Evil has had its day, but the story is far from over.
The $2.2 million jury verdict against David Daleiden and co-defendant Sandra Merritt on Nov. 15 for exposing Planned Parenthood is disheartening. Planned Parenthood sued in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court for trespassing and other alleged illegal investigative methods for the 2015 video recordings of officials bragging about trafficking in baby parts.
Daleiden and Merritt attended abortion industry conferences posing as exhibitors where they secretly recorded conversations. Daleiden also recorded at Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics in Texas and Colorado. His attorneys with the Thomas More Society contended that they were citizen journalists investigating “violent felonies,” believing that infants were being born alive and their tissue trafficked for profit.
Evil has had its day, but the story is far from over. While the disappointment is heart-numbing, there are good points to keep in mind as we continue to hope and pray for truth and justice to prevail.
1. There is a strong likelihood for appeal. Tom Brejcha, President, Founder and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society explained that the worse the judgment is, the better the prospects for an appeal. “There were numerous errors in this trial that turned justice on its head,” he said. “I still have utter confidence, ultimately, they are going to be vindicated... I predict it will be a day remembered as a steppingstone to a great appeal and the establishment of a precedent that will live on for the rest of time and help us end the scourge of abortion in our country.”
2. Pro-life activist Joe Scheidler’s case gives us hope. His right to protest abortion prevailed after nearly 28 years of litigation and three trips to the U.S. Supreme. The Thomas More Society, which is defending Daleiden, also successfully defended Scheidler.
3. Daleiden (and Merritt and others fighting these cases), are examples for us all. We are a witness to courage and perseverance; doing the right thing and staying the distance with no guarantee of a happy ending in this world. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:4).
4. Prayers will build up a powerful force as they continue and increase in numbers.
5. Suffering will accomplish great things. Daleiden and all those with him are suffering for the unborn and are surely offering it in union with God. Thus, the results will be powerful. “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8-18).
6. Free speech will also be defended. Brejcha noted that the judge neglected that the First Amendment protects right of journalists. “We asked the judge to tell the jury the law on the First Amendment,” he explained. “Not only did he not do that, but he told the jury the First Amendment did not apply which was wrong and now is grounds for appeal.”
7. True faith is strengthened as we strive to accept that God allows things to happen for a reason. Just as evil seemed to have prevailed on Good Friday, instead, the greatest good came from it — the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through this disappointment, we are challenged to deepen our trust in God, that “all things will work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
There is another case on Dec. 6. Daleiden and Merritt will be in criminal court in California over the same videos. People of the State of California v. David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Susan Merritt.
Brejcha offered encouragement regarding that upcoming case. “We’ve been allowed to do a lot more in criminal court; bring in real evidence and bring in these wonderful experts that are telling you in detail about the children being born alive and the terrible things being done there.”
We must keep praying against abortion, for conversions and for strength and perseverance for Daleiden, Merritt and all those fighting for them, including the Thomas More Society, a not-for-profit, national public interest law firm dedicated to protecting life, family and religious liberty. They rely on donations to be able to offer legal services pro bono from local trial courts all the way to the United States Supreme Court.