CA Attorney General Under Fire for ‘Bogus’ Charges Against Pro-life Activists
CBN News 04-01-2017
California’s Attorney General is coming under fire for indicting two pro-life activists who recorded undercover videos in their efforts to prove that Planned Parenthood is engaged in illegally selling baby body parts and the criticism is coming from an unexpected source: The Los Angeles Times.
The Times Editorial Board criticized AG Xavier Becerra for charging David Daleiden and Susan Merritt with 15 felonies.
Becerra claimed the pair violated healthcare privacy laws when they made the videos showing Planned Parenthood employees discussing ways to provide the body parts of aborted babies to medical research companies.
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra said in a statement earlier this week. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
The editorial board called the indictments a “disturbing overreach,” said that the law should be applied very narrowly and noted that it has supported such tactics in the past.
“It’s disturbingly aggressive for Becerra to apply this criminal statute to people who were trying to influence a contested issue of public policy,” they wrote.
Becerra has received thousands of dollars in political donations from Planned Parenthood over the years, according to Liberty Counsel, a law firm that advocates for pro-life issues.
The firm cites data from the Center for Responsive Politics that shows that Becerra received more than $5,500 in congressional campaign donations between 1998 and 2014.
Daleiden and Merritt, both with the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), released a series of eight videos in 2015 showing undercover activists discussing the harvesting and pricing of aborted baby body parts with Planned Parenthood and organ procurement firms.
Liberty Counsel says the videos “clearly indicate” illegal activity.
“Each of the Planned Parenthood organizations featured in undercover video recordings released by the Center for Medical Progress clearly indicate the illegal trafficking of aborted baby body parts for profit to three organ procurement organizations, including StemExpress, LLC, Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. and Novogenix Laboratories, LLC,” reads a statement from the firm.
Although last year’s video’s kick-started a criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood, no charges were made.
Mat Stave, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel said the indictments of Daleiden and Merrit are a political move.
“The California Penal Code defines murder as the “unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought” and state law requires rendering care to a born-alive infant. Yet, Attorney General Becerra insists on punishing innocent journalists while overlooking the horrors of Planned Parenthood profiting from human genocide. Becerra obviously has his political agenda ahead of the law,” he said.
Daleiden agrees with that accusation. He told the Associated Press that the charges against him and Merritt were “bogus.” He said that they are coming from “Planned Parenthood’s political cronies.”
“The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners,” Daleiden said.