The surprise indictment of two anti-abortion activists who made videos targeting the handling of fetal tissue in Planned Parenthood clinics is an attempt to "demonize" two concerned citizens who have uncovered "illegal activity," Rep. Diane Black tells Newsmax TV
"I'm just continuing to try to wrap my head around how it is that you can charge the organization that has exposed the potentially legal trafficking of baby body parts with a felony and that's actually for trying to purchase fetal tissue, which they did not do," Black, a Tennessee Republican, said in an interview aired Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
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"They, as you all know, were undercover, and yet Planned Parenthood [which] has been selling the tissue, was not indicted. So kind of a strange twist …
"I think this'll be one of those situations where you demonize the one who has exposed the illegal activity while letting the other one get away with what they've been doing."
On Monday, a Houston grand jury probing undercover footage of Planned Parenthood found no wrongdoing by the abortion provider, and instead indicted David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, and a fellow activist Sandra Merritt.
Daleiden was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. Merritt was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Daleiden insists his group used the same undercover techniques as investigative journalists and followed all applicable laws.
The indictments are the first time anyone in the group has been charged criminally since the release of the videos, which began surfacing last year and alleged Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue to researchers for a profit in violation of federal law.
Planned Parenthood officials have denied any wrongdoing and have said the videos were misleadingly edited and no criminal charges have ever been lodged against the group.
The footage from the clinic in Houston showed people pretending to be from a company called BioMax that procures fetal tissue for research touring the facility. And it showed a Planned Parenthood official talking about the sale of fetal body parts over lunch.
"We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well," he said.
Black, a registered nurse, told Malzberg:
"If we're saying investigative reporting is just going to be totally outlawed by folks to say, no, you can't do that, then what about these other organizations where we see them clearly doing investigative reporting and there's not any question about that, such as animal rights?
"We see them entering the different places and the thing they get charged with is trespassing, but this is not trespassing. These guys obviously they were out in the marketplace having lunch and that's not a trespass.
"We know that Planned Parenthood is the biggest abortion-producing industry in the entire country. They do over 300,000 abortions a year … At the end of the day for me, what this is doing is bringing to light Planned Parenthood and what they are about. They are a big abortion industry that makes money off of it."
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