David Daleiden, founder of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), kicked off the first annual Evangelicals for Life Conference in Washington, D.C., Jan. 21, when he sat down for an interview with Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), and Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.
The event was organized by the ERLC and Focus on the Family to gather and equip evangelicals to defend the value of every human life. Daleiden said his pro-life convictions include all people, even abortion doctors.
CMP received national attention last year after they released a series of 13 undercover videos over the course of several months. Daleiden orchestrated the sting operation, which revealed that Planned Parenthood Federation of America was involved in the practice of selling aborted fetal parts. The exposé prompted Planned Parenthood to file a lawsuit Jan. 14 in federal court against the CMP, accusing the group of conducting “a complex criminal enterprise conceived and executed by anti-abortion extremists.”
When asked about the purpose of the videos, Daleiden said a “cruel paradox” undergirds the abortion crisis in America. The undercover videos spotlight that contradiction.
Photo by Chad Bartlett
On left Russell Moore, ERLC president interviews David Daleiden (center), founder of the Center for Medical Progress. On right is Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family.
“These videos are tapping into something very deep and very human,” he said.
Explaining the “cruel paradox,” he continued, “Their humanity [unborn children] is not considered to be equal enough to our own in order to be completely protected by law … but at the same time it’s precisely that equal humanity – that humanity that is equal to our own – that makes them so valuable for scientific experimentation.”
Filming conversations with Planned Parenthood medical staff and executives in covert operations placed Daleiden and others in difficult emotional circumstances.
Moore asked, “How do you keep yourself together psychologically?”
The pro-life ethic extends beyond valuing the life of unborn children, said Daleiden, it also includes empathy for abortion doctors.
It took “firm reliance on the grace of God,” he said, and “a really strong intention that this is being done out of love.”
Daleiden continued, “That individual who’s doing monstrous things is still a human being made in the image and likeness of God. … What you have to do – from that place of love – is find something about their humanity that you can still relate to.”
Identifying with the universal morality in all people, he said, “For me, that was always the fact that the doctors themselves realize pretty clearly that they’re killing people. They see the humanity of the unborn baby up close and personal every day, and they have to carry the burden, the guilt and the conflict with them. … So in that sense, they share that with us – that they have grieved over dead baby parts the same way that we have.”
That common sense of right and wrong could be the way God grabs the attention of abortion doctors, according to Daleiden.
“[O]n a spiritual level there is something really powerful about that connection and that may be the door through which Christ can enter some day,” he said.
Moore also asked Daleiden about recent criticisms leveled at CMP related to the apparent moral ambiguity of undercover work: “Are you making morality relative here, by using lying and deception in order to do that?”
Daleiden answered, “I think undercover work is fundamentally different than lying, because the purpose of undercover work is actually to serve the truth, and to bring the truth to greater clarity and to communicate the truth more strongly.”
Moore inquired about the “doctored” videos.
Daleiden said all news footage is edited to some degree, furthermore, “CMP has been far more transparent than any other news organization,” referring to the release of uncut footage that accompanied the series of videos last summer.
A recent report by WORLD News Service said Planned Parenthood has not yet specified the compensatory, statutory and punitive damages for which it is asking it the suit. The case could take up to 18 months, according to Planned Parenthood’s lawyers.
The Evangelicals for Life conference also featured a breakout session called “Planned Parenthood Exposed: Fetal Tissue, Bioethics, and the Future of Abortion in America.”
Stay up to date with coverage from the ongoing event at brnow.org.