Anti-abortion activists who had recorded undercover videos of Planned Parenthood have been acquitted of their last charge in Texas.

The videos accused the reproductive health organisation that performs abortions of selling foetal parts for profit. A county grand jury investigating the case indicted 27-year-old David Daleiden and 63-year-old Sandra Merritt in January, on account of having tampered with government records. The potential sentencing was of up to 20 years each in prison and a $10 000 fine but prosecutors had dropped the case just before the hearing that was scheduled to address the legitimacy of the government’s case. The pair’s attorneys had argued that the grand jury was only appointed to investigate Planned Parenthood and therefore the indictment was beyond their mandate. Even the Harris County district attorney’s office asked for the charges to be dropped.

Christ for the Nations student Jake Rundell, far right, sings “How Great is Our God” at the end of 2016 North Texas March for Life in downtown Dallas. Image Credit: Ron Baselice/ The Dallas Morning News

Daleiden and Merritt had been accused of using fake driver’s licenses to hide their identities while undercover as executives of a biomedical research company at a Houston Planned Parenthood. The two believed the organization was profiting off fetal sales and therefore offered $1.600 in exchange for the body parts but were rejected by the clinic, Planned Parenthood officials reported.

The video released last summer, along with others led to investigations by state attorneys and a House of Representatives Select Investigative Panel. However, none had found evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.

Anti-abortion extremists

Melaney Linton, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Chief Executive Officer, condemned the actions of extreme anti-abortion activists who she feels are determined to ban abortion and will, therefore, stop at nothing, including acting outside of the law and creating lies about reproductive health care institutions such as Planned Parenthood, to forward their controversial mission. She added that the pair spent three years creating fake companies and identities, and when they could not find the evidence they desired they resorted to fiction.

The two anti-abortion activists face multiple lawsuits and criminal investigations in California but still view the ruling as a win for justice: “Planned Parenthood tried to collude with public officials to manipulate the legal process to their benefit, and they failed”.

David Daleiden had recently been cleared of a misdemeanor charge associated with purchasing human organs last month when a county criminal judge called the indictment carried by the grand jury flawed.

Anti-abortion activists, or believers in pro-life, are often at ends with those who defend women’s rights to reproductive health care on the basis that the services offered go against the right to preserve human life. The majority of these activists are driven by religious motives and view abortion that has been made available to women as murder.

The right to abort or not has been the center of countless debates throughout history where those for the act feel that women should be entitled to decide what should or should not happen to their bodies; whereas staunch anti-abortion activists feel it should be a crime of a severe penalty.

Source: The Guardian