Life Legal attorneys have been in court for well over a month in Planned Parenthood v. Center for Medical Progress (CMP). Planned Parenthood sued CMP for publishing videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s willingness to engage in the sale of baby body parts and alter the abortion procedure to obtain more intact organs.
Today is day 20 of the trial. Both sides “rested” this week, which means the evidentiary portion of the trial is complete and no additional witnesses will be called. But attorneys are still battling over key issues in the case, particularly over how the jury will be instructed to weigh the evidence it has seen over the past five weeks.
I’ve been reading over the trial transcripts and am still staggered by the reality that we have spent over four years defending clients who have done nothing wrong. They have performed a public benefit in shedding light on the business practices of a government-funded organization that are horrific, illegal, and have no place in a civilized society.
The fact that Planned Parenthood killed over 330,000 preborn children last year is bad enough. That’s almost the entire population of Honolulu—decimated in one year.
But CMP showed that the nation’s largest abortion provider also participates in the barbaric practice of carving up second-trimester babies to extract organs and tissue for sale to the highest bidder. One of the abortionists who participates in fetal tissue harvesting said she does up to 200 abortions every month. She is a specialist in late-term abortions, so those are babies in the second and third trimesters. And at least one defendant has testified that some babies are born alive before their organs are removed.
Last week, PP tried to turn the tables. Over our objections, the judge allowed into evidence a chart listing the number of various incidents of “violence and disruption” at abortion facilities over the past decades. PP’s objective was to justify over $630,000 in security upgrades, alleging that threats related to abortion opposition increased since the videos were released. The so-called expert presenting the chart is a security director for the National Abortion Federation (NAF).
On cross-examination, Life Legal attorney Katie Short was able to get the witness to admit that serious incidents had actually decreased over time and that there were no trends that could be discerned from the data. Short also pointed out that a kidnapping listed under abortion clinic violence actually in fact involved parents who had kidnapped their daughter and taken her across state lines for an abortion.
This week, Dr. Michael New, a social scientist and statistics expert testified for the defense, saying that the NAF data was “of low quality” and that NAF has “a vested interest in overstating or inflating the levels of what they view as abortion clinic violence or harassment” not only in this case, but also to promote legislation keeping pro-lifers from exercising their First Amendment rights in front of abortion facilities.
Today, our attorneys are back in court to argue that the jury be given clear and unbiased directions on how to decide the case. This is significant, as the jury could be swayed by improper language in the instructions.
Closing arguments are scheduled for next Tuesday.
Thank you so much for your ongoing prayers for our legal team and for the defendants in this case. Please also pray for the jury, as they will be deliberating immediately following the closing arguments.
I would ask that you also consider making a generous donation toward the legal defense. A gift of any amount is so very appreciated at this critical time. Life Legal is fighting the battle for LIFE on multiple fronts and we are grateful for your faithful and prayerful support!