The maker of the videos producing so much outrage about Planned Parenthood conducted an interview with Christianity Today. Among the statements made:
How did you get people to talk to you? There have been other undercover videos about Planned Parenthood in the past, so you would think they’d be more skeptical.
It’s reasonable to think they would be skeptical. We were quite surprised, during the course of this project, how trusting and how willing to talk and negotiate and let us into the inner circle Planned Parenthood was.
All we had to do was say two things. Number one, that we supported their work. And number two, that we wanted to buy their fetal body parts. Those were the magic words. And they were willing to bend over backwards to accommodate that. . . .
There are some critics, who share your beliefs about abortion, who are uncomfortable with the techniques you use. They say misrepresenting who you are and using undercover video is unethical. How do you respond to that claim? And what are the laws about undercover recording in states like California, where you recorded video?
California has a recording law that prohibits the surreptitious recording of what are called “confidential communications,” so California’s recording statute is limited.
I think that there are a minority of people who think that any kind of undercover work is prima facie wrong and unethical. I certainly don’t subscribe to that view. Most people don’t subscribe to that view. Undercover work is a pretty common tactic among law enforcement and journalists. I don’t think the techniques that we use are any more extreme than what is done every day by mainstream investigative journalists.
People don’t realize that it’s a common law liberty in the United States to change your name at will. I think it’s a little silly to say that it’s unethical when it is a common law liberty to present yourself however you want to present yourself. . . .
What are your personal beliefs and how do they inform the work you do?
I am Catholic, and I am a really big fan of Pope Francis. He has been a huge inspiration to me over the past couple of years, especially while doing this project.
Pope Francis’s emphasis on not being closed in on yourself but always moving forward and always being willing to go out towards the margins of human experience—in order to bring the gospel to those margins—was a huge inspiration to me during this project. I don’t think there’s any place more on the existential margins of society than an abortion clinic.
I think that when you have a place like an abortion clinic—which is a place where children are killed on an industrial scale—there is almost a sacramental value in bringing a presence to those places. We were there for good, out of love, and to welcome those children for the brief time that they will be in existence before they die. And to be in contact with and pray for all the abortion workers, the abortion doctors who are there.
As a Christian you are part of the body of Christ. So your presence, even in those darkest of places, can bring the presence of Jesus.
Notice the knots David Daleiden ties himself in. It’s “common law” here to change your name, so deceit is okay, saying exactly what you have no intention of meaning, like “we support your work” and “want to buy fetal body parts.” Well, isn’t isn’t it also legal to have an abortion? Not saying that’s a good thing. But if you use state law to justify violating on of the Ten Commandments, haven’t you given up any claim to moral authority against the other side which could argue in a similar fashion.
Then Daleiden claims the inspiration of Pope Francis and Christianity. Isn’t that a reason not to deceive? Think Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. He could have saved his life if he had lied and taken the oath, right? If you took a 2k view of this and made it less religious calling and more secular vocation, perhaps you could argue that as a journalist you sometimes don’t follow all of God’s laws in order to get a story. But when you want to claim Christian standing for what you do and then violate Christian morality, that’s a violation.