Lauretta Brown is the Register’s Washington-based staff writer.
David Daleiden, pro-life activist and undercover investigator, attended the 47th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., Friday, taking a moment to gather with fellow pro-lifers amid the legal battles over his undercover videos which allegedly show Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers trafficking in fetal tissue.
Daleiden first released his undercover videos in 2015. At the time, even then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the footage, which led to a congressional inquiry, “disturbing.” Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, denied wrongdoing but did end its practice of receiving reimbursement for fetal-tissue donation in response to the public outcry over the footage. A barrage of lawsuits from Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and others followed.
Addressing the ongoing litigation against him, Daleiden told the Register that he remains hopeful in both the civil and criminal cases and pointed out a recent win in the criminal proceedings.
Progress in Criminal Case
“The criminal case that was brought by Kamala Harris at the behest of Planned Parenthood and continues to be prosecuted by Xavier Becerra, who's another big Planned Parenthood political beneficiary,” he said, “that case is falling apart right now.”
Attorneys for Daleiden’s co-defendant Sandra Merrit filed an ultimately unsuccessful motion last year outlining California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and former Attorney General Kamala Harris’s extensive ties to and collaboration with Planned Parenthood. The motion highlighted that since 1998, Becerra “received approximately $5,000 in donations from Planned Parenthood or its employees,” and Harris received “approximately $7,500 in donations from Planned Parenthood or its employees.”
“Just about a month ago a state judge in San Francisco threw out about half of the case, confirmed what we've been saying all along,” Daleiden said Friday, “which is that the videos that we recorded of Planned Parenthood's top level medical director talking about using partial birth abortions to harvest baby body parts the videos with the CEO of STEM express talking about shipping completely intact fetuses back to their laboratory for harvesting, those videos were filmed in public places. Those were public conversations, nothing private about them.”
“Same kind of undercover video that regular local news journalists do on a daily and weekly basis in California and they are not prosecuted under the California video recording law, it's legal,” he continued. “You're allowed to do that kind of news reporting in the state of California and that's what we did. And the judge confirmed that last month, contrary to what Planned Parenthood and their business partners have been claiming for years, and years and years.”
Daleiden is referring to San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite’s dismissal of five of the counts against him of recording people without permission. The court found that “as to each of these counts that there is an absence of probable cause to establish that these conversations were ‘confidential communications’ as defined by the statute,” in reference to a statute that prohibits the recording of a confidential communication without the consent of the other person.
“There's still a handful of charges that remain, we're going to try to get those tossed out as well, probably on appeal, but the case is falling apart,” he emphasized. “The central tenets of what Planned Parenthood and their allies were contending has been ruled false by a judge already. So that's very good for the criminal case.”
Appealing for Vindication
As for the civil case, Daleiden said that there was “a bad jury verdict back in November that is going to go on appeal as well sometime in the new year,” referring to the judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood that would have Daleiden’s group pay $2.2 million in damages to the abortion provider.
“There's also a similar civil case from the National Abortion Federation that involves all of the unreleased video footage that we still have that’s some of the most shocking and damning stuff that we ever recorded,” Daleiden said. “We're going to be moving to try to liberate that footage in the next couple of months here, hopefully that will all be kind of bound up on appeal with the Planned Parenthood stuff so it'll be one neat package that we can hopefully get some vindication from the appeals courts.”
“Stay tuned, watch this space,” he urged. “The fight's not over. We're not giving up and there is a lot more that's going to happen in 2020.”
‘A Time of Victory’
Daleiden added that he felt “great” about the state of the pro-life movement and the historic first of President Donald Trump addressing the March for Life in person.
“I'm so thankful and I'm so happy for this president, for his witness, for the incredible historic advocacy that his administration is doing for our unborn brothers and sisters in the womb,” Daleiden said, “I think it shows that we're at a time of victory right now for the pro-life movement to have this president here at this March for life.”
“We're going to keep America great,” he emphasized, “the best is yet to come for our movement and for children in the womb in America.”