SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California state prosecutors have charged the pro-life investigator behind the 2014-2015 undercover Planned Parenthood videos with 15 felonies less than a year after Texas officials dropped all charges.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra alleges that David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, along with his co-worker Sandra Merritt, wrongfully recorded Planned Parenthood employees and others without their consent in capturing the undercover footage.
Daleiden is therefore charged with 14 counts of covertly recording confidential conversations—one for each person—and one count of conspiracy to invade privacy.
“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” Becerra said, according to the LA Times. “[We] will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”
Daleiden said in a statement that he believes prosecutors are going after the wrong party.
“The public knows the real criminals are Planned Parenthood and their business partners like StemExpress and DV Biologics—currently being prosecuted in California—who have harvested and sold aborted baby body parts for profit for years in direct violation of state and federal law,” he remarked.
Daleiden advised that additional videos are forthcoming, which he plans on “showing the entire world … in vindication of the First Amendment rights of all.”
As previously reported, Daleiden, 28, had posed as a representative of a fetal tissue procurement company in order to engage in discussions with Planned Parenthood officials as a potential buyer of bodily organs. He recorded the interactions, conducted at various locations across the country, as part of his “human capital” investigative series that was released beginning in July 2015.
The first of nearly a dozen videos released by CMP featured Planned Parenthood Medical Director Deborah Nucatola, who nonchalantly munched on salad and sipped wine as she talked about adjusting the child so as not to crush certain organs due to the demand for the body part.
“I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps,” she explained.
“[Y]ou’re just kind of cognizant where you put your graspers,” Nucatola outlined. “You try to intentionally go above and below the thorax, so that—-you know. We’ve been very good at getting the 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.’”
The second video showed Mary Gatter, the president of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors Council, haggling with the undercover investigators about the compensation for the fetal organs, laughing, “I want a Lamborghini.” Other footage showed an actual aborted baby being dissected in a dish, with an assistant declaring, “Another boy!” and another video showed an abortionist laughing about how harvesting an intact baby head would be “something to strive for.”
Planned Parenthood apologized for the insensitive “tone” of the first video, but denied that it profits from its agreements with scientific organizations. It soon announced that it would stop receiving reimbursement for “expenses” surrounding the provision of body parts of aborted babies. The abortion giant argued that the dead babies were beneficial in research to find cures for diseases.
The organization also contended that the videos were misleading because they had been edited, but the Center for Medical Progress also publicly posted the hours-long unedited footage for viewing as well.
In January of last year, the Harris County district attorney’s office in Texas charged Daleiden with a felony count of “tampering with a governmental record” for creating a fake driver’s license in conducting his undercover investigation, as well as a misdemeanor count related to the purchasing of aborted babies. All charges, which centered on Daleiden’s undercover investigations in Texas, were dismissed by the end of July.
However, in the meantime, representatives for Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California at the time, searched Daleiden’s apartment and seized all of his videos from the undercover investigation. Daleiden posted a statement afterward, remarking that the investigation was lopsided as Harris’ office ignored information surrounding the working relationship between former buyer StemExpress and Planned Parenthood.
StemExpress discontinued its work with the abortion giant after CMP released videos revealing its involvement with the organization.
Planned Parenthood partner DaVinci Biosciences and its sister company DV Biologics were then sued last October by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckus after he found evidence that the company had profited from the bodily organs of aborted babies.
“From 2009 to 2015, the defendants obtained aborted fetus donations from Planned Parenthood and turned those donations into a profit-driven business,” he declared. “They did so by selling tissues and cells from the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, intestines, skeletal muscle and bones of the aborted fetus donations.”
Rackauckus outlined that the companies hired a marketing consultant to create promotional materials, including a catalog, to boost sales. His office found that profits included up to $674 in profit for each fetal heart, up to $233 in profit for each liver, up to $221 in in profit for each stomach, and up to $664 in profit for each small intestine.
The companies are accused of generating $1.5 million in sales, while also marking up shipping and processing costs.
The Congressional Select Panel on Infant Lives also issued numerous criminal referrals last year while investigating Planned Parenthood and its partners, including an allegation that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast unlawfully sold baby body parts to the University of Texas.
It likewise came to believe from evidence that the University of New Mexico violated of the state’s Anatomical Gift Act, that Stem Express violated HIPPA to increase the harvesting of body parts for profit, and that DV Biologics received revenue for the body parts of aborted babies.
Specifically, the Committee noted in its report that StemExpress, Advanced Bioscience Resources (ABR) and Novogenics Laboratories purchased the bodily organs of aborted babies from several California Planned Parenthood locations, and then resold them at substantially higher prices. The organizations are also accused of hiking the prices above costs for “transportation, implantation, processing, preservation, quality control or storage of” the body parts.
“[I]n June of 2014, an ABR technician obtained a 20-week-old fetus at a Planned Parenthood clinic, for which it paid $60,” the report outlines. “From that one fetus, ABR sold its brain to one customer for $325, both of its eyes for $325 each ($650 total) to a second customer, a portion of its liver for $325 to a third customer, its thymus for $325 and another portion of its liver for $325 to a fourth customer, and its lung for $325 to a fifth customer.”
StemExpress is accused of similar actions, paying Planned Parenthood $55 for a baby and then selling his or her body parts for $250 each, making $1000 from just one child.
The Committee also noted that despite Planned Parenthood’s “constant statements to the media that [its] affiliates had merely been recovering their costs” in receiving payment from ABR, StemExpress and other companies, its attorneys told the investigative Congressional panel that the Planned Parenthood offices only sought to determine their costs after-the-fact in light of national scrutiny.
“Around that time, Planned Parenthood announced it would no longer accept any payments in connection with its fetal tissue transfer programs,” Grassley explained.