A federal judge ordered last week that pro-life journalists from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) are liable for more than $1.2 million in damages to Planned Parenthood after they exposed the abortion corporation’s illegal body part trafficking scheme.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick III ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood’s Unfair Competition Law claim, citing last year’s jury verdict which found CMP, its founder David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, and fellow pro-life activists guilty of violating laws when they went undercover at Planned Parenthood businesses and events. Along with the ruling that Daleiden and the other named pro-life activists are liable to Planned Parenthood for $1,259,370 in damages under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, Orrick also banned them from attending Planned Parenthood events, making secret recordings of Planned Parenthood, or trying to enter a Planned Parenthood event in disguise.
In 2015, CMP released a series of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s participation in the trafficking of the body parts of aborted children. Employees of the abortion corporation can be seen and heard haggling over prices of body parts and sharing the details of how they alter abortions to ensure the preborn child’s organs remain intact for sale. CMP journalists were operating undercover to expose these illegal activities but Orrick told the jury that the First Amendment did not protect CMP, and therefore they are now being punished for their efforts to expose a federal crime.
Jurors were not allowed to view footage from CMP during the trial.
Orrick himself has ties to Planned Parenthood, including lending his help to the opening of a Planned Parenthood business. Despite the fact that recently unsealed invoices revealed that Planned Parenthood Mar Monte had charged a fetal tissue procurement company about $25,000 for fetal body parts from July to September 2012, Orrick still chose to side with Planned Parenthood.
“It is no longer in dispute that Planned Parenthood sold aborted baby parts for profit and that our video evidence was authentic,” said former CMP member Troy Newman. “They admitted it in our trial. Now Planned Parenthood wants us to pay a price so the world could find out the sordid truth of their illegal babies-for-cash scheme.”
At no point has Planned Parenthood sued CMP for defamation.
“This judgment effects selective censorship of undercover journalism and punishment of pro-life views,” said attorney Harmeet Dhillon of Dhillon Law Group which represented CMP. “Nothing in the videos censored in this lawsuit is false, and indeed Planned Parenthood abandoned its initial position of falsity at the trial.” Dhillon believes that if the jury had been allowed to view the undercover videos, the outcome of the case would have been different.
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