In the summer of 2015, David Daleiden captured the country’s attention with his undercover expose on the dark side of Planned Parenthood’s business of (allegedly) selling aborted baby body parts for profit. As a result, he and one of his associates, Sandra Merritt, were charged in the state of California with 15 felonies for the secret recordings. There is currently a pretrial hearing to see if the case will go to trial.

The prosecution appears to be politically motivated. After all, the current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra took money from Planned Parenthood to fund his campaigns and efforts. 

The case might be tainted with an obvious pro-Planned Parenthood bias on the part of the state, but that doesn’t mean the prosecution will have an easy time. Last week, Daleiden’s team called a unique individual to testify: an abortion doctor who has completed nearly 50,000 abortions. His testimony was compelling and shocking. He testified that based on the videos, it is possible that babies were born alive at Planned Parenthood clinics in order to better preserve their tissue for medical experimentation. The procedures were also likely altered, making them more dangerous for patients.

As you may recall, David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress went undercover at various Planned Parenthood clinics and met with top Planned Parenthood officials, mostly in California and Texas, and discovered that several facilities were (allegedly) selling the body parts of aborted preborn babies for profit. While it is legal to donate fetal tissue for medical research, it is illegal to make a profit from it. Daleiden and his team attempted to expose officials (allegedly) engaging in the illegal practice and paid the price. For the last four years, Daleiden has dealt with numerous investigations and criminal charges. 

While things ended amicably in Texas, the same isn’t true in California. In fact, California and its leading law enforcement officers have gone out of their way to make Daleiden’s legal case challenging and to mask Planned Parenthood’s activities from the public’s view. Even the Planned Parenthood executives, who were all identified on tape, were given the privilege of testifying anonymously

Most of the charges that Daleiden is facing stem from his use of undercover tactics to investigate Planned Parenthood. While he says that he and his team were acting as “citizen journalists” and were protected by California’s Shield Law, the state begs to differ. Probably the biggest item working against Daleiden in this case is that he was never employed as a journalist before beginning his work with the Center for Medical Progress. That makes his claim suspicious to some.

Planned Parenthood issued a statement to the press saying that Daleiden and Merritt, “should face the legal consequences of their multiyear illegal effort to manufacture a fake smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.” While the abortion business may want to believe that, the reality of what was caught on those videos was fairly clear average viewer. Despite all the statements to the contrary, it was evident that much of what was occurring behind the scenes at Planned Parenthood was ethically questionable at best, possibly illegal at worst. What’s clear is that none of it protected women. 

It’s unknown at this point whether the case proceed to trial, but if it does it could have far-reaching impacts beyond Daleiden’s case. It could affect any journalist who decides that perhaps doing some undercover work will help break an important case or highlight an injustice happening. That isn’t good for journalism or Americans.


Photo from American Life League