Houston, TX -- Today, the Harris County prosecutor suddenly dropped the pending felony charges against Daleiden, relying on a technical concern relating to the grand jury proceedings. This is not the same as finding that Daleiden is innocent of the criminal charges. Three civil cases remain pending against Daleiden to hold him responsible for the frauds he perpetrated.
The following is a statement from Melaney A. Linton, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
“Planned Parenthood provides high-quality, compassionate health care and has been cleared of any wrongdoing time and again. Daleidan and other anti-abortion extremists, on the other hand, spent three years creating a fake company, creating fake identities, and lying. When they couldn’t find any improper or illegal activity, they made it up. They spread malicious lies about Planned Parenthood in order to advance their anti-abortion agenda. The decision to drop the prosecution on a technicality does not negate the fact that the only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the extremists behind this fraud.”
In addition to Harris County, officials in thirteen states (Arizona, Kansas, Florida, Ohio, Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada and South Dakota) have concluded investigations into claims that Planned Parenthood profited from fetal tissue donation and each one has cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. In addition, officials in eight states (California, Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado) declined to even investigate Planned Parenthood citing a lack of any evidence to suggest wrongdoing.
Planned Parenthood has never, would never, and will never “sell fetal tissue.” Planned Parenthood affiliates in just two states, or around one percent of Planned Parenthood health centers, help women who have had an abortion donate fetal tissue to medical research if they chose to do so. While this is a very small part of the services offered at very few health centers, fetal tissue donation for medical research has led to important lifesaving scientific breakthroughs that have saved millions of people’s lives. This research has long had bipartisan support. This is not the first time anti-abortion extremists have made this type of accusation against Planned Parenthood, yet each time the accusations have been thoroughly debunked.Read about the 15 years of eerily similar politically-motivated attacks by anti-abortion extremists against Planned Parenthood. See more background here.
Immediately in the wake of the attacks, Planned Parenthood health centers saw an outpouring of support, with hundreds of grassroots events and 2.4 million petition signatures in support of Planned Parenthood. In fact, 600,000 new supporters have joined Planned Parenthood since the attacks began, meaning Planned Parenthood now has 9 million supporters nationwide. A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that support for Planned Parenthood, already high, has actually increased in the wake of the attacks. And opposition to Planned Parenthood continues to prove politically unpopular, with voters in key swing states saying that opposing care at Planned Parenthood actually makes voters less likely to support a candidate.
Background: Activists Behind Fraudulent Videos Have Ties to Violent Anti-Abortion Extremists
“The reality is that the Center for Medical Progress is a flimsy front set up by three anti-abortion extremists, one of whom has ties to violent radicals--including the man convicted of murdering abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.”
“The group's senior policy advisor, Cheryl Sullenger, is a convicted felon who served two years for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic in 1988.”
“Two other men appear on the forms as well--Albin Rhomberg is listed as chief financial officer, and Troy Newman is listed as the group's secretary. Both Newman and Rhomberg have a well-documented history of violent, virulent anti-abortion extremism.”
“[CMP Board member Troy Newman is also] the president of Operation Rescue, a pro-life group that ran the multi-decade harassment campaign of Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, a campaign that only ended when Scott Roeder, who was an active part of Operation Rescue activities in Wichita, murdered Tiller in his church in 2009.”
“More recently, in 2012, Newman blamed the murder of Tiller...on Wichita district attorney Nola Foulston...’If Nola Foulston had done her job with George Tiller, he would still be alive today,’Newman told the AP.”
“Operation Rescue continues to this day to employ Cheryl Sullenger, who, in 1988, was found guilty of attempting to bomb a family-planning clinic. She did two years for her crime in federal prison.”
The Daily Beast:A Long and Strident History of Anti-Abortion Activism
“Daleiden’s fellow board members at the CMP: Albin Rhomberg and Troy Newman. Rhomberg has a long and strident history of anti-abortion activism—one California Planned Parenthood worker says that he once followed her “for an entire city block, barely 3 feet away, filming and shouting at me about my evil work with Planned Parenthood’—but it is Newman’s association with the CMP that has raised the most eyebrows.”
“Newman is the president of Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization that became the center of national media attention when George Tiller, a Kansas physician who provided late-term abortions, was assassinated by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder in 2009 during worship services at Tiller’s church.”
“When Roeder was arrested, however, police found the phone number of Operation Rescue senior policy adviser Cheryl Sullenger on the dashboard of his car. Sullenger, who had spent two years in federal prison from 1988 to 1990 after pleading guilty to plotting the bombing of a San Diego abortion provider, admitted that she had been in contact with Roeder in the past and had provided some information to him about Tiller’s whereabouts, information unrelated to the eventual shooting.”
Southern Poverty Law Center:Group Attacking Planned Parenthood Linked to Extremists
“In 2003, Newman issued a press release attacking “judicial tyranny” in the prosecution of Paul Hill, who murdered an abortion doctor and his bodyguard in Florida, and arguing that Hill, who was executed the same day, should have been able to present a defense of “justifiable defensive action.” A 2004 Los Angeles Times story described Newman shadowing clinic workers and seeking “not just to make their lives uncomfortable” but also to “disgust their friends and associates.”
“Operation Rescue’s second most important officer, Senior Policy Advisor Cheryl Sullenger, has her own radical history. In 1988, she was convicted of conspiring to bomb a San Diego abortion clinic and sentenced to three years in federal prison. The indictment said that Sullenger provided gunpowder and other material for the bomb and gave a wig to the man who actually planted it, according to The Los Angeles Times.”
“David S. Cohen, a law professor at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law and the author of a new book on anti-abortion terrorism, told ThinkProgress that CMP’s ties are telling. “There’s a direct connection between [Operation Rescue], the Center for Medical Progress and some of the worst characters in the anti-abortion extremist movement,” he said.”
People for the American Way:The Activists And Ideology Behind The Latest Attacks On Planned Parenthood
“And while Newman is careful to publicly reject violence against abortion providers, he was not above rejoicing at an Arkansas provider’s death from leukemia in 2010, declaring, “In the end, God always gets the last word.” In 2003, Newman argued that a man sentenced to death for killing an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that his crime was “a justifiable defensive action.” Newman also runs AbortionDocs.org, a website that lists photographs of and personal information about abortion providers.”
“As Daleiden completed his project, he enlisted some of the heaviest-hitters in the anti-choice movement for legal help. Americans United for Life, the powerful anti-choice legal group, told The Hill newspaper that it had been providing unspecified “advice” to the Center for Medical Progress for several months before the first video was released, and Sullenger told an interviewer that the conservative legal behemoth Alliance Defending Freedom was also providing legal representation to the group.”
For more on the Center for Medical Progress, please go to:http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/07/15/the-shady-anti-choice-actors-behind-the-decepti/204431
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
July 26, 2016