David Daleiden

Mat Staver: Legal Abortion Will 'Bring God's Wrath Down On A Nation'

At last weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel distributed a new booklet written by its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, titled “Planned Parenthood Exposed!”

Staver’s booklet is mostly a rehashing of the Planned Parenthood smear videos produced by David Daleiden last year, but it ends on a more apocalyptic note.

Noting that Daleiden based his project on a similar effort by anti-abortion activist Mark Crutcher, who, in the late 1990s, also tried to attack legal abortion with a flawed “investigation” of the practice of fetal tissue research, Staver writes that Daleiden has given America “one more chance” to “bring fetal tissue trafficking to a halt” and “ultimately, to end legal abortion in America.”

If the U.S. fails to take this opportunity to criminalize abortion, he writes, we will face the wrath and judgment of God, just as God cursed Cain after he murdered Abel:

Now, America gets one more chance to make that happen—and it’s crucial we keep pressure on politicians to bring fetal tissue trafficking to a halt. And, ultimately, to end legal abortion in America.

The stakes are enormous—for the unborn, for America and each one of us.

That’s because God is just and will act to avenge the lives of innocents taken by abortion. When Cain killed Abel, God told him, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground So now you are cursed from the earth” (Genesis 4:10-11). Just as Abel’s blood cried out to God for justice and brought a curse on Cain, the blood of more than 58 million precious unborn humans—the most innocent of victims—also cries out to God.

And just as God cursed Cain, so too His curse rests on our nation which protects the right of a mother and her doctor to end the life of her child. The shedding of innocent blood pollutes or defiles a land and will bring God’s wrath down on a nation, as it did ancient Israel

Likewise, the death of innocent preborn infants, their blood spilled (and harvested) in abortion facilities across America, invites God’s judgment on modern America. “The Lord hates…the shedding of innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17) and holds people accountable for what they do to protect the innocent from murder…

Anti-Choice Activists With Extremist Ties Given Top Billing At Values Voter Summit

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Family Research Council, tomorrow. In doing so, he’ll be sharing the stage not only with extreme anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim activists, but also with activists who are rooted in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement.

Trump will address the summit soon after David and Jason Benham take the stage. The Benhams are twin brothers who became Religious Right megastars in 2014 after HGTV cancelled a show they were set to star in following Right Wing Watch’s revelations about their extreme anti-gay, anti-choice activism.

The Benhams’ status as martyrs within the Religious Right has too often obscured the true radicalism of their activism.

The brothers’ activism is rooted in the work of their father, Flip Benham, a North Carolina preacher who took over the anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue after the infamous Summer of Mercy, in which anti-abortion activists spent weeks laying siege to Wichita, Kansas, in 1991. Benham later changed the name of his group to Operation Save America and expanded its work to include anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism. (The group is now led by Rusty Thomas, although Benham remains involved.)

David and Jason Benham worked closely with their father and Operation Save America but also became activists in their own right. Leading one protest outside a Charlotte abortion clinic in 2013, David Benham told protesters they were standing against the “gates of hell” and the “altars of Moloch.” He has also called abortion “child sacrifice.” David and his wife lead and fund a Charlotte-based group called Cities4Life that leads sidewalk protests outside of abortion clinics and distributes “abortion pill reversal kits.” On its website, the group compares legal abortion to the Holocaust and explains why it uses graphic signs in its protests:

Women are rarely told the truth about abortion. Without the truth, Satan is free to rob, kill, and destroy. It is urgent for these women to know the truth about this hidden evil, done in secret. We must lay bare the demonic lie that an unborn baby is not a human life. When we shine the light of truth about this “legal” procedure, it wakes up the sleeper and moves them to action.

The Benhams continue to associate with the fringes of the anti-abortion movement that their father represents. This spring, for instance, it was announced that they would appear in a movie directed by Patrick Johnston, an Ohio “personhood” activist. In 2008, the Colorado Independent revealed that Johnston had ties to militia groups and once wrote a troubling essay on the website of the violent anti-abortion network Army of God attacking a pastor for criticizing Paul Hill’s murder of abortion clinic doctor John Britton and his bodyguard.

Also speaking at the Values Voter Summit will be David Daleiden, the young activist who’s undercover “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood took the anti-choice movement by storm last year.

Like the Benhams, Daleiden’s work is rooted in the fringe world of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement. Troy Newman, who runs the group now called Operation Rescue—which has been in a years-long feud with Flip Benham’s Operation Save America over its name—helped Daleiden to get his project off the ground. Newman, who moved his group to Wichita in 2002 in order to go after Dr. George Tiller, who was later assassinated, has written that the U.S. government has “abrogated its responsibility” to execute abortion providers and argued that a man who murdered an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the homicide was justifiable. Newman’s second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who has spent time in jail for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

The Benhams and Daleiden have both been embraced by the “mainstream” Religious Right despite their roots in the radical fringes of the anti-choice movement. And now all three are speaking alongside the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

Wiles: God Will Collapse US Economy As Judgment For Planned Parenthood 'Devil-Worship'

Unhinged conspiracy theorist and End-Times prophet Rick Wiles scored an interview on Tuesday with David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist who created last year’s series of videos that baselessly claimed that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts” for profit.

After his conversation with Daleiden, Wiles naturally concluded that God will destroy America as punishment for Planned Parenthood’s “human sacrifice” to Lucifer.

“There are certain issues in this country that the establishment will go to war to defend,” Wiles told his cohost Doc Burkhart. “Baby-killing is one of them. Homosexuality is another one. Sexual perversion is another one.”

Abortion providers, he said, aren’t just mistaken — they are worshipping Satan. “Make no mistake about it, it is the human sacrifice to Satan,” he said. “They are sacrificing babies to Lucifer. It’s not just unsaved people, bad people, that we’re dealing with. They’re Luciferian devil-worshippers. The abortion mills are blood-sacrifice centers. They are sacrificing children to Baal.”

America, he warned, will be wiped out just like our Baal-worshipping Old Testament predecessors.

Later in the program, Wiles discussed the news that the U.S. Treasury had revealed the amount of the nation’s debt that Saudi Arabia holds, which Wiles predicted was a precursor to Saudi Arabia unpegging its currency from the U.S. dollar. He then found a way to tie it all back to Planned Parenthood.

“What is the connection to baby parts?” he asked. “It’s judgment. It’s judgment. A massive collapse of the U.S. economic system will shut down Planned Parenthood. That’s it. Who’s buying baby parts then?”

If Saudi Arabia unpegs from the dollar, he said, “the whole country, it’s toast, it’s over. The financial system is wiped out.” He added that there would then be the “possibility of world war.”

David Daleiden's Mentor Admits Daleiden 'Made Some Mistakes' Legally

Attorneys for David Daleiden, the activist who led the undercover smear campaign against Planned Parenthood last year, are trying to get a grand jury indictment of him dismissed in Texas, claiming that it was politically motivated. But Daleiden’s mentor, who has conducted many of his own sham investigations of abortion providers, acknowledged at an anti-abortion conference last month that the young activist “made some mistakes” that might have led him to run afoul of the law.

Mark Crutcher heads a group called Life Dynamics, which pioneered some of the undercover tactics that Daleiden used to go after Planned Parenthood and conducted a similar debunked investigation involving abortion providers’ handling of fetal tissue in the late 1990s. He has also trained right-wing activists James O’Keefe and Lila Rose, is now training what he hopes will be “a whole army of David Daleidens” to infiltrate abortion providers across the country.

Crutcher spoke last month at a conference sponsored by Cleveland Right to Life, where he said that his training efforts meant that he would have “at least 100 professional intel operatives” in abortion providers ty the end of the year.

At the end of Crutcher’s presentation, the event moderator, referring to the indictment of Daleiden by a grand jury that had been convened to investigate his claims about Planned Parenthood, asked Crutcher why “it seems like the good guys are getting indicted and the bad guys are getting away.”

Crutcher responded that he always trains his staff and students how to get what they want without breaking the law, but that Daleiden didn’t listen to all of his advice.

“I’m not going to get into details about this,” he said, “but David made some mistakes that we warned him about. Renee [Hobbs] and I were on the phone with him for many, many hours over the years that he was doing this, but David got caught up in youthful exuberance. And I tried to tell him, I said, ‘David, you’re making some mistakes here and that’s going to cost you.’ I said, ‘And youthful exuberance always loses out to old age and treachery, and I’m old and treacherous, so I’ve been down this trail.’ But he made some mistakes, and I don’t want to get into the details of that.”

“What you have to understand, this is an argument that I tried to get over to David: Anything that you want to do in an intelligence-gathering environment that’s illegal, you can find a way to do it legally,” he added.

Paranoia-Rama: The Voter Fraud Fraud, New Persecution Myths And American Baal Worship

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

Donald Trump has been relatively quiet this week following his defeat in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary but, luckily for us, other right-wing politicians and preachers have stepped in to promote their own bizarre claims.

5) America Has Fallen To Baal Worship

Glenn Beck is very worried that people think he’s “nuts” and is upset that no one respects his role as a prophet. Beck told Sam Rodriguez, one of the Religious Right’s favorite pastors, that anti-Christian persecution in America is heating up and wondered if he will soon “have to make the same kind of choices that [Dietrich] Bonhoeffer did,” referring to the dissident anti-Nazi pastor.

“If people would just look up Baal and Moloch from the Scriptures,” Beck warned, “we are worshiping them right now, we just don’t know it, just in a different way. You used to have to sacrifice your children; it was promoted to have sexual intercourse and, if you got pregnant, you brought the baby to the altar and killed the baby. I mean, it’s the same thing. It was worship the god of finance, the god of war and the god of the earth. I mean, we’re there!”

Beck has repeatedly told his viewers that the only hope for America comes in the form of … Ted Cruz.

4) They’re Coming For Jim Bakker

Speaking of doomsday prophets, televangelist Jim Bakker is out with his own warning about the supposed persecution of Christians in the U.S. Bakker spoke with Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin about how America has lost the freedom of religion to the extent that the government is now seizing businesses from Christians left and right.

A terrified Bakker absurdly claimed that the government has taken away the freedoms to pray and preach from the Bible.

“We are losing it one thing at a time,” he said. “We’ve lost prayer, we’ve lost Bible-reading, we’ve lost just about everything so that we can’t even preach the very foundations of the Word of God. I sit on this program and I bring the greatest speakers in the world here. And if they stormed in these doors right now and arrested me, I would not be surprised.”

3) White Straight People Are Oppressed

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media joined in on the persecution rhetoric, but with a special focus on the plight of white heterosexuals working in the media.

“The real one percent consists of the open and closeted homosexuals and their allies in positions of power in the major media, academia and the corporate world,” Kincaid warned, and this powerful group is “growing stronger by the day” and becoming even more “determined to expel normal, white heterosexuals from the newsroom.”

“Being white is not a protected class of people,” he said. “White people are the villains, unless they identify as a member of a protected group. That leaves white heterosexuals as people who have to be demoted or dismissed…. Indeed, whiteness is such a cancer in the newsroom that a ‘remedy’ is needed. These white people have to be put in their place. They must be cut down to size.”

2) The Voter Fraud Myth

On Tuesday, Wisconsin GOP Rep. Glenn Grothman came close to admitting that his state’s new voter ID law, ostensibly passed to thwart the mythical scourge of in-person voter fraud, would ensure that a Republican candidate for president wins the state in November.

The long lines faced by Wisconsin voters in this week’s presidential primary inspired a former aide to a Republican state senator in Wisconsin to write about how a “handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications” of the voter ID law “and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.” These legislators, he said, used “the guise of ‘voter fraud’” to justify their voter suppression measure, even though “[t]here was almost none.”

The aide, Todd Allbaugh, told Chris Hayes yesterday how Republicans were determined to “take people’s constitutional rights away, or at least impede them, in order to hang onto power.”

1) Another Planned Parenthood Debunking

While Planned Parenthood has been the target of right-wing conspiracy theories and smears for decades, things really heated up after David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress released a stream of videos purportedly showing the group selling fetal tissue for a profit.

The accusation became a favorite of conservative activists and Republican politicians, who pushed the false smear that Planned Parenthood committed criminal acts. As it turned out, Daleiden and his colleagues had edited their videos to misrepresent the truth, which was that Planned Parenthood had donated tissue for medical research in compliance with federal law and had only received fees to cover costs like transportation.

After watchdog groups pointed out the group’s misrepresentations and Daleiden himself faced a lawsuit and a criminal indictment, he tried to reverse course and say that he wasn’t an anti-choice activist seeking to destroy Planned Parenthood but simply a journalist.

A recent report by the Los Angeles Times and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, however, found that Daleiden’s new claim that he was just acting as a journalist the whole time doesn’t comport with his actions:

Now, Daleiden, head of the Irvine-based Center for Medical Progress, and his associates contend that they were acting as investigative journalists, seeking to expose illegal conduct. That is one of their defenses in lawsuits brought by Planned Parenthood and other groups, accusing them of fraud and invasion of privacy.

But unpublicized footage and court records show that the activists’ methods were geared more toward political provocation than journalism.



The videos and court records show that Daleiden and his associates — posing as representatives of a fetal tissue brokerage — tried to loosen the tongues of abortion providers with alcohol.

In conversations, they tried to plant phrases such as “fully intact baby” and to elicit statements suggesting that fetuses were alive when their tissue and organs were harvested for use in medical research.

A comparison of raw footage and the videos he released shows that Daleiden edited out material that conflicted with his premise that Planned Parenthood-affiliated clinics profit from the sale of fetal tissue for research purposes.



On Feb. 5, U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco issued an injunction requested by the NAF to keep more than 500 hours of Daleiden’s unreleased footage under seal.

Orrick said the videos Daleiden has made public so far “have not been pieces of journalistic integrity, but misleadingly edited videos and unfounded assertions… of criminal misconduct.”

Daleiden’s “fraud” was so extensive and his videos so misleading that his still-unpublished recordings of private conversations do not warrant 1st Amendment protection as free speech, the judge said. In his order, Orrick used the words “fraud” or “fraudulently” 13 times in referring to Daleiden’s methods.

Updated: Trump To Speak To Group That Threatens To Infiltrate Planned Parenthood

Update: Trump reportedly failed to call in to the Priests for Life conference, even further confusing his already confused place in the “pro-life” movement.

Update II: In a statement on Thursday, Pavone said that reports of Trump's snub were "incorrect" and that neither "Mr. Trump nor anyone associated with him or his campaign cancelled a meeting or phone call with pro-life leaders, nor did they break any commitment, promise, appointment, or expectation." 

Add this to the growing list of Donald Trump’s contradictory positions on reproductive rights: Trump, who has repeatedly said that Planned Parenthood does “very good work for millions of women,” is scheduled to speak today to an anti-choice organization that has been threatening to help infiltrate the women’s health provider in order to take it down.

Trump, facing an outcry from anti-abortion activists after taking several contradictory positions on abortion rights over the course of one week, will reportedly address a forum organized by Priests for Life tonight.

The director of Priests for Life, Fr. Frank Pavone, has been on the frontline of the anti-abortion movement for decades and is currently leading an “ongoing campaign of prayer and fasting with the specific intention of ending abortion in the United States and ending the evils perpetrated by Planned Parenthood.”

In January, Pavone helped organized a protest in front of a new Planned Parenthood clinic that is under construction in Washington. The most anticipated speaker at the event was David Daleiden, the activist behind the series of videos falsely smearing Planned Parenthood for supposedly “selling baby parts.” At the protest, Pavone boasted of the work of fellow anti-choice activist Mark Crutcher, who is hoping to train an “army” of activists like Daleiden to infiltrate Planned Parenthood clinics in an effort to dig up dirt about the organization … and to intimidate providers in the process.

“The troubles for Planned Parenthood have only just begun,” Pavone promised at the rally.

He added a “message to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry”:

“Be on your toes because we are in your midst, we are behind your doors, we are in your secret meetings, we are working for you and with you though you know it not, but in His good time the God who reveals all secrets will reveal that too.”

Pavone, like Daleiden, has close ties to the “rescue” movement, the leaders of confrontational protests outside of abortion clinics. The protest that Pavone helped lead in front of the Washington Planned Parenthood clinic in January forced a nearby school to close for two days.

That Trump is attending Pavone’s event in an attempt to make peace with pro-lifers somewhat undermines his praise for Planned Parenthood’s non-abortion-related services.

Anti-Choice Group Vows To Put Spies In Every Abortion Clinic In The Country

As we noted last year, the Texas anti-abortion group Life Dynamics, whose founder Mark Crutcher was an important mentor to undercover Planned Parenthood activist David Daleiden, plans to start training “a whole army” of Daleidens in the arts of spying on abortion providers.

Crutcher joined Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith on her “From the Median” radio program earlier this month to discuss his plans to “create intelligence gathering agents” to infiltrate abortion providers, with the goal of having 100 such agents by the end of the year and eventually one for every abortion clinic in the country.

“Right now the abortion industry only has to worry about basically two organizations infiltrating them,” Crutcher said, “and that’s Life Dynamics — us — and Lila Rose with Live Action.” (Crutcher, who pioneered the technique of sham undercover “investigations” of abortion providers, also trained Rose.)

“We know for a fact that we can put 100 trained people around the country by the end of this year,” he said, “and our eventual goal is to make sure there’s not an abortion clinic in this country that doesn’t have intelligence operatives surveilling it on a daily basis.”

Crutcher asserted that this 24/7 spying on every single abortion provider would easily turn up useful information because “I guarantee you, Molly, there’s not an abortion clinic in this country that’s not engaged in at least a few illegal activities, not one.”

“They go to bed every night knowing things that if we knew would destroy them,” he said.

In a protest outside the construction site for a new Planned Parenthood clinic last month, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life praised Crutcher’s work, telling the women’s health provider: “Be on your toes because we are in your midst, we are behind your doors, we are in your secret meetings, we are working for you and with you though you know it not, but in His good time the God who reveals all secrets will reveal that too.”

A major funder of Life Dynamics is Farris Wilks, who along with his brother have been generously backing Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. In 2011, Wilks’ foundation funded a Life Dynamics effort “to mass-mail DVDs to lawyers encouraging them to sue abortion clinics into oblivion.”

Anti-Abortion Activists Raise Money To Defend Daleiden, See Planned Parenthood 'Crumble'

A number of anti-abortion groups joined together last night for a webcast aimed at raising money for a legal defense fund for David Daleiden, the anti-Planned Parenthood activist who is facing an indictment in Texas, along with his fellow activist Sandra Merritt.

Life Legal Defense Foundation, the group that is representing Daleiden in a separate case in California, is managing a legal defense fund for Daleiden and Merritt. Thomas More Society’s Peter Breen, who is representing Daleiden in Texas, and Charles LaMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, who is representing Daleiden on other charges, also joined the call, which was hosted by the anti-abortion protest group 40 Days for Life.

David Bereit of 40 Days for Life urged the reported 2,400 activists on the call to “pray” for Daleiden, “promote” his cause and “pitch in” for his legal defense, which the attorneys said had already cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Breen reported that he would try on Thursday get a Houston judge to “quash the indictment” against Daleiden. Daleiden’s allies at the radical anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue will also be holding a press conference on Thursday urging prosecutors to drop the grand jury’s charges. Liberty Counsel, which is representing Merritt, will hold a similar press conference on Wednesday.

Breen, repeating the dubious claim that Daleiden is an “investigative journalist,” said a bad outcome for the activist in Houston would harm freedom of the press and at the same time give prosecutors in other parts of the country the confidence to “come after” anti-abortion activists.

“The stakes are as high as they could possibly be,” he said. “If the other side is allowed to proceed in bringing criminal prosecutions against legitimate journalism, I mean we certainly don’t want to live in a country where journalists can be tossed in jail for decades for just doing their jobs. And certainly what would this do to the pro-life movement and other prosecutors who say, ‘I want to come after the pro-life movement, I’m just not sure I can get away with it.’ If they get away with it here, they’ll be able to get away with it in other jurisdictions.”

Daleiden himself also joined the call, expressing hope that the next president will investigate Planned Parenthood, cut off its federal funding and leave the women’s health provider watching “their abortion empire … crumbling all around them.”

“I think they’re going to be pulling out all of the stops in the coming year,” he said, “every last bit of political capital they have to cash in, they’re going to do it, because they know the only thing that stands between them and getting completely cut off from the taxpayer trough at the federal level is a pro-life president, the only thing that stands between them and a federal investigation and criminal convictions for trafficking baby parts and money laundering and the money off of aborted baby parts is a pro-life Department of Justice. Planned Parenthood knows that this issue is the last thing that stands between their abortion empire and it crumbling all around them, and so that’s why they’re lashing out in the way that they are.”

Anti-Planned Parenthood Lawyer Shames Attorney For Once Wearing A 'Very Revealing' Top

Last month, a grand jury in Houston that had been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) instead indicted CMP’s David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on charges related to their infiltration of the women’s health provider.

Planned Parenthood opponents, searching for a way to spin the indictments, have latched on to the fact that one of the 300 attorneys in the office that launched the investigation is a member of the board of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate — never mind that the district attorney’s office disclosed the connection from the very beginning and made it clear that the attorney in question would have nothing to do with the case.

But the fact that the attorney with the Planned Parenthood connection had nothing to do with the activists’ indictments hasn’t stopped Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, the attorney famous for defending anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and who is representing Merritt, from questioning her influence on the case and calling her out for once wearing “hot pants and a very revealing tank top” at a Planned Parenthood fundraising event.

A post on Liberty Counsel’s website on Friday say that the “history and actions” of the district attorney’s office “raise serious questions about bias” and includes a photo of Laruen Reeder, the attorney who is on the local Planned Parenthood board, at a costume party fundraiser for the organization “wearing a revealing tank top and hot pants.”

Staver continued this line of attack in an interview with Pennsylvania radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh today, in which he insisted that “it remains to be seen” whether Reeder influenced the investigation and added that she had once been “pictured in hot pants and a very revealing tank top” at the Planned Parenthood fundraiser.

Lila Rose Lies About Daleiden's Indictment, Calls It 'Judicial Activism And Tyranny'

You might have thought that the indictment of the creator of a series of undercover videos smearing Planned Parenthood might have been a setback to Planned Parenthood’s opponents. Instead, as Brian pointed out on Wednesday, anti-choice activists have simply moved on from lying about the content of the videos to lying about the circumstances of the indictment.

A case in point was the interview that Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action and a mentor of indicted activist David Daleiden, gave to conservative radio host Eric Metaxas yesterday, in which she falsely claimed that a prosecutor who serves on a local Planned Parenthood board had refused to recuse herself from the investigation into the videos and that the charges against Daleiden actually demonstrate Planned Parenthood’s guilt.

A grand jury in Houston that had been convened to investigate Daleiden’s accusation that Planned Parenthood was illegally selling fetal tissue for profit at the behest of state’s anti-choice lieutenant governor found no wrongdoing on Planned Parenthood’s part, but instead issued indictments of Daleiden and a colleague for tampering with a government document and for attempting to buy fetal tissue, although without success.

Daleiden’s supporters have latched on to the fact that one of the 300 prosecutors serving in the Houston office that conducted the investigation is a board member of the local Planned Parenthood affiliate. However, as Brian wrote, that prosecutor, who works in the office’s family law division, disclosed her Planned Parenthood connection from the beginning of the case and had nothing to do with the investigation:

When the Houston case started in August, the attorney who serves on a local Planned Parenthood board disclosed the connection herself and the district attorney announced that she would “not be involved in any manner in this investigation." At the time, one Texas Republican lawmaker praised the decision to "insulate that person from any involvement with the ongoing investigation."

Rose told Metaxas, however, that the indictment was a case of “judicial activism and tyranny” and that the Planned-Parenthood connected prosecutor “did not recuse herself” from the investigation.

“So would you think that there’s political motivation behind this or just simple bias?” Metaxas asked.

“Well, I think that bias becomes political motivation becomes judicial activism and tyranny becomes extremely overstepping, absurd actions by sometimes the people in power,” Rose responded. “And that might be what we’re looking at here, especially because that prosecutor who was a board member for Planned Parenthood in that office in Harris County did not recuse herself, and that is extremely problematic. And I think that this case is going to blow up, and not in a good way for the folks that are bringing the indictment charges against these two brave activists.”

Rose also repeated the myth that the charge against Daleiden for attempting to buy fetal tissue proves that Planned Parenthood was selling it. Daleiden, she said, was “charged with the same crime, part of the same crime, that Planned Parenthood was totally let off the hook for, which is they were charged with trying to buy baby body parts but Planned Parenthood, who’s actually selling them, was completely let off the hook for selling them, for trying to sell them.”

In reality, the charge against Daleiden reportedly stems from an email he sent to Houston Planned Parenthood officials “offering to buy fetal tissue for $1,600 per sample.” Planned Parenthood never responded.

Three Big Lies From Conservatives About The Planned Parenthood Case

On Monday, the work of an anti-choice group called the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) backfired badly when its attempt to launch criminal proceedings against Planned Parenthood ended up with its leader, David Daleiden, along with a fellow activist getting indicted by a Texas grand jury, which in turn cleared Planned Parenthood of alleged wrongdoings.

A small number of Planned Parenthood clinics — "just 1% [of clinics] are involved with fetal tissue research," according to Planned Parenthood — donate fetal tissue for research that many scientists have credited with important breakthroughs in vaccines and other medical treatments.

CMP activists, posing as representatives of a biomedical company, claimed that they recorded Planned Parenthood officials admitting to making a profit off those donations, a criminal act. However, there is no evidence any official from the organization made such a statement, although they did mention fees covering the costs of storage and transportation.

CMP's videos, as it turned out, were manipulated to make it seem that the officials wanted to make money. FactCheck.org explained that "the full, unedited video they cite as evidence shows a Planned Parenthood executive repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research." Planned Parenthood has since stated that it will no longer accept such reimbursements at all.

Despite the flimsy evidence presented in CMP’s videos, Republican politicians in Congress and throughout the country seized on Daleiden’s claims and launched investigations into Planned Parenthood fetal tissue donation practices. Not a single investigation that has been completed so far has founded any evidence of wrongdoings. Texas was one of several states where politicians called for investigations into Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation program.

Which brings us back to the indictments.

The New York Times notes that the case in Harris County, which includes the city of Houston, "started in August, when Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican and an outspoken opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood, asked [Republican district attorney Devon] Anderson to open a criminal investigation into the organization."

In the end, the grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood but indicted CMP founder David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on felony charges of tampering with government records. Daleiden also faces a misdemeanor charge of attempting to purchase human organs.

While the indictments further discredit CMP's work, abortion-rights opponents are relishing the opportunity to portray Daleiden as a martyr and hero of the cause. As Miranda pointed out yesterday, "arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor" for many in the anti-choice movement. And as expected, Daleiden’s supporters on the Right are using the indictments as an opening to spread even more misinformation.

1) Daleiden Is A Journalist

Following news of the indictments, Daleiden called himself an "investigative journalist," tweeting that Planned Parenthood's local affiliate is "trying to jail investigative journalism." (Never mind that it was actually an anti-Planned Parenthood politician who launched the probe that ensnared him).

Sorry, but Daleiden isn't exactly aiming for a Pulitzer.

For starters, CMP did not originally describe itself as a journalistic outlet. It was only around the time the group started releasing its videos that it updated its website's “About Us” page to say that it was comprised of "citizen journalists."

Daleiden himself served as a staffer for the anti-abortion group Live Action, which has its own history of launching sham investigations of Planned Parenthood, and said he wanted CMP to emulate a similar 1999 anti-Planned Parenthood sting by the anti-choice organization Life Dynamics. That scheme fell apart because Life Dynamics paid a witness for their testimony.

Troy Newman, a CMP board member, is a longtime anti-abortion activist with the group Operation Rescue. He told fellow activists that when Daleiden approached him about the project, the goal wasn't to follow the facts where they lead, as journalists do, but to put Planned Parenthood officials behind bars and "destroy" the group. In fact, Newman said that CMP's venture would be a failure if it only succeeded in drawing the attention of members of the press and did not lead to prosecutions of Planned Parenthood officials.

Newman told a church audience in September: "We said, ‘Look, if we just get on Fox News’ — and we were on Fox News, we were on there a couple weeks ago — ‘if we just got a bunch of YouTube video hits or something, if, you know, people are talking about — we would consider it a failure.’ The first and foremost thing is we wanted prosecutions. We want prosecutions, want to defund them, and, finally, we want to completely destroy the entity called Planned Parenthood. And we’re well on our way."

Cheryl Sullenger, Newman's deputy at Operation Rescue who co-authored a book with him that called for abortion doctors to face the death penalty and was once convicted for involvement in a plot to bomb an abortion clinic, similarly revealed how Daleiden approached Newman about how best to go about "obtaining criminal prosecutions" against Planned Parenthood officials and ultimately "put an end to the abortion industry in America.":

About three years ago, David Daleiden came here to Wichita and actually visited us in our office, and he had discussions with Troy about his visions for this undercover project. … David was really motivated to conduct a long-term investigative study of Planned Parenthood and their practices regarding the buying and selling of aborted baby remains. And the reason that he came to us was because he shared our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions and really doing something substantial to report these abuses, document and report them, and bring an end to not only these practices, but an end to the abortion industry in America. And he knew if he focused on Planned Parenthood that would be probably the most powerful way to do that.

Daleiden is not an “investigative journalist.” He is an anti-abortion activist who is now trying to pose as a journalist.

This detail is particularly important because the grand jury's felony indictment stemmed from the contention that Daleiden and his colleague used fake IDs with an "intent to cause harm."

2) Indictment Proves Planned Parenthood Was Selling Human Tissue

Anti-choice activists have jumped on the misdemeanor charge that Daleiden faces for attempting to purchase human organs, saying that the charge in turn proves that Planned Parenthood was selling organs.

The Resurgent, a right-wing blog, called the charge a "gift" to the anti-choice movement because it "proves" that Planned Parenthood was selling tissue all along.

This is a big distortion of the case.

Daleiden did send Planned Parenthood an email asking to purchase fetal tissue for $1,600.

However, Planned Parenthood never responded to his offer ... because Planned Parenthood doesn't sell fetal tissue.

"Whether Daleiden actually intended to buy tissue doesn’t matter in the eyes of Texas law," the Washington Post points out. "The inquiry alone could have spurred the misdemeanor charge. Authorities don’t need to see evidence of a deal or interest from another party to pursue the charge."

To say that Planned Parenthood is guilty of breaking the law simply because Daleiden asked them to break the law, without success, may be one of the most absurd claims that has emerged following the indictments.

Anti-choice groups used similar logic when Planned Parenthood announced that it would cease collecting legal reimbursements for fetal tissue, claiming that the move somehow proved that Planned Parenthood was collecting illegal reimbursements all along.

3) Planned Parenthood-Linked Attorney 'Tainted' The Investigation

Surprised by the indictments and still unable to prove that Planned Parenthood committed any wrongdoings, now anti-choice activists are contending that the district attorney's office that brought the grand jury investigation must be at fault. After all, the grand jury didn't accept the movement's narrative that, as Ted Cruz put it, Planned Parenthood "confesses to multiple felonies."

The conservative outlet the Federalist thought it found quite the scoop when it reported that one of the prosecutors working in the district attorney's office was a local Planned Parenthood board member, posting an image of her LinkedIn page as damning evidence of misconduct.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative legal group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, said that the case may been "tainted" by this alleged "conflict of interest."

Except that the assistant district attorney in question had nothing to do with the investigation, and she personally revealed her connection to the organization at the very beginning of the inquiry. No LinkedIn screenshot was needed, as a simple Google search would do.

When the Houston case started in August, the attorney who serves on a local Planned Parenthood board  disclosed the connection herself and the district attorney announced that she would “not be involved in any manner in this investigation." At the time, one Texas Republican lawmaker praised the decision to "insulate that person from any involvement with the ongoing investigation."

Even the Blaze, the conservative website launched by Glenn Beck, reported on the non-issue back in August, noting that "office spokesman Jeff McShan told TheBlaze that approximately 300 prosecutors and 700 employees work for the Harris County DA’s office."

The smoking gun that may have "tainted" the investigation was actually disclosed from the get-go, and the attorney, one of around 300 in the office, had no involvement in the proceedings.

But none of these misleading and blatantly false claims should surprise anyone.

The CMP probe was always a sham, but that didn’t stop Republican politicians and conservative media pundits from running with the group's discredited "findings." Some, such as Carly Fiorina, even added a few of their own false claims to boot.

Since they appear to be immune to facts, including the outcomes of the many investigations from both government bodies and actual journalists that have already cleared Planned Parenthood, it is no wonder that CMP's defenders are twisting the truth now that it turns out that Daleiden and his CMP colleague, rather than Planned Parenthood officials, are facing indictments.

Anti-Planned Parenthood Activist David Daleiden Gets Indicted, But The Anti-Choice Movement Still Feels Like It's Winning

In an interesting turn of events yesterday, a Texas grand jury that had been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood based on the claims of anti-abortion activist David Daleiden instead indicted Daleiden and a colleague on charges relating to their infiltration of the women’s health care organization.
 
In a statement responding to the charges, Daleiden called himself an "investigative journalist," something that he has been doing from the beginning of his project. In reality, Daleiden's "investigation" was rooted in a tradition of anti-abortion activists attempting to harass and intimidate abortion providers to prevent them from practicing, rather than a genuine effort to uncover the truth. In fact, one of Daleiden's associates at the radical anti-choice group Operation Rescue, which helped to get his project off the ground, said that Daleiden's goal going into the project was to “obtain prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood officials.
 
So far, Daleiden's attempt to "obtain prosecutions" has come up empty.
 
But pushing for the prosecution of Planned Parenthood officials was only part of Daleiden’s plan. In a statement following the indictment, Daleiden claimed that the “admissions” of Planned Parenthood were “captured on video for all the world to see.” Never mind that the videos show no such “admissions” of law-breaking. The point of the videos was not just to make a case to law enforcement, but to sway public opinion.
 
On a large scale, that hasn't been successful: One poll showed barely a flutter in the public’s views about Planned Parenthood between August and September of last year, in the height of the visibility of Daleiden’s videos. Planned Parenthood's favorability ratings had already dropped over the last two decades, Gallup found, but mostly among Republicans, a trend that the polling agency attributed to the growing “politicization of Planned Parenthood."
 
What Daleiden’s project has done is to galvanize support among those who were already opposed to abortion rights. Protests in front of Planned Parenthood offices, driven by the old guard of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement, expanded and multiplied, with the support of much more visible anti-choice groups. At this year’s March for Life, it was impossible to go five minutes without hearing a mention of Daleiden or his videos, with speaker after speaker saying that their movement finally had winning momentum. In the days leading up to the march, Daleiden crossed the city to speak to protesters holding gruesome signs outside a construction site for a new Planned Parenthood clinic; to talk with Americans United for Life lawyers working on strategies to restrict abortion rights; and to be prayed over by Russell Moore and Jim Daly, evangelical leaders who are trying to put a kinder, gentler face on their movement.
 
Speakers at nearly every event noted with hope that a bill defunding Planned Parenthood recently made it through a Republican Congress, allowing anti-choice activists to say that all they need now is to elect a president who would sign it.
 
Now that Daleiden is facing prosecution, he’s in the company of many fellow members of the “rescue” movement, which his work grew out of. Among those who protest outside of clinics, or try to infiltrate them, arrest and jail time for violation of what they see as unjust laws is a badge of honor. At a protest last week in front of a new Planned Parenthood that is being built in Washington, D.C., before Daleiden spoke, one “rescue” movement leader asked who there would be willing to “lay their body in front of the door” or “handcuff yourself to construction equipment” in order to stop the building from opening. Another touted the work of one of Daleiden’s mentors to train “a whole army of David Daleidens” to infiltrate Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the country.
 
Yesterday’s indictment is unlikely to dissuade these activists, who feel that they are on the cusp of a David-and-Goliath victory. In fact, at events connected to the March for Life last week, speakers expressed hope that a separate lawsuit against Daleiden by Planned Parenthood would instead turn up unflattering information about the women's health provider and land it in hot water instead. So far, the opposite has been true. But, to the anti-choice movement, that just makes Daleiden seem even more like David, closer than ever to slinging the winning shot.

Evangelicals Gather Before March For Life To Plan Less Angry, Less White Anti-Abortion Movement

The annual March for Life brought thousands of people to Washington, D.C. on Friday, the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. This year, Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission teamed up to create more of an evangelical presence at the heavily Catholic march.  “Our burden was to see the reborn stand up for the unborn," said the Southern Baptists’ Russell Moore on Thursday. At Friday’s march, Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly acknowledged that evangelicals took “a while to come to the party” on abortion.

A few hundred people attended the first Evangelicals for Life conference, which began on Thursday and continued on Friday morning until the rally and march were set to begin. Among the conference speakers, in addition to Moore and Daly, were Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. 

The day started with Moore and Daly interviewing and praying for David Daleiden, whose videos have been at the center of the latest right-wing effort to destroy Planned Parenthood. Moore gave Daleiden a chance to respond to criticism that his deceptive tactics had required lying, asking if he was engaging in moral relativizing. Daleiden explained that his “undercover” work is different from lying because its ultimate purpose is truth-telling, an extremely dubious claim in this case.

Charmaine Yoest celebrated the anti-choice movement’s success at generating a “tidal wave” of restrictions on abortion, explaining as she did in her remarks at the World Congress of Families summit in October, that those victories were based on a strategic decision to focus on state legislatures, pass restrictions, and create opportunities for the Supreme Court to chip away at Roe. She called it a “stealth strategy” and an “under-the-radar” way to go on the offensive.

Yoest and other speakers argued that the movement’s continued success will depend on putting a more loving, compassionate, woman-focused face on the movement, directly challenging pro-choice advocates who ground their legal arguments in women’s dignity. Yoest described abortion as “fundamentally anti-woman” and abortion advocates as “the true misogynists in our society.”

Rodriguez, as he often does in conservative settings, tried to convince the audience not to “drink the Kool-Aid” about changing demographics being bad news for the anti-abortion movement. Rodriguez said pro-life Hispanics can provide a “spiritual firewall” for the movement.

In reality, progressive-voting Latinos created a firewall for President Obama, which may be why Rodriguez complained that “our voting pattern runs counter to what we preach about on Sunday” and declared, “If we are pro-life on Sunday, if we preach pro-life on Sunday, we cannot support a candidate that advocates abortion on Tuesday.” Rodriguez spoke directly to Latinos, saying it’s fine to march for immigration reform -- “as long as it’s not amnesty or illegal immigration; we need to stop that” -- but “we must be above all things pro-life.”

The most surprising and interesting remarks of the day came from Christian author Ron Sider, a pacifist and anti-hunger advocate who challenged a movement that calls itself pro-life to be more engaged in fighting global poverty, challenging subsidies to the tobacco industry, protecting the environment, fighting racism, and opposing capital punishment. He said white evangelicals would have more success at getting Black Christians into the anti-abortion movement if white Christians became supportive for Black Lives Matter.

Rodriguez also said the future of the movement had to be multiethnic, declaring that “the day of white, angry, pro-life advocates as a collective movement, that day is officially over.” He said that abortion providers target African American and Latino women, which he called “unbridled and unfettered racism.” Rodriguez said he is working with Bernice King, daughter of MLK, to launch later this year the National Christian Leadership Conference, “an organization for the purpose of advancing a culture of life, and we will be specifically targeting the Latino and African American communities.”

A few notes from afternoon breakout sessions:

  • Casey Mattox, an attorney for the Alliance Defense Fund, talked about the anti-abortion movement’s legal and legislative successes at chipping away at the protection that Roe provided for women, and at current cases involving Texas’s restrictive law and states that have moved to bar Planned Parenthood from participating in Medicaid.
  • Roland Warren, president and CEO of CareNet, a network of pregnancy centers, talked about how they reach “abortion-minded people” online through keyword advertising and try to dissuade them by phone calls and email. He said pregnancy centers cannot provide enough support to women who choose to give birth, and called on churches to create specific ministries to provide long-term support.
  • A panel on global issues featured Rodriguez, the Heritage Foundation’s Jennifer Marshall, and Travis Wussow, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Director of International Justice and Religious Liberty. Marshall said the character of our culture affects the ability of the U.S. to lead on the world stage, either casting a shadow or shedding light. She insisted that anti-abortion advocates cannot overlook the entanglement of federal dollars in programs that promote abortion abroad. It makes a huge difference at the United Nations, she said, whether there’s a pro-life or pro-choice administration in the U.S. Asked whether she sees a link between abortion issues and the Obama administration’s promotion of gay rights as part of U.S. foreign policy, Marshall said that the State Department advances both, adding that “the idea of created reality, we are created in the image of God male and female, those Genesis 1 and 2 truths, all of them are being challenged right now. So there is an ontology, biblical anthropology, that is going to be very, very critical for churches to teach and to form young people." 

Protesters Warn 'The Troubles For Planned Parenthood Have Only Just Begun'

On Thursday morning, about 50 protesters gathered in the bitter cold in front of a new Planned Parenthood facility that is under construction in northeast Washington, D.C. Although local protesters have been picketing the construction site for months, yesterday’s protest brought in activists from around the country who were in town for the March for Life, becoming something of a reunion for the old guard of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement.

The event included an appearance by David Daleiden, the activist behind this summer’s anti-Planned Parenthood “sting” operation, whose work grew out of the radical “rescue” movement and who has become a hero in all factions of the anti-abortion movement. It also included a one-man counter-protest from a parent whose child’s school next door was closed to avoid the event; an exhortation to be willing to die fighting legal abortion; and a brief exorcism.

Although the event was fairly small, the mood was hopeful, even victorious.

Daleiden, who is now being sued by Planned Parenthood for racketeering, told the crowd that the facility under construction behind them looked “kind of like fortresses or the castle of an evil baron in a fairy tale” but that Planned Parenthood was “stopped in their tracks” and “the days of legalized, state-subsidized, industrial-scale child-killing in our country are numbered.”

He said that 2016 would be a “historic, watershed year” for opponents of legal abortion, citing the congressional select committee investigating his allegations about Planned Parenthood and the upcoming Supreme Court hearing in Whole Women’s Health v. Texas, which he said “will be something that will continue to break down the fortress.”

Joe Scheidler, the founding father of the “direct action” anti-abortion movement,  which seeks to cut off legal abortion at its source by picketing clinics and harassing providers, was at the protest along with his son and successor at the Pro-Life Action League, Eric Scheidler. Eric Scheidler presented Daleiden with a tongue-in-cheek “Racketeers for Life” button, noting that Daleiden is being represented by the same attorneys who represented his father when he faced similar charges.

Father Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, also acknowledged the link between Daleiden’s work and the rescue movement. He noted that Mark Crutcher, whose unsuccessful “sting” operation 15 years ago inspired Daleiden’s attempt to frame Planned Parenthood for mishandling fetal tissue, is now creating a national training facility to build what Crutcher hopes will be “a whole army of David Daleidens.”

“The troubles for Planned Parenthood have only just begun,” Pavone said, adding that he thought that Daleiden’s operation would lead to prosecutions and then praising Crutcher’s effort to build “a new army of people into the abortion industry undercover.”

“So our message to Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry today is very simple,” he said. “Be on your toes because we are in your midst, we are behind your doors, we are in your secret meetings, we are working for you and with you though you know it not, but in His good time the God who reveals all secrets will reveal that too.”

“We will see the end of this Holocaust,” he declared.

Joan Andrews Bell, known in the movement for having spent years in jail for various violations of trespassing laws during abortion clinic protests, spoke briefly, saying, “I want you to know that the rescue movement isn’t dead. Jesus rescued us on the cross, he rescued us. And every single one of you ... you are part of the rescue movement, you are rescuing babies.”

Monica Miller, another longtime leader of the rescue movement, compared the efforts of protesters to the civil rights movement, saying that anti-abortion activists must be willing to give up their livelihoods and even their lives for the cause.

“To stop abortion, to be involved with this injustice, to want to see it end, you can’t live a normal life anymore,” she said. “All that’s gone. All your plans of having, ‘Oh, let’s get married, we’ll have children, we’ll buy the house, this is going to happen next and this is my plan,’ all that’s gone. You’re not going to live a normal life anymore. Are we willing to really allow ourselves to be spent, to allow ourselves to be spent so that others may live? And that means are we willing to allow our property to be taken, our jobs to be lost, our reputations to be lost, are we willing to go to jail, are you willing to die, give up your life for this social justice, moral spiritual cause?”

She urged activists to use any peaceful means necessary to prevent the new Planned Parenthood building from opening, including blocking its doors or handcuffing themselves to construction equipment, using old-school rescue movement tactics.

“On the day that this death mill will open, will there be anybody here, will somebody lay their body in front of the door, will you handcuff yourself to construction equipment?” she asked. “Come on guys, think about it, let’s be creative, what are you willing to do to stop this place from being built? Non-violent action, laying down your life, allowing yourself to absorb the violence without retaliating against it, but laying down your life so that others may live.”

Another direct-action tactic on display was a large poster with pictures of the owners of the construction company building the Planned Parenthood building, urging activists to call them and accuse them of “killing children.”

At one point a man who said he had a child in the school near the construction site, which had to close for the day to avoid the protest, started yelling at the speakers. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, who has been leading protests in front of the building site and emceed Thursday’s rally, responded that he should instead be blaming Planned Parenthood for opening its building in the location.

Shortly after the disruption, one speaker led the crowd in a short exorcism of the construction site to “take out the demons that hover above this place.”

Anti-Choice Group Working To 'Unleash A Whole Army Of David Daleidens'

The anti-choice activist in Texas who inspired David Daleiden’s sham “baby parts” investigation of Planned Parenthood is launching a project to “unleash a whole army of David Daleidens” to spy on abortion providers “in every part of the country.”

Mark Crutcher, the president of Life Dynamics, announced in a local radio interview with Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith earlier this month that he is in the process of building a facility and developing a curriculum to conduct “professional training to help pro-lifers understand how to go inside the very cloistered and very closed abortion industry and bring out their dirty little secrets.”

Daleiden’s futile effort to catch Planned Parenthood breaking federal laws on handing fetal tissue was modeled on a similar project Crutcher conducted in 2000. When he was initially planning his anti-Planned Parenthood project, Daleiden took his “6-foot, 30-pound black-throated monitor lizard” on a cross-country road trip to meet with Crutcher and with Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who eventually became one of three board members of his Center for Medical Progress.

Crutcher, who pioneered the strategy of recruiting what he called “spies for life” to find information about abortion providers in order to harass them out of business, told Smith that the fight over abortion rights “is a war, and one aspect of war is intelligence gathering and undercover work — spying, if you will.”

“We’re going to try to create an army of people who are trained in every part of the country, they will be operating any place there’s an abortion clinic, to go into the abortion industry and bring out their dirty little secrets," he said. "And I think that this is going to change the pro-life movement permanently, and I think it’s going to change it in a pretty dramatic way.”

Crutcher reminded listeners that as well as inspiring Daleiden, he trained Live Action’s Lila Rose, who worked with Daleiden on another fruitless “sting” operation against Planned Parenthood in 2011, which was also modeled on Crutcher’s work at Life Dynamics.

“Now what we want to do is unleash a whole army of David Daleidens and Lila Roses and James O’Keefes and people like that around the country,” Crutcher said.

Crutcher also discussed his new book, “Siege: A Pro-Life Field Manual,” in which he argues that the anti-choice movement needs to “start applying basic military strategy” to its efforts.

“The book is called ‘Siege,’ which, of course, is a military term, because I look at this as a war,” he told Smith. "There is a war being waged right now and people need to understand, the war is not between the pro-life side and the pro-abortion side or the pro-choice side, whatever you want to call it. The war is between the abortion lobby and the unborn child. We are simply, basically a volunteer army that signed up to defend those who can’t defend themselves, in other words the unborn child. But that’s where the war is. It’s not between us and our enemies, it’s between our enemies and the babies.”

He said that part of the military mindset that the anti-abortion movement must adopt is to “be aware that there are dangers out there that we haven’t thought about.”

As an example, he presented his theory that Planned Parenthood is secretly “positioning itself to become an agency of the U.S. government.”

“I think that we could very easily look up here one day in the not-too-distant future,” he said, “and see a press conference being called with Barack Obama and beside him would be Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood and them announcing that a new agency has been formed under the Department of Health and Human Services, it would probably be called something like the U.S. Department of Women and Reproductive Health or something like that, and that the name ‘Planned Parenthood’ is going away and that Planned Parenthood is now an agency of the government.”

Troy Newman: Sting Videos Designed To 'Completely Destroy' Planned Parenthood

In a sermon at the Springfield, Illinois, iWorship Center in September, Troy Newman told the congregation about his efforts as president of Operation Rescue to end access to abortions.

Newman described the meetings he had with David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress in which they discussed the goals of their debunked “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood, which falsely alleged that the group sells fetal tissue for profit.

“We mapped out this plan, he was going to get up inside [Planned Parenthood] and we talked about how we were going to do it and what the end result was,” Newman said.

Their goal, he explained, was not simply publicity for their anti-choice views, but the total destruction of Planned Parenthood: “We said, ‘Look, if we just get on Fox News’ — and we were on Fox News, we were on there a couple weeks ago — ‘if we just got a bunch of YouTube video hits or something, if, you know, people are talking about - we would consider it a failure.’ The first and foremost thing is we wanted prosecutions. We want prosecutions, want to defund them, and, finally, we want to completely destroy the entity called Planned Parenthood. And we’re well on our way.”

Anti-Planned Parenthood Leaders Discuss Their Strategy To 'Dismantle' The Women's Health Provider

We released a report last month about the recent anti-Planned Parenthood smear’s origins in the radical “rescue” movement, the segment of the anti-choice movement that has sought to end legal abortion by protesting outside of clinics, harassing and intimidating providers and patients and attempting to sue individual providers out of existence.

In a conference call with members of the clergy last week organized by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, two “rescue” movement leaders joined Rep. Diane Black, the Tennessee Republican who is leading efforts to defund Planned Parenthood in the House and a member of the House Special Committee targeting the group, to discuss how the recent smear campaign is revitalizing their movement and how they plan to use it to “dismantle” Planned Parenthood entirely. One activist also revealed that the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the deceptive sting videos, sought the “destruction” of the group by attempting “to get prosecutions.”

Eric Scheidler, whose father Joseph Scheidler pioneered many of the “rescue” movement’s tactics and who is now organizing nationwide Planned Parenthood protests through the family’s Pro-Life Action League, told call participants that “one of the most wonderful things to come out of this entire scandal” has been the resurgence of protests outside of abortion clinics. He said that he hoped that his protests would lead to Planned Parenthood losing all government funding and being “kicked out of every one of the 700 towns across the United States” where they operate.

It’s important to note that the “Protest PP” effort is not just about a couple of big national protests in the firestorm of this scandal in 2015. Our long-term goal is to bolster the pro-life presence at the Planned Parenthood centers around the country on into the future and, most wonderfully, we are seeing that happen. Abortion clinics that haven’t had pro-lifers outside standing in witness for years or even forever are now seeing pro-life groups forming to get involved regularly in an ongoing way outside the doors of those abortion clinics. …

We really expect to see this fervor continue, not just through the end of this year but on through the future, and that’s one of the most wonderful things to come out of this entire scandal and the exposure that we’ve been able to give to Planned Parenthood and who they really are. …

Planned Parenthood’s public image is going to be further knocked down the point where we will finally be able to, first, deprive them of any government funding whatsoever and, second, get them kicked out of every one of the 700 towns across the United States where they have centers.

Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue who is also a driving force behind the Center for Medical Progress’ smears on Planned Parenthood and a member of the group’s board, explained that at the outset of their project he and the Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden decided that their goal was to “get prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood employees in order to achieve the “destruction or dismantling” of the organization. (Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger has also said that “criminal prosecutions” were the ultimate goal of the project.)

He came to me three years ago and we sat in our office, we talked a lot about what the end goal was. We didn’t want to just infiltrate Planned Parenthood for the sake of infiltrating them or for the sake of getting YouTube hits … At the end of the day, we both agreed that our number one goal was to get prosecutions against these people that are violating the law. And prosecutions lead to defunding and defunding leads to the destruction or dismantling of Planned Parenthood.

As our primary goal, I believe all the elements are in place to accomplish those goals. If you look at the systematic way that we, Center for Medical Progress has been able to disseminate information, each individual video has a story to tell and at the end of the day, the story is really simple. Number one, this is not necessarily about abortion. So all the questions that are being asked in Congress about abortion and so forth are good, I think, to educate people, but it’s not specifically germane to the conversation that we’re having right now. This is about the wholesale illegal trade in fetal cadavers and fetal organs.

Newman expressed frustration that “the narrative is being changed on a daily basis” and the anti-choice movement has moved straight toward passing legislation in Congress without first getting “these abortionists thrown in jail” as he and Daleiden originally intended, which he said is the surefire way to make sure that “Planned Parenthood is dismantled forever.”

We do need to ban abortions after 20 weeks, absolutely, we do need to defund Planned Parenthood, absolutely, we do need to have these select committees, but more importantly, there’s enough evidence that we’ve released already — already — to get these abortionists thrown in jail. And the thing that’s particularly disturbing to me is that the narrative is being changed on a daily basis toward something other than the original intent, the evidence that has already been brought out there, that these are clear violations of the law and district attorneys and attorneys general need to take notice that they need to prosecute these abortionists for the crimes that are clearly being committed on these tapes. And with that, the first time we get an indictment, a prosecution, a conviction, okay, they lose their Title X funding. Their funding goes right out the door. And as soon as they lose their funding, that’s over half their money, then Planned Parenthood is dismantled forever.

David Daleiden Explains How Discredited Sting Taught Him To Confront The 'Enemy' Of Planned Parenthood

As we explored in our recent report on the Center for Medical Progress’ attacks on Planned Parenthood, CMP founder David Daleiden worked in concert with a few longtime anti-choice activists in his effort to claim that Planned Parenthood violated federal laws with its fetal tissue donation program. One of those activists was Mark Crutcher, who through his Texas-based group Life Dynamics, conducted a very similar undercover video “sting” of fetal tissue donation practices in the late 1990s, with a similar goal of undermining legal abortion.

Crutcher’s claims fell apart when his key witness admitted at a congressional hearing that he had lied about witnessing “profiteering by fetal-tissue providers.” The Omaha World-Herald reported at the time:

[U]nder questioning from the committee, Alberty admitted that he had lied in previous statements made to Life Dynamics, an anti-abortion group in Texas. In a videotape produced by Life Dynamics, a disguised Alberty charged that he had witnessed profiteering by fetal-tissue providers, among a number of charges he later denied in a sworn affidavit.

Alberty also admitted receiving more than $10,000 from Life Dynamics.

On Thursday, Alberty contradicted himself repeatedly, at one point telling the committee he didn't remember if he had put on a dress to disguise himself in the Life Dynamics video.

"When I was under oath, I told the truth," Alberty told the committee. "Anything I said on a videotape when I wasn't under oath is a different story."

Another focus of Life Dynamics’ “investigation” was a middle-man whom they said profited from fetal tissue after obtaining it from a Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas. Planned Parenthood was never implicated in any wrongdoing, and federal prosecutors never found evidence to bring charges against the man Life Dynamics had targeted.

In an in-depth interview with the “Catholic Answers Focus” podcast last week, Daleiden recalled that in 2010 he had a “very detailed” three-hour conversation with Crutcher about this failed sting operation, from which he came away determined to copy Crutcher’s actions, only this time he would be better prepared to confront the “enemy” of Planned Parenthood.

“I felt like it deserves to have a very detailed and sophisticated exposé done about it again, and done in a way that would go even farther than what was done before and do it in a way that wouldn’t allow it to just be ignored or swept under the rug,” he said, “so that was the original inspiration.”

“So I think that Mark Crutcher did groundbreaking work and I think that it was a great victory just for him to get the information out that he did,” Daleiden said. “But I think definitely you always want to learn from how something was done before and if, I wouldn’t say so much mistakes, but just areas where the enemy pushed back really hard and kind of what the best tactics of the enemy were, and wanting to make sure we could learn from the past and have a way to neutralize those in the future.”

He added that as well as learning about “the best tactics of the enemy,” he decided to focus on Planned Parenthood “so that nobody could deny that this was a Planned Parenthood problem and so Planned Parenthood would have to be held to account for their actions.”

Cheryl Sullenger, a top official at Operation Rescue, another extreme anti-choice group that Daleiden turned to for help, has said that Daleiden came into the project sharing “our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood officials in order to “bring an end” to “the abortion industry in America.”

Six states have so far closed investigations into Daleiden’s claims, finding no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

The Radical History Behind The Center For Medical Progress' Sham Planned Parenthood Investigation

This summer, a group called the Center for Medical Progress began to release a series of videos from an undercover “investigation” which it claimed showed that Planned Parenthood “sells aborted baby parts” for profit.

Since then, those claims have been roundly debunked, but the stir created by CMP’s videos has led to votes on defunding Planned Parenthood in the House and Senate and in several states, multiple House hearings (including one happening right now) and the threat of a government shutdown, and even contributed to the resignation of the speaker of the House.

Although little was known at first about who the Center for Medical Progress was, researchers and journalists quickly traced its ties to a number of radical anti-choice groups, and especially to Operation Rescue, which has existed for decades on the radical fringe of the anti-choice movement.

In a new report released today, People For the American Way explores the ties between CMP and its founder, David Daleiden, and Operation Rescue, placing Daleiden’s project in the history of the “direct action” anti-choice movement’s attempts to harass and intimidate abortion providers and patients.

In a radio interview first reported in the PFAW report, Operation Rescue’s second-in-command, Cheryl Sullenger, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for attempting to bomb an abortion clinic, explained that Daleiden approached her organization because he “shared our vision” for bringing “an end to the abortion industry in America” through attacking Planned Parenthood.

The “direct action” movement that Operation Rescue and CMP represent originated with dissidents from the National Right to Life Committee, which after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade was the main organization working to overturn the decision and outlaw abortion through legislation. Early “direct action” protesters abandoned this legislative strategy and instead focuses on attacking legal abortion at its source, harassing abortion providers and patients and sometimes physically preventing women from entering abortion clinics in what became known as “rescue” missions.

As part of this strategy, Operation Rescue now advises activists to use a wide range of methods, including covert ones such as the “sting” operation Daleiden carried out, to gather information on abortion providers (and sometimes patients) in order to harass them at their homes and workplaces or to make their clinics expensive to operate.

One strategy later perfected by Mark Crutcher, who runs a group called Life Dynamics, used sham “investigations” to infiltrate and unnerve abortion providers. One of Crutcher’s investigations attacked the legal practice of fetal tissue donation for medical research; Daleiden has admitted that Crutcher gave him the idea for CMP’s project. The purpose of Crutcher’s investigations was not to shed light on hidden truths, but instead to intimidate abortion providers in order to stop them from offering their services, with the goal of building Crutcher once called “an America where abortion may indeed be perfectly legal, but no one can get one.”

Although Daleiden calls himself an “investigative journalist,” he actually comes out of this tradition of intimidation and harassment disguised as investigation.

PFAW’s full report, “Operation Rescue’s Big Break: How an Organization Rooted in the Radical Fringes of the Anti-Choice Movement Is Threatening to Shut Down the Government,” is available here.

The Abortion Protester's Guidebook For Invading Patients' Privacy

A ProPublica investigation published in the Washington Post today looks at the sophisticated data collection methods used by abortion-clinic protesters to gather information about abortion providers, which has occasionally led to the identities of abortion patients being publicly exposed against their will.

“In recent years, abortion opponents have become experts at accessing public records such as recordings of 911 calls, autopsy reports, and documents from state health departments and medical boards, then publishing the information on their Web sites,” writes ProPublica’s Charles Ornstein. “Some activists have dug through clinics’ trash to find privacy violations by abortion providers — such as patient records tossed in dumpsters — and used them to file complaints with regulators.”

Aggressive data collection about abortion providers and patients, often by the same people serving as “sidewalk counselors” for anti-abortion groups, has become a hallmark of the anti-choice “rescue” movement since the advent of laws preventing activists from literally blocking the doors to clinics. The de facto leader of this movement is Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who has been in the news recently as the patron of a series of “sting” videos smearing Planned Parenthood.

Ornstein writes that these activists “appear to be drawing from an unofficial playbook: Some wait outside clinics, tracking or taking photos of patients’ and staffers’ license plates and ambulances, if called.”

A version of that “informal playbook” was put into writing last year by Newman and his Operation Rescue colleague Cheryl Sullenger in their book “Abortion Free: Your Manual for Building a Pro-Life America One Community at a Time,” published by the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily.

In it, Newman and Sullenger (who says she has embraced nonviolence after serving time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s) outline for anti-choice activists how they can collect information on abortion providers, make it public, and use it to try to drive providers out of business and convince legislators to try to do the same.

Newman and Sullenger review various tactics for anti-choice activists looking to gather information on abortion providers, including public records requests, sting operations like the one behind the recent Planned Parenthood videos, and collecting information on vendors who work with abortion providers in order to harass them into ending their association.

“Make a record of all the vendors you can, and photograph their vehicles, especially if they bear the company logos,” Sullenger and Newman counsel, adding that protesters should “keep a camera and a notepad” with them at all times.

Newman and Sullenger tell protesters to aggressively take photographs or video whenever they witness a patient being transferred to a hospital as a result of complications.

They proudly tell how once while standing outside the Wichita clinic of George Tiller — who was later murdered by an anti-abortion extremist — they saw Tiller escort a woman who had suffered a complication to the emergency room. The anti-abortion activists took pictures of the woman, which they then printed on postcards that they mailed to the neighbors of employees of Tiller’s clinic:

We enlarged the pictures of Tiller wheeling the injured woman into the emergency room, plastered them on the sides of our Truth Truck, and parked it out in front of his clinic driveway gate, where it aided in turning many women away from having abortions out of concern that they might be next. We put the photos on postcards and sent them to every legislator, asking for laws to protect women, which helped push forward pro-life legislation. We sent the images to the neighbors of abortion clinic workers, asking them to pray for their neighbor to leave the abortion industry, which prompted several workers to quit their jobs at Tiller’s clinic.

“Photos that show the victim on a gurney being taken from the abortion clinic are useful and dramatic,” the activists write in a list of tips for sidewalk counselors. “Submit a FOIA request for the 911 audio file and CAD transcript of the call as soon as possible,” they add.

“Don’t be worried about compromising a patient’s privacy when taking photos, because faces can be blurred using editing software before they are published,” they advise.

Newman and Sullenger tell of how, in an effort to find the identity of a new doctor Tiller had hired, they pieced together the pieces of a private medical form discarded by a patient:

A woman had tossed torn-up pieces of paper out her window before driving away from the abortion clinic. The sidewalk counselor had retrieved them and gave them to us. We pieced them together and discovered the initials S.R. on a line that required a physician’s signature.

Although Newman and Sullenger never advocate deliberately exposing the identities of abortion patients, that is certainly not the case for providers, whose names, address and photographs they catalogue on their website AbortionDocs.com. In their book, they urge activists to dig up whatever dirt they can on providers, even when it’s completely irrelevant to their medical practice.

They tell, for instance, of finding a “ridiculous” photo of an abortion clinic administrator on social media that showed the “bleached blonde” with her “dark roots embarrassingly showing,” which they made a point of using “repeatedly” on their website:

Search social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Sometimes very interesting insight can be garnered from their social network profiles, including photos of the abortionists doing crazy things. For example, the administrator of an abortion chain in Texas left her social profile public, and we found a ridiculous photo of the bleached blonde — dark roots embarrassingly showing — making a silly face while peering through a curtain of plastic grass. That picture made her look like anything but the serious medical professional she purported herself to be. We have used the photo repeatedly on our own website.

Newman and Sullenger also provide guidance for “stings” such as that conducted by David Daleiden of the Center for Medical Progress, for whom Newman seems to have served as a mentor and funder. Starting the chapter of their book with a quote from Sun Tzu, “All warfare is based on deception,” they offer a biblical justification for using false identities to investigate a “godless enemy”:

Some have no problem whatsoever stretching the truth to a godless enemy who is bent on destroying innocent lives — especially if it can be used to save babies. One need only look at the story of Rahab in the Bible for an example of a woman who used misdirection to save the lives of the Jewish spies and was honored by God for it (See Joshua 2).

Groups like Operation Rescue serve as an important part of the anti-choice movement’s effort to chip away at abortion access by regulating providers out of existence. While large, politically influential groups like Americans United for Life advocate for laws that place unnecessary regulatory constraints on abortion providers, groups like Operation Rescue look for any small violation that they can use to attack the clinic.

Although activists often say they are seeking to find gross mismanagement and abuses like those at Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia, Newman and Sullenger tell activists that no violation is too small to be used against a clinic. They urge protesters to look for minor violations of zoning codes, like insufficient parking or improper signage. If you look hard enough, they say, you’ll eventually find something:

In all our combined decades of experience, we have yet to find an abortion business that abides by all applicable laws. That means every abortion clinic is legally vulnerable and subject to closure. Our job is to find out what the abortionists are doing wrong and exploit their weaknesses.

They urge activists to simultaneously encourage their elected officials to “whittle away” at abortion access by implementing “regulations and laws that essentially make it impossible for abortion mills to operate”:

Some pro-life groups believe that an all-or-nothing approach is the way to go. They won’t support any legislation — and in some cases will block it — if it doesn’t ban abortions outright. We feel that there is plenty we can do right now to promote pro-life legislation that will save lives now while we continue to work toward full abolition. For instance, we can whittle away at the industry by supporting regulations and laws that essentially make it impossible for abortion mills to operate due to their proclivity to function well below accepted medical standards.

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David Daleiden Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Thursday 09/15/2016, 4:31pm
At last weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel distributed a new booklet written by its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, titled “Planned Parenthood Exposed!” Staver’s booklet is mostly a rehashing of the Planned Parenthood smear videos produced by David Daleiden last year, but it ends on a more apocalyptic note. Noting that Daleiden based his project on a similar effort by anti-abortion activist Mark Crutcher, who, in the late 1990s, also tried to attack legal abortion with a flawed “investigation” of the practice of... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 09/08/2016, 5:21pm
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Family Research Council, tomorrow. In doing so, he’ll be sharing the stage not only with extreme anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim activists, but also with activists who are rooted in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement. Trump will address the summit soon after David and Jason Benham take the stage. The Benhams are twin brothers who became Religious Right megastars in 2014 after HGTV cancelled a show they were set to star in following... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 05/19/2016, 4:15pm
Unhinged conspiracy theorist and End-Times prophet Rick Wiles scored an interview on Tuesday with David Daleiden, the anti-abortion activist who created last year’s series of videos that baselessly claimed that Planned Parenthood sells “baby parts” for profit. After his conversation with Daleiden, Wiles naturally concluded that God will destroy America as punishment for Planned Parenthood’s “human sacrifice” to Lucifer. “There are certain issues in this country that the establishment will go to war to defend,” Wiles told his cohost Doc... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 04/15/2016, 12:27pm
Attorneys for David Daleiden, the activist who led the undercover smear campaign against Planned Parenthood last year, are trying to get a grand jury indictment of him dismissed in Texas, claiming that it was politically motivated. But Daleiden’s mentor, who has conducted many of his own sham investigations of abortion providers, acknowledged at an anti-abortion conference last month that the young activist “made some mistakes” that might have led him to run afoul of the law. Mark Crutcher heads a group called Life Dynamics, which pioneered some of the undercover tactics... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 04/08/2016, 5:00pm
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right. Donald Trump has been relatively quiet this week following his defeat in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary but, luckily for us, other right-wing politicians and preachers have stepped in to promote their own bizarre claims. 5) America Has Fallen To Baal Worship Glenn Beck is very worried that people think he’s “nuts” and is upset that no one respects his role as a prophet. Beck told Sam Rodriguez, one of the Religious Right’s favorite pastors,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 04/06/2016, 3:44pm
Update: Trump reportedly failed to call in to the Priests for Life conference, even further confusing his already confused place in the “pro-life” movement. Update II: In a statement on Thursday, Pavone said that reports of Trump's snub were "incorrect" and that neither "Mr. Trump nor anyone associated with him or his campaign cancelled a meeting or phone call with pro-life leaders, nor did they break any commitment, promise, appointment, or expectation."  Add this to the growing list of Donald Trump’s contradictory positions on reproductive... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/10/2016, 2:41pm
As we noted last year, the Texas anti-abortion group Life Dynamics, whose founder Mark Crutcher was an important mentor to undercover Planned Parenthood activist David Daleiden, plans to start training “a whole army” of Daleidens in the arts of spying on abortion providers. Crutcher joined Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith on her “From the Median” radio program earlier this month to discuss his plans to “create intelligence gathering agents” to infiltrate abortion providers, with the goal of having 100 such agents by the end of the year and... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Wednesday 02/03/2016, 1:18pm
A number of anti-abortion groups joined together last night for a webcast aimed at raising money for a legal defense fund for David Daleiden, the anti-Planned Parenthood activist who is facing an indictment in Texas, along with his fellow activist Sandra Merritt. Life Legal Defense Foundation, the group that is representing Daleiden in a separate case in California, is managing a legal defense fund for Daleiden and Merritt. Thomas More Society’s Peter Breen, who is representing Daleiden in Texas, and Charles LaMandri of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, who is representing... MORE >