Video producers accuse Planned Parenthood of filing frivolous lawsuit

by Gregory Tomlin, |
Planned Parenthood Federation president Cecile Richards is sworn in before she testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Capitol Hill in Washington Sept. 29, 2015.  | REUTERS/Gary Cameron

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – On the ropes from repeated videos showing its employees haggling over the price of fetal tissue from aborted babies, Planned Parenthood has now filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the organization that produced the videos.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco, alleges CMP and its founder, David Daleiden, invaded the privacy of Planned Parenthood employees, trespassed and violated the federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. RICO is the same statue used to convict mobsters like John Gotti of the Gambino crime family.

The lawsuit was filed by Planned Parenthood's national office and several California affiliates who believe CMP's actions were illegal. They previously complained that CMP had violated California's wiretapping statute, but the statute dictates that no crime is committed if the recording is made in public settings, such as restaurants or conventions, where individuals cannot reasonably expect privacy.

Planned Parenthood also claims the recordings have led to increased threats against abortion clinics and the shooting that took place in a clinic in Colorado last November.

Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood's president, said via social media that the nation's largest abortion provider filed the lawsuit to hold "anti-abortion extremists [CMP] accountable for their three year conspiracy to attempt to shut our doors."

"The malicious, distorted, and discredited videos that have been released over the last several months were timed to coincide with congressional votes to defund Planned Parenthood and enact additional abortion restrictions. Since the release of these deceptively edited videos last July, Planned Parenthood has seen a nine-fold increase in threats and criminal activities against their health centers," Planned Parenthood's communication arm said in a statement.

Since the videos were made public, at least 10 states have conducted investigations into Planned Parenthood's practices. All 10 of those have not found evidence that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal tissue for profit, despite the fact many of the videos feature employees discussing increased profits for clinics that sell the tissue.

CMP responded to the lawsuit with a  statement on its website.

"Planned Parenthood is under investigation by the United States Congress and multiple law enforcement agencies, while their business is drying up and the public is turning against their barbaric abortion for baby parts trade," CMP founder David Daleiden said.

"Now they are filing a frivolous lawsuit in retaliation for CMP's First Amendment investigative journalism that has done nothing more than tell the truth about Planned Parenthood's lawless operations. This last-ditch move of desperation is going to expose all of the sordid dealings of the California Planned Parenthood affiliates to the light of the legal system and the public will see them for the corrupt abortion and baby body parts profiteers that they really are."