2016 called ‘watershed’ moment for pro-life movement

WASHINGTON, D.C — This year promises to be a "historic and watershed moment" for abortion and how unborn children are treated in this country, according to the founder of the Center for Medical Progress.

David Daleiden, who led the undercover video investigation of Planned Parenthood, spoke to about 300 people Jan. 21 at a prayer rally and protest in front of a Planned Parenthood facility under construction in Washington, D.C. The event was organized by the Pro-Life Action League, Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and Created Equal.

The videos released by the Center for Medical Progress depict Planned Parenthood officials discussing the harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies. They have led to ongoing investigations by legislatures on the federal and state levels. The Missouri House and Senate conducted investigations last year, which has led to several bills in the 2016 session that seek to further restrict abortion.

Law enforcement and legislators "are listening to the public mandate for Planned Parenthood to be held accountable under the law for their crimes and for taxpayer dollars to no longer subsidize their abortion business," Daleiden said.

The video in which Dr. Deborah Nucatola, head of Planned Parenthood's medical services' department, discusses harvesting baby body parts also is indicative of the organization's business plan going forward to expand its late-term abortion services, said Daleiden. He's also observed that Planned Parenthood's strategy in the past decade or so is to consolidate its affiliates and create "mega centers," much like the facility under construction in Washington.

"You can't help but think they look kind of like fortresses," he said.

Just a week before the 43rd annual March for Life, Planned Parenthood sued Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress, accusing them of violating federal and state laws. The suit also accuses them of violating the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act, among other charges.

On Jan. 25, a Harris County, Texas, grand jury investigating accusations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood instead indicted Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress of on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record. Daleiden also was indicted on a misdemeanor charge related to the purchase of human organs. Grand jurors cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.

In a statement from the Center Medical Progress, it noted it "uses the same undercover techniques that investigative journalists have used for decades in exercising our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and of the press, and follows all applicable laws. We respect the processes of the Harris County District Attorney, and note that buying fetal tissue requires a seller as well. Planned Parenthood still cannot deny the admissions from their leadership about fetal organ sales captured on video for all the world to see."

Back at the D.C. protest, Daleiden said he was surprised by Planned Parenthood's lawsuit, only because it would bring further light to the practices of the abortion industry. "I'm still a little shocked they were willing to take that risk," he said.

He compared the quiet construction zone behind him to the current state of Planned Parenthood: "This construction right now is stopped in its tracks. That's the situation where Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry is right now. They're stopped in their tracks."

He encouraged pro-lifers to remain committed to their work, whether as advocates on the sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic or helping pregnancy resource centers.

"If we continue to be faithful, if we continue to stand at our posts to trust God to take the next right step, together we will see an end to abortion in America, and we will see a day where there is no longer a price tag put on human life," Daleiden said.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who led the rally, offered a litany in response to abortion. In addition to praying for the clinic's staff, Father Pavone offered prayers for the intentions of the mothers who will come there for abortions.

Those women come to the abortion clinic "not because of freedom of choice, but because they have no freedom and no choice," he said. "They do have freedom, they do have choice. They do have the power to say 'yes' to life."

Eight members of Coalition for Life St. Louis attended the rally. According to executive director Brian Westbrook, the group arrived around 2 a.m. Thursday morning and planned to stay through Sunday, despite the snowstorm headed for Washington. The group was circulating a petition campaign #MoSaysNo to end abortion in Missouri.

Westbrook also said the organization will be hosting the Nexus Conference for teens on April 2 at Chaminade College Preparatory School. Abby Johnson is slated to be the keynote speaker. 

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