SAN FRANCISCO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pro-life journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, whose undercover investigations exposed Planned Parenthood's trafficking in aborted babies' body parts, will be criminally tried for their work.
On Friday, Judge Christopher Hite of the San Francisco Superior Court ordered the criminal case against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) investigators to move forward.
Originally, the pair were slapped with 14 felony charges. Though Hite dropped five counts, he decided that enough evidence remained to try Daleiden and Merritt for allegedly violating California's law against eavesdropping — the first time the state has brought eavesdropping charges against any defendant.
Pro-life advocates are slamming the ruling. After Hite's ruling, Live Action president Lila Rose condemned his decision as politically-motivated:
The same year David and Sandra published their recordings of Planned Parenthood employees haggling over the price of aborted baby body parts, videos taken by undercover animal rights activists were praised and led to investigations of abuse in the poultry industry by then-Attorney General Kamala Harris — the same AG who then levied charges against the pro-life reporters.
"Instead of praise, David and Sandra still have nine charges against them that have nothing to do with violating privacy or video recording laws but everything to do with protecting the powerful and wealthy abortion industry," Rose added.
Speaking after Friday's ruling, Daleiden remained confident of victory: "The remaining charges under the California video recording law—the first and only time it has ever been used against undercover news gatherers—will fall for the same reasons that ... charges were dismissed today: these were public conversations easily overheard by third parties," he said.
"California law specifically prohibits only the undisclosed recording of 'confidential' communications, which testimony and video evidence have shown CMP did not take part in," pro-life writer and editor Nancy Flanders explained Friday.
"Conversations recorded by CMP investigators of abortion industry workers involved in the trafficking of the body parts of aborted children all took place within earshot of bystanders, including restaurant employees," she continued. "CMP journalists were careful to record in public areas such as open hotel spaces and busy restaurants."
"News agencies including Fox Los Angeles and CBS Los Angeles have been known to participate in similar undercover video recording — not only without prosecution, but with applause from California's Attorney General's office," Flanders noted.
Harris issued a search warrant against Daleiden in 2016, seizing his camera equipment and video footage. Records show that Harris corresponded with Planned Parenthood officials as she built her case against the citizen journalists. The former attorney general has benefited from tens of thousands of dollars in political donations from affiliates of the abortion giant.
Current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — a self-identified Catholic — continued Harris' prosecution effort.
During a preliminary hearing in October, bombshell testimony revealed that infanticide is commonplace inside U.S. abortion mills. Attorneys for Daleiden submitted a closing argument brief detailing that live births are occurring inside the facilities and that these newborns are routinely killed — their organs harvested while still alive.