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Sandra Merritt and David Daleiden outside Superior Court room in San Francisco, CA, Feb. 11, 2019. Pete Baklinski/LifeSiteNews
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‘Historic’ Daleiden hearing begins, putting abortion industry’s ‘big players’ on stand

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SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 4, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life advocates David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt’s historic criminal preliminary hearing began with a retired late-term abortionist describing the unborn baby as a “tough little object” in an undercover video shown in court on the first day.

The abortionist, referred to in court as “Doe 3,” also admitted in the video Daleiden covertly recorded at the 2014 National Abortion Federation’s abortion trade show that she routinely “didged,” or killed the baby in utero with digoxin, because that gave her and the mother more “peace of mind.” 

It also prevented the “delivery of a live fetus,” which is “the biggest disaster and it never goes away,” Doe 3 said.

Federal law obliges abortionists to attempt to resuscitate a baby who survives an abortion, the abortionist observed in her chat with Daleiden, who told her he was starting up a fetal tissue harvesting company.

The video’s screening in a San Francisco court is the first time the footage has been seen publicly because the undercover videos are under a federal injunction ban, says Peter Breen, of the Thomas More Society legal team defending Daleiden and co-worker Susan Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress.

The two CMP investigative journalists are facing 15 felony charges for “intentionally and without the consent of all parties” recording “confidential” communications. They could be sentenced to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Judge Christopher Hite of the Superior Court is presiding over the two-week preliminary hearing, which began Tuesday. Hite decreed in February that the names of the abortion providers who testify will be sealed during the prosecution.

Breen describes the case as “historic.”

It’s the “first time in California history” an attorney general has prosecuted under the illegal taping law, and is “actually bringing that claim against an undercover journalist,” he told LifeSiteNews.

“We as a society made a value judgement, we as a society value undercover journalism,” Breen said. “Undercover journalism requires surreptitious taping.” 

CMP’s undercover videos, most of which were recorded at NAF’s 2014 and 2015 abortion convention and trade show, exposed Planned Parenthood’s illegal involvement in harvesting and selling aborted baby body parts.

The shocking recordings, which capture Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the prices of baby body parts, picking through bloodied arms and legs of aborted babies in a pie tray, and discussing how to alter abortion methods to obtain better body parts for sale, spurred a Congressional investigation and calls for the abortion giant to be stripped of its federal tax dollars.

They also spurred the abortion industry and allies to attack Daleiden and Merritt, who are being sued by Planned Parenthood as well as facing criminal charges.

Moreover, Daleiden lost a bid in June to overturn a $195,000 fine for contempt that District Judge William Orrick III levied against him in 2017. He has since launched a GoFundMe page to pay the penalty. 

When it comes to the criminal charges, Daleiden’s lawyers are arguing the illegal taping law allows for the reasonable expectation of a conversation that could be overheard.

“It’s pretty clear when you see these videos that everything can be overheard,” Breen told LifeSiteNews.

Indeed, Merritt’s lawyer Horatio Mihet of Liberty Counsel grilled “Doe 7”, a nurse practitioner and abortion provider who left Planned Parenthood in January, about a conversation Daleiden surreptitiously recorded at the 2014 NAF trade show in which she mentions Planned Parenthood Northern California chief of staff Gloria Martinez and abortionist Jeff Waldman. 

Doe 7 admitted under Mihet’s questioning that a number of people she did not know came within hearing distance of the conversation, but she made no attempt to lower her voice or take any precautions to ensure she was not overheard. 

Nor did she tell Daleiden she did not want to be recorded or that the information was confidential.

However, Doe 7 insisted that because attendees at the NAF trade show signed a confidentiality agreement, everything spoken of there was confidential.

That doesn’t matter under the law, Mehet argued.

Breen and his team will also be arguing the “633.5 defence, which is that if you have a reasonable belief that you are collecting evidence relating to a violent crime, you are clear under the undercover taping law,” he told LifeSiteNews.

Daleiden and Merritt “knew about babies being born alive, they knew about abortion procedures being changed” to harvest more valuable baby body parts, which amounts to “battery against pregnant women,” as well as “partial-birth abortion abuses,” he said. 

“They knew about this walking in.”

The hearing is historic as well because “it’s the first time in open court we’re getting sworn testimony” from witnesses who include “big players” and “some of the bad actors in the abortion industry,” said Breen, “folks that have said and done some pretty terrible things, in particular criminal things.”

Daleiden will also take the stand to tell the court “why he did what he did” and of the “disgusting, illegal and unethical conduct of abortion providers,” he said.

Hite will decide after the hearing if some of the charges could be dropped or reduced to misdemeanors, Breen told LifeSiteNews.

Daleiden’s lawyers unsuccessfully petitioned the court in April to drop the charges, arguing that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is spearheading Daleiden’s prosecution, is not neutral when it comes to abortion but is closely allied with and supported by Planned Parenthood.

Becerra succeeded current Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris, who began the political prosecution against Daleiden, and is also closely allied with Planned Parenthood.

The hearing continues Wednesday. LifeSite is on the scene and will be providing coverage throughout the case. 

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