Washington D.C., Jan 27, 2016 / 17:53 pm
The Planned Parenthood investigators indicted by a Houston grand jury on Monday were not breaking the law as they are undercover journalists, maintains the lawyer for the lead investigator, David Daleiden.
Daleiden’s use of a false identification, linked to his undercover report on Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast in Houston, is “standard undercover technique” and is allowed under Texas law, Peter Breen of the Thomas More Society told CNA.
Daleiden, the project lead for the “citizen journalist” team Center for Medical Progress, and his fellow worker Sandra Merritt, were indicted Jan. 25 by a grand jury for “tampering with a government record.” Additionally, Daleiden was indicted for the purchase or sale of human organs, a misdemeanor charge.
Last summer, the Center for Medical Progress had released a series of videos of secretly-taped conversations with Planned Parenthood officials as part of its investigative report “Human Capital.” The report focused on Planned Parenthood’s role in its clinics offering fetal tissue of aborted babies to harvesters for compensation.
Planned Parenthood, Daleiden charged, was illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue of aborted babies.
Federal law generally prohibits the sale of human organs but does allow for the transfer of fetal tissue for medical research with compensation, provided the compensation is not “valuable consideration” but is “reasonable,” to cover expenses such as operating and shipping costs.
Following the release of the videos, Planned Parenthood has been investigated on the state and federal level, but so far there have been no official conclusions of wrongdoing.
To investigate Planned Parenthood, members of the Center for Medical Progress set up a false company Biomax and posed as company representatives seeking to partner with Planned Parenthood clinics to harvest fetal tissue. They discussed various amounts of compensation for the tissue.