California AG Charges Nonprofit Antiabortion Activists with Conspiracy and Invasion of Privacy

By Fibonacci Blue (Flickr: Planned Parenthood in St. Paul) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

March 28, 2017; Los Angeles Times

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed 15 felony charges against antiabortion activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt. Readers will recall them the pair who released heavily edited “sting” videos (albeit with long versions available on their Center for Medical Progress website) alleging that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue. The videos became key in spurring an ongoing national debate and campaign to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

The California investigation was started a year ago under former AG Kamala Harris. At the time, Daleiden wrote on Facebook that agents seized personal information in a raid that also netted “all video footage showing Planned Parenthood’s criminal trade in aborted baby parts.” These, he said, were his “First Amendment work product.”

Becerra has charged the two with 14 counts of filming people without their consent in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Pasadena, and El Dorado and one count of conspiracy to invade privacy; the complaint can be accessed here.

The Sacramento Bee writes that the Center for Medical Progress is calling the charges “bogus” and “fake news,” meant to benefit Planned Parenthood’s “political cronies.” A statement from CMP references the dismissal of similar charges in Texas last year.—Ruth McCambridge