A federal court dismissed more – but not all – of the claims Monday against undercover journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trade.
David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt and others with the Center for Medical Progress have been fighting a legal battle with California politicians and Planned Parenthood for years. Pro-abortion lawmakers, including former California Attorney General Kamala Harris, took legal action against Daleiden and Merritt after they exposed Planned Parenthood’s gruesome baby body parts harvesting practices in a series of undercover videos, starting in 2015.
The judge’s ruling means they will go to trial by jury this fall.
On Monday, federal Judge William H. Orrick issued a lengthy decision in the case. The Liberty Counsel, which represents Merritt, described it as a “mixed ruling.”
“Orrick concluded that Planned Parenthood lacks sufficient evidence to take several of its 15 counts against Sandra Merritt to trial,” the legal group said in a statement. “These include the abortion organization’s claims for breach of contract, some of its claims for trespass, and its claims for illegal recording in Florida.”
Orrick did not dismiss all of the charges against Merritt, though her lawyers argued that, as an undercover journalist exposing unethical practices, she should be protected under the law. Her trial is slated to begin Sept. 30 in San Francisco.
Here’s more from the legal group:
Significantly, [Orrick] also ruled that the First Amendment bars Planned Parenthood’s claims for damages alleged to arise from the publication of the undercover videos or the reaction of the public to those videos. This essentially guts Planned Parenthood’s case, as the bulk of its made-up “damages” are alleged to arise from the publication of the videos and from the public’s reaction to them.
Although it dismissed several of Planned Parenthood’s trespass claims against Merritt, as to two trespass claims arising out of undercover investigations at Planned Parenthood facilities in Houston and Denver, the court concluded that Merritt and others are liable for trespassing as a matter of law, leaving for the jury the question of whether the alleged trespass caused any recoverable damages. This ruling is seriously flawed, because as a matter of law Merritt and other investigators could not be liable for trespass, since they were invited onto the various properties by Planned Parenthood. Merritt will appeal this unjust ruling, if any damages are awarded at trial.
Liberty Counsel founder and chair Mat Staver expressed confidence that Planned Parenthood will not succeed.
“Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit is nothing but an attempt to bully and silence the truth about its grisly abortion practice,” Staver said. “The Supreme Court has ruled that RICO cannot be used to silence free speech and that is precisely what Planned Parenthood is seeking to accomplish.”
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The most serious of the 15 counts alleged by the Planned Parenthood suit is the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) charge. Allegations of RICO violations will go to the jury at the time of trial.
All the pro-life activists had their Public Policy Defense rejected by Judge Orrick. They had claimed that because they captured evidence of law-breaking by Planned Parenthood executives, that justified the undercover investigation because it served the public good.
Last week, Daleiden’s lawyers filed a motion asking the court to throw out the search warrant that former Attorney General Harris ordered in 2016 on his home, slamming it as a “sham” and a “political favor to Planned Parenthood.”
Daleiden and Merritt have been defending themselves in court for years after they exposed gruesome baby body parts harvesting practices at Planned Parenthood. Many of the charges against them have been dropped, but the California case continues.
Earlier this summer, a judge slapped Daleiden with a $195,000 fine for using some of his undercover videos in alleged violation of a gag order. The judge, William Orrick, has links to the abortion industry. Daleiden’s lawyers said Orrick has had a long relationship with a group that partners with Planned Parenthood, and his wife publicly supported abortion online.
The Center for Medical Progress investigation exposed numerous atrocities inside Planned Parenthood abortion facilities across the U.S. Its findings prompted investigations by the U.S. House and Senate, as well as a number of states.
The committees concluded by recommending that the Department of Justice investigate Planned Parenthood. Both said they found strong evidence that the abortion chain broke the law. The Department of Justice is investigating.
Planned Parenthood repeatedly has denied all allegations of wrong-doing, and many news outlets now parrot its talking points that the undercover videos were deceptively edited or debunked, even though that is not true. An independent forensics investigation verified that the videos were authentic.
Some undercover videos show how Planned Parenthood employees callously and flippantly negotiated the price of tiny baby hearts, lungs, livers and brains. Other evidence indicates the abortion giant may have broken HIPAA patient privacy laws.
The expose videos catching Planned Parenthood officials selling the body parts of aborted babies have shocked the nation. Here is a list of all 14:
- In the first video: Dr. Deborah Nucatola of Planned Parenthood commented on baby-crushing: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”
- In the second video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Mary Gatter joked, “I want a Lamborghini” as she negotiated the best price for baby parts.
- In the third video: Holly O’Donnell, a former Stem Express employee who worked inside a Planned Parenthood clinic, detailed first-hand the unspeakable atrocities and how she fainted in horror over handling baby legs.
- In the fourth video: Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Savita Ginde stated, “We don’t want to do just a flat-fee (per baby) of like, $200. A per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it.” She also laughed while looking at a plate of fetal kidneys that were “good to go.”
- In the fifth video: Melissa Farrell of Planned Parenthood-Gulf Coast in Houston boasted of Planned Parenthood’s skill in obtaining “intact fetal cadavers” and how her “research” department “contributes so much to the bottom line of our organization here, you know we’re one of the largest affiliates, our Research Department is the largest in the United States.”
- In the sixth video: Holly O’Donnell described technicians taking fetal parts without patient consent: “There were times when they would just take what they wanted. And these mothers don’t know. And there’s no way they would know.”
- In the seventh and perhaps most disturbing video: Holly O’Donnell described the harvesting, or “procurement,” of organs from a nearly intact late-term fetus aborted at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte’s Alameda clinic in San Jose, CA. “‘You want to see something kind of cool,’” O’Donnell says her supervisor asked her. “And she just taps the heart, and it starts beating. And I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating, and I don’t know what to think.”
- In the eighth video: StemExpress CEO Cate Dyer admits Planned Parenthood sells “a lot of” fully intact aborted babies.
- The ninth video: catches a Planned Parenthood medical director discussing how the abortion company sells fully intact aborted babies — including one who “just fell out” of the womb.
- The 10th video: catches the nation’s biggest abortion business selling specific body parts — including the heart, eyes and “gonads” of unborn babies. The video also shows the shocking ways in which Planned Parenthood officials admit that they are breaking federal law by selling aborted baby body parts for profit.
- Unreleased Videos: Unreleased videos from CMP show Deb Vanderhei of Planned Parenthood caught on tape talking about how Planned Parenthood abortion business affiliates may “want to increase revenue [from selling baby parts] but we can’t stop them…” Another video has a woman talking about the “financial incentives” of selling aborted baby body parts.
- The 11th video: catches a Texas Planned Parenthood abortionist planning to sell the intact heads of aborted babies for research. Amna Dermish is caught on tape describing an illegal partial-birth abortion procedure to terminate living, late-term unborn babies which she hopes will yield intact fetal heads for brain harvesting.
- The 12th video in the series shows new footage of Jennefer Russo, medical director at Planned Parenthood in Orange County, California, describing to undercover investigators how her abortion business tries to harvest intact aborted babies’ bodies for a local for-profit biotech company and changes the abortion procedure to do so.
- The 13th video: exposes a Planned Parenthood medical director admitting that babies born alive after abortion are sometimes killed.
- The 14th video: catches Planned Parenthood executives discussing gruesome abortion procedures and the sale of body parts from aborted babies for profit.