Daleiden visits Oregon
By JOHN FORTMEYER
PORTLAND — David Daleiden’s talk before hundreds of people April 9 at the Portland Airport Holiday Inn was generally a very sober one on a very serious subject.
But the audience couldn’t help but laugh heartily when, at one point, Daleiden described himself as a “normal 27-year-old.”
That might be true, but only if a 27-year-old normally:
•breaks a news story that causes huge uproar and debate nationally;
•faces a possible 20 years in prison while at the same time many praise him for his character and courage;
•acknowledges that he has faced death threats;
•has his home raided under orders by his state’s attorney general, prompting an immediate outcry from his supporters;
•is much in demand to speak not only on national news broadcasts but also at events such as the annual Oregon Right to Life Conference, where Daleiden gave his talk.
“David has been a target, a little more than he thought he would be,” acknowledged Gayle Atteberry, Oregon Right to Life executive di-rector, in introducing Daleiden as the day’s final speaker. She also summed up her own feelings about him:
“He’s a hero.”
Atteberry was much relieved to have Daleiden there, because events earlier that week had made his scheduled apperance uncertain. It was only five days earlier that agents from the state of California raided his Orange County home, confiscating his computer, cell phone and all the material he had collected in a 30-month-long investigation of the abortion work of Planned Parenthood. And it was only two days after Daleiden was featured on both Bill O’Reilly’s and Sean Hannity’s prime time programs on the Fox News Channel.
Daleiden, who describes himself as an investigative journalist, founded the Center for Medical Progress. Last year Daleiden released secret recordings showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing reimbursement for donations of fetal tissue and organs. The videos produced an immediate outcry on both sides of the abortion debate; the pro-life community says the videos prove Planned Parenthood sells aborted baby body parts for profit; abortion rights supporters claim the videos are edited deceptively.
A Texas grand jury in January indicted Daleiden with a felony for using California identification to enter the Planned Parenthood facility, and a misdemeanor charge for emailing an offer to buy fetal tissue. Daleiden remains confident he will be exonerated. He says he won’t make a plea deal and that he wants an apology from the Harris County, Texas, district attorney. Late last month, motions were filed on behalt of Daleiden, seeking to toss out the charges against him and accusing the D.A. of collusion with Planned Parenthood.
In the meantime, Daleiden’s efforts have had a massive impact nationally, stirring great debate and putting Planned Parenthood on the defensive. He drew big applause when he announced that a dozen states to date have taken steps, because of the videos, to defund Planned Parenthood. Many more states have investigations going and Congress is doing its own probe into the trafficking and sale of fetal tissue.
“The issue of Planned Parenthood selling baby body parts is not going away,” declared Daleiden. “What Planned Parenthood is most afraid of is that once people start looking beyond (the agency’s) assertions into how the business is operated, it becomes completely indefensible.”
Daleiden choked up at one point, recalling seeing and videotaping the dismembered remains of one 18-to 20-week-old fetus in a laboratory dish.
“I remember the smell, the aura in the lab,” he said. “It was like a little slice of hell … I hope this evidence is not going to be in vain, and that this baby’s death is not going to be in vain and that justice will win out.”
Daleiden said his Christian faith is a huge factor in facing the evils of the abortion industry and the massive controversy and emotion that surrounds the whole issue. He asked for prayers for “courage, wisdom and clarity.”
“The Light of the World, the source of life, can penetrate even the darkest places,” he said. “We could not do this without that spiritual element.” In a question-and-answer session, Daleiden defended strategies used in undercover investigations.
“To me, undercover work is not lying,” he said. “It is a special means of communication that is at the service of the truth.”
Daleiden expressed optimism that, in the long run, his cause will succeed.
”The culture of death cannot stand on its own,” he said.