Life Legal attorneys appeared in federal court today in the first day of testimony in the Planned Parenthood video trial. Planned Parenthood sued David Daleiden, Sandra Merritt, Albin Rhomberg, Troy Newman, and others for their role in the recording and publication of videos showing PP executives haggling over the price of organs and tissue harvested from 2nd and 3rd trimester aborted babies. (Read the entire Day 1 transcript here.)
In her opening argument, Life Legal VP of Legal Affairs Katie Short discussed defendant Rhomberg’s long history of contributions to the pro-life cause, including his role in the 1982 discovery of over 16,000 aborted preborn children stuffed into a shipping container at a pathologists’ home in southern California. Short argued that many of Planned Parenthood’s allegations against the defendants were nothing more than “thought crimes,” aimed at uncovering the truth behind the illegal business dealings of the tax-payer funded abortion corporation. As Short noted, the defendants had to infiltrate Planned Parenthood and its allies because “it’s hard to get at the truth from a distance.”
Planned Parenthood attorneys attempted to paint the pro-life defendants as “extremists,” citing Rhomberg’s statement that “we must destroy the evil Planned Parenthood empire” and calling abortion a “holocaust” as an example of radical, anti-abortion views. But this tactic only demonstrates how out of touch Planned Parenthood’s high-priced attorneys are. A corporation with $1.3 billion in annual revenue that was founded to suppress and ultimately exterminate certain populations its founder deemed to be “defective,” “unfit,” “human weeds” is by definition an evil empire. And when the abortion industry strips all protections from children in the womb so it can kill one million preborn human beings every year, it is not “extreme” to call that a holocaust.
Planned Parenthood’s first witness was Jenna Tosh, CEO of Planned Parenthood Central Coast in California. Tosh claimed her affiliates saw a tenfold increase in security incidents in the months following the release of the videos. On cross-examination, attorney Short got Tosh to admit that some of the incidents were later shown to be completely unrelated to the videos and that some alleged “threats” were nothing more than letters from people saying they were praying for clinic staff. Still, Tosh said she viewed those letters and related social media posts as “harassing.” Tosh also expressed concern for the safety of her medical director, who is featured in one of the videos that is currently under the court’s seal, but then acknowledged that the medical director never asked for any personal security or other precautions. Planned Parenthood is seeking millions of dollars in damages for alleged security updates, in addition to exorbitant attorneys’ fees.
When asked whether she was bothered that at least one PP abortionists said she could use a “less crunchy” technique to obtain intact bodies for organ harvesting, Tosh evaded the question. Even though she has worked for Planned Parenthood for well over a decade, she said she was “confused” and that she “didn’t understand” the videos. This is not our first encounter with Jenna Tosh. She was formerly the CEO of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kissimmee, Florida that closed down after we sued the complex where the clinic was located.
Life Legal will be back in court tomorrow. The trial is expected to continue through the second week of November.
Please pray for Katie and for all of the attorneys representing the heroic pro-life defendants in this case.
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You can read the Day 1 trial transcript here.