By Dave Andrusko
Nine months ago, all charges filed by the [Texas] Harris County District Attorney’s office against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were dropped before the pair could pursue their legal motion to quash the charges. As we wrote at the time, the alleged “crimes were as serious as they were bogus,” attempting to criminalize the use of normal undercover reporting techniques.
But once again Daleiden and Merritt, the investigators behind the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos that exposed the trafficking of fetal body parts, have been charged, this time in the state of California, with 15 felony counts of invasion of privacy (one for each of the 14 people CMP recorded, and a 15th for “conspiracy” to invade privacy).
The charges were filed this week by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. His statement accused the two of using “manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet women’s healthcare providers and covertly record the private discussions they initiated.” Becerra added in righteous indignation, “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
The allegations are so preposterous–and the “remedy” so overboard– that even the pro-abortion-to-the-hilt Los Angeles Times editorialized against Becerra’s actions.
To be clear, right out of the box the editorial buys into the media narrative that the videos were “heavily edited.” But in that same first paragraph, the editorial says, “It’s disturbingly aggressive for Becerra to apply this criminal statute to people who were trying to influence a contested issue of public policy, regardless of how sound or popular that policy may be.” If the parties who were videotaped are aggrieved, “sue for damages. The state doesn’t need to threaten the pair with prison time.”
The editorial badmouths the pair but points to another example in which the newspaper has editorialized against charging parties whose aim “was to change people’s views on important and controversial issues.” Referring to it, they write, “That work, too, is aimed at revealing wrongdoing and changing public policy. That’s why the state law forbidding recording of conversations should be applied narrowly, and to clear and egregious violations of privacy where the motive is personal gain.” For all the pro-abortion criticism of CMP (and it is mountainous) , I don’t remember anyone claiming the Daleiden was doing his work for “personal gain.”
More heavy-handed lambasting of Daleiden and Merritt ensues before the editorial concludes, “But Becerra’s attempt to take this to the level of a criminal felony is misplaced here.”
The real gripe, of course, is what the videos reveal about major players in the supplying and purchasing of fetal body parts, principally Planned Parenthood and representatives from “Tissue Procurement Organizations” (TPOs), As NRL News Today discussed on many occasions, your stomach turns as you hear the participants cavalierly talk about baby parts and the demand for particular organs, all in a manner that alternates between pretend world-weariness with giggles.
I remember one in particular (although she was by no means the worst): Dr. Carolyn Westoff, Planned Parenthood’s Senior Medical Advisor. She told the undercover CMP investigator
“We’ve just been working with people who want particular tissues, like, you know, they want cardiac, or they want eyes, or they want neural. …Oh, gonads! Oh, my God, gonads.”
And in case anyone should ask
“Everything we provide is fresh.”
You could hope that AG Becerra would see the error of his way (even the ACLU is critical of his decision to prosecute). But I wouldn’t hold my breath.