Trial of undercover pro-life activists nears end

The civil trial of pro-life activists who shot video surreptitiously of Planned Parenthood employees and infiltrated abortion conferences using fake IDs will come to an end next week, after the defense wrapped up testimony in a San Francisco courtroom Thursday.

The final day of testimony in U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick III’s courtroom included two witnesses for the Center for Medical Progress, forensic accounting expert Paul Zimmer and law enforcement expert Jon Perkins.

Attorneys for Planned Parenthood have charged that the Center for Medical Progress’s use of a faux company and doctored identification — activists posed as employees of the make-believe medical procurement company BioMax — to gain entrance to a National Abortion Federation conference led to expensive security upgrades for abortion clinic facilities and conferences.

But according to a summary provided by CMP, Mr. Perkins’ analysis “concluded that Planned Parenthood and NAF failed to meet security industry standards in screening admittance for their events and facilities.”

Planned Parenthood sued the founders of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, on a number of charges, including fraud, breach of contract and civil conspiracy. In 2014 and 2015, Mr. Daleiden and other pro-life activists orchestrated an undercover investigation of the purported sale of harvested fetal body parts by abortion clinics. Planned Parenthood is seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr. Daleiden, who is facing separate criminal charges in California for eavesdropping and invasion of privacy, has long maintained his work was protected as a journalist. The videos — edited and released to the internet — led to some states, such as Texas, barring Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding.

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