Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Evidence of a crime

Abortion | Abortionist defends the work of the pro-life Center for Medical Progress
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 9/23/19, 03:30 pm

Pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt called on an abortionist to help in their legal defense. Forrest Smith, who claims to have committed 50,000 abortions in his career, testified for the defense last week at the pre-trial hearing for Daleiden and Merritt, who face more than a dozen felony charges related to their work exposing how Planned Parenthood sold aborted babies’ body parts. Smith told a judge last week that Planned Parenthood’s practice of delivering live babies and harvesting their organs defied even the abortion industry’s standards of decency.

In 2015, the Center for Medical Progress released the results of an undercover investigation in which Daleiden and Merritt posed as representatives of a tissue procurement company that buys the organs and tissue of aborted babies for scientific research. Daleiden and Merritt clandestinely recorded Planned Parenthood executives describing how they priced baby body parts and altered abortion procedures to procure the best possible specimens.

The videos sparked multiple congressional investigations and calls for federal and state governments to defund Planned Parenthood. Several states passed laws to keep the abortion giant from getting taxpayer money.

As attorney general of California, Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who is running for president and is a staunch ally of Planned Parenthood, charged Daleiden and Merritt with breaking confidentiality agreements and violating California laws when they recorded conversations at National Abortion Federation trade shows in 2014 and 2015. But California’s two-party consent law on recorded conversations has an exception for collecting evidence of a violent crime. That’s where abortionist Smith comes in.

Smith testified that Daleiden’s recordings included Planned Parenthood employees describing procedures and methods that amounted to feticide.

“There’s no question in my mind that at least some of these fetuses were live births,” Smith said on the stand, according to LifeSite News, which had a reporter in the courtroom. Smith described how abortionists can ensure babies are dead before removing them from the womb by using the heart-stopping drug digoxin or, in a late-term pregnancy, extracting and cutting the umbilical cord and watching on an ultrasound for the baby’s heart to stop. Those methods, he said, comply with laws that allow abortion but not partial-birth abortion or feticide.

Planned Parenthood employees told the Center for Medical Progress in the recordings that they did not use digoxin for abortions when collecting fetal tissue for research because the drug would damage the organs. They also said they sometimes use the drug mifepristone to put mothers into early labor and have them deliver an extremely premature baby.

“Very few people in abortion, outside of Planned Parenthood, do that,” Smith said on the stand. On the final day of the hearing, stem cell scientist Theresa Deisher testified that fetal hearts used in studies must be harvested from living babies. She said the heart “has to be beating and be arrested in a relaxed position.” If the baby dies beforehand, the heart contracts and cannot be used.

Daleiden and Merritt hope the evidence presented in the hearing, which stretched longer than two weeks, will prove to the judge that not enough evidence against them exists to continue to trial. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christopher Hite has not issued his ruling yet.

“We think it’s enough, more than enough, to show there was no probable cause for the attorney general to believe that this was not a good faith effort to find evidence of violence, homicidal violence against unborn babies,” said Tom Brejcha, an attorney with the Thomas More Society, which represents Daleiden and Merritt. “I mean, it’s almost embarrassing to have to talk about this awful stuff.”

iStock/omyos iStock/omyos

Abortion by the numbers

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released its triennial abortion statistics report last week, and the survey of abortionists had some good news for the pro-life movement. The U.S. abortion rate decreased by 8 percent—to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women between 2014 and 2017. The overall number of abortions also went down from 926,190 in 2014 to 862,320 in 2017.

The numbers, however, showed the continuation of a dreadful trend: As overall abortion rates declined, the number of drug-induced abortions skyrocketed. In 2001, 5 percent of abortions were drug-induced, while the rest were surgical. By 2014, “medication abortions” made up 29 percent of the total, and in 2017 they jumped to 39 percent.

“The rise in so-called medication abortion should concern us all as it reveals the abortion industry’s increasingly successful effort to cut the overhead costs of surgical abortion while still profiting off the destruction of unborn children,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. He pointed out that drug-induced abortions also have a higher rate of injury for mothers.

The Guttmacher report found that the number of abortion facilities in the United States declined by 5 percent over three-years. Much of that decrease came from hospitals’ deciding not to perform abortions anymore. In California, 114 hospitals that provided abortions in 2014 had stopped by 2017.

Guttmacher collects its data by surveying abortionists, so its numbers include estimates for facilities that don’t respond. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also collects abortion reports from state health departments, but California, Maryland, and New Hampshire don’t participate. While the CDC data are more complete for the states that report in, the Guttmacher Institute includes numbers from abortion-heavy California. —L.L.

Associated Press/Photo by Jim Salter (file) Associated Press/Photo by Jim Salter (file) Pro-life advocates outside the St. Louis courthouse

Across the nation

Missouri: A federal judge denied a request from the state to allow its protections for unborn babies after 20 weeks of gestation to take effect while litigation over it plays out in court. Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly passed a law safeguarding babies from abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. The measure also triggered protections at 14, 18, and 20 weeks if the law was found unconstitutional. Missouri asked U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs to allow the 20-week provision to take effect during the litigation, but he declined.

Oklahoma: A judge last week allowed protections for unborn babies to take effect. Oklahoma District Judge Cindy Truong declined a request from a pro-abortion group to block a law that protects babies from dismemberment abortion. The state agreed to wait to enforce the law until the Oklahoma Supreme Court heard an emergency motion from the plaintiffs.

Texas: More small towns have signed on as sanctuary cities for the unborn. After Waskom, Texas, declared it would never let an abortion facility open in its jurisdiction, the Texas towns of Morris, Naples, and Omaha followed suit. —L.L.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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  • Janet B
    Posted: Mon, 09/23/2019 08:19 pm

    Re: Evidence of a crime.

    I cannot stop crying at the descriptions of "allowed" abortion procedures.  We are barbaric.

  • GaryG
    Posted: Tue, 09/24/2019 09:07 am

    Seems like the best evidence that they were looking for evidence of violence... is that they found it?

  • Matt1344
    Posted: Tue, 09/24/2019 01:51 pm

    Wow! I cannot believe anyone would condone these horrific practices and try to defend the guilty by bringing charges against those who gathered the evidence. And the major news outlets? A quick Internet search reveals pin-drop silence.