On January 14, 2016, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California filed a federal civil suit against the makers of the now-notorious anti-Planned Parenthood videos released in 2015.
Filed in United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, the suit alleges that the Center for Medical Progress, Biomax Procurement Services LLC, David Daleiden, Troy Newman, Albin Rhomberg, Phillip S. Cronin, Sandra Susan Merritt, Gerardo Adrian Lopez and others violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and committed fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording and trespassing.
You will recall that in 2014, David Daleiden, Troy Newman and four other anti-abortion activists used fake government IDs to enter Planned Parenthood facilities and have private medical conferences with Planned Parenthood employees. The activists secretly taped the conversations, heavily edited those conversations and released a succession of incendiary YouTube videos in 2015.
Though the videos aimed to show that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts, Planned Parenthood donates but does not sell fetal tissue for medical research. The heavily edited videos purport to show Planned Parenthood employees negotiating prices of fetal tissue; however, the unedited video shows those employees insisting that Planned Parenthood does not want to profit from tissue donation for medical research; rather, the donations merely cover expenses of preserving and conveying tissue. Several investigations by states and congressional committees found no evidence of illegal activities by Planned Parenthood. A YouTube video of the alleged 3-year conspiracy is accessible here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IiAwBKfSTY
Despite Planned Parenthood being cleared of all alleged violations, the doctored videos caused a firestorm. According to Plaintiffs’ chief counsel, “Planned Parenthood staff has been demonized, the providers have been threatened with death, picketed at their homes, bombarded with hate mail, and forced to move or go into hiding.” The wave of violence and animosity encouraged by the videos is startling: the nimrod who allegedly shot and killed a police officer and two civilians at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic in November 2015 mentioned the videos’ subject-matter; 4 Planned Parenthood affiliates were victimized by arson; and some politicians have used the debunked videos as fuel for defunding Planned Parenthood.
Now Planned Parenthood is fighting back, going “on the offensive” to “expose this fraud”. The suit seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Though the Defendants have not formally answered the complaint, they released a statement calling the suit “frivolous” and claiming that Planned Parenthood is still under investigation, though there is no longer any pending investigation against Planned Parenthood.
Note from HandelontheLaw.com: This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author, handelonthelaw.com, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.