Anti-Abortion Activists Behind Undercover Planned Parenthood Videos Face Felony Charges

Photo: JOYCE NALTCHAYAN/AFP/Getty Images.
Two anti-abortion activists behind those viral Planned Parenthood videos claiming that the group sells fetal tissue have been charged with 15 felonies, according the the LA Times.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt filmed 14 women without their consent and edited the videos to falsely claim that Planned Parenthood makes a profit from aborted fetuses. The two have been charged with 14 counts of unlawfully recording people without their consent as well as one count of conspiracy to invade privacy, the LA Times reports.
Daleiden and Merritt apparently used fake California driver's licenses and made up a fake medical research company they called Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress to attend the 2014 National Abortion Federation conference. While there, they secretly recorded 8 attendees and speakers, according to the LA Times.
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The two later used the same fake names and fake company to set up meetings with women's healthcare providers, who they also secretly recorded.
The videos resulting from this footage have been largely discredited, but initially fueled arguments for defunding Planned Parenthood. Some senators were using the false claims that Planned Parenthood "sells dead baby body parts" to refuse the group taxpayer dollars.
“As a mother and grandmother, I find this footage of Planned Parenthood’s role in the harvesting of the organs of unborn babies morally reprehensible and vile,” GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said to Politico soon after Daleiden and Merritt's video came out.
Although most people now recognize the videos as a fraud, they certainly did some damage to Planned Parenthood's reputation. While the group has always fought to keep government funding, the current administration is making it clear that defunding Planned Parenthood is on the agenda.
Still, even after facing charges, Daleiden and Merritt aren't giving up. Daleiden released a statement about his charges and the prosecutors on his case through his organization, the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress.
“The bogus charges from Planned Parenthood's political cronies are fake news,” the statement said, according to the LA Times. “We look forward to showing the entire world what is on our yet-unreleased video tapes of Planned Parenthood’s criminal baby body parts enterprise, in vindication of the First Amendment rights of all.”
If his claims are true, history may repeat itself. But we hope, especially given these charges, that if another video were ever to surface it wouldn't make nearly as much of a splash. It should be clear by now that the real "fake news" here are these videos.
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