On Friday, the Supreme Court denied an emergency request from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) that would have allowed the anti-abortion group to avoid disclosing the names of key supporters “intimately involved in the planning and funding for the Center’s alleged conspiracy.”
This is the third time that CMP and its President, David Daleidan, have tried – unsuccessfully – to avoid producing this information in connection with a federal lawsuit filed by the National Abortion Federation (NAF). The lawsuit, against CMP, Daleiden, and CMP board member and Operation Rescue president Troy Newman, alleges civil conspiracy, racketeering, fraud and breach of contract following the distribution of falsified, misleading videos suggesting NAF members, including Planned Parenthood, illegally sold fetal tissue.
Both the federal district court and the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit have ruled that CMP must provide NAF with a series of emails sent by Daleiden to CMP supporters, as well as the names of the supporters to whom the emails were sent. The emails contain “information gleaned from the Center’s infiltration and surreptitious recording” at NAF conferences. CMP had refused to provide this information, citing erroneous First Amendment claims.
The Supreme Court’s denial of CMP’s application means that the organization must now turn over the names of those who were involved in its scheme.
“The defendants have stalled as long as they can, but enough is enough,” said NAF President and CEO Vicki Saporta who previously noted that “every day that the defendants refuse to disclose who they gave access to our confidential information puts our members in harm’s way.”
The release of several fraudulent videos by CMP which claim to capture the sale of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood have been proven false repeatedly, but have nonetheless sparked endless state and federal investigations into the organization, NAF and abortion providers nationwide. To date, zero investigations have found evidence of wrongdoing.
The release of these videos has also corresponded with an increase in threats against abortion clinics, providers, and staff. “The Feminist Majority Foundation started to receive reports of an escalation in severe harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against abortion providers immediately following the launch of the smear campaign by the Center for Medical Progress this past Summer,” explained du Vergne Gaines, Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation National Clinic Access Project.
NAF is seeking a preliminary injunction to block CMP, Daleiden, and others from releasing any material or information that was illegally obtained at any of NAF’s educational meetings. A hearing on NAF’s request is scheduled in the district court later this month.
Media Resources: National Abortion Federation Press Release 12/4/15, 12/3/15; US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 12/3/15; US District Court, Northern District of California 11/20/15; Feminist Newswire 9/1/15; Media Matters 8/24/15; Feminist Majority Foundation Press Release 12/1/15;