the release of the videos, which depicted Planned Parenthood officials enjoying lunch while talking about the best ways to extract fetal brain tissue so to be able to sell it, Planned Parenthood accused the pro-life film-makers of breaking the law. The abortion provider repeatedly accused Daleiden of falsifying government identification to enter restricted areas such as conferences for abortion providers.

On the evening of January 25, the Center for Medical Progress issued a statement saying that it uses the very same “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.” They went on to say that while they respect the Harris County District Attorney, they noted 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.” The prosecutor in the case is Devon Anderson. She was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, succeeding her husband in 2013. She was endorsed by Texas Right to Life in her successful election for her first full term in November 2014.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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