Kamala Harris’ support for Planned Parenthood draws fire after raid on anti-abortion activist
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris is drawing fire from supporters of an anti-abortion activist whose undercover videos and identity cards were seized by the state Department of Justice this week after Harris’ political campaign sought to drum up support for Planned Parenthood.
David Beltran, a spokesman for Harris’ Department of Justice, said the agency would have no comment. Nathan Click, spokesman for her political campaign, referred questions to that agency.
Harris seeks the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer. Her campaign website includes a page that asked supporters to sign a petition “to defend Planned Parenthood.”
“We can all agree on one thing. Washington is broken. Voting to strip federal funding from an organization that provides vital health services to 2.7 million Americans is the epitome of dysfunction,” the post states. “Once again, we need you to take a stand and join Kamala in defending Planned Parenthood.”
On Tuesday, agents from the Department of Justice under Harris served a search warrant on the Huntington Beach apartment of David Daleiden, an activist whose release of undercover video recordings last summer triggered that funding vote in Congress.
Property receipts left by state agents show they seized multiple computers and hard drives and materials from Planned Parenthood conferences Daleiden covertly attended. Receipts also show they seized California IDs issued to “Brianna Allen,” the name used by one of his accomplices, and a California driver license in the name of Robert Sarkis, the name used by Daleiden.
The director of a California-based advocacy law firm, the Life Legal Defense Foundation, accused Harris of “loyalty to Planned Parenthood” that “requires her to turn a blind eye to the organization’s criminal activities.”
“Instead, she has launched an inquisition into David Daleiden,” said Alexandra Snyder, the foundation’s director.
Two judges hearing privacy violation cases against Daleiden, one in Los Angeles and a federal judge in San Francisco, have concluded Daleiden’s videos were misleadingly edited to bolster his claim that clinics sell the tissue of aborted fetuses to researchers at a profit. Unseen videos obtained by The Los Angeles Times show Daleiden coached his subjects and sought to steer targets into compromising discussions.
Some abortion clinics, including Planned Parenthood clinics in three states, make that tissue available as a donation. Investigations by a dozen states have been closed with no criminal finding but a Republican-led Congressional committee has now opened an inquiry into the fetal tissue market.
Daleiden denies the accusation of fraud. Backed by high-profile conservative firms such as the Thomas More Society, he is fighting a federal injunction sealing some 500 hours of video and audio recordings. He also faces charges in Texas of attempting to buy fetal tissue and, with an accomplice, using falsified California driver’s licenses to gain entry to the back rooms of a Texas clinic.
Harris had said in August her office would examine whether to investigate Daleiden’s covert tactics. Her office took no public action until Tuesday’s search and seizure of papers, videos, cellphone and a computer from the activist. A copy of the search warrant obtained by The Times shows it was signed by a Los Angeles judge on Monday.
For more California corrections and Planned Parenthood news, follow me at @paigestjohn on Twitter
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