Q & A Regarding David Daleiden’s Indictment

Focus on the Family® wants your family to thrive in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to religious freedom and how to navigate the culture. That's why we've put together this brief Q&A, which addresses the most-asked questions regarding the "David (Daleiden) vs. Goliath (Planned Parenthood)" scenario that's currently playing out in mainstream and social media.

If you have additional questions, please contact us on our Facebook page, via email or at 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).

Q1: Who is David Daleiden?

David is a 27-year old pro-life activist and the founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), a non-profit organization consisting of "a group of citizen journalists dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances," according to documents filed with the IRS. Before founding CMP in 2013, David worked with another pro-life group, Live Action, which is also known for its undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood.

Q2: Why Is David In The News?

David was just indicted (i.e., charged with violating criminal laws) by a Houston grand jury stemming from his undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood's role in: 1. harvesting fetal body parts from aborted preborn babies during abortions and; 2. the alleged illegal selling of those body parts to researchers. David has been charged with violating two criminal state statutes:

  1. Falsifying a government record (he allegedly created a fake driver's license to further his undercover identity necessary to gain access to Planned Parenthood facilities and events); and
  2. Soliciting the purchase of fetal body parts from Planned Parenthood, which is also illegal under federal law.

Q3: Does This Have Something To Do With The Undercover Videos Of Planned Parenthood Released Last Summer?

Yes. Those videos prompted Texas officials to investigate Planned Parenthood for possible violations of Texas law. Then, in a strange turn of events, a local Houston grand jury indicted David rather than Planned Parenthood!

Q4: Tell Me More About This Houston Grand Jury. How Did It Get Involved?

Texas state officials were appalled at the practices, attitudes and statements of Planned Parenthood's officials revealed in David's videos. They launched an immediate statewide investigation (still ongoing) of Planned Parenthood's activities and practices in the state of Texas.

Since David's videos included meetings with the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Houston, the Texas lieutenant governor also asked the Houston District Attorney to convene a grand jury to separately look into any potential violations of law by that particular affiliate.

In a shocking turn of events, this local grand jury exonerated the Houston Planned Parenthood affiliate and issued indictments against David and one of his associates.

Q5: What's David's Response to the Criminal Charges?

The probable legal response, as reported by legal organizations assisting David, is relatively simple: The statute prohibiting the falsifying of government documents does not apply in some cases, such as citizen journalists doing undercover reporting. And, since David obviously had no intent to purchase any fetal baby parts (he was trying to expose the practice, not participate in it), he is not guilty of the other charge, either.

Q6: Tell Me More About The Alleged Illegal Selling Of Fetal Body Parts.

Federal law, and in many cases state laws, prohibits the selling of fetal tissue (i.e., organs) for profit, although the federal statute is written in such a way as to permit the recoupment of the costs associated with processing and shipping fetal tissue. The issue David was investigating was whether Planned Parenthood was actually staying within the law, or was profiting from these transactions. David and his associate posed as buyers of fetal body parts for a fictitious company that supposedly would store, process and sell those parts to medical researchers at a profit.

There are other such "buyers" of fetal tissue on the fringes of the abortion industry that David's fake company was theoretically "competing" with, so part of David's investigation was directed at ascertaining whether he could offer more money for the fetal body parts than Planned Parenthood's existing buyers and "win" those contracts, thus revealing an illegal profit motive on the part of Planned Parenthood. The undercover videos purport to show Planned Parenthood officials "negotiating" with David over the remuneration Planned Parenthood would receive from David ― a negotiation that would indicate something more than mere cost recoupment by Planned Parenthood.

The CMP videos also contain possible evidence that women were not informed that procedures were being changed in order to preserve certain fetal organs desired by researchers. Federal law requires that no abortion procedures be changed, without the woman's consent, in order to obtain an intact specimen for such a transaction.

If you want to watch those videos, they are available at the website of the Center for Medical Progress. http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/

Q7: What Happened After David's Undercover Videos Were Published?

There was an immediate response from the U.S. Congress and numerous state governments. Since Planned Parenthood is the recipient of more than $500 million per year in taxpayer funds for its "family planning" activities, governments play a direct role in funding Planned Parenthood's activities and the oversight of those taxpayer funds. Three separate federal congressional committee investigations were opened, and more than a dozen state investigations. Several states have already defunded Planned Parenthood over the videos, and Congress also passed a law defunding it, but that bill was vetoed by President Obama.

Q8: I Heard Or Read Statements From Planned Parenthood Saying That The Videos Were Faked Somehow, And Don't Show Planned Parenthood Doing Anything Illegal.

The videos were certainly not faked. David's published videos included both the edited versions (the highlights of lengthy discussions), as well as the full, unedited versions, so anyone could easily determine whether the edited versions had been tampered with.

As for illegal activity, the actions and statements by Planned Parenthood officials in the videos could reasonably be interpreted as evidence of potential violations of federal and state laws, which is why there are ongoing governmental investigations into Planned Parenthood.

In response to the uproar over the videos, Planned Parenthood announced that it is ending its transactions involving harvesting baby body parts.

Q9: What's Next for David?

David and his attorneys will fight to have these criminal charges dismissed without the necessity of a trial. David has also been sued separately by Planned Parenthood and other abortion-related businesses implicated in the videos.

Q10: Why Should I Care About David's Situation?

David is a whistleblower whose undercover videos serve the greater pro-life movement by exposing the horrors of abortion and its dark underbelly, the abortion industry. If Planned Parenthood is successful in its efforts to silence David's voice, it will have a chilling effect and future pro-life activists will think twice before standing up for innocent pre-born babies. We cannot afford to see pro-life voices silenced at a time when the need for action is greater than before.

Q11: What Can I Do To Help Continue David's Efforts?

When you engage with this issue on social media, use the hashtag #IStandWIthDavid to join your voice with thousands of others standing for life― and supporting David's courageous stand for life.

Also, please consider donating to Focus' Option Ultrasound Program, which saves lives by giving women a reason to choose life rather than abortion.

Q12: What is the Option Ultrasound Program (OUP)?

Please find information about our Option Ultrasound Program here.

© 2016 Focus on the Family.