In Houston, Texas, a grand jury that was investigating claims of illegal behavior on the part of Planned Parenthood have instead indicted the two abortion adversaries behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos. The charges laid against the vigilante filmmakers are tampering with a governmental record, which is a felony, and charges related to purchasing human organs. David R. Daleiden, the director of the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress, posed as a biotechnology representative interested in purchasing fetal tissue in a sting operation that was, of course, secretly filmed. A Center for Medical Progress employee, Sandra S. Merritt, was indicted with a felony charge for tampering with a governmental record. That charge accuses Merrit of making fake California driver's licenses for their meeting with Planned Parenthood officials.
Abortion opponents claimed the videos that were released in July of 2015 showed Planned Parenthood engaging in the illegal sale of fetal parts. The organization denied the accusations, and formal investigations by the states and congress found them innocent of any wrongdoing. Planned Parenthood issued an apology for the casual tone that one of its officials used while discussing a possible transfer of fetal tissue to the fake biotech company. But, they insisted the fees being discussed were to cover costs and were legal.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told The New York Times that the inspector general of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas attorney general’s office will continue to investigate Planned Parenthood’s actions. “Nothing about today’s announcement in Harris County impacts the state’s ongoing investigation. The State of Texas will continue to protect life, and I will continue to support legislation prohibiting the sale or transfer of fetal tissue,” Abbott said in a statement. The state attorney general, Ken Paxton, said: “The fact remains that the videos exposed the horrific nature of abortion and the shameful disregard for human life of the abortion industry. The state’s investigation of Planned Parenthood is ongoing.” Discuss
More Americans support legalized access to abortion than at any point in the last two years. According to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, 58 percent of Americans believe abortion should remain legal; that’s up from 51 percent two years ago. There was a rise in support both among Democrats and Republicans. As The Daily Beast notes though, the timing of the poll is also notable: It was conducted just weeks after anti-abortion gunman Robert Dear killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. Discuss
The number of women having abortions in the U.S. continues to fall, according to a new government report released earlier this week. Though the recent numbers aren’t exactly “new”—they are from 2012—they do highlight a somewhat significant trend: The abortion rate in America has been falling for the last 25 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 699,000 abortions were performed that year; though that number may sound high, it’s actually a 4 percent drop from 2011. The abortion rate in 2012 was only half as high as it was in 1974, the year Row v. Wade was decided. Data from AP also suggests that since 2012, the number of abortions in the U.S. has continued to fall. Discuss
GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson wants to see almost all abortions be made illegal. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Carson—who is closely trailing Donald Trump in most polls—said that he would “love” to see Roe vs. Wade overturned. The 1973 Supreme Court decision ultimately led to the legalization of abortion throughout the United States. He said that he would like prohibitions against abortions to be sweeping, and not include exceptions for rape and abortion, explaining, “I would not be in favor of killing a baby because the baby came about in that way.” He did said that in the “extraordinarily rare situation” in which an abortion must take place to potentially save the life of the mother, “I believe there’s room to discuss that.”
Carson said, “During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do. What if the abolitionists had said, ‘You know, I don’t believe in slavery. I think it’s wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do.’ Where would we be?" He later added, “I'm a reasonable person and if people can come up with a reasonable explanation of why they would like to kill a baby, I'll listen.” Discuss