A Grand Jury Investigating Planned Parenthood Instead Charges Anti-Abortion Activists (Audio)
Last year, Planned Parenthood experienced a tumultuous few months that brought the family healthcare facility more criticism than usual. Often the subject of protests and negative attention from Conservatives, the clinic known for providing sexual and reproductive health services to millions of families came under fire after a series of undercover videos were released which purported to prove that Planned Parenthood clinics in the Gulf Coast region were illegally acquiring fetal tissue and selling it to make a profit. Nearly immediately, a media frenzy descended upon the subject, with the clinic and its supporters vehemently denying any wrongdoing and putting forth arguments that the videos had been edited to further the right-wing’s argument. However, the group behind the videos – the Center for Medical Progress – claimed the videos were unadulterated and featured Planned Parenthood doctors negotiating for payment for goods they were not legally allowed to sell. Throughout the course of the arguments, statements like “harvesting baby parts” became catchphrases for the pro-life movement and the videos became so popular that presidential candidate Carly Fiorina referenced them in a debate and a lone gunman who stormed a Colorado Planned Parenthood facility and killed several people was quoted as having mentioned “baby parts” when being apprehended.
It all seemed to come to a head when in late 2015, it was announced that a Texas grand jury would launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s alleged involvement in illegal trafficking of fetal tissue. Based in Houston, the grand jury was appointed in an effort to prove or dismiss allegations of criminal misconduct, a charge loaded with the influence of vitriolic rhetoric not only in the media but also in Washington, where Conservative lawmakers voted to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood in the wake of the videos. However, in a chain of events celebrated by the pro-choice movement, an indictment was instead directed towards the Center for Medical Progress. Specifically, two anti-abortion activists face a felony count of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to buying human tissue. According to NPR, “instead of finding evidence of wrongdoing by the organization, the grand jury returned indictments against anti-abortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt,” but the battle over abortion is far from over, and will likely play a pivotal role in the ongoing presidential campaign.