Inflammatory allegations against Planned Parenthood collapsed in dramatic fashion yesterday (Jan. 25), when a Texas grand jury declined to bring charges against the reproductive health group. Instead the jury indicted two anti-abortion activists who made a covert video that purported to show the Planned Parenthood clinic illegally trafficking in fetal tissue.
David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were charged with tampering with a governmental record, for fabricating government-issued IDs, and Daleiden was charged with violating a law that prohibits the purchase and sale of human organs, most likely for offering to buy fetal tissue from the group.
The abrupt twist spurred declarations of dismay by several Republican presidential candidates, who have battled to one-up each other with condemnations of Planned Parenthood’s supposed misdeeds.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who has cited the video in numerous interviews and debates, doubled down on prior statements, which have been thoroughly debunked.
“From what I read, somehow the charge is that they falsified government identities because that’s true obviously, that’s not good, but I only know what I read at this point, but I think it’s pretty clear that we now know what goes on in Planned Parenthood clinics,” she told conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. “Here’s what I know: Planned Parenthood has been trafficking in body parts. Planned Parenthood has been altering late-term abortion techniques to this specific purpose of harvesting body parts.”
Numerous state-led investigations have found no indication that Planned Parenthood has ever used fetal tissue for commercial purposes.
“I’m disturbed that while Planned Parenthood, who are the ones that were actually selling off these [body] parts were found having done nothing wrong, the people who tried to expose them are the ones that are now facing criminal charges,” Florida senator Marco Rubio told CNN on Monday.
In a statement released by his campaign, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he was “saddened” by the Texas grand jury’s decision. His campaign added: “As President, he will use the full weight of his office to not only cut off all federal funding for this organization, but also prosecute them for crimes against the unborn.”
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee took to social media to express his disappointment:
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood has officially endorsed the campaign of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with the organization’s president stumping for the candidate in Iowa ahead of the Feb. 1 caucuses. “I am not only against defunding Planned Parenthood, but I would like to see Planned Parenthood even get more funding,” she told Fusion recently.