The American Jury Investigating Planned Parenthood Has Charged Anti-Abortion Activists Instead

A grand jury in Texas has cleared Planned Parenthood of selling foetal tissue for profit and charged the anti-abortion activists who accused them of doing it instead

The American Jury Investigating Planned Parenthood Has Charged Anti-Abortion Activists Instead

by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

It began last year when two anti-abortion activists used a concealed camera to film a meeting with representatives from Planned Parenthood, an American non-profit group which provides reproductive health services, and, in some clinics, abortions to mostly lower-income Americans (a bit like Marie Stopes or the Family Planning Association here, remember, there’s no NHS in America).

The Center for Medical Progress – a group so progressive that they want abortion to be illegal – put together footage from this clandestine filming, which was meant to depict Planned Parenthood as little more than a front for the illegal sale of foetal tissue for profit.

The secretly filmed footage, released last July, was used by those opposed to abortion to say that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of baby body parts. It prompted such a public outcry that there were subsequent calls for Planned Parenthood’s funding to be withdrawn. The conservative right in America has long called for the organisation to be limited and have its finances cut, so this only added fuel to their fire.

Republicans were able to put a stop to the organisation’s funding for a year, while the Center for Medical Progress’s claims were looked into. According to the Wall Street Journal about $528 million, or 41% of the Planned Parenthood’s funds come from the state, local and government.

At the time the company made it clear that foetal tissue – taken from aborted foetuses – has been given to researchers, with the consent of the women who’d undergone the abortions, for years. The purpose of this being to conduct important research, which could potentially yield cures for all sorts of diseases and disorders, with no profit whatsoever being made.

It has maintained, from the off, that the Center’s videos were designed to mislead viewers.

This week a Texas grand jury, a legal body empowered to conduct official proceedings which investigate potential criminal powers (similar to an official enquiry in the UK, but with the power to charge people or organisations), cleared Planned Parenthood of misconduct and, instead, charged the filmmakers with tampering with government records.

One of the directors of the Center for Medical Progress, David R Daleiden, 27, has also been charged with buying human organs. He, along with other members of the Center for Medical Progress posed as medical researchers from a fake company called BioMax in order to try and discuss buying foetal tissue from Planned Parenthood staff.

He was also charged, along with another employee of the center, Sandra Merritt, 62, of tampering with a government record. Both Daleiden and Merritt had made and used fake California driving licenses in order to get into the meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston last April.

Devon Anderson, the district attorney for Harris County, said in a statement that grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing or misconduct whatsoever.

Following the release of these videos, 11 states across the US launched investigations. Nine, so far, have found that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong. The inquiries have not yet finished in Arizona and Louisiana.

Planned Parenthood is now suing the Center for Medical Progress.

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Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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