AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A Houston grand jury investigating undercover footage of Planned Parenthood found no wrongdoing Monday by the abortion provider but instead indicted anti-abortion activists involved in making the videos that provoked outrage among Republican leaders nationwide.
David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to purchasing human organs. Another activist, Sandra Merritt, was also indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record.
Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson didn’t specify what record or records were allegedly tampered with in a statement announcing the indictment.
“We were called upon to investigate allegations of criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast,” Anderson said. “As I stated at the outset of this investigation, we must go where the evidence leads us.”
The Center for Medical Progress is the anti-abortion group that released covertly shot videos of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of aborted fetuses for research. A phone message left with the group wasn’t immediately returned.
Planned Parenthood officials swiftly hailed the indictment as just.
“This is absolutely great news because it is a demonstration of what Planned Parenthood has said from the very beginning, we follow every law and regulation and these anti-abortion activists broke multiple laws to try and spread lies,” said spokeswoman Rochelle Tafolla of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
The center has released several secretly recorded videos that have riled anti-abortion activists and has accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Republicans in Congress last summer unsuccessfully called for cutting off funding for the organization.
Planned Parenthood says it abides by a law that allows providers to be reimbursed for the costs of processing tissue donated by women who have had abortions