Collusion? Planned Parenthood Drafted “Video Tape Law” Aimed at Punishing Future Pro-Lifer Whistleblowers

By Cheryl Sullenger

[Note: This article has been edited as of June 4, 2017, to reflect corrections and additional information. Operation Rescue endeavors to be as accurate as possible, thus we regret anything in the previous version of this article that may have been misleading or inaccurate. -C.S.]

Sacramento, CA – A public records request made by Operation Rescue has yielded e-mails and other documents that show a close working relationship between Planned Parenthood and the California Attorney General’s office, especially when it comes to countering pro-life efforts.

Planned Parenthood attorneys often sought meetings and conference calls with members of the Attorney General’s Office to discuss a number of issues, including the “Video Tape Law,” HB 1671, which was used to criminally charge David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

“Planned Parenthood essentially wrote the language that criminalized Daleiden and Merritt’s recordings more than a year after they were made,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, who also served as a founding member of the CMP. To clarify, if the recordings had been made after January 1, 2017, they could have been charged under Planned Parenthood’s new, tougher law.

“Planned Parenthood wanted to punish the CMP for exposing their appalling and illegal sale of aborted baby tissue and organs, so they concocted a law that made [future] recordings illegal. [Even so,] David and Sandra’s criminal charges are the result of the State of California aiding and abetting Planned Parenthood’s vendetta against those who blew the whistle on their ghoulish conduct.”

In fact, a draft of amendments to an existing recording law was submitted on March 8, 2016, by Beth Parker, Chief Legal Counsel to Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California to Jill Habig, who then served as Special Counsel to Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Planned Parenthood’s suggested amendments made it a crime to secretly record health care providers and mandated that anyone who “aids, agrees with, employs, or conspires with any person or persons to unlawfully do, permit, or cause to be done” surreptitious recordings would face fines of $2,500 per occurrence and imprisonment not exceeding one year, if convicted.

The following day, March 9, 2016, Planned Parenthood’s Parker visited Habig’s office to discuss the draft amendments, including any potential obstacles to the law.

On March 16, just five days later, Parker submitted a rewrite of the bill that showed slight edits in the original draft. For example, “agrees with” was stricken from the language that discussed criminal culpability for those who conspired in making secret recordings.

While the final text of the legislation was fine-tuned over the following weeks, it included all the points that Planned Parenthood had requested. The newly edited law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 30, 2016, after last-minute language was inserted to specifically exclude news organizations, which had complained about the bill. The law went into effect on January 1, 2017.

Daleiden and Merritt were not charged with violations of the new Planned Parenthood-drafted provisions on March 28, 2017, by Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who succeeded Kamala Harris after she left to pursue a U.S. Senate seat. The recordings that supposedly violated the law were made in 2014-2015. The majority of the recordings were released in 2015.

However, the older version of the law that Daleiden and Merritt were charged under allowed for either misdemeanor or felony charges. The charges against the pro-life journalists were bumped up to felony counts, no doubt at Planned Parenthood’s request.

Earlier this year – based in part on the CMP recordings – investigative panels in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives referred Planned Parenthood Federation of America and five California affiliates to the U.S. Department of Justice for further criminal investigation and prosecution for illegally profiting from the sale of aborted baby remains.

“California has opted to protect Planned Parenthood while making up a new law under which they could charge pro-lifers. It is important to emphasize that David and Sandra’s recording were legal when they were made and released. We believe the recordings were always in compliance with the law,” said Newman.

But the cozy relationship between the California Attorney General’s office and Planned Parenthood was not just confined to the “Video Tape Law.”

Talking Points

There was also a back-and-forth exchange of e-mails originating from Harris’s Special Counsel, Jill Habig, who was seeking a zip code sort for the number of out-of-state patients seeking reproductive services in California.

The purpose of the data was to help fine-tune media talking points in opposition to the Texas HB 2 law that provided support Habig’s assumption that pro-life legislation in other states was impacting California by driving women there for abortions. She was especially interested in any Texas women coming to California for abortions they could not get in Texas due to Texas’ HB 2 abortion law that was being challenged at the U.S. Supreme Court.

“If it’s not too difficult, I’m thinking about using it for press purposes when we talk to reporters about the [Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt] case this week and then later when the decision comes down,” Habig wrote to Planned Parenthood’s Beth Parker on March 3, 2016. “We got a couple of reporter questions that seemed to indicate they had assumed that the ruling wouldn’t have any effect of CA because we’re pro-choice, so I’ve been thinking about ways to challenge that assumption beyond just saying that pro-choice leadership isn’t guaranteed forever.”

Zip code data provided by Planned Parenthood’s Beth Parker did not support Habig’s flawed assumption, showing only three women seeking services in 2015 at one unidentified California Planned Parenthood affiliate, in contrast to four Texas women seeking services there in 2012.

Forced Abortion Referrals

In another case, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California considered filing an amicus brief in NIFLA v. Harris, a 2015 case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that concerned speech at pro-life pregnancy help centers.

NIFLA, (National Institute of Family Life Advocates) is a national organization that provides legal counsel, education, and training to pro-life pregnancy help centers. NIFLA challenged California “Fact Act,” which unconstitutionally forces pro-life medical clinics to refer for abortions.

A conference call, attended on February 10, 2016, by seven heavy hitters in the Attorney General’s Office, the ACLU, and Planned Parenthood, concluded that Planned Parenthood’s amicus brief in support of the “Fact Act” would be welcomed.

Repeat of Houston Corruption?

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt were also criminally charged for making secret recordings at Planned Parenthood in Houston, Texas, by a grand jury under the direction of Harris County Attorney General Devon Anderson. It was later discovered that Anderson’s office had colluded with Planned Parenthood to flip the focus of the grand jury away from Planned Parenthood and onto the CMP journalists. Once that collusion was uncovered, Anderson was forced to drop all charges. In part, due to the scandal the collusion generated, Anderson lost her bid for re-election last fall.

“I believe we are seeing a repeat of the same kind of corruption that led to the false charges in Texas. Planned Parenthood wields a huge amount of political support in California, but the Attorney General’s office should be unbiased when it comes to enforcing the law. Instead we see California’s Top Cop actively protecting crimes committed by Planned Parenthood while allowing Planned Parenthood to manufacture a law to punish pro-life supporters,” said Newman. “That is the definition of corruption.”

Read the full 223 page document packet received by Operation Rescue.

  • Kathy Forck

    So glad God is on our side….This is unbelievable how far Planned Parenthood will go to protect their abortion industry. But they are coming down. Numbers continue to decline even in California. Keep up the good work Operation Rescue–great investigative piece Cheryl Sullenger!

  • maxx

    Seems to me that there is some serious illegal collusion between PP and the California Attorney General that needs to be taken to a much higher court for resolution. When a states top cop is this corrupt it needs to be severely punished. And don’t try to make me believe that Moonbeam wasn’t part of the collusion.

  • Joyce White

    So, what are they going to do about this. California and it’s elected/appointed officials seem to think that they are above the law. What if every state decided to pass retroactive laws? Due process would die a very speedy death.

  • WileyPost

    Of course, this collusion and the EVIDENCE will never make it to mainstream media; since they’re obsessed with Trump and Russia; of which there is NO evidence…further proof that MSM does not deal in truth, but in ideology…

  • voteprolife

    Since when can you be “charged” for a crime that WASN’T a crime?? What in the world is California thinking??? This is just insane… but then again it involves PP so I shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus, I trust in You!

  • James Bryson

    How low can a satanic enterprise-PP go.

  • Barkingdeathsquirrel

    The fact that the law is being applied after the fact, ex post facto, shows that there is major collusion and corruption as well.
    In fact, the California constitution strictly prohibits ex post facto

    I smell a lawsuit!

  • jd1958

    They believe they are slick and can and will get away with this. But WHEN they stand before GOD at the Great White Throne of Judgment; there will be no mercy shown. There will be no advocate or lawyers who are also not standing there waiting for their sentence………..eternal separation from GOD in hell.

  • jd1958

    Kalifornia need anyone say more? “Moon Beam” is the governor.

  • well I thought that passing retroactive laws was prohibited by the US Constitution

  • Kmbold

    They don’t come any more depraved than this gang. It may seem that they will triumph but we know better. The millions of slain unborn babies will testify against them. May they plead for God’s mercy before it is too late.

  • peanut butter

    They need to tear down every clinic, grind it into dust, pile a mountain on top of it and seal it with radiation-proof cement! Then put everyone who gleefully worked there in prison, a lifetime for each murder they committed!

  • peanut butter

    The democrats were getting donations back from the money they gave to PP through the Government subsidies. Add to that a democrat (?)president(?), and a liberal Supreme Court. Total chaos for babies in the womb and anyone that defended them.

  • peanut butter

    And may we all pray for God’s mercy for the curse that they have put on our country.

  • Clare Gman

    Since when can laws be applied retroactively?! This is blatant conspiracy!

  • Kathy Wright Pickard

    Something needs to be done to prosecute those who collaborated to make these unjust “laws”. Really makes me sick.

  • Dominic Huber

    It’s just like what happened in Texas. I knew something was up between PP and the attorney general.

  • Dominic Huber

    We need to send this to Vice-President Pence. He’s pro-life and will know what to do.

  • tarandfeatherthecrooks

    Planned Infanticide is drafting legislation now, or perhaps for decades and we just didn’t know about it.

  • James Bryson

    California seems to take pride in Godlessness.

    Some amazing good people in California, my heart goes out to them-not to their Baal worshipping politicos. “Love what is good, hate evil…”

  • perlmon

    What happened to Ex Post Facto? Looks like it was applied in a malicious manner here and should result in damages awarded in a lawsuit.

  • Joyce White

    The Constitution does cover “Ex-Post Facto” laws. From what I saw, it depends on the reason behind it. If it is passed to end an investigation, it may be very “iffy”. Laws like that, would punish people for things they did in the past which were not illegal at the time. That is not the American way.

  • well it does sound like it was passed to punish cmp for doing what they did

  • Bampster

    Welcome to the reality of Democrat Party control of secular unethical, authoritarian, and corrupt Liberal Land!

  • Joyce White

    James Bryson, You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! This is only the prelim’s. The big stuff is yet to come and when it does, all this will seem like a walk in the park.

  • Dan Knowlton

    crappyfornia is corrupt and is a repressive state. If you are not liberal, they seek to prevent you from speaking and persecute you if you do! This is just one more example of state “laws” being tailored to hurt conservatives.

  • Ronda O’Bryant

    The definition of collusion!

  • John Platts

    The retroactive application of California’s video tape law to Daleiden and Merritt probably violates the ex post facto clause of Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution, which prohibits states from enacting ex post facto laws. Daleiden and Merritt should appeal any conviction resulting from the retroactive application of California’s video tape law to the United States Supreme Court if necessary as these convictions might be unconstitutional under Article I, Section 10 of the United States Constitution.

  • Dawn4332

    And I’m serious….Citizens can take the city to Court daily for illegally recording them throughout the city without their permission….it goes both ways…and God Bless these Warrior Men & Women whom show “NO FEAR WHEN DOING CHRIST’S WORK”

    May Christ guide US All whom believe in him.