Grand jury indicts activists behind Planned Parenthood videos
AUSTIN, Texas — A grand jury investigating women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood has indicted two anti-abortion activists who covertly shot videos of the organization.
District Attorney Devon Anderson announced Monday that Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden was indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record and a count of related to purchasing human organs. Another activist was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.
A news release announcing the indictment doesn’t say what the record was.
Anderson said the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.
The Center for Medical Progress released several secretly recorded videos that it says show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood has said it abides by a law that allows providers to be reimbursed for the costs of processing tissue donated by women who have had abortions.
A phone message left with the group wasn’t immediately returned.
The videos riled anti-abortion activists and fueled discussion in Congress about cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood.
The National Abortion Federation filed a lawsuit in July, saying members of the Center for Medical Progress infiltrated its meetings and recorded its members. The federation of abortion providers says the release of any audio or video would put members in danger.
Planned Parenthood has become a lightning rod in the 2016 campaign. Most Republican presidential candidates object to continued federal financing of the organization. At the beginning of January, Planned Parenthood endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president.
In November, a man from North Carolina opened fire at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic and killed three people, including a police officer.
Suspect Robert Lewis Dear while being taken into custody after the Nov. 27 shooting, said “no more baby parts.”
During a court hearing in December, Dear declared, “I am guilty, there will be no trial. I am a warrior for the babies.”
After the shooting, Planned Parenthood officials also linked the attack to the “negative environment” created by the anti-abortion critics of Planned Parenthood services.