SACRAMENTO — Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. on Thursday sued California-based anti-abortion activists, accusing them of conspiring to use heavily edited videos and deceptive practices to discredit the family planning services and abortion provider.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress and its representatives violated federal racketeering and various state laws. The nonprofit Center for Medical Progress last year posted online secretly recorded videos of Planned Parenthood doctors describing how clinics provide aborted fetal tissue for research—proof, the group’s leaders said, that Planned Parenthood was selling “baby parts” for a profit.
The “deceptive videos did their intended damage,” the complaint says. “Millions of people who viewed the manipulated videos and inflammatory accusations were made to believe that Planned Parenthood had violated the law and acted improperly.”
Center for Medical Progress members also set up a fake company and used fraudulent identification to gain access to, and record proceedings at, closed-door Planned Parenthood and National Abortion Federation conferences despite signing nondisclosure agreements, the complaint says. A federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Center for Medical Progress from releasing any videos shot at the gatherings.
Planned Parenthood is represented by Arnold & Porter partner Amy Bomse, of counsel Sharon Mayo and counsel Jee Young You in the firm’s San Francisco office.
A statement posted Thursday on the website of the Center for Medical Progress accused Planned Parenthood of “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 operation.”
The suit seeks unspecified compensatory, statutory and punitive damages in addition to an injunction barring the defendants from fraudulently attending Planned Parenthood conferences and recording any of the organization’s staff without their permission. The Center for Medical Progress, leader David Daleiden and five other individuals are named as defendants.
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