Texas Grand Jury Clears Planned Parenthood, Indicts Its Accusers
Planned Parenthood scored a major victory on Monday after the fabricators of the anti-abortion videos were indicted for their crimes by a Texas grand jury.
The Harris County District Attorney’s office announced that Planned Parenthood was off the hook and that the two individuals responsible for making the videos were on the hook for the blame.
“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said in a statement. “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.”
“We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see,” the statement from a spokesperson said.
Planned Parenthood issued a statement, celebrating the verdict.
“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’re being held accountable,” said Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement.
According to Planned Parenthood, officials in eleven states have cleared the group of wrongdoing. Officials in another eight states declined to even investigate the accusations made by the Center for Medical Progress.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said state officials were continuing to investigate the Texas Planned Parenthood, however.
“The Health and Human Service Commission’s Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office have an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions,” Abbott said in a statement. “Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation. The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”
The Texas attorney general echoed Abbott and said the state investigation will continue.
“The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said.
And Rep. Diane Black, R-Tennessee, who has led the charge against Planned Parenthood in Congress, called the decision “senseless.”
“It is a sad day in America when those who harvest the body parts of aborted babies escape consequences for their actions, while the courageous truth-tellers who expose their misdeeds are handed down a politically motivated indictment instead,” Black said.
But the top Democrat on the House panel investigating Planned Parenthood said it’s time for House Republicans to “admit when they’re wrong.”
“Today we see that the truth still matters,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, said in a statement.
Daleiden is a project lead for the Center for Medical Progress, a group that produced a series of videos over the summer depicting Planned Parenthood officials discussing fetal tissue and appearing to talk about the price for such tissue.
Planned Parenthood maintains that it does not profit from the sale of fetal tissue and only recovers its cost. After the videos raised controversy, Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept reimbursement.
The videos were edited and in some cases contained footage that was not aborted fetuses at all. In one, Daleiden used footage of a still-born child he found online with a narration about a Planned Parenthood abortion of a fetus the same age.
Planned Parenthood this month filed a lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress, alleging the defendants lied their way into the recorded meetings and set up a fake company and personal identities to pull off the videos.
The lawsuit also accuses the group of committing crimes including wire and mail fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing.
Daleiden at the time downplayed the lawsuit as “frivolous” and a “last-ditch move of desperation.”
The videos have been an intense topic on the 2016 campaign trail, with Republicans using them as evidence to call for the dismantling of Planned Parenthood, while Democrats have rallied around the organization.
Conservatives were dismayed with the indictment Monday, and some accused the Harris County DA’s office of being biased because one of its prosecutors, Lauren Reeder, has served on the Planned Parenthood board.
In August, when Reeder’s background was disclosed by the DA, Anderson insisted she would be separated from the case.
“She will not be involved in any manner in this investigation,” Anderson said at the time, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Photo credit: CBS News.