WASHINGTON – Despite the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal this month to dismiss Planned Parenthood's lawsuit against pro-life activist David Daleiden, other pro-lifers say videos Daleiden released in 2015 have advanced the crusade against abortion.
The 2015 videos, released by Daleiden's California-based Center for Medical Progress (CMP), claimed to show footage of Planned Parenthood workers trading in body parts from aborted babies. CMP's investigation prompted congressional examination of Planned Parenthood and a reported investigation by the Department of Justice, as well as renewed federal defunding efforts.
Kristen Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, told Baptist Press the CMP videos "revealed the cold-hearted nature of that horrific business and of the people laughing all the way to the bank. The evidence that Planned Parenthood officials picked through the broken bodies of aborted infants to earn extra money and found their deadly business amusing and highly profitable turned many people's stomachs.
"Lives have been saved as people have taken the time to learn more" because of the videos, Hawkins said.
In 2016, Planned Parenthood sued Daleiden, CMP and others who helped produce the videos, according to media reports, claiming they conspired to commit federal wiretapping violations and fraudulently gained access to conferences.
Daleiden and his colleagues claimed they were performing investigative journalism and are protected by California laws requiring dismissal of lawsuits that seek to stifle free speech on a public issue, Reuters reported.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Daleiden's arguments in 2018, and he appealed to the Supreme Court. The high court declined April 1 to hear Daleiden's appeal, allowing Planned Parenthood's suit to continue.
In response to the Supreme Court's decision, Daleiden tweeted, "The biggest losers from today's decision are [Planned Parenthood] who now must go to trial on fabricated claims with zero facts."
Planned Parenthood has denied it profited illegally from transferring fetal tissue to researchers. Planned Parenthood also has accused CMP of editing its videos deceptively.
Bioethicist Joy Riley told BP she can't quantify the CMP videos' impact, but she has "heard a number of conversations about abortion, personally and in the culture, that we weren't having before the release of those videos" – conversations about abortion procedures, what happens to the bodies of aborted children and whether abortion providers are permitted to profit from selling fetal tissue.
"There seems to be a new level of honesty in some of the conversations we're having in the culture," said Riley, executive director of the Tennessee Center for Bioethics and Culture.
In addition to Planned Parenthood's civil suit, Daleiden faces 15 felony counts in California related to his investigative reporting. He is expected to be tried April 22-May 4, LifeSite News reported.
In Texas, Daleiden was charged in 2016 with felony and misdemeanor crimes. Those charges eventually were dropped, and in January 2019, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the CMP videos "are authentic and not deceptively edited," according to the conservative publication National Review.
A California federal judge blocked the release of CMP videos in a related legal matter, Reuters reported, and the Supreme Court allowed that ruling to stand last year.
Planned Parenthood has continued to receive more than $500 million a year in government funds despite reports and investigations as well as its record of performing more than 300,000 abortions annually.
Written by Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.