HOUSTON, Texas — A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, has declined to take any action against Houston-based Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast but has indicted the two people who took undercover videos. Texas leaders responded to the indictments of the pro-life activists by vowing to continue their investigation into the practices at Texas abortion facilities.
The two undercover investigators that were indicted, David Daleidon and Sandra Merritt, have alleged that Planned Parenthood illegally profitted from selling tissue of aborted babies. Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against Daleiden and Merritt and the Center for Medical Progress on January 14 asking for damages and for declaratory and injunctive relief.
The undercover video involving the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Houston was the fifth released by Daleiden. As reported by Breitbart News’ Austin Ruse, it shows the director of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, Melissa Farrell, discussing the sale of whole intact aborted babies and discussing the altering of the abortion process in order to obtain whole intact babies.
In the video (which is included the Breitbart News article), Farrell talks about “specimens” ranging from 14 to 22 weeks in gestational age and says she has six “providers” who will abort babies that are older than 16 weeks.
As reported by Ruse, the video shows Farrell talking about “diversification of the revenue stream.” Moreover, when she is complimented on her financial background and her ability to see the financial benefits in buying and selling fetal body parts, she does not correct the investigator who complimented her. She also does not deny that Planned Parenthood is in the business for financial gain.
As reported by Breitbart News after the video was released, the Houston Planned Parenthood director nods and agrees that her department “contributes so much to the bottom line” and says her research department is the largest of all other similar departments at the abortion provider combined.
Planned Parenthood and StemExpress, the primary purchaser of aborted baby organs, deny that the organs are sold for a profit. They claim any funds obtained cover reasonable expenses.
Breitbart Texas was at a press conference in early August 2015 when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson to investigate Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. His request came just a day after the release of the fifth video.
Patrick told the media gathered there, “The people of America and the people of Texas will not accept this callous attitude toward human life and I will not accept it.” He added, “I’ve asked the DA to immediately initiate a criminal investigation to see what laws, if any, have been broken in the state of Texas.”
The Lt. Gov. also said, “We should not be dismembering aborted babies. We should not be selling babies fully intact. We should not have Planned Parenthood potentially as an inducement to abortion because they make a profit from it, encouraging women to have an abortion.”
Patrick said at the press conference, “This country will not stand for this barbaric treatment. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, no one that I know of who has a heart, who has any moral foundation, would justify what is happening, what is allegedly happening, in these Planned Parenthood centers.”
After the indictments this week, Patrick released a statement saying, “The horrific nature of these videos demand scrutiny and investigation.”
Patrick also vowed that the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services would “continue to examine the practices of abortion providers and whether state law adequately protects the sanctity of life.” He added, “I will never be deterred from standing up to fight to protect the unborn.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement that said, “The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement saying, “The Health and Human Service Commission’s Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office have an ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood’s actions. Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation.” Abbott continued, “The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue.”
Houston-based Texas Right to Life issued a statement saying, “When a grand jury indicts the very people who report a crime, rather than indicting the criminals, something goes clearly wrong. Today in Harris County, rather than prosecuting the people who butcher and sell preborn children, a grand jury set sights on investigative reporters from the Center for Medical Progress. Instead of raising questions about criminal practices in abortion mills, the grand jury penalized the Center for Medical Progress for exercising their First Amendment rights.”
Texas Right to Life added, “The outcome conceals the greater crime of dismembering preborn children and demonstrates the need for a law to stop these brutal, inhumane practices.” The pro-life organization applauded Governor Abbott for reaffirming his commitment to investigate the criminal activity at the abortion mills. They said “we are confident that he and his team will achieve what the Harris County kangaroo court failed to do.”
The president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Russell Moore, was reported by the Christian media outlet CBN News, to have called the indictments “complete corruption.”
As previously reported by Breitbart Texas’ Bob Price, Texas Governor Abbott’s “LIFE Initiative” calls for the following:
Laws must be changed to (1) make it a felony under Texas law to perform a partial-birth abortion; and (2) make it illegal for abortion doctors to risk a woman’s health by altering the procedure to preserve fetal body parts.
Improve and expand the availability of adoption services; and increase awareness about Texas’ already best-in-the-nation child-support enforcement program, so that young mothers considering how to deal with pregnancy know the father will be held accountable to support his family.
Funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers out of taxpayer money must be eliminated completely, both at the State and local levels.
Eliminate and criminalize any sale or transaction of fetal tissue by an abortion clinic for any purpose whatsoever.
Lana Shadwick is a writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her @LanaShadwick2