How to Keep Your Soul Intact While Investigating Planned Parenthood: An Interview with David Daleiden

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By John Zmirak is a Senior Editor of The Stream, July 19, 2017

John ZmirakYesterday I had the pleasure and privilege of stepping in for Eric Metaxas. I guest-hosted his deservedly popular national radio show on Salem. I’ll be recording six segments this week, each with a guest whom I’ve chosen. I didn’t pick them lightly. Because each has something important to say, I’m devoting the next few columns to unpacking what they offer.

On Tuesday I was honored to interview David Daleiden. You’ll remember him as the man whom the State of California is torturing its laws to try to imprison. Why? Because he committed a kind of blasphemy. He criticized one of the few institutions still held as sacred by that state’s elites: Planned Parenthood.

Making Journalism a Felony

For that act of journalism, he and his partner Sandra Merritt have been charged with almost two dozen felonies. (The same absurd charges were also filed by corrupt prosecutors in Houston, but quickly dismissed.) Daleiden recounted how “storm troopers” invaded his home and seized all his computers and research data. I was relieved to hear that he’d backed them up off premises.

You’ll remember that Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress have released, over time, the honest footage from some 18 months of deep undercover work. In it, they posed as medical entrepreneurs who wished to profit from selling the body parts torn from unborn children. The reactions of mainstream media were textbook examples of denial, fake news, disinformation and agitprop.

The Fake Trump Dossier and Planned Parenthood

In one of the highlights of my hour with Daleiden, I learned which source Planned Parenthood used when it tried to discredit the videos as “fakes.” It was Fusion GPS, the same opposition research guns for hire who cobbled together the “garbage pail dossier” that put Donald Trump in disgusting sex acts with Russian hookers. Even Fusion couldn’t find any evidence that the videos were doctored in any way. That didn’t stop Planned Parenthood from putting out press releases that claimed they were. That was enough for most news venues, which when they couldn’t suppress all knowledge of the videos were desperate to discredit them.

Some other highlights from our conversation: I asked Daleiden what kind of blowback he suffered as the videos trickled out. It was heartwarming to hear that some 90 percent or more of the people who contacted him were in fact supportive. It seems that the prayers in which millions of grateful prolifers wrapped Daleiden and his team had their effect. For someone in the very center of the crosshairs of our country’s Culture of Death, he’s amazingly serene. That comes, I have read, from a deep prayer life he nurtures through the liturgy. God bless him.

What’s It Like to Work Undercover?

The question I most wanted to ask Daleiden was this: What was it like to put on a different identity, to burrow into the dark world of organ trafficking and abortion? How could he manage it, day in and day out, for more than a year? We’ve all seen TV movies about the harsh impact that undercover work can have on police. What sustained him in his journey through the darkness?

The answer almost staggered me. It told me why someone not someone like me, was the person whom God called to do this crucial work. He said that he kept in the front of his mind that his work was an act of love. Not just for unborn children. But also for the people who worked at Planned Parenthood. They had found themselves in a horrible and diabolical place.

Working for the Souls of Abortionists

Unlike most facile supporters of abortion, these doctors and nurses faced day to day the stark reality: That unborn children are human. It’s hard to pretend otherwise when you’re not dealing with Latinate words like “fetus.” No, you’re collecting little livers and lungs and brains. Little eyes that seem to look back at you. He said that he could tell that many abortion providers he dealt with were haunted by what they did. The few who seemed callous and flippant, he admitted, were “really scary.”

But most of the people he met with and talked to were much like you and me. Except that they work as the clean up crew for the Sexual Revolution. So they know as well as a pro-life activist the price that comes with our fleeting pleasures.

I encourage Stream readers to listen to the interview on podcast.

Further Reading

I’d like to recall your attention to the resource page that collects all the Stream‘s extensive news reports on Planned Parenthood and this scandal. See also the long list of solemn reflections that Jason Jones and I released along with almost every one of Daleiden’s videos:

Like The Gulag Archipelago, the Planned Parenthood Videos Show Us the Victims of a Utopian Dream

Human Dignity Is Priceless, but Baby Organs Start at $74.99

The Third Undercover Video of Planned Parenthood: Outrage is Insufficient

The 4th Video: Is This Planned Parenthood’s Bill Cosby Moment?

Video 5: Planned Parenthood’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Planned Parenthood and the Gift of Death

Planned Parenthood Video #9 and the Angels that “Just Fell Out”

Dante Watches Planned Parenthood Video #10

Planned Parenthood Video 11: The Perfect Partial Birth Abortion — ‘Something to Strive For’

It’s all sobering to read. It was sobering to research and write. We should rally to support the brave pro-lifers who entered the heart of darkness to make such stark but necessary knowledge even possible. Please help the Center for Medical Progress in its fight for life and truth, conducted in a spirit of supernatural love.


John Zmirak is a Senior Editor of The Stream, and author of the new Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1986, then his M.F.A. in screenwriting and fiction and his Ph.D. in English in 1996 from Louisiana State University. His focus was the English Renaissance, and the novels of Walker Percy. He taught composition at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, and has written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention, representing Pat Buchanan.

He has been Press Secretary to pro-life Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, and a reporter and editor at Success magazine and Investor’s Business Daily, among other publications. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, FrontPage Magazine, The American Conservative, The South Carolina Review, Modern Age, The Intercollegiate Review, Commonweal, and The National Catholic Register, among other venues. He has contributed to American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of Faith & Family magazine and a reporter at The National Catholic Register. During 2012 he was editor of Crisis.

He is author, co-author, or editor of eleven books, including Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist, The Grand Inquisitor (graphic novel) and The Race to Save Our Century. He was editor of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s guide to higher education, Choosing the Right College and, for ten years, and is also editor of Disorientation: How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind.