I've seen too many articles and comments that attempt to portray a Houston grand jury's ridiculous decision to indict
undercover journalists from the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden and Susan Merritt, as more significant than it actually is.
They pretty much go something like this:
The videos are fake, and Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong. The real criminals here are the vile, anti-choice extremists who would dare prevent women from getting health care they need. Planned Parenthood is a savior to the poor and an upholder of women's rights. Justice has been served in Houston. Hooray!
I hate to burst their ideological bubble, but the reality is that the Houston indictment didn't exonerate Planned Parenthood in the court of public opinion or the court of law. Here's why.
1. More states continue to pass legislation defunding Planned Parenthood.
Last week, Wisconsin and Ohio were the ninth and tenth states to pass legislation defunding Planned Parenthood following the release of the authenticated undercover videos by the Center for Medical Progress. More and more states continue to see that Planned Parenthood is undeserving of the over half billion Planned Parenthood receives in federal and state funding every year. In fact, there are plenty of other federally qualified health centers that are worthy of our tax dollars compared to a scandal-ridden abortion giant with an extensive rap sheet.
2. Congress is still actively investigating Planned Parenthood.
The U.S. House of Representatives has appointed a special House committee, led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., to investigate the trafficking of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. Among the problems the committee is investigating are the following:
- Utilizing illegal abortion procedures: Multiple undercover videos depict Planned Parenthood abortionists and officials discussing how they could alter the abortion procedure, including changing the presentation to breech, in order to increase the likelihood of getting intact “specimens” (aka baby body parts). This would violate federal law, and video evidence that abortionists may even be performing illegal partial birth abortions or failing to comply with the Born Alive Infant Protection Act compounds those concerns.
- Making a profit on the sale of fetal tissue:In nearly every video, high-level Planned Parenthood officials or StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer discuss how fetal tissue procurement can be—and has been—financially worthwhile. However, Planned Parenthood offices also make it clear that this process must be done carefully so as not to look like they are making a profit from it, which is against the law.
3. The indictment threatens free speech rights of all undercover journalists.
CNN recently published an article written by two "pro-choice" college professors expressing concern about the Houston indictment. Here are some highlights:
"We are pro-choice . . . but we find the prosecution of these citizen journalists, however self-styled, deeply disturbing."
"Undercover exposés play a vital role in informing the American public of important facts that would otherwise remain hidden."
"The Planned Parenthood case reveals that activists — and journalists — might also have to go to prison for undercover reporting if they violate any laws to gain access to the targets of their investigation."
4. Public support for David Daleiden and Susan Merritt continues to grow.
After the indictment was announced, there was an outpouring of public support for the two undercover journalists by the pro-life community. An online petition to drop all charges has received over 122,000 signatures. As more details were released, even some abortion advocates began to question the grand jury's decision.
And for their part, Daleiden and Merritt have held their ground. The pair recently turned themselves in to Houston authorities to be charged, fingerprinted, and released on bail. Daleiden is prepared to fight the charges in court, if necessary.
“I think we all know that every day that goes by that the Texas authorities do not prosecute Planned Parenthood for their illegal trade in baby parts, they’re sending a message to the entire country that the state of Texas right now is open for business in baby body parts,” Daleiden said during a press conference following his release.
Just because a Houston grand jury wants to crack down on free speech over what certainly appears to be violations of state and federal law by Planned Parenthood, doesn't mean the abortion giant is in the clear. And it certainly doesn't change the fact that Planned Parenthood has a history of breaking the law, and building a billion dollar empire on women and the lives of their unborn children.