Texas judge dismisses charge against pro-life undercover journalist

David Daleiden speaking at Values Voters Summit 2015.. Photo by Ellen Kolb
David Daleiden speaking at Values Voters Summit 2015.. Photo by Ellen Kolb

When I last reported on David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, CMP recordings had just been seized by California officials. It was one more retaliatory legal headache for the journalist whose undercover videos revealed trafficking in body parts by Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Now, another state’s politically-motivated prosecution of Daleiden has taken a hit. A Texas judge has dismissed a charge against Daleiden for trafficking in body parts. You read that right: the local prosecutor decided to go after Daleiden, not Planned Parenthood.

Peter Breen is Special Counsel with the Thomas More Society, which is defending Daleiden. Remarking on the dismissal of the Texas charge, he said, “The Harris County prosecutors were in such a rush to criminalize David Daleiden that they did not properly obtain grand jury approval of each of the elements of the charged misdemeanor.” Breen’s full statement is here.

The judge who dismissed the charge may or may not have been aware of the recent revelation that Planned Parenthood’s legal team received confidential materials about the Daleiden case from the district attorney prosecuting the case.

Breen had something to say about that, too:

“The recent filings by the Harris County District Attorney confirm that the DA shared confidential documents and information with abortion provider Planned Parenthood, colluding with it in the prosecution of David Daleiden. These filings also include evidence that appears to show that the DA’s office worked with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast to undermine the Texas Attorney General’s independent investigation of that abortion provider. The conduct of Harris County prosecutors in this case is outrageous and illegal. We look forward to pressing our motion to quash this indictment in court.”

I’m sure California prosecutors are keeping an eye on Texas, wondering how far a politically-motivated prosecution can go.

New CMP video questions “consent” for fetal tissue donation

Recordings and other materials belonging to David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress were seized this week by agents for the California Department of Justice. Shortly before the seizure, CMP released this video regarding a Planned Parenthood consent form to be signed by women obtaining abortions. The form claims that donated “fetal tissue” “has been used to treat and find a cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and AIDS.” On the video, even a PP-supporting doctor couldn’t swallow that.

See more investigative footage on the CMP web site.

The Attorney General in charge of California’s DOJ is Kamala Harris, whose political campaigns have benefited from contributions from PP and other abortion advocacy agencies to the tune of $81,000, according to LifeNews.com. Harris is running for a U.S. Senate seat this year.

Not forcing you to look, Senator(s)

I’m warning you up front: I am NOT forcing you to scroll down to the bottom of this page. Nope. Not me. I will NOT force anyone to see the image that New Hampshire’s senior senator finds so scary. This is, after all, a kinder, gentler blog than the kind in which you’ll find abortion advocates described as “bat-guano crazy.” “Crazy” is such a freighted word. No, I’ll just NOT force you to scroll down.

I laughed through heartache yesterday as candidate Scott Brown stopped just short of jumping up and down and saying “I am TOO!” to Jeanne Shaheen’s claims that he just ain’t pro-abortion enough. Excuse me, “pro-choice.” He had the unmitigated gall to support an informed consent bill in the Massachusetts legislature back in 2005 when he was just a wee lad. He apparently thought then that pro-choice and pro-information were perfectly compatible positions. Makes sense to me. Not to abortion advocates, though.

Shaheen has an ad out now – the one to which Brown was objecting yesterday – announcing in dark tones that Brown would “force” women to look at fetal pictures, since part of the Massachusetts informed consent bill would have required that abortion providers give a woman the opportunity to take a look at images conveying the size, formation and gestational age of her fetus (has a tender ring to it, no?) before proceeding with termination of said fetus. Not bloody baby pictures, mind you. Not, in spite of Shaheen’s claims, forced viewing. Just providing the images for a woman to consider. Informed consent. Get it? This reminds me of the inserts we all get when we have prescriptions filled. Show of hands: how many of us actually read all that verbiage? That’s what I thought. Just give me the medication. The pharmacist and the prescribing provider OWE me full information about the drug. They just can’t make me read it. Informed consent, not forced viewing.

Shaheen knows she would sound like a patronizing schoolmarm if she were to suggest that women are too delicate for such intimate self-knowledge as knowing what’s inside our uteruses, so she is resorting to accusations that Brown is somehow anti-woman. This is all of a piece with the Senate Majority PAC’s ad saying “Scott Brown will restrict women’s access to health care” because he is not in favor of compulsory universal taxpayer funding of abortion.

Hence the spectacle of Brown fighting back. In one sense, good for him. He’s the only high-level Republican candidate in New Hampshire this year who has hit back on way-out-there claims by abortion advocates. Right attitude, even if he has the wrong answer. He’s out there, just not way out there, is what I hear him saying. He knows that for a woman concerned about access to abortion, jobs-and-the-economy is just a diversionary squirrel.

This is a defensive election. Neither of New Hampshire’s major candidates for U.S. Senate is pro-life. Incumbent Shaheen needs to be retired, though. I won’t leave that spot on the ballot blank, and I’m not writing in anyone. I don’t want to explain to anyone how a woman opposed to informed consent and in favor of compulsory universal taxpayer funding of abortion got elected yet again. She’s pro-women’s health? I don’t see it. Pro-women-who-agree-with-her is more like it. She wants abortion providers to operate in a regulation-free environment; you may recall that as governor she signed repeal of New Hampshire’s antiquated nineteenth-century abortion laws, knowing that nothing was there to replace them. In perhaps the sharpest distinction between her and Brown, however, she opposes the conscience rights of individuals (including female business owners) who don’t want to be forced into helping provide abortion-inducing drugs and devices under Obamacare. And then there’s her contempt for Catholic women who take issue with being forced to pay for other women’s contraception. Out, I say.

Look at it this way: in New Hampshire, I could set up shop as an abortion provider, right in my own home. (If Kermit Gosnell ever gets out of prison, he could go right back to his butchery just by moving from Pennsylvania to the Granite State, and he wouldn’t even have to rent an office.) As long as I didn’t hold myself out as a medical professional, I’d be clear of fraud accusations. As long as I had an abortion-minded woman’s permission to perform the abortion, I’d wouldn’t be subject to assault charges. It would be nice if I had a clean environment for her, but if she said she didn’t care about anything but ending her pregnancy, I’d be off the hook. Disgusting, but that’s the law. Nothing in New Hampshire law says an abortion provider has to be qualified in any way. Medical professionals who provide abortion must answer to state boards and medical societies, but non-professionals don’t. Women’s health? Abortion  providers, amateurs and pros alike, enjoy protection that abortion-minded women are denied. Don’t blame me. This is Shaheen’s doing, and it’s been ratified ever since by legislators who have rejected informed-consent-for-abortion laws.

Scott Brown has no trouble with any woman who wants to abort. He just thinks – or at any rate he thought in 2005 – that women have the right to know what’s involved.

The 2005-vintage Brown wasn’t afraid to offer images like this to abortion-minded women. Those women would have been free to say “no” to the offer, under the Massachusetts bill that has Shaheen in such a snit.

Human fetus, 7 weeks. (Priests for Life photo)
Human fetus, 7 weeks. (Priests for Life photo)

Scary as hell, isn’t it? Scarier. That little image could stand between Jeanne Shaheen and her next term as Senator. No wonder she wants it kept out of view.


NH House kills HB 483, rejects informed consent again

The New Hampshire House voted this morning to reject HB 483, Rep. Jane Cormier’s bill to establish informed consent requirements for abortion. The vote on the inexpedient-to-legislate motion was 229-121.

“Pro-choice means pro-information,” said Cormier to her colleagues before the vote. “Full information and disclosure are not ideological.”

In effect, a majority of House members just went on record saying they have no problem with a women not knowing in advance who will perform her abortion or prescribe her abortion-inducing drug. Rep. Sylvia Gale (D-Nashua) called this an “ideological obstacle” in her committee report and her floor speech. More obstacles, according to Gale and today’s House majority: information on childbirth risks, fetal development, and the type of abortion procedure recommended by the provider.

Rep. Peter Sullivan, a Democrat representing ward 3 in Manchester, had hoped this bill would somehow “bridge the divide” between people on different sides of the abortion debate, “but the more I read, the more uncomfortable I became.” He was particularly agitated by the bill’s definition of “unborn child” as “the offspring of human beings from conception until birth.” That was too much for him. “Defining life as beginning at the moment of conception could throw our entire state into disarray.”

No boat-rocker, he.

The representatives who defended the bill on the House floor included Cormier, and Reps. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack). John Cebrowski (R-Bedford), Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), and co-sponsor Lenette Peterson (R-Merrimack). Opposing the bill in debate along with Gale and Sullivan was Rep. Constance Bouchard (D-Concord), leader of the House’s “Reproductive Rights Caucus.”

Today’s vote in the Democrat-majority House follows last year’s rejection of the Women’s Right to Know bill (HB 1659), another informed consent measure, in what was then a House with a strong Republican majority. Representatives informed me late last week that the Republican minority leadership team did not attempt to promote today’s bill within the Republican caucus.

3 Things Your Reps Should Know About Informed Consent (HB 483); Vote is Tomorrow

Finally, the New Hampshire House should vote on HB 483 tomorrow, March 13. Yea or nay: does a woman have a right to informed choice when she is deciding whether or not to abort a pregnancy? Defeating the bill is a priority for the Democratic majority. Several GOP reps have informed me that the leadership of the Republican minority has chosen not to promote HB 483. That is not a surprise in view of last year’s votes against the Women’s Right to Know bill (HB 1659) by now-Minority Leader Gene Chandler and Minority Whip Shawn Jasper.

Calls and emails are in order. Find your legislator’s contact information here. A representative who gets information about the bill only from the committee-majority report in this week’s House calendar will be in the dark.  A few points to ponder:

  • Think about the 24-hour waiting period. Without it, there’s nothing to prevent “drive-through” abortion: confirm pregnancy, provide whatever information the abortion provider sees fit to give, and do the abortion all in one office visit. Women deserve better. 
  • Don’t be fooled by talk of “patient-provider relationships.” One of the provisions of HB 483 is that a woman should know the name of the actual abortion provider 24 hours before the abortion is performed or the abortion drug is administered. At the committee hearing, representatives of abortion providers objected to that. Would it be an administrative inconvenience for them? In any case, so much for a relationship.
  • Calling abortion “safe,” as the report in the House calendar does, is an unwarranted assumption.  Remember, the state of New Hampshire does not even know how many women in the state have an abortion in any given year, or if there are complications, or who performs the procedures. The majority committee report relying on abortion being “safe” is thus based on faith, not data.

The women who led the charge on HB 483, Reps. Cormier and Peterson, have consistently and adamantly affirmed that this bill is about information and choice. The plain language of their bill bears this out. The majority blurb in the House calendar says the bill “impose[s] ideologically driven obstacles” to women seeking abortion. Factual information about the procedure to be performed; 24 hours’ notice of the name of the practitioner; information about pregnancy options; risks involved in carrying the pregnancy to term: where’s the ideology?

I’ll post the result of the vote and a link to the roll call as soon as they become available.