For once, it looks like an anti-abortion activist will be punished in the South – instead of the women who are exercising their Supreme-Court mandated rights. Dale Daleiden, the religious extremist who created last year’s vile smear campaign against Planned Parenthood, has had his house raided by authorities, who seized all of his videos and his personal information. Laptops and hard drives, containing some 30 hours of unedited video, were taken by the California Department of Justice to review in their criminal case against Daleiden and the fake biomedical company he set up, the “Center For Medical Progress.”
Daleiden and his cronies are behind the hoax videos that set the nation aflame, purporting to show that the beloved reproductive healthcare provider Planned Parenthood trafficked in the tissues of aborted fetuses for profit. In reality, they merely transport the tissues to biomedical research center where they are used to research cures for diseases like cancer, diabetes, birth defects, HIV, multiple sclerosis, ALS, and Alzheimer’s.
Religious extremists across the country seized on the “scandal” and roiled the Christian right-wing into a frenzy, having found the perfect excuse to sell to their gullible followers and promote their heinous mission to strip reproductive rights away from American women. Countless investigations by multiple states have cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, but like other right-wing rumors with absolutely no basis in reality (President Obama’s a Muslim, Obamacare is destroying this country, Muslims are instituting sharia law in Texas, etc.), the allegations have been entrenched in the minds of the paranoid and the delusional.
Reproductive healthcare providers did not hold back their glee at the news of the raids. “We fully support a thorough investigation into the activities perpetrated by David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress. As the evidence has shown in our case, he engaged in a long-running criminal conspiracy. His actions are not without consequences” said president Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation.
“David Daleiden’s lies are catching up with him. The only people who engaged in wrongdoing are the extremists who broke multiple laws to spread lies about Planned Parenthood — and it looks like they’re finally being held accountable” added Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Erica Sackin.
A Houston federal court has charged Daleiden with a “felony charge of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor count related to buying human tissue.” We can only hope that these new raids will provide more evidence to use against this charlatan and deceiver. There is no undoing the damage that he has done to the pro-choice movement in America, and by extension to the rights of women throughout our nation. In this day and age, we cannot allow religious extremists and misogynists to dictate public policy, nor to allow the truth to be drowned in a torrent of lies. Planned Parenthood provides critical services to low-income men and women across the nation; they should be celebrated for their efforts, not smeared by the American Taliban.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.