Monday, February 1, 2016

Grand Jury Questions

Blog post 2-1-2016  Grand Jury Questions
This past week a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, declared that Planned Parenthood was completely innocent on all charges of trafficking body parts and Medicaid fraud. And, in a further surprise, the two investigative journalists who filmed the videos were indicted on felony fraud charges, because they produced fake IDs to get access to make the videos. [     ]

There has been an immediate backlash. How could they decide against the evidence before our eyes? Plus, they had subpoenaed records as additional physical evidence.
I’m going to link the various videos—links, including links to full-footage video, which is available for most. The main argument against the videos is that they are “highly edited.” That is the reason for the full-footage. The short videos are clips, usually 8-12 minutes long, but not distortions. Planned Parenthood hired experts to prove that there was distorting editing; their experts found that was not so. Yet that lie continues to be trumpeted by Planned Parenthood shills, including gleeful commentary yesterday by Leonard Pitts.

The law at issue, screen shot from video

So, below are the videos. The final three, from January, respond to an interview by Planned Parenthood head Cicile Richards; they use footage from the earlier videos to discount her claims of innocence, but they do not show new, previously unseen footage.
After the videos, we’ll talk about the grand jury. 

Here is what I think is the full list of videos shared by The Center for Medical Progress.

1.       July 14, 2015 “Planned Parenthood uses partial-birth abortions to sell baby parts” Shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, describing how some doctors carefully conduct abortions that leave fetal body parts intact.  [    ] video:   full-footage video:
2.       July 21, 2015, “Senior Executive Haggles over Baby Parts Prices, Changes Abortion Methods” Showing a Planned Parenthood executive negotiating compensation for extracted baby organs.    This is the one in which Mary Gatter quipped, “If it’s still low, we can bump it up. I want a Lamborghini.” [    ] video:  full-footage:
3.       July 28, 2015, “Human Capital—Episode 1: Planned Parenthood’s Black Market in Baby Parts”  video:
4.       July 30, 2015, “Planned Parenthood VP Says Fetuses May Come Out Intact, Agrees Payments Specific to the Specimen”   video:  full-footage video:
5.       August 4, 2015, “Intact Fetuses "Just a Matter of Line Items" for Planned Parenthood TX Mega-Center”     video:   full-footage video:  supplement to full-footage:
6.       August 12, 2015, “Human Capital - Episode 2: Inside the Planned Parenthood Supply Site”  video:  
7.       August 19, 2015, “Human Capital - Episode 3: Planned Parenthood's Custom Abortions for Superior Product”  video:  
8.       August 25, 2015, “Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Buyer StemExpress Wants ‘Another 50 Livers/Week’”  video:   full-footage video:
9.       September 1, 2015, “Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Vendor ABR Pays Off Clinics, Intact Fetuses ‘Just Fell Out’”   video:  full-footage video:
10.    September 1, 2015, “Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest Dr. Katharine Sheehan”  full-footage video:
11.   September 15, 2015, “Top Planned Parenthood Exec: Baby Parts Sales ‘A Valid Exchange,’ Can Make ‘A Fair Amount of Income’”   video:
a.       Dr. Carolyn Weshoff, Planned Parenthood’s senior medical adviser, talks of dividing up the dead babies over dinner and wine. She says her clients don’t want stem cells, but “particular tissues” like “cardiac” or “eyes” or “neural” or “spinal cords.” She says they can sell any part. Laughing, she says even “gonads—oh my God, gonads.” Full-footage video:
b.       Dr. Vanessa Collins, another high ranking Planned Parenthood official, admits that these transactions could “destroy” their organization if they don’t “time the conversations correctly.” Full-footage video:
c.       Deb VanDerhei, the national director for the Consortium of Abortion Providers at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, asks the buyer (filmmaker) if he “just wants livers.” He says he’s looking for everything. She asks about “remuneration”; i.e., money. She worries that these money issues must be handled “carefully” because “the headlines would be a disaster.” She says PPFA doesn’t have a policy on “tissue procurement,” which, she admits, “is relatively intentional.” Full-footage video:
d.       Dr. Deborah Nucatola, (who was in video 1) says there “are no guidelines” concerning pricing and procedures for procuring body parts, and “there will never be guidelines.” PPFA affiliates can’t violate a nonexistent policy; they are free to do whatever they want. “Nothing is written,” she says again.
e.       VanDerhei, still concerned about the “headlines,” says she wants clinics to sell baby parts if it’s “worth it”; i.e., if the compensation is enough. She says she knows they can “generate a fair amount of income doing this,” despite public claims to the contrary. She talks only face-to-face with a buyer, but says she’s “not comfortable having the conversation through email,” which could be used as evidence. Full-footage video:
f.        Vanessa Russo, an official with Planned Parenthood Keystone, says she “won’t be bullied by ridiculous law.” She doesn’t think Planned Parenthood “should curtail its business for ridiculousness”; i.e., the law. VanDerhei tells Russo that PPFA has given approval to “go for it” and collect “remuneration.” Full-footage video:
12.   October 27, 2015  “Planned Parenthood TX Abortion Apprentice Taught Partial-Birth Abortion to ‘Strive For’ Intact Heads”  video:  full-footage video:
13.   January 5, 2016  “’PROFIT’—Planned Parenthood's Illicit Moneymaking From Baby Body Parts”  video:
14.   January 12, 2016  “’HARVEST’—Planned Parenthood's Custom Abortions for Better Baby Parts”  video:
15.     January 19, 2016  “’COVER-UP’—Planned Parenthood's Attempt to Hide their Baby Body Parts Scheme”  video:

I don’t know if you were able to get through even all the short clips. This is grisly and disturbing stuff. But that is reality in the baby-killing culture.

Given the evidence, does Planned Parenthood appear to be completely innocent, worthy of exoneration of all charges? Thinking, law-abiding citizens wouldn’t think so.

The standard for a grand jury is not the same as a trial; the standard is probably cause. Is there enough evidence to merit a trial? Nine of twelve jurors must believe the evidence is adequate for probable cause to go ahead and indict. With less than ¾ of the jury, they no-bill; they say there is insufficient evidence to indict.

The purpose of the grand jury is to prevent a prosecutor from running rough-shod. They are a back-up, to prevent political persecution, for example. In theory, it’s a good idea.

The grand jury is called from among the citizens, not for a single case, but for as many cases as come up during a time frame. In HarrisCounty, this is six months. Ten grand juries are impaneled each half year, with five grand juries serving for three-month periods. They meet two days a week during their assigned months. They receive nominal pay, as do other jurors.

Unlike other juries, the grand jury handles as many cases in a day as can be fit in. So, while they were presented the evidence generally, they probably did not spend a full day or two watching all the videos and examining the subpoenaed documents. They would have received a briefing of what that evidence entailed.

They didn’t, as it appeared, throw out the Planned Parenthood evidence and then say, “But, wait—getting that evidence on video must have crossed a line; let’s indict the undercover filmmakers.” That would have been an additional, separate case brought before them.

Both of those cases had pressure behind them. Governor Abbott, a good judge and attorney himself (Texas’s Attorney General before becoming Governor), said there was evidence against Planned Parenthood based on the videos and subpoenaed documents, and we would prosecute. Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion organizations insisted that they had been set up, and distorted, and insisted the filmmakers must have done something unlawful.

There have been instances where prosecutors don’t get what they want with one grand jury and “shop” for another, and another. The Harris County District Attorney is sticking with a policy not to do that.

A friend, who is a prosecutor under DA Devon Anderson, reposted her video statement, which I appreciated. She cleared up several misconceptions.

[I've tried to embed the video, but I'm unable. Please follow this link for the 2 1/2-minute video.]

I’m willing to respect her, and to trust, for now, the system generally. But I do think we have a problem, if we have jurors who, because of personal leanings, ignore evidence and the law. We can’t know what happened; we weren’t in that grand jury room. But Harris County is exactly 50% Democrat and 50% Republican. A high percentage of Republicans see abortion as evil and recognize the evil shown in the videos—even the evil that might be legal but is clearly unethical and disturbing. A high percentage of Democrats are pro-abortion and repeat the Planned Parenthood lies that they do mostly women’s health, not abortions, and that they follow the law. They are quick to believe whatever talking point Planned Parenthood puts out.

So, is it possible that the jury ignored the evidence and the law because of their personal leanings on the abortion issue? It would have only taken four of twelve of them to do so. That is my guess.

Is that the end of the story? No. This was one case, against the local Houston multi-story facility of Planned Parenthood. Not all the videos applied to this location. Other suits will go forward. Other grand juries are likely to indict.

If nothing else, the world got a glimpse of what abortionists say and do when they think they’re talking with people approve of their baby-killing culture. We witnessed their cavalier butchery. They are savage. And we have seen the evil with our own eyes.

As for the indicted filmmakers, I don’t know what will happen. DA Anderson says that the case would have been an easily handled misdemeanor, except that they crossed state lines with the false IDs. I wish them well in trial. They did a risky, disturbing job, and we sincerely thank them.

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