The “sting” videos and allegations against the organization are coming fast and furious from abortion opponents. Who's next to sue, and can anything quiet them?
Despite abortion opponents’ claims to the contrary, you’d have to live under a rock not to have heard that Planned Parenthood is being besieged by allegations from anti-abortion activists that the nation’s biggest provider of reproductive health care has broken federal laws. The claims have sprung from a series of undercover “sting” videos obtained by a group called Center for Medical Progress, run by David Daleiden, a former colleague of Lila Rose at Live Action, another group that specialized in “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood. According to these newly released CMP tapes, Planned Parenthood is selling the tissue and organs of fetuses that have been aborted, and receiving more compensation than is needed to procure the tissue, which violates laws on tissue donation. They are also allegedly altering how they do abortion procedures in order to obtain better specimens according to CMP.
By the time the third video was released on Tuesday, one subject of the so-called “investigation” had enough. StemExpress, a tissue procurement firm that Daleiden’s fictitious company “BioMax” modeled itself after in order to get meetings with abortion providers, filed for a restraining order against CMP to block the group from releasing any video that may feature their staff. The suit happened just after CMP posted a new “web episode” framed around a former StemExpress phlebotomist who provided her own experiences after six months of working in tissue room at one Planned Parenthood clinic, still as an employee of StemExpress.
Daleiden alleges that the lawsuit isn’t just a violation of his First Amendment rights as a reporter, but that the company is trying to hide the fact that it was complicit in breaking the law with Planned Parenthood. As he told CNN.com, a video that has been blocked would provide evidence that Planned Parenthood was violating the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act.
“David Daleiden, CMP’s project leader, tells CNN that the conversation included an admission that they ‘sometimes get fully intact fetuses shipped to their laboratory from the abortion clinics that they work with,’” writes Ed Morrisey at the conservative website Hot Air. “Daleiden notes, ‘That could be prima facie evidence of born-alive infants’—and a potential series of violations of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA), passed into law in 2002. And that’s why ‘they’re very scared of it,’ Daleiden says … right before the interviewer changes the subject.”
Of course, Daleiden isn’t just throwing in pretty legalese to sound impressive in his interview. He’s also protecting himself from new lawsuits. “Prima facie” means “based on the first impression; accepted as correct until proved otherwise.” In other words, it’s true because no one has proven it isn’t, much like how the sun revolved around the Earth until someone actually researched it and proved it was a lie.
StemExpress may have succeeded in blocking any video that included one of their workers (at least, until a full hearing in August), but that didn’t stop CMP from dropping a new one on the public on Thursday, throwing off all of us who have come to rely on their every Tuesday scheduled release as a way to plan our otherwise chaotic weeks. This one, keeping to their restraining order, went back to only featuring Planned Parenthood workers, and continued the anti-abortion ramp up to a Planned Parenthood defunding vote, set for Monday evening.
Now a new lawsuit has been filed, and it could create another roadblock for CMP continuing their media war. The National Abortion Federation, the consortium of most abortion providers across the United States, including many Planned Parenthood affiliates, has filed a suit that if successful would block Daleiden and his associates of releasing any more video obtained at their conferences or events. According to NAF, CMP fraudulently entered their conferences, which have strict security protocols, and any release of materials could violate the safety of abortion providers.
“The safety and security of our members is our top priority,” Vicki Saporta, NAF President and CEO, said in a press release. “That security has been compromised by the illegal activities of a group with ties to those who believe it is justifiable to murder abortion providers. CMP went to great lengths to infiltrate our meetings as part of a campaign to intimidate and attack abortion providers.”
Of course, the continuation of lawsuits leads to one obvious question: Why hasn’t Planned Parenthood itself gone to court itself to block new videos? After all, at the very least you would expect that Daleiden and whomever entered the tissue rooms would have signed a non-disclosure agreement before being allowed inside, and that filming the remains would be a clear violation of such an agreement.
Maybe that is the next escalation in the battle between CMP and Planned Parenthood? If so, they had better move quickly—Daleiden has made it clear he has plenty more video left to show.
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