No good deed goes unpunished
Late Tuesday night, California’s Attorney General charged David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt with a whopping fifteen felonies.
Daleiden and Merritt, by way of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), released several horrifying undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood officials negotiating the price of aborted baby parts.
California is a two-party consent state, meaning both parties in any recording must consent to be recorded. 14 of the 15 charges are for recording confidential conversations without consent. The last is for conspiracy to commit a felony by recording private conversations at a conference.
Placing the two-party consent nonsense on hold for a moment, Daleiden and Merritt made two errors through the course of their investigation, one of which was omitted from the charges levied against them.
1) creating and using fake IDs
2) using an expired employee ID to login to Stem Expresses system
The former was not included, the latter was cited in the 15th felony charge.
Pretending to be a fictitious person is not a crime. Neither is creating a fake organization. The sale or purchase of fetal tissue, though (should it interfere with interstate commerce), that’s a federal felony. We’re not holding our breath for any AG to file charges against those who were captured on video discussing the sale of dismembered babies.
CMP’s series of undercover videos lead to a Congressional investigation in which Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood President, referred to the conversations as “non-confidential.”
— David Daleiden (@daviddaleiden) March 29, 2017
The media should be rushing to defend Daldeiden and Merritt against these clearly politically wrought charges. And yet…
Some of the best reporting from the last century has been done undercover. Shows like Dateline and To Catch a Predator were predicated on using undercover tactics and ruses to either expose wrongdoing or bait would-be wrong doers.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, I worked with James O’Keefe and his undercover investigative outfit, Project Veritas. I recruited and coached undercover vidoegraphers across the country. One of our biggest considerations in every investigation was “is this legal?” I worked extensively with our attornies and videographers on the legal boundaries of recording and investigating. A case that came up regularly in our guidance was Medical Laboratory Consultants vs. American Broadcasting Companies (2002). In this case, the 9th circuit held that undercover, hidden camera investigations in medical labs were not an invasion of privacy.
As to the conference Daleiden and Merritt attended and recorded, we worked on several different investigations in two-party consent states where attending a conference was either part of the investigation or was the investigation. Guidance was always the same — if there is an announcement, either written or oral at a conference that sessions and general conference going would be recorded, then there is no expectation of privacy and hidden camera reporting would likely pass legal scrutiny.
The last time @PPact colluded with political cronies to persecute citizen journalists, both charges AND corrupt DA thrown out! BRING IT ON!!
— David Daleiden (@daviddaleiden) March 29, 2017
Daleiden further responded to the charges by releasing yet another undercover video, and arguably the most sickening one to date, showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing dismemberment abortions and killing newborns:
At a networking reception at a Planned Parenthood conference, CMP investigators posing as buyers from a biotech company are introduced to Dr. Taylor by Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services.
Dr. Taylor confirms she does elective abortions on healthy fetuses and pregnant women up to 24 weeks. When the investigators ask her about obtaining intact fetal organs, Dr. Taylor replies, “It’s not a matter of how I feel about it coming out intact, but I gotta worry about my staff and people’s feelings about it coming out looking like a baby.”
She continues, “We have the people who do our paperwork for the fetal death certificates, they email us calling them ‘babies’. Baby this, baby that, baby so-and-so, and I’m like, that’s creepy!”
Dr. Taylor explains to the investigators, “In Arizona, if the fetus comes out with any signs of life, we’re supposed to transport it. To the hospital.” When one investigator then asks, “Is there any standard procedure for verifying signs of of life?” Dr. Taylor replies, “Well, the thing is, I mean the key is, you need to pay attention to who’s in the room, right?”
Dr. Taylor then laughs as she repeats what the Arizona law requires, and says, “It’s a mess. It’s a mess.”
Dr. Taylor acknowledges that the feticidal chemical digoxin cannot be used in an abortion where fetal body parts will be harvested for sale, but she remarks that in a standard dismemberment dilation and evacuation abortion, “My biceps appreciate when the dig[oxin] works,” to kill the fetus before the procedure. “I remember when I was a [Family Planning] Fellow and I was training, I was like, Oh, I have to hit the gym for this,” she says, describing the force she feels in her biceps when performing a dismemberment abortion with forceps.
Charges filed against Daldeiden for in Texas were dropped last summer.
Shortly after Daleiden released the latest undercover video, the 9th circuit granted the National Abortion Federation a preliminary injunction, “prohibiting Biomax Procurement Services LLC, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), David Daleiden, and Troy Newman from releasing recordings and materials they illegally obtained at NAF’s educational meetings.”
— CMP (@CtrMedProgress) March 29, 2017
California’s AG may hope to punish Daleiden and Merritt for exposing the disgusting underbelly of Planned Parenthood, but ultimately, it will embolden life and speech advocates nationwide.
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