SAN FRANCISCO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A California court is dropping charges against pro-life advocates who, in 2015, released undercover videos revealing crimes committed by Planned Parenthood (PP).
On June 21, Judge Christopher Hite of the San Francisco County Superior Court dismissed charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. He is, however, allowing Catholic abortion-activist California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to refile charges until July.
Fourteen out of the 15 charges were dropped against both Daleiden and Merritt, who still have the charge of conspiring to invade privacy.
Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented, "This is a huge victory to have 14 criminal counts dismissed. We will now turn our attention to dismissing the final count." He added, "Sandra Merritt did nothing wrong. The complaint by the California attorney general is unprecedented and, frankly, will threaten every journalist who provides valuable information to the public. This final count will also fall."
Becerra has a 100-percent approval rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and received money from the organization to help fund his run for office. In March, he filed charges against Daleiden and Merritt for "intentionally and without consent" filming at a NARAL conference. He has commented, "The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California's Constitution and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society. We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations."
Daleiden responded, "The bogus charges from Planned Parenthood's political cronies are fake news." He added, "The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners."
Becerra, sworn in as AG in January 2017, succeeds previous Attorney General Kamala Harris, an ardent advocate of abortion and PP. The videos in question, released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in 2015, sent shockwaves through the United States, exposing the callous and illegal nature of the dealings between PP, tissue procurement companies and research institutions illegally acquiring the body parts of aborted babies.
The Congressional report shows that PP and the tissue procurement companies unlawfully adjusted their accounting to show they made no profit from the sale of baby parts. It further recommends the defunding of PP, "ensuring that grants no longer available to Planned Parenthood are awarded to healthcare providers that provide comprehensive preventive healthcare for their patients and that do not perform abortions (that are not covered by Medicaid under the Hyde Amendment)."
In December 2016, the Senate Judiciary Committee chided the U.S. Department of Justice for refusing to investigate or prosecute PP and other organizations despite all the evidence, showing they committed crimes.