Court proceedings are underway to determine whether David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the activists who began exposing Planned Parenthood’s financial dealings with fetal body parts harvested during abortions four years ago, should face a criminal trial.
In what is being described as the “put-up-or-shut-up stage” in the preliminary hearing for the pair of investigators — who started publishing in the summer of 2015 undercover video footage of top Planned Parenthood executives and clinicians talking cavalierly about their transactions with biotech companies regarding fetal organs obtained through abortions — Planned Parenthood staffers who were filmed took to the witness stand.
A California Planned Parenthood staffer, identified as Doe 7, testified on Tuesday that “she provided fetal tissue from the abortions she did at Planned Parenthood as a regular occurrence,” according to a summary by The Center for Medical Progress, founded by Daleiden.
“When asked if she had ever heard of StemExpress, Doe 7 said she had heard of cases in which StemExpress was involved and money was exchanged. StemExpress and Planned Parenthood Northern California are both under ongoing FBI and U.S. Department of Justice investigation for selling fetal organs and tissue against the law.”
Stem Express is a biotech firm known for its procurement of fetal body parts for research purposes.
Melissa Fowler, vice president of external relations at the National Abortion Federation, claimed under oath that “she does not know what a fetal tissue procurement organization is, even though she recognized StemExpress as a repeat NAF vendor,” CMP noted.
Daleiden and Merritt are charged with 15 counts of felony invasion of privacy and are accused of creating a fake biotech firm in order to pose as buyers interested in fetal tissue. The two activists used fake names to enter NAF meetings that were held in 2014 and 2015 to tape what happened.
Prosecutors say the footage was obtained in an illegal manner, though CMP argues that NAF’s Exhibitor Rules and Regulations did not prohibit video recording.
Attorneys for the pro-life activists assert this is a political hit job on pro-life journalists.
“What today has revealed is the prosecution by the attorney general is political in nature and built on a house of cards,” said Horatio Mihet, Merritt’s attorney, in comments to Courthouse News.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter