Planned Parenthood Sues the Center for Medical Progress Over “Sting Videos”
In July, the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress released a series of videos that implied that Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has long maintained that the videos were edited in a misleading fashion, and that the fetal donation program was entirely legal, the videos have been widely debunked, and multiple investigations have turned up no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood. But as the videos have become an increasingly popular political tool, and debates about the federal funding of Planned Parenthood continue, Planned Parenthood is officially fighting back by filing a federal lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress.
Planned Parenthood is suing the Center for Medical Progress on a few different grounds, including illegally conspiring in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), mail fraud, trespassing, invasions of privacy, and illegal recording. A fake fetal tissue procurement company called “BioMax” is also named in the lawsuit.
Planned Parenthood is arguing that the release of the videos created a dangerous environment for its employees–multiple individuals who work for the nonprofit have been threatened with bodily harm. There was also a deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that left three people dead. The shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, has made presumed references to the videos and has claimed that he is a “warrior for babies.”
Chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood’s California affiliates, Beth Parker, stated:
Planned Parenthood staff has been demonized, the providers have been threatened with death, picketed at their homes, bombarded with hate mail, and forced to move or go into hiding.
Kathy Kneer, CEO of Planned Parenthood’s California affiliates also made a strong statement about the importance of the lawsuit, stating:
CMP’s reckless and dangerous actions have created a poisonous environment that fuels political attacks on access to reproductive health care and feeds threats against our health centers. We’re going on the offensive to expose this fraud for what it is and hold the people behind it accountable – in order to prevent further harassment of our patients and staff and protect access to the preventive and reproductive health care Planned Parenthood provides to millions of people each year.
The Center for Medical Progress has released a statement, essentially saying that it doesn’t have anything to fear with the lawsuit. David Daleiden, the leader behind the videos stated: “Game on” upon hearing about the lawsuit. But while it probably won’t help with the constant political fights that await Planned Parenthood in the future, the organization is officially out for vengeance against the Center for Medical Progress, and justifiably so.