Four California Planned Parenthood affiliates have been ordered to respond to questions about their profit margin from procuring organs and tissue from aborted babies and selling them to fetal tissue procurement companies.
Three years ago, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and several Planned Parenthood affiliates sued CMP, David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, Albin Rhomberg, and other investigators in federal district court, asserting fifteen claims ranging from racketeering to invasion of privacy. Their lawsuit alleges that the videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors callously discussing the price of baby parts were “misleadingly edited” to make it appear that Planned Parenthood clinics were violating federal and state laws against profiting from the sale of fetal parts. Planned Parenthood claims it brought the lawsuit to “further expose the falsity” of the videos and recover millions of dollars in damages for the alleged harm the videos caused to Planned Parenthood by CMP’s allegations of criminal activity.
However, discovery in the lawsuit revealed that the four Planned Parenthood affiliates most heavily involved in fetal tissue procurement, while receiving monthly payments from fetal tissue marketers, kept no records of their legally allowable costs. The House Select Panel investigating Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue procurement practices determined that , in practice, the costs were nominal to non-existent.
In the face of this evidence, Planned Parenthood continued to deny that their revenues exceeded their expenses, but flatly refused to explain the discrepancy. Life Legal Defense Foundation then sought an order from Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu of the Northern District of California, compelling the abortion providers to explain themselves.
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In response to the motion, Planned Parenthood attorneys argued that “whether any of the four relevant affiliates complied with a technical law about permissible reimbursement” is not relevant to the lawsuit, and that questions about invoices showing that Planned Parenthood affiliates did in fact profit from the sale of fetal body parts have “zero bearing” on the issues in the case.
On Thursday, the court granted the Life Legal’s motion and ordered Planned Parenthood to provide responses by January 31.
“Since the day the first CMP video was released, Planned Parenthood has proclaimed its innocence and insisted it was the victim of a ‘smear’ that it sold baby parts,” said Alexandra Snyder, Executive Director of Life Legal Defense Foundation. “We know money went in, baby parts went out, and costs were negligible. We look forward to Planned Parenthood finally have to explain how that didn’t violate federal law.”