SAN FRANCISCO — Planned Parenthood has made an unusual legal demand to join California’s criminal prosecution of two anti-abortion activists charged with invasion of privacy for secretly making videos as they tried to buy fetal material from the organization.
A judge in San Francisco will consider the issue Monday as well as a push by prosecutors to keep the names of 14 abortion-rights workers who appear in the 2015 videos confidential.
The California attorney general in 2017 charged David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress after Texas prosecutors dropped a similar case against them. The pair have pleaded not guilty and argue they are undercover journalists shielded from prosecution.
Daleiden and Merritt were accused of secretly making videos that Planned Parenthood argued were heavily edited to unfairly show workers agreeing to sell fetal material for profit, which the group says it does not do. The videos led to three congressional inquiries and criminal investigations in at least 15 states.
Several abortion-rights workers plan to testify at another court hearing next week in San Francisco that will determine if there’s enough evidence for Daleiden and Merritt to face trial. Defense attorneys say their names should be made public.
Planned Parenthood says it wants to join the prosecution for the safety of the workers scheduled to testify.