A Texas grand jury clears Planned Parenthood, and indicts two anti-abortion activists who tried to smear the group

Taking sides.
Taking sides.
Image: AP Photo/Nick Ut, File
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A Houston grand jury has concluded its probe into a branch of the reproductive health group Planned Parenthood, which was accused of illegally selling fetal tissue in an anti-abortion video that became a conservative cause célèbre.

The grand jury declined to indict the group on any criminal charges, but it did indict two pro-life activists who used fake IDs to secretly record the video. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged with tampering with a governmental record, and Daleiden was charged with violating a law that prohibits the purchase and sale of human organs—presumably for trying to entrap Planned Parenthood on camera.

“As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us,” said Harris County district attorney Devon Anderson.

The video falsely purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials offering fetal tissue for sale has been cited by public officials like Republican Texas governor Greg Abbott as a justification for additional restrictions on abortion rights providers. GOP presidential candidates like Carly Fiorina have also referenced the video’s claims.