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Pro-Choice professors find prosecution of pro-lifers David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt “deeply disturbing”

by | Feb 2, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Prof. Sherry Cobb

Prof. Sherry Cobb

I had not seen a thoughtful and important post appearing on CNN written by Sherry F. Colb and Michael C. Dorf.

So a grateful tip of the hat goes out to LiveActionNews  and is reprinted with permission.] for alerting me and many others to a very unexpected development: That there are two professors who are “pro-choice,” who “support the important work of Planned Parenthood,” but who “find the prosecution” of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt “deeply disturbing.”

As many of our readers know, a grand jury in Harris County, Texas (to quote Colb and Dorf)

investigating whether Planned Parenthood officials broke the law by selling fetal body parts not only cleared the officials of wrongdoing, but also, in a stunning act of legal jujitsu, indicted two pro-life activists who created the video that led to the grand jury investigation in the first place.

Bearing in mind that grand jury proceedings are secret, there is enough in the decision to indict Daleiden and Merritt to set off alarm bells in those who take the First Amendment, and investigative journalism, seriously.

As we reported, Daleiden and Merritt were indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.

But as Colb and Dorf write

[I]t appears the charges arise entirely out of their efforts to deceive Planned Parenthood officials in order to gain access. The felony charge of tampering with government records relates to their alleged use of false IDs, and the misdemeanor charge of attempting to buy fetal remains seemingly overlooks the fact that Daleiden and Merritt were only posing as buyers to expose what they believed was illegal conduct by others.

Whatever the precise facts of this case prove to be, the prosecution has broader implications, and not just for abortion and anti-abortion speech. Undercover exposés play a vital role in informing the American public of important facts that would otherwise remain hidden.

Prof. Michael Dorf

Prof. Michael Dorf

For example, they immediately remind readers of his undercover work that formed the basis for Upton Sinclair’s muckraking 1906 novel “The Jungle” and a more recent book that “shows the impact of a modern slaughterhouse on the workers and animals unlucky enough to find themselves in its confines.”

The essay covers a lot of ground and is very much worth reading. One of the most important (and chilling) reminders is that just how far journalists can go in “disguising their true intent” when they go undercover, is a still unresolved issue.

As Cassy Fiano observed in her piece for LiveAction News

Planned Parenthood receives over half a billion dollars each year in taxpayer funding alone. To call them a behemoth would be an understatement, and the Center for Medical Progress going up against Planned Parenthood is truly a case of David vs. Goliath.

Is the lesson, she asks, that

The indictments of David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt gives even more power and influence to mega-corporations like Planned Parenthood, and makes them nearly untouchable.

Categories: pro-abortion
Tags: abortion