Appearances in Court and a Controversial Study This Week

Last week we told you that a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, indicted two Center for Medical Progress employees for conducting an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood using standard journalist techniques. This week, those two people, Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden, made their first court appearances. In both cases, the district attorney of Harris County offered to settle the case through a “pretrial diversion,” which is a form of probation typically offered to nonviolent first-time offenders. If Merritt and Daleiden maintain a clean record and perform required community service while on probation, then the charges could be dismissed. Both defendants maintain that they are innocent of any wrongdoing and have not accepted the offer. Daleiden’s attorney, Peter Breen, says they want dismissal of all the charges and an apology.

In other matters this week, a study was released by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TXPEP) claiming that the cutback of Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood in Texas has led to fewer women receiving contraception and an increase in unintended births. TXPEP is the same organization that previously released another study claiming that new clinic regulations in Texas led to more women self-aborting at home. That study was shown to be wrong. So we asked American Life League senior researcher, Rob Gasper, to review this latest study.

What he found is that the study itself contains a list of qualifications that effectively mean that it really is impossible to reach any conclusions from it. On pages 8 and 9 in the study, it clearly states that:

  • “Our data are observational and cannot prove causality.”
  • “One limitation of our analysis is that the effect that we observed was restricted to the 2 years immediately after the exclusion.”
  • “In addition, our models have not been adjusted for any changes in county-level characteristics that may have taken place during the period of observation.”
  • “Another limitation is that we have no information on contraceptive services that women paid for out of pocket or received through other subsidized programs.”
  • “Also, our analysis includes only child births covered by Medicaid in Texas, and data for women who gave birth out of state or with private insurance coverage are not captured.”

In other words, any claim that this study is scientifically accurate is wrong. This, however, has not stopped Planned Parenthood from using the study for its self-serving purposes. It also has not caused any major news media to question the accuracy of the study as they report its “findings.”