Indictment of Pro-Life Extremists a Positive Step Forward
In a promising turn of events, the investigation into Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast ended with an indictment, but not of the organization.
A grand jury in Houston, Texas, handed down an indictment of the two Center for Medical Progress (CMP) employees who slandered Planned Parenthood through doctored videos earlier this year. David Daleiden, the director of the Center for Medical Progress, and CMP employee Sandra Merritt were indicted on charges of tampering with a governmental record and a misdemeanor charge in relation to purchasing human organs.
The news was quick to incite reactions, both from pro-lifers outraged that justice had been served:
I will be a champion of the unborn and will fight to defund rogue groups like Planned Parenthood. Join the fight: https://t.co/KKUDfyWyoc
— Dr. Ben Carson (@RealBenCarson) January 26, 2016
— The Patriot (@ThePatriot143) January 26, 2016
And by pro-choice advocates standing behind Planned Parenthood and this major step forward in women’s healthcare rights:
— EMILY’s List (@emilyslist) January 26, 2016
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) January 26, 2016
Cecile Richards, the director of Planned Parenthood, pointed out that states investigating her organization have failed to find any illegal activity.
In addition to Harris County, officials in 10 states have concluded investigations – each one has cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing.
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) January 25, 2016
But what does this indictment mean for the future of Planned Parenthood, and for women’s rights on a broader scale? The damage done by those videos is irreparable, and pro-life politicians are still attempting to defund the organization despite all the evidence against their arguments.
What this means is that, at least from a legal standpoint, the battle for reproductive rights will continue to be won. Planned Parenthood, it comes as no surprise, is not guilty of anything except providing affordable healthcare. The organization is more than abortions.
But what about politics? Fear-mongering and emotional appeals are strong campaign tactics, as we have seen from the GOP candidates and by the fact that a bill to defund Planned Parenthood made it all the way to Obama’s desk. The blatant facts seem to have little effect on politicians who let emotion and religion guide their decisions.
What pro-life advocates and politicians need to understand is that Planned Parenthood does not exist for abortions alone, and pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. Just because the government funds a clinic that offers abortion as a service, does not mean it endorses abortion itself. Pro-choice literally means pro-each woman should make her own decision about her own body. And while conservative state governments will continue to attempt things like “All Lives Matter” acts to kick reproductive rights back a century, at least this indictment shows there really is no basis for such legislation.