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Planned Parenthood’s Bully Tactics

On Tuesday, California attorney general Xavier Becerra announced that he will pursue 15 felony charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt—the two undercover investigators who recorded videos of Planned Parenthood people discussing the sale of baby body parts. These charges are ridiculous. Even the ultra-liberal Los Angeles Times said in an article on Thursday:

It’s disturbingly aggressive for Becerra to apply this criminal statute to people who were trying to influence a contested issue of public policy. . . . Planned Parenthood and biomedical company StemExpress, which was also featured in the videos, have another remedy for the harm that was done to them: They can sue Daleiden and Merritt for damages. The state doesn’t need to threaten the pair with prison time. . . .

In similar cases, we have denounced moves to criminalize such behavior, especially in the case of animal welfare investigators who have gone undercover at slaughterhouses and other agricultural businesses to secretly record horrific and illegal abuses of animals. That work, too, is aimed at revealing wrongdoing and changing public policy.

Daleiden’s lawyer, Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, issued a statement that said, in part:

David Daleiden and his codefendant, Sandra Merritt, will be vindicated. They will assert robust defenses to these charges. Their efforts led to numerous criminal referrals by both Senate and House investigative committees. Their efforts were in furtherance of First Amendment values and are clothed with the same Constitutional protection that all investigative journalists deserve and must enjoy. Undercover journalism has been a vital tool in our politics and self-governance.

In its last month in office, the Obama administration issued a regulation that prohibited states from taking Title X family planning funds from Planned Parenthood. It was Obama’s parting gift to the organization. Then, in February 2017, the new House of Representatives voted to overturn that rule and give control of the money—and who gets it—back to the states. On Thursday of this week the U.S. Senate voted on the same bill. In the morning, there was a procedural vote to allow the bill to be brought to the Senate floor. That vote was a tie, so Vice President Pence was called in to cast his vote in support of the measure. Later in the day, the bill was brought to the floor for an up-or-down vote. Once again, the vote was tied and Pence cast the deciding vote. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.

Finally, Governor Matt Bevins of Kentucky has issued an order to close down the last surgical abortion facility in Kentucky because it does not have the required medical agreements with other facilities. A lawsuit is expected. We will keep you informed. Please pray for this.