Pro-lifers launch campaign to support Center for Medical Progress journalist Sandra Merritt
April 26, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Supporters of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) have launched a campaign to assist CMP journalist Sandra Merritt, who is facing legal action for exposing Planned Parenthood’s illegal sale of fetal body parts.
The crowdfunding campaign on WonderWe seeks to raise $25,000 for Merritt, who was indicted for falsifying IDs and offering to purchase fetal organs. Planned Parenthood has not been indicted despite CMP capturing its executives on camera discussing the sales of aborted baby parts, an apparent violation of federal law.
Merritt has received hate mail, threats, and media scrutiny and faced heavy financial losses, according to the campaign.
“The indictment and lawsuits have put both emotional and monetary strain on Sandra,” the campaign says. “As someone who is self-employed, this has taken a heavy toll on Sandra’s finances.”
“Media outfits and reporters were staked outside Sandra’s home for periods of time, which adversely impacted her home-based business,” Merritt’s attorney Harry Mihet, the Vice President of Legal Affairs and Chief Litigation Counsel for Liberty Counsel, told LifeSiteNews. “She has been denounced as a ‘criminal,’ ‘crook’ and ‘thug’ by Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice blogosphere. She is now required to routinely fly half-way across [the] country to Houston for various hearings” and status conferences, Mihet said.
On Tuesday, Liberty Counsel filed two separate motions asking a federal court to dismiss the retaliatory lawsuit against Merritt and punish Planned Parenthood for attempting to silence Merritt’s First Amendment rights. The court is currently scheduled to hear both motions in San Francisco on July 6, 2016.
Mihet said that Merritt also “has to attend court proceedings in San Francisco, and submit to intrusive ‘discovery requests’ from Planned Parenthood regarding her pro-life work and advocacy. Planned Parenthood has indicated that it seeks at least $10 to $16 million in ‘damages’ from [Merritt] and the other defendants.”
Mihet asked that pro-lifers pray for Merritt and Liberty Counsel.
“Ask the Lord to strengthen her and to make His presence felt to her during the tough times that lie ahead,” said Mihet.
Mihet noted that Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit isn’t scheduled to take place until December 2017 and until then, Merritt will be required to submit to intrusive discovery requests, depositions, and hearings.
“Undoubtedly, the process itself is a punishment that Planned Parenthood seeks to visit upon [Merritt],” said Mihet.
Numerous pro-life leaders have endorsed the campaign, including Live Action President Lila Rose, Operation Rescue President and Founding Board Member of the Center for Medical Progress Troy Newman, Shawn Carney of 40 Days for Life, Brian Schardt of Catholic Funder, and former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson.
“Sandra Merritt is a courageous woman who revealed to the world the butchery of children that occurs every day inside Planned Parenthood abortion clinics,” Johnson wrote in her endorsement of the campaign. “Now America’s largest abortion provider is suing Sandra to silence her. And Sandra faces a bogus criminal charge in Houston for common journalistic investigative reporting. Sandra will not be silenced. She has risked everything in order to shine a light on Planned Parenthood’s illegal harvesting and sale of baby body parts. We must stand with Sandra and stand against the bullies who seek to destroy and silence her.”
“Sandra Merritt may be the most courageous woman in the United States,” author and radio host Jennifer Fulwiler wrote in an endorsement of the campaign. “Sandra’s expose has crippled Planned Parenthood. But now Planned Parenthood is firing both barrels in Sandra’s face and she needs our help more than ever. My friend, Sandra, was there for the unborn babies. Now we need to be there for her!”
Terri Johannessen, the Florida State Director of Concerned Women for America, wrote that Merritt “was an ordinary woman who is now in an extraordinary situation.” Merritt wasn’t a pro-life activist or a part of the pro-life movement before her involvement with CMP, Johannessen wrote, and didn’t realize the potential legal ramifications of exposing Planned Parenthood’s baby parts trafficking.
“Sandra is a courageous Christian who answered the call to step out of her comfort zone and to do what she can to expose the evil work and practices of Planned Parenthood,” Mihet said. “She will not be intimidated by Planned Parenthood or anyone else seeking to punish her for exercising her First Amendment freedoms…she will stand strong.”