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Sherry F. Colb

Prof Fit: Higher Ed Irked by Daleiden Case


You don’t have to be a conservative to worry about the implications of the suit against pro-lifer David Daleiden. Americans of all stripes continue to be amazed that the man who exposed Planned Parenthood’s wrongdoing is the one being treated like a criminal — not the organization responsible for selling baby body parts. A handful of self-described Planned Parenthood supporters are speaking out about the travesty, academics with very real concerns about the implications for free speech if the witch hunt against David continues.

The Washington Times highlighted some surprising comments from academics like University of Maryland professor Mark Feldstein, who had a message for his liberal counterparts: “Even though I support Planned Parenthood and do not share the politics of those going undercover, I think it’s unusual to prosecute when there’s a lack of intent to commit a crime, even when they’re not journalists.” Cornell University law professors Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf agreed, writing in a CNN op-ed that “[T]he criminal prosecution of Daleiden and [his associate], even if they did break the law, could chill undercover journalists and activists everywhere.”

Despite their pro-abortion stance, they believe “the prosecution of these citizen journalists, however self-styled, deeply disturbing.” They went on, “We decry the national campaign of defamation that Daleiden and his political allies have unleashed against Planned Parenthood, but we also oppose efforts to criminalize undercover investigations, regardless of the investigators’ ultimate motives.” Feldstein echoed the duo’s assessment and reminded people that “There have been other instances of undercover investigations, numerous ones, where these things happen and nobody was prosecuted.”

Fortunately, Tennessee Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R) knows where the real blame lies — and she and her colleagues are determined to get to the bottom of it. As part of the select committee investigating Planned Parenthood, Blackburn announced that the House’s work was well underway with the issuing of three subpoenas to organizations caught on Daleiden’s videos engaging in potentially illegal activity. So far, the groups have been the only ones of 30 unwilling to cooperate, leaving Blackburn with little choice.

“We have been working diligently to acquire information that is needed to get the facts about the medical practices of abortion service providers and the business practices of the procurement organizations who sell baby body parts,” she explained. “While it was our hope that these organizations would voluntarily work with us in this effort, some have refused to cooperate by withholding information that is critical to providing us with answers to questions the American people are asking. Consequently, if forced to do so, we will issue subpoenas to any organization that refuses to fully cooperate with our investigation.” We applaud Chairman Blackburn and GOP leaders for moving the investigation forward and demanding the truth about Planned Parenthood’s grisly side business.


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