The criminal charges against two pro-life activists who secretly taped Planned Parenthood officials describing how the abortion provider sells fetal body parts just acquired a whiff of corruption and bought and paid for prosecution. The Washington Examiner revealed that Planned Parenthood contributed to the two California state Attorney Generals who were responsible for bringing the charges. Moreover, the abortion provider had giving money to one of the attorney generals when he was a congressman when he pushed legislation that would prohibit secret taping by undercover activists.

The original revelations that planned parenthood was selling fetal body parts for “donations” set off a firestorm of controversy and has led to calls across the country to defund the abortion provider. The ghoulish nature of the side business that had been developed lent impetus to the pro-life cause. The Trump administration has proposed cutting off funding in its first proposed federal budget, much to the ire of Planned Parenthood’s supporters in Congress.

California has brought 15 felony charges against David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, the two pro-life activists in question, for the secret taping. The prosecution already faces constitutional challenges because it would tend to inhibit sting operations often conducted by news organizations against targets of investigative journalism.

Now, with the added aspect of corruption, the prosecution is bound to become even more controversial. California prohibits taping of conversations unless both parties agree to it but have generally not enforced the law when news organizations conduct the practice.

If the prosecution is allowed to proceed and is not thrown out by a judge, it is likely to become a cause celebre in the decades-long battle over abortion.

The positions of the two sides in the controversy are irreconcilable. The pro-choice side believes that abortion should be legal in virtually all circumstances to preserve the autonomy of women over their own bodies. The pro-life side counters that fetuses are human beings from the moment of conception and thus abortion should be, at best, severely restricted. Abortion in demand has been the law of the land ever since the Roe v. Wade decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1973.