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Sandra Merritt (left) and David Daleiden (right) (AP Photos)
Sandra Merritt (left) and David Daleiden (right) (AP Photos)

The activists behind the undercover Planned Parenthood videos face 15 felony charges each


Two people who secretly recorded conversations with Planned Parenthood about fetal tissue now face 15 felony charges each.

David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress face 14 different counts of recording a conversation without consent and one count of privacy violations, filed by new California attorney general Xavier Becerra. State law requires both people involved in a conversation to give consent to being recorded.

Last year, similar charges against Daleiden and Merritt were dropped in Texas. 

The videos, initially released in 2015, purported to show evidence that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue and organs. Planned Parenthood has long held that the videos were deceptively edited, but their release inflamed the abortion debate and increased political pressure on Planned Parenthood that still persists. 

Daleiden told The Associated Press the charges were "bogus" and were coming from "Planned Parenthood's political cronies." 

David Daleiden, one of the two anti-abortion activists indicted last week, speaks with supporters outside the Harris County Criminal Courthouse after turning himself in to authorities Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Houston. Daleiden and Sandra Merritt are charged with tampering with a governmental record, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

In one video, Daleiden posed as an employee of fictional company Biomax Procurement Services and is shown discussing liver tissue with the chief executive of StemExpress, which had received fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood. 

Planned Parenthood celebrated the new charges.

sandra merritt.jpg
Surrounded by her attorneys Sandra Merritt leaves a courtroom after a hearing Friday, April 29, 2016, in Houston. The anti-abortion activist is accused of record tampering for using a fake driver's license to conceal her identity while dealing with Planned Parenthood. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Prosecutors say Daleiden and Merritt filmed 14 people without permission in Los Angeles, San Francisco and El Dorado counties. 

Planned Parenthood has done nothing wrong, and the only people who broke the law are those behind the fraudulent tapes.
Mary Alice Carter, Planned Parenthood spokeswoman
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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