Center for Medical Progress investigator David Daleiden released a series of bombshell videos concerning the alleged trafficking of aborted baby body parts by Planned Parenthood, and in 2016, he Daleiden made a public records request for documents concerning the “purchase, processing, and sale of organs and tissue from aborted human fetuses” by the University of Washington’s taxpayer-funded Birth Defects Research Lab. Essentially, Daleiden wanted to know more about a taxpayer-funded program that conducts research using body parts obtained from aborted babies. Because the lab is taxpayer-funded, public records requests can legally be made of the lab. Daleiden’s request included “purchase orders, invoices, emails, grant applications, (and) contracts” dating from 2010 to the present time.
But employees of the University of Washington and others — eight parties in total — protested by filing a class action lawsuit, fearful that their personal information would be used for “threats, harassment, and violence” against them as individuals, even though no credible reports of anything of that nature were provided. Mainstream media reports regarding the case failed to acknowledge that Daleiden had requested that names and personally identifying information be redacted. Daleiden did, however, want information on specific job roles and business relationships between certain University of Washington departments and outside organizations. Unfortunately, as the Thomas More Society noted in a 2017 statement, the level of redaction sought by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit would have essentially “render[ed] these public documents useless for investigative purposes.”
On March 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals released a ruling for the second time, which “affirmed in part, reversed in part, and vacated in part” the lower court’s rulings. That ruling stated that three of the plaintiffs were engaged in First Amendment-protected activity, two of the plaintiffs may have been engaged in First Amendment-protected activity, and three of the plaintiffs were clearly not engaged in First Amendment-protected activity.
The Thomas More Society’s press release concerning the ruling quoted Vice President and Senior Counsel Peter Breen celebrating the ruling. He said, “We were glad to see the order was vacated in part…. First Amendment privacy has never been used to cloak government workers on government time. Controversy is reason for sunlight, not for cloaking government activity.”
While the plaintiffs in the case cited concerns for personal safety, the lawsuit begs the question: what does the University of Washington have to hide? Has the university played a role in the illegal trafficking of baby body parts? Hopefully more information will be learned thanks to the Court’s decision.
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