It’s been almost four years since Center for Medical Progress, led by investigative journalist David Daleiden, released several undercover videos of Planned Parenthood. The videos caused a firestorm of controversy and truly threatened a Congressional attempt to defund the abortion giant for the first time in its history.
Unfortunately, the outrage didn’t result in Planned Parenthood being defunded or any other significant repercussions. Despite overwhelming evidence of alleged wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood, it is David Daleiden who is struggling through years of legal troubles and multiple lawsuits.
Most recently, the judge in Daleiden’s case made the decision to seal the names of those individuals caught on the undercover videos for fear for their safety. It was an unnecessary step considering that the identities of those on the video have been public for several years and no harm has come to them.
Planned Parenthood also made a rare request. The organization asked that they be allowed to join California’s criminal prosecution against Daleiden. It is a highly unusual move and shows that despite the four years since his videos were released, Planned Parenthood is still nervous about the information revealed in Daleiden’s undercover reports.
On the videos, Planned Parenthood officials were shown being callous and ethically corrupt, but also allegedly committing two illegal activities.
The first is that they were altering abortion procedures in order to provide certain parts or either the intact body of a preborn baby for the purposes of medical research. While it is legal to provide fetal tissue for research studies, medical providers cannot alter the procedure to get a better specimen, which could potentially put the patients’ lives at risk.
Second, it is also illegal to sell fetal tissue for a profit. A business, like Planned Parenthood, can be compensated for the cost of transportation or storage for the tissue, but cannot charge different prices for different specimens and make money off those various “sales.”
Planned Parenthood officials were allegedly implicated in both instances. If proved true, it is a clear violation of not only the law but of medical ethics as well.
While Daleiden has been dealing with constant legal battles, most of those caught on his undercover videos have escaped any legal repercussions. But their position at Planned Parenthood is another matter.
Many if not all of those caught on the videos no longer work for Planned Parenthood. One of the officials caught on the undercover videos went from a high corporate position in the organization, to being exiled to Hawaii in a much smaller, local role. Another opened her own abortion clinic in a separate state after resigning from her position.
The fallout from the undercover videos demonstrated some seriously questionable, if not outright illegal, activity from Planned Parenthood. Although the videos didn’t have the effect David Daleiden and his team wanted, the videos were successful at shuffling up the leadership at the local and national levels.
Since the release of the videos, former Planned Parenthood President, and progressive political activist, Cecile Richards resigned. Several other high-ranking members of the leadership team have also resigned in the last year or two. The new president of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, is continuing to change and restructure the entire organization to a supposedly more health-focused view, which has not gone over well with some of the more political hardliners.
Although there may be times that Daleiden feels like his effort possibly failed, especially in light of his many legal disputes, it didn’t. The videos were unable to deal a decisive blow to Planned Parenthood like he wanted, but it certainly changed the leadership and decreased some of the public’s trust in the organization. In 2016, the year after the videos were released, Planned Parenthood completed the lowest number of abortions in nine years.
Maybe in the next nine years, Planned Parenthood will finally lose its federal funding.
(The preliminary hearing in the Daleiden case will begin on April 22nd.)