The California official who filed felony charges against two pro-lifers who went undercover to report on Planned Parenthood’s baby body-parts trade received thousands of dollars over the years from the abortion provider.
That’s according to Liberty Counsel, which is defending Sandra Merritt after she and Center for Medical Progress President David Daleiden were charged by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra with 15 counts each.
They are accused of recording conversations without the consent of the other parties.
“The [attorney general] is in the back pocket of Planned Parenthood. He got a campaign contribution from Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards speaks very highly of him and has mentioned him in glowing terms in a press release,” said Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver, whose organization is representing Merritt.
His organization reported Thursday that Becerra has received “thousands” of dollars from Planned Parenthood.
When pro-abortion California Gov. Jerry Brown named Xavier Becerra as attorney general, Planned Parenthood boss Cecile Richards praised the appointment.
“Rep. Becerra is a long-time champion for women’s reproductive rights and health,” she said. “As a former California deputy attorney general, he understands the importance of a woman’s right to access the full range of health care, including safe, legal abortion. At a time when reproductive health is gravely under attack in states across the country, we need leaders like Rep. Becerra to be responsible stewards of the law and protect the rights of millions of Americans, including the 850,000 California women, men and families that Planned Parenthood serves every year.”
Liberty Counsel said the Center for Responsive Politics shows Becerra received “$1,000 in 2014, $2,000 in 2012, $500 in 2004, $1,000 in 2002, and $1,035 in 1998 in congressional campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood.”
The former AG, Kamala Harris, also received $2,600 in 2016 from Planned Parenthood.
Under her direction there was an investigation into Merritt and Daleiden’s organization, the Center for Medical Progress, and she collaborated with Planned Parenthood to draft legislation criminalizing the recording or distribution of a private conversation with a health care provider, Liberty Counsel said.
“There is obvious political motivation behind the recent baseless criminal charges against Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden,” said Staver. “Our client did not break any laws. With all the investigative media and reality TV shows that use investigative journalism in California, there has been no effort by the state to prosecute and for good reason, because the First Amendment has something to say about this. The attorney general has engaged in selective prosecution to target pro-life speech. When law enforcement selectively targets people, everyone should be concerned. This effort will fail.
“He is an ideologue, and ideology has trumped the law in this case,” Staver previously told WND and Radio America.
While the California charges are far more numerous and severe than what Merritt fought in Texas last year, Staver said his client is not backing down. The charges in Texas eventually were dropped.
“Sandra is certainly resolved to move forward. She didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “This is outrageous, but whenever you become a target of a criminal lawsuit or a criminal indictment as in this case – not just of one felony but of 15 felonies – it’s quite daunting.”
Staver promised: “We’ll push through this. She’ll stand strong, and we’ll get this case dismissed.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Mathew Staver:
California Wednesday said it was lodging 15 felony counts against the two pro-life activists behind the landmark 2015 series alleging Planned Parenthood sold the body parts of aborted babies for profit.
WND reported the pro-lifers responded by releasing yet another video. In the latest, a former employee of Planned Parenthood explains how she tries to make sure babies are dismembered before removal because of the visual impact of the dead victim.
“It’s not a matter of how I felt about [the unborn infant] coming out intact, but I’ve got to worry about my staff, and you know, people’s feelings about it, coming out looking like a baby,” says DeShawn Taylor, a former medical operator for Planned Parenthood Arizona who now runs her own abortion business.
Naming baby ‘so creepy’
In the new video, Taylor says that because “Arizona is so conservative,” she resists sending an intact baby’s body for disposal or cremation.
Those who handle death certifications, she said, have told her to call the victim “Baby so-and-so.”
“That’s so creepy,” she said.
In the video, Taylor believed she was speaking to procurement specialists who wanted to obtain undamaged and unadulterated baby tissue. She said the request was problematic because if there’s any sign of life, Arizona law requires her to transport the baby to a hospital.
That makes it “tricky,” she said.
“You need to pay attention to who’s in the room.”
The new video:
‘Laying bare the inhumanity’
The national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List expressed shock at the “callousness” revealed in the video.
“The latest video from the Center for Medical Progress once again lays bare the inhumanity of abortion and Planned Parenthood’s disregard for the law,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
“The abortionist may laugh as she describes the force needed to dismember a 5-month-old unborn child struggling to survive, but even the staff are not immune to the terrible sight of aborted children and babies possibly born alive and left to die. At Planned Parenthood, these precious children are valued for the profit their organs can bring, but not their lives.
“We have seen enough,” she said, noting Congress has already referred Planned Parenthood and its associates for criminal investigation.
“For the abortion giant to continue receiving more than $500 million in taxpayer funding is simply unconscionable,” Dannenfelser continued. “Legislators must act immediately to redirect those funds to community health centers, which outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities by more than 20 to one nationwide and offer a full range of primary health care.”
Planned Parenthood is now is a desperate fight in Congress to keep the $500 million annually it has been getting from taxpayers. President Trump and members of Congress have said that money would be better spent on community health centers that provide a full range of health services.
Videos ‘put abortion providers at risk’
Abortion industry leaders praised California’s criminal prosecution.
Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation said: “As we’ve known all along, David Daleiden and his co-conspirators are the ones who broke the law, not abortion providers. In order to launch their smear campaign, Daleiden and Merritt engaged in a long-running illegal conspiracy. They should be held accountable for their actions, which have put abortion providers and others at risk.”
Daleiden pointed out that pro-abortion groups filed the “same collusion with corrupt officials in Houston, Texas, and failed: both the charges and the DA were thrown out.”
One of the companies that procures body parts, StemExpress, had sued the investigators but then moved to dismiss the case shortly after the company was referred to the Department of Justice for investigation and possible charges.
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund defended the CMP investigators in that case. The organization’s chief counsel, Charles LiMandri, said at the time that the dismissal of the lawsuit, “on the eve of an important hearing and in the wake of criminal referrals, shows that StemExpress’s time is up.”
He said StemExpress chief Cate Dyer and StemExpress “would pay $55 for a fetal brain, and then turn around and sell it for $3,340.”
“If you do that, you can hire a lot of attorneys to throw up propaganda lawsuits aimed – not at vindicating legal rights – but at influencing public opinion,” LiMandri said.
“Propaganda lawsuits are expensive, and StemExpress decided this one was no longer worth the money. Hopefully, when Congress removes Planned Parenthood’s $500 million annual tax revenue stream, we’ll see Planned Parenthood rethink the merit of its own propaganda lawsuit against David Daleiden and CMP,” he said.
See the StemExpress video:
A U.S. House panel, headed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., issued a report on CMP’s 11 videos “documenting the practices of local abortion clinics and groups affiliated with the fetal tissue procurement industry.”
“Daleiden and his colleagues filmed hundreds of hours of meetings and conversations. … Multiple clips show abortion providers and executives admitting that their fetal tissue procurement agreements are profitable for clinics and help keep their bottom line healthy,” the House panel said.
“Multiple clips show abortion providers and executives admitting that they sometimes changed the abortion procedure in order to obtain a more intact specimen, and some use the illegal partial birth abortion procedure,” it said.
The congressional investigators found: “Planned Parenthood Federation of America also revealed that they intentionally had not set a policy about ‘remuneration’ for fetal tissue because ‘the headlines would be a disaster.’ While the organization’s executive told affiliates to ‘think, ‘New York Times headline” if this went badly, at the end of the day, they thought ‘[selling fetal tissue] is a good idea.'”
The panel used the videos not as evidence but as a complaint, the report said. It ended up referring for investigation and possible charges StemExpress, the University of New Mexico, an abortion clinic in Arkansas, DV Biologics, Advanced Bioscience Resources, an abortion clinic in Florida, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and a Texas abortionist.
The House panel’s referral of individuals and organizations for investigation was joined by a referral from a Senate panel.
When the House panel voted on a contempt citation for StemExpress, Democrats on the committee walked out.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., stated, “We refuse to sanction or endorse this exercise by continuing to participate.”
See Schakowsky’s statement:
The fallout of the videos has included decisions by states to defund Planned Parenthood. Major donors also are backing out, with Macy’s ending it support for the abortionists.
One of the videos showed an official admitting Planned Parenthood sells fully intact aborted babies.
In the first undercover video released by CMP, Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on crushing babies.
“We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact,” she said.
See the first video:
In the second video, Planned Parenthood’s Mary Gatter discussed how her compensation for organs could rise when she said, “I want a Lamborghini.”
See her comments:
The fifth video released shows Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood’s Houston clinic discussing “intact fetal cadavers”:
The seventh video has the testimony of a Planned Parenthood worker who tapped an aborted infant’s heart and saw it start beating.
In Texas, a judge tossed a prosecutor’s attempt at charging Daleiden and Merritt.
WND reported that talk radio host Rush Limbaugh described the Texas indictments as a “rogue” prosecutor working with a “pro-abortion” staffer inside his own office.
“So all that has to happen is that your rogue prosecutor, working in concert with your pro-abortion activist in the DA’s office, get[s] in the grand jury room and start[s] explaining all this to the grand jury, which is made up of your average Hillary voter, for all we know,” he said at the time. “And you start explaining what really went on here. Here we have this great organization, Planned Parenthood, that’s trying to plan families and trying to protect women from the terrible, almost fatal disease of pregnancy, and here come these rogue agents disguised as journalists, but they don’t have immunity, and they’re the ones who’ve engaged in criminal activity,” he said.
“Just as corruption was involved in the last attempt to falsely charge David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, I predict that corruption is at the heart of these California charges as well. It is despicable that the California attorney general charged innocent whistleblowers with felonies instead of the career criminals at Planned Parenthood. This is the ultimate abuse of power and tyranny. The Planned Parenthood butchers have committed tens of thousands of felonies by illegally selling baby’s body parts for profit,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue who also served as a founding member of the board for the Center for Medical Progress.
Cheryl Sullenger, senior vice president of OR, added, “We call on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to aggressively prosecute Planned Parenthood and their partners in the illegal aborted baby parts trade. We ask that Attorney General Sessions resist any intimidation by California authorities who are simply acting as Democratic operatives on a political agenda to thwart any prosecution of Planned Parenthood.”