SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 19)—Life Legal’s Katie Short appeared before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week on behalf of David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) filed a lawsuit against David last year after he released a series of videos exposing the abortion industry’s trade in fetal body parts. NAF succeeded in obtaining a preliminary gag order keeping additional video footage and documentary evidence out of the public view.
Ms. Short maintains that the gag order is an unconstitutional prior restraint on David’s right to free speech. NAF contends that information shared at its annual meetings is protected by private agreements between the parties.
“No federal court has upheld an order suppressing information of public interest, based simply on the agreement of parties to do so,” argued Attorney Short. “Federal courts do not put the weight of their contempt power behind the enforcement of private agreements to defeat the public’s right to know.”
Simply put, other than where trade secrets or government classified information is at issue, an injunction enforcing a private agreement to suppress information of public interest violates the First Amendment.
Federal courts have held that gag orders, like the one issued against David, are unconstitutional when they forbid “the publication of facts which the community has a right to know.” As Ms. Short stressed, the very concept of an “industry wide secret,” i.e., information which an entire industry or trade or profession wants to keep the public from knowing, is contrary to the public good. In this case, the public supports Planned Parenthood and other abortionists through state and federal taxes—and has a right to know of the abortion cartel’s illegal activities and its callous disregard for the inherent value of human life.
Life Legal continues to defend David Daleiden in three separate lawsuits filed by fetal tissue broker StemExpress, the National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood.
Watch the Ninth Circuit Court hearing here.