David Daleiden, the “mastermind” behind the Planned Parenthood sting videos of the Summer of Gay Marriage and Caitlyn Jenner, and fellow activist Sandra Merritt face a grand-jury indictment in Harris County, Texas, as of this writing. Both are charged with violating Texas law pertaining to “perjury and other falsification,” for having used phony drivers’ licenses to gain entrance to a Texas franchise of the nationwide slaughterhouse chain. Daleiden earned the bonus charge of attempting to purchase human organs via letter.
Everything about this scenario is darkly paradoxical.
If Little Johnny Studds gets caught using his fake I.D. to buy a six-pack of Shiner, he faces only a misdemeanor charge, but Daleiden and his accomplice merit Class-Two Felonies, because they are alleged to have used their dummy docs to “defraud or harm another.” If tried and convicted, each would face a maximum sentence of 20 years and a minimum sentence of 2, plus fines not to exceed $10,000.
Daleiden’s additionally alleged crime of trying to buy baby guts from a place that maintains a regular supply is a violation of Texas Title 10 (“Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, and Morals”), Chapter 48 (“Conduct Affecting Public Health”). There are only three sections in that chapter. The first concerns public places where you may not get caught enjoying a cigarette, regular or e- (a Class-C Misdemeanor). The second pertains to the acquisition, possession, sale, or transport of cigarettes that are not state-approved. The third involves the trafficking of human organs. Naughty cigs and the Red Market are both Class-A Misdemeanors, which means less than one year in jail (max), and/or a fine not to exceed four grand.
I’ll say it: It is a little disconcerting to think that the law cares more about faking a drivers’ license than about an attempt to buy a baby’s brain or femur. Or that selling a bathtub kidney ranks alongside peddling unstamped Turkish cloves.
Naturally, there is outrage from the pro-life community over the strained gnat and swallowed camel represented by this grand jury’s conclusions. Its members were convened to investigate the implication of Daleiden’s infamous videos: that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue. Sifting through the evidence with which they were presented, they never even held a vote on America’s largest abortion provider but, instead, turned their attention to Daleiden and his Center for Medical Progress. Thus, nearly every news outlet on either side of the abortion debate led with the jump-down turnaround “Indictments were issued concerning the Planned Parenthood videos—but not the ones you expected!”
Anti-abortion activists were quick to google their way to the donation records of various members of the state prosecutors’ team, which suggest bias in the way evidence was selected and presented. The fix, it seems, was in.
Except the fix was already in, and those of us who are serious about seeing the wanton murder of the unborn stopped in the United States now have an opportunity to reevaluate our tactics on both political and moral grounds.
The Daleiden videos seemingly have two aims: to provide a legal basis for ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood (if not shuttering its doors altogether); and to engender public outrage at Planned Parenthood for its blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life. If we’re honest, we must admit that the videos and their producer have failed to meet either goal.
The law is not on our side. That goes for both the details of criminal statutes and, more significantly, the will of the public to see them enforced. Abortion is currently enshrined in the emanations of the Bill of Rights and the effluvia of the Supreme Court. Furthermore, the desire for ever-expanding fetal-tissue research has only grown since President George W. Bush opened the door for “existing lines”: Why let currently shelved infant life go to waste?
Because to “use” it would be monstrous? Of course, but let us admit that an argument that mystified a “pro-life president” is understood and violently rejected by the professional purveyors of death, and instinctively ignored by millions of Americans. If you admit that the use of fetal tissue, embryonic or other, is somehow immoral, you are suggesting that the means of obtaining it are also immoral. Far too many Americans deem the scientific use of deliberately snuffed out and discarded human life as a moral obligation, not an outrage. After all, it would only be thrown away. Why not use it to help Joe Biden cure cancer?
Paradoxically enough, there is a moral sense involved in that calculation—twisted, but rational.
The greatest evil practiced by Planned Parenthood is not its willingness to fund Lamborghinis and top-shelf cocktail parties through finder and transport fees for infant spines. It is the systematic and industrialized hacking apart of infant spines, brains, and hearts to begin with. Americans do not need “surreptitiously obtained” videos to learn this; they already know it. And they ignore it for whatever they deem the greater good—to forget about a rape or a one-night stand, to reduce crime, to take pressure off entitlement budgets, to protect women’s rights. The “products of conception” are no longer dismissed as mere blobs of tissue, but are acknowledged to be human lives worth killing.
And so the Daleiden videos have generated, predictably, lots of attention, and he will be duly punished for his violations of the law—the ones that the powers that be are eager to enforce. But the attention is not now on the gross violation of natural law that accompanies a mother’s willful hatred for, and killing of, her own offspring, nor on the gross profits of Abortion, Inc. It is instead on the failed political strategy and Machiavellian maneuvering of martyr David Daleiden. We may admire his intentions, but we must learn from the outcome of his actions—their political ineffectiveness and their inability to persuade—if we are ever to see the abortion industry destroyed and the purveyors of death put behind bars, where they belong. That such a vision seems utopian is proof that we have much work to do, and that clandestinely shot videos were never going to get us there.