Health & Science

Anti-Abortion Activists Appear In Houston To Face Criminal Charges Related To Planned Parenthood Videos

The other activist is expected to appear Thursday morning at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse in downtown Houston.


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California residents David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt created a fake company, BioMax, for a visit to the Houston affiliate of Planned Parenthood last year.

Daleiden is expected to appear later Thursday morning at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse in downtown Houston.

His partner at the Center for Medical Progress, Sandra Merritt, turned herself in Wednesday morning.

After being booked, and having her mugshot and finger prints taken, Sandra Merritt was immediately released after posting a $2,000 bond.

She then appeared at a brief hearing on the case in the courtroom of Judge Brock Thomas.

Merritt, wearing a salmon-colored leather jacket, did not speak.

She has been indicted for tampering with a government document, a felony, because she allegedly used a fake driver's license to enter the Houston headquarters of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast on April 9, 2015.

The chief prosecutor, Britni Cooper, said that District Attorney Devon Anderson has offered Merritt a type of probation.

"The defendant has been charged with tampering with a fake government document. It's a second-degree felony," Cooper said.

"A pre-trial diversion is what Devon felt was the right thing to do in the case, and that's something that is offered often on non-violent first offenders."

Merritt's lawyers did not say whether they would accept the offer. The team includes noted Houston defense attorney Dan Cogdell.

"She's a falsely accused woman, the indictment is wrong-headed," Cogdell told reporters after the hearing Wednesday. "I don't care if you are pro-life, I don't care if you are pro-choice, I don't care if you are pro-bowler – this case is dumber than a bucket of hair."

A handful of anti-abortion protestors gathered outside the courthouse Wednesday morning to show support for Merritt and Daleiden. Theresa Camara held a poster calling the two activists "pro-life heroes."

"The reality is we want to find the truth," Camara said, "And if these babies are being harvested and made a profit off of, that's a real problem. We have a real problem here beyond just the abortion issue."

Planned Parenthood officials have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in the handling of fetal tissue, and officials with the Houston affiliate point out that the grand jury that indicted Merritt did not indict them.

Merritt's next court date is set for March 28.

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