Judge denies gag order in Daleiden hearing after testimony on harvesting intact babies during abortions

Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden, waits outside Superior Court in San Francisco, California, U.S., May 3, 2017.
Anti-abortion activist David Daleiden, waits outside Superior Court in San Francisco, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. | (Photo: Reuters/Lisa Fernandez/File Photo)

A California judge denied a gag order that would have blocked pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merrit and their attorneys from speaking to the public about the preliminary hearing that is currently underway.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra had asked the Superior Court of California for San Francisco County to “limit the statements” of the parties, days after the head of a biotech company allegedly admitted in court to procuring intact fetal heads and beating hearts from abortions.

Becerra argued that the safety of the witnesses was at risk, noting that the CEO of StemExpress suffered harassment after her testimony.

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Judge Christopher Hite denied the request on Wednesday.

Becerra filed criminal charges against Daleiden and Merritt over their undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s alleged involvement in trafficking fetal body parts. The preliminary hearing, which began last week, is to determine whether the case should go to trial.

Since the start of the hearing, The Center for Medical Progress, founded by Daleiden, has been tweeting and providing summaries of each day’s proceedings, including testimonies by abortion employees and those were were filmed unknowingly by the two pro-life citizen journalists. 

Among the reported testimonies was one from “Doe 12” on the third day of the hearing.

Liberty Counsel, who is representing Merritt, identified Doe 12 as the CEO of StemExpress, a biotech firm that procures fetal body parts for research.

According to CMP and Liberty Counsel, “Doe 12 admitted that when a fetal brain is able to be harvested, it is because the baby’s head may still be attached to the body after being pulled out of the womb. When confronted with her statements on undercover video about shipping ‘intact cases,’ she also did not deny that StemExpress harvests and transfers unborn children from completely intact abortions.”

“When ‘Doe 12’ was questioned about StemExpress’ connection with studies that require a beating heart, she hesitated. When the judge demanded an answer, she said reluctantly, ‘Yes, we have provided heart tissue to Stanford [University].’”

Earlier, “Doe 7,” identified as a California Planned Parenthood staffer, testified that “she provided fetal tissue from the abortions she did at Planned Parenthood as a regular occurrence,” according to CMP.

Daleiden and Merritt have each been charged with 15 felony counts of invasion of privacy and are accused of creating a fake biotech firm in order to pose as buyers interested in fetal tissue. The two activists used fake names to enter National Abortion Federation meetings that were held in 2014 and 2015 to tape conversations.

After last week’s proceedings, Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver argued that Planned Parenthood is trying to “avoid any accountability for its heinous crimes.”

“It sounds like a gross science fiction movie. However, this preliminary hearing will continue to reveal the real crimes are the illegal and violent acts performed on innocent children in order to be sold for profit,” Staver said in a statement.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick disqualified evidence that babies are born alive during abortions or that Planned Parenthood affiliates profited from selling fetal body parts, saying it was “not particularly relevant to these proceedings,” according to Life Site News

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