Center For Medical Progress Members Indicted On Criminal Charges After Investigation Into Planned Parenthood
A Houston, Texas, grand jury investigation into the city's Planned Parenthood affiliate led not to criminal proceedings against the women's health provider, but to the indictment of two anti-abortion activists Monday. The pro-life pair were reportedly responsible for videos released last year that alleged Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue for profit. No action will be taken against Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, a Harris County grand jury ruled.
Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden and pro-life activist Sandra Merritt were indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a second-degree felony, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Monday. Daleiden has also been indicted on a misdemeanor count of prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs.
Last summer, Daleiden's Center for Medical Progress released videos of secretly-recorded conversations with Planned Parenthood officials that they claimed revealed the organization profited off the sale of aborted fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood defended itself against the footage, saying it only allowed for the reimbursement of processing costs. The videos put Planned Parenthood at the center of heated debate in Washington as Republicans demanded the organization be defunded.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast applauded the ruling on their official Facebook.
These people broke the law to spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their extreme anti-abortion political agenda. As the dust settles and the truth comes out, it's become totally clear that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the criminals behind this fraud, and we're glad they are being held accountable.
The Harris County grand jury had been investigating Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast for misconduct since late last year but found no evidence the organization had broken any laws, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson told local reporters. "As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case."
The probe was initiated at the request of Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in August 2015 and heavily supported by Gov. Greg Abbot, who called the Planned Parenthood videos "repulsive and unconscionable" at the time of their release, according to a local NBC News affiliate. Abbot said the state would continue to investigate Planned Parenthood practices despite the Harris County ruling.
Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood sued the Center for Medical Progress and Daleiden over the videos, arguing the group broke multiple laws such as trespassing and filming in secret.